Shoes gave out! Where to buy new ones on GR20 du nord?

Renée

Posted: Sun, Jun 18, 2017, 14:50

Hi all,

Does anybody know where (on track, at what refuges) I might be able to buy new shoes?
I am currently at Castellu di Vergio, and walking north. I know some of the refuges sell them (Usciolu, for example).

I know it is best not to walk this trail on new boots, but my current ones gave out at today's stage. With some tape and glue I can probably still cover some distance with the ones I have, but I'd rather not walk up Monte Cinto (or other difficult/rocky sections for that matter) with a hole in the sole :)

Any information would be a great help!

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Renée



Fanta 65

Posted: Mon, Jun 19, 2017, 3:36

Hi Renee,

your only chance is to walk or hitchhike to Corte. At 15.30 there ist a navette to Corte, too. Be careful, it might even start earlier.

Good luck!

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Fanta 65



Renée

Posted: Sun, Jul 9, 2017, 14:34

For future reference, because I've seen more people with broken shoes on the trek:

My 'well-broken-in' shoes started to come apart as the soles came loose on the second day in. I managed to walk on a couple of days by taping and glueing the sole back to the shoe. On the way to Usciolu we passed a French man who saw the problem and wrapped some iron thread around the shoes for extra grip on the bare rock. Patching the shoes up like this will do for a short while, but definitely not for the whole track.

At Usciolu there is a fantastic shop, with lovely cheese and chestnut marmelade, which surprisingly also sells shoes (this is the only stop along the GR20 where you can buy shoes, as far as I have seen in June 2017)! They were actually very cheap - only 60 euros even though they had to have been brought up by mule. However, the quality wasn't very good. Although the younger staff member said they should definitely suffice or finishing the entire GR until Calenzana and then some (I was walking South-North), that was not the case.

After 2 or 3 days, the soles started to get looser in the front, 1 or 2 days later, I got a hole in one sole at the heel so I stuffed it with pieces of rubber from a drinking hose. One day later however, the complete inner sole had gotten as flat as a piece of paper and there was no support for my feet whatsoever, so they got completely bruised up from feeling each individual stone beneath my feet.

I seriously considered quitting at point, as the toughest stages were still to come. Luckily, a lovely British couple we'd met along the way (from whom I'd also gotten the drinking straw to fix my shoe with, as their waterbag got leaky leaving one of their backpacks completely soaked) had miraculously found an inner sole somewhere in the bushes along the track. At a bergerie we cut up the new inner sole to fit the fronts of my shoes, while I cut pieces for the heels from cardboard. And somehow, this worked! We were able to do stages 5 to 1 with shoes held together by glue, tape, a drinking hose, cardboard and a spare inner sole (which if you don't have it could be replaced by maxipads or something else cushiony like that).

All in all, the moral of the story I guess is:
- Make sure you have good shoes to begin with; when checking our shoes before you start you cannot see if the glue in the sole is still good, so if your shoes are more than a couple of years old, have the soles replaced or use another pair of (broken in) shoes
- If you buy shoes at Usciolu and you're walking South-to-North, do consider taking a 1-day-break at Vizzavona to visit Ajaccio (trains go quite regularly and you can easily go there and back again in day) where you can buy better quality shoes in the city centre. I think walking North-to-South, the Usciolu shoes should do until Conca.
- Make sure to have some kind of repair kit (duct tape, superglue, piece of iron thread, and use anything else you might come across along the way)

Other than the issues with the shoes, the track was absolutely lovely!

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Renée



Renée

Posted: Sun, Jul 9, 2017, 11:15

Sorry, accidentally posted the story twice. I removed this second post.

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Renée



Bruno

Posted: Sun, Jul 9, 2017, 18:49

We met several people on the trail whose shoes were utterly destroyed. Typically the soles come off. Unless you are an ultra-light trail runner, sneakers or running shoes or even light or cheap boots won't do. You need high-quality boots with vibram or similar soles.



Gaffr

Posted: Tue, Jul 11, 2017, 5:21

Hello,
I agree with you Bruno. My Scarpa SL Activ boots have done the job for me each time in Corse but of course there are many similar boots from a whole range of manufacturers.

Perhaps some good examples of the limitations of using the so called 'shoes'. I guess some of these more expensive ones will get you through most of the terrain but obviously many of these shoes don't measure up to the terrain found on the island.
I came across a few folks with ripped apart shoes, all patched up, in 2013 whereas in 2007 I didn't, as far as I recall, see many folks in these upgraded trainers. We have always taken trainers with us to change into after the stage walk. My daughter says that when she went to the GR20, a few years earlier than my wife and I, she wore her trainers and carried her boots on some of the stages probably on the Southern sections.

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Gaffr



Bruno

Posted: Fri, Jul 14, 2017, 9:02

Here is an example (photo) of what happens with "cheap" shoes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brijsman/35913406945/in/album-721576862488...