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Barefoot shoes

TheADog

New Member
I'm intrigued by this bare foot movement (in a nutshell the theory is that all these gadget on shoes are bad for us as they stop a lot of feeling and therefore communication that the foot receives when striking the ground, resulting in more injuries).

I am considering doing the Camino wearing some Vivobarefoot Off Road Hiking Shoes, has anyone done this? Any advice?

http://tinyurl.com/7x2ohow
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
TheADog said:
I am considering doing the Camino wearing some Vivobarefoot Off Road Hiking Shoes, has anyone done this?
Interesting question! :eek: I would suggest that, since many pilgrims walked the Camino over the centuries with all sorts of ordinary footwear and arrived in Santiago in one piece (at least most of them did!), some simple walking shoes should surely do the job? :wink:
The high-tech footwear (as it appears to me, uninformed as I am) which you query/investigate, could perhaps make Camino history. I am curious to learn from the experiences of hardened Camino walkers on this forum.
One way or the other you'll have to expect some hopefully minor, physical discomforts, independent from whatever footwear you choose.
 

cecelia

several caminos- '03-'13
I am considering doing the Camino wearing some Vivobarefoot Off Road Hiking Shoes said:
A couple of years ago I met a couple of people who were wearing a brand of these shoes that I think were called "Five Fingers". One of them was having a fine time with them and the other was having to take a taxi to the next town as he had pulled his achilles heel and it was really painful.

I have no personal experience with them, although my son has used them for running, but my guess is that like any other change in footwear (heel height etc.) a really good break-in period would be important. It's apparently pretty easy to strain or sprain something if you start too quickly (much like the recommendation when anyone gets orthotics).

The other thing to think about( which you may have already) is how they will stand up to being soaking wet and muddy and how they will stand up to the sharp shale that is on certain sections of the camino. Those who have used them would know better than I do of course, but I do know there are parts of the camino that are very rocky and a pretty substantial sole seems advisable ((I almost wrote soul-that too:)). Having said that, there are people who have walked barefoot. Maybe it depends on on your 'ow-ow-ow-ow' tolerance?
Buen camino
Cecelia
 

suekenney

A pilgrim in life.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances solo (2001).
Guided Groups Frances (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and plans for 2014.)
Portuguese (2004).
English solo (2005).
Frances el contrario (2010)
I'm a barefooter and have walked various routes of the Camino 8 times, never completely barefoot. I took Merrell minimalist shoes and wore them as backup some of the time. I found that my feet were no longer comfortable in hiking boots. The soles of my feet were painfully sore and aching from pounding my boots on the path. So this May I'm walking 225 kms with a small group and I'm going barefoot. I'll take my ZemGear shoes as backup. It's not about suffering or being tough. It takes a lot more effort to walk barefoot as we have to use all the muscles/tendons etc we were meant to. I walked/ran all winter, in the snow and ice, so my feet are in great shape. If anyone wants more info about how to train to go barefoot or even wearing the minimalist shoes, just ask. Don't just jump into it...it takes time to undo what shoes have done to our feet. Here's a great Canadian program that will give you some insight if you are interested. http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episod ... unner.html
 
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spursfan

Veteran Member
Not sure if I buy into the complete running style argument but neither should people rule them out;

Last time, I walked the Camino in North Face trainers (c 800g per pair); next time I would almost certainly take Merrell Trail Gloves - they're half the weight (under 400g per pair), snug fit means no foot movement as well as very soft on back of heel means no blisters, and have Vibram soles for grip;

I wear them everyday with thin liner socks - certainly, would have to be careful to avoid too sharp edges - cobblestones are merely uncomfortable - and muddy patches; took no time at all to adapt to walking in them
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
I spoke to a German guy who wore shoes like that. But he wore them for the first time in his life. He got terrible muscle-aches, but got to Santiago.
My advice: do try this at home!

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo
 

barefootcamino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
July (2013)
Might I ask how it went if you ended up walking in the vivos?

I'm planning on starting from SJPP this July and was planning to walk in these:
http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/ladies/o ... -2013.html

Does anyone have their own barefoot, or simulated barefoot, experiences they would like to share? I broke myself into vibram five fingers last summer and since the snow has cleared out I've only worn shoes that I would classify as barefoot, including the five fingers.
 

Green Tortuga

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012), Chemin Le Puy (2012)
I've never been brave enough to try walking barefoot, but I'm tempted to try at some point. The idea intrigues me. =) Last year, on the Camino, I met both a woman wearing the Five Fingers shoe and a man who was walking completely and totally barefoot, and neither of them seemed worse the wear for doing so.

