vegan hiking boots

When someone talks about hiking boots, I’m sure many of you picture bulky, heavy, dark brown, leather boots.  Right?  Well, that is the sort of image I once pictured when I thought of these sort of boots.  What if I were to tell you that that image is actually not accurate anymore? Further, what if I told you that there are vegan hiking boots? Yes, vegan: meaning no animal products were used at all in the making of these boots. Well, get ready for this readers, because vegan, non-leather hiking boots do exist!  I know what some of  you are thinking, “How can non-leather hiking boots be durable and reliable on long trips?”  Well, I asked myself the same question as I was searching for my vegan boots.  But in reality vegan boots do exist and they are durable, have good support, are long lasting, and vegans and non-vegans alike have claimed to love them.

How I found my boots:

I searched and searched the internet with little avail.  All the boots I found online were less than desirable.  So, I decided to take a trip to a nearby REI store.  After looking through all the women’s hiking boots and speaking with an REI employee, they informed me that they did not have any “non-leather” boots in their store.  They did however, give me a few websites that had non-leather boots.  When I returned home and visited the sites I was given, I found that all of the boots I saw were for men!  Though frustrated, I kept looking on the internet and I came across a Backpacker Magazine article that titled Editors’ choice 2013: Zamberlan 230 SH Crosser Plus GTX RR Boots which were made up of only man-made materials.  I quickly searched for a women’s version of these said boots, with success!  I quickly ordered them after some research; I found out that they were made up of gore-tex waterproof material, and they had corder nylon uppers.  After getting the boots, I took them out on a 15 mile hike, where my feet felt completely supported and comfortable.  I broke the shoes in to prepare them for my trip then set them aside, since I do not want to wear them out too much before my pilgrimage!  The only issue I have with these shoes is that I never want to take them off, not ever, even when inside!

         My amazing hiking boots:

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I am so happy with my purchase.  I can’t wait to wear them every day on the Camino!

Pros: vegan friendly, waterproof, light weight (1 lb. 5 oz.), good support, vibram soles, comfortable, easy to break in, pretty color.

Cons: Price ($170)

preparing for the camino

As I promised in the previous post I will tell you how I have prepared for the 500 miles I am about to walk on the Camino De Santiago!  I am a runner so I typically run around 4-6 miles about 5 days out of the week.  I attend school about 5 minutes from the beach in California, so typically after classes I would run at the beach.  I also had a membership to fitness classes on campus so I attended insanity-like workouts, did cardio, and fitness yoga.  The Santa Monica Mountains that surround my school also helped me prepare for this trip, as I started hiking almost every weekend this winter in the mountains at places like Sand Stone Peak (the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains), Big Sur, the Sequoia National Park and I did various over night backpacking trips on the Backbone trail throughout the winter as well! Below is an attached image of Big Sur when I traveled there this winter.  It’s such a beautiful area to visit/camp/hike/backpack!Image

When I returned home to Illinois that changed my training plans.  Since I live in a very flat area and no longer have mountains surrounding me to prepare me for the Camino, I have had to hike mostly in flat areas.  I have been going daily to state and local parks around me to hike/walk.  One of the state parks actually has a few hills so I have been hiking there often.  The closest area to walk near my house is a bike path that’s completely flat but so beautiful!  I will show images of my hikes in my next post!  I typically hike anywhere from 10-17 miles on my long days and run or walk about 5-8 on my short training days.  At first my feet really hurt from all the walking but now they have gotten used to these daily excursions, so the pain has improved greatly.  During my walks I have been listening to audio books and music, but often times I put my music away and embrace the beautiful sounds of nature.  My training has been going well, I hope that it will prep me for the Camino, I guess we will find out soon!  Stay true, live justly, and always travel on. Peace and love.