How Many Pairs of Shoes Did I Use Up On My 1100 km Walk?

by bart on September 4, 2013

Many people have asked me how many pairs of shoes I went through on my 1100 km walk. They’re usually surprised when I tell them that I brought with me two pairs of shoes and a pair of sandals (flip flops), and I consider them still usable, at least for a few hundred more kilometers.

A lot has to do with the quality of the shoes I had. My friend Christian at Foot Solutions in Vancouver provided the shoes for my walk.

I’m really thankful for the fitting and measuring he did, otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d have developed medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints) in my right leg much sooner, rather than just three days before finishing my walk in Calgary.

Brooks CascadiaI was first fitted into a nice pair of Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes. I used these for my practice walks before taking them on the 1100 km walk. In total I probably walked about 750 km in them. You can see where the soles are wearing out near the toe and heel, but I think I can still use them.

These are trail running shoes, and after my experience I would recommend them for long distance walking on concrete only if you switch them up with a pair of soft soled shoes, which I did. Nevertheless, I found the Brooks to be a very comfortable fit, especially around the toe and ball of the foot area.

JoyaDuring my walk I switched between my Brooks and my Joya shoes, also from Foot Solutions Vancouver. The Joyas are great for walking, not running, on smooth, hard surfaces, like concrete, which I was on almost all the time.

The soft, thick soles of the Joyas really soften the impact when your heel hits the hard ground. I could feel the difference immediately.

However, their drawback becomes apparent on uneven or rocky surfaces. The shoes then become quite unstable due to their soft and thicker soles, and I had to consciously pay attention to where I placed my foot so as not to lose my balance. This wasn’t such a big deal after I got used to them, as I walked mostly on concrete.

I had the Joyas on for the last four days of my walk, after I started to feel the shin splints developing. I really think that they helped me reach Calgary without more serious pain and injury. And even though I probably walked 500 km or more in them, you can see in the photo that the soles are hardly worn – evidence of great quality.

Orthoheel SandalsIn addition to the Brooks and Joya shoes, Christian also outfitted me with a pair of Orthoheel sandals. They have a slight ridge around the arches, making them super comfortable.

I usually used them in the mornings, when packing away my gear and tent after a night’s rest. I didn’t use them in the evenings as the mosquitoes would have had a feast with my bare feet.

I recommend all the footwear that Foot Solutions Vancouver gave me. The Brooks Cascadia are perfect for running or walking on trails. The Joyas are perfect for walking around on concrete, and so I recommend them for taking walks in the city. And of course the Orthoheel sandals are great for any occasion when you might decide to wear sandals – and you’ll have a better relationship with your feet.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Don & Lisa September 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Congratulations on your successful and awesome walk to Calgary Bart!!!.We admire your Idea,Determination,Empathy and Action(great IDEA to wake up with) to to raise awareness and money for The Children s Aid Foundation!.

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bart November 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Thank you Don and Lisa!

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Christian September 10, 2013 at 2:02 am

Bart. Most running shoes last on average 500-800km, depending on weight, activity level (running or walking) and time spent between uses. When you look at the photo you can also see that the footwear’s sole is starting to look almost rocker like in nature. This is due to the way we walk (heel strike, toe push off). As we come down on the heel we compress the midsole material at the heel and as we toe off we compress the midsole material under the forefoot, leaving the midsole material under the arch intact. Over time the shoe than develops a look similar to the MBT footwear we sell. Joyas will last longer, as they use a different material in the midsole that is more resilient to compression.

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Christian September 5, 2013 at 5:59 am

Thanks for the feedback Bart. The trail runners are probably shot, as the EVA midsole most likely has compressed to an extend where it won’t provide as much cushioning as when you started. Based on the photo I would say there isn’t much life left in them. Gotta remember that you used them for your practice walks as well.

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bart September 5, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Thanks Christian! One of the things I’ve been wanting to ask you is, how can you tell if your sports shoes are worn out aside from just looking at the soles. I think you just provided the answer. True, I did about 250-300 km in them before setting out for the 1100 km walk.

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