Tip 1: Clean your walking shoes/hiking boots very carefully after each stage!
You may not always have the energy but to have the best experience, you have to clean your hiking boots after each stage. Remove dirt and mud with a dry brush. Did your hiking boots suffer a lot during your hike? Then use warm running water. Do NOT use soap to maintain your hiking boots, this affects the impregnation.
Tip 2: Don’t forget the inside of your walking shoes/hiking boots!
During a Camino, you use your hiking boots intensively. Do not forget to clean the inside of the walking shoe. You can clean the Gore-Tex® by removing the insole and filling the shoes with approximately 7 cl of warm water. Do NOT add soap or other cleaning products! Shake the shoe back and forth a few times, then let the water run out again. Always let the shoe dry naturally, so never with a hairdryer, that could only damage the Gore-tex. You can clean leather by wiping it well with a wet cloth, after which you also let the hiking shoe dry naturally.
Tip 3: Impregnate regularly your hiking boots!
Perhaps this is a bit difficult during your Camino to Santiago de Compostela, because you may not have any space in your backpack, but impregnation prevents the leather from drying out and makes it dirt and water-resistant. You can impregnate your shoes with spray or wax. In both cases, your walking shoes must be dry.
Tip 4: Put your walking shoes/hiking boots in a dry room after walking!
After a long hiking day on the Camino, it is important to put down your hiking boots in a dry room, preferably with ventilation. Use a shoe tree to keep your shoes in shape.
Tip 5: Never let your hiking boots dry near a heat source!
Never let your hiking boots dry near a heat source after a day of hiking on the Camino! Think of a fire, in full sun, behind the car window, in the trunk or near a stove. The leather then dries too quickly and dries out, cracks and in the worst case the fit of the shoe changes. You better stuff your shoe with newspaper, kitchen roll or toilet paper. Make sure you change this about every hour, otherwise the shoe will remain moist.
With these tips, your hiking boots are ready for your next Camino!
Ps: If, like me, you need a new pair of hiking boots halfway through your Camino, give your old pair a second life. Be creative! 🙂