So I don't really have any personal experience to share about the topic, but just wanted to let you know that it's certainly doable since it has been done! =)

-- Ryan
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I use the Bodyglove 3T Barefoots (mine are black and pink and cost a mere $7!!) BUT I don't like the fact that mud/water gets in the holes when it rains.

http://birthdayshoes.com/bodyglove-3t-b ... oes-review

For that reason I have purchased Inov8's Terroc330 for winter walking/hiking (they were the widest shoes I could find, and also happened to be pretty light)

http://www.inov-8.co.nz/terroc-330.html

I'm intrigued with minimalist shoes and have always worn flats. Switching to the Bodygloves did take some adjusting though - the top of my foot would get sore after 10-15km. I haven't worn them for long distances on consecutive days to know if I would be OK in them for a Camino, and as I watched it rain all last month I decided I would not take the risk! I will continue to wear them (and go barefoot around home) and see if I can build up the distance, but at the same time I want to be wearing my Inov8s....
 

Laliibeans

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014)
Ooo, i hadn't heard of Bodygloves. I usually wear Fivefingers but they're so expensive! I've worn my two pairs full of holes and need some new ones, I might try them!
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
I live in my mens Merrell Pace Gloves and Trail Gloves so if anyone has done the VDLP in these successfully I want to know. I have never had shoes as comfortable before and they are not too hot in our tropical Australian climate. Whether that translates to hiking, who knows. I also do martial arts so spend a lot of time barefoot and had wondered why I could run around during training for ages but could never do so with regular running shoes. I've never had problems with knees etc with these shoes. I actually worry that regular hiking boots may be too supportive. My soles are too soft to do the real barefoot thing but a new pair of Merrells could be an interesting option.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Someone else will have to help you out with the barefoot option but I swear by running shoes after suffering with terrible blisters using various Merrill walking shoes (Francés and VdlP).

You will be walking the VdlP in the summer so no need for boots. Your feet will swell in the heat and will thank you if you choose a light shoe that can breath. I also found the terrain on the VdlP much less rocky than the Francés.

I did a section of the Francés in December in a Goretex walking shoe
and will use the same in Feb when I return to the Plata but that is only because of the rain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés five times, Madrid two days, Ingles once.
I took Merrell Road Glove Dash 2 Road-Running Shoes as my backups when I walked the Camino last Sept/Oct. That is, I wore them after my walking day was finished and the boots were left in the racks. I'm not a runner, but these shoes worked well for me. They are extremely lightweight, are not waterproof, can be washed in a machine, and dry fast. I can wear them all day with no problems. BUT - follow the directions that come with them - don't start walking even a mile before getting used to them.
 

suekenney

A pilgrim in life.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances solo (2001).
Guided Groups Frances (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and plans for 2014.)
Portuguese (2004).
English solo (2005).
Frances el contrario (2010)
I have been barefoot for over 3 years now and love it. I walked the Camino barefoot last year and I will never go back to wearing boots/shoes. When it rains I don't have to worry about my boots getting wet! My feet (and the skin on the bottom of my feet) adapt to all types of terrain. I took minimalist shoes called Zems as backup since they were very lightweight and wore them on man-made surfaces like huge chunks of gravel, pavement and tile sidewalks. I don't care for Five Fingers cause they force my toes apart and make my feet stink. I found that my toes naturally loosened apart and my feet/ankles have become very strong, my balance has improved and so has my flexibility. I don't use a walking stick anymore because I don't need it for balance. My feet adapt to everything natural, even sharp rock.

Training
It's important to start slow and prepare for walking barefoot. Start at home and go barefoot all the time. Then walk outdoors for 5 mins for a week or so, then 10 minutes and so on...gradually increase the amount of time you are barefoot. While you are training, take shoes with you and switch back and forth from shodless to barefoot. Your muscles will get sore or achy so be aware and don't overdo it. Just put your shoes on again. Remember you are shifting the alignment in your entire body. I like the book Barefoot Running (which talks about walking too) by Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee. I'm writing a book now that will cover the basics of how to go barefoot. I've also designed a soleless shoe called Barebottom shoes that I wear on the Camino too...often when I go to dinner. My business idea was aired on Dragons' Den a couple of weeks ago for those of you in Canada. I mentioned the Camino in my introduction but they edited it out. http://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/pitches/barebottom-shoes

Feel free to ask any questions about barefooting. I'm happy to share what I've learned.
 

Attachments

cecelia

several caminos- '03-'13
I'm intrigued by this bare foot movement (in a nutshell the theory is that all these gadget on shoes are bad for us as they stop a lot of feeling and therefore communication that the foot receives when striking the ground, resulting in more injuries).

I am considering doing the Camino wearing some Vivobarefoot Off Road Hiking Shoes, has anyone done this? Any advice?

http://tinyurl.com/7x2ohow
Hi, I don't have personal experience with the 'barefoot' shoes but have met and spoken with several people on my caminos who have been wearing them and having a variety of experiences - some positive and some negative. It seems the key though is to spend several months breaking yourself in to this new posture before setting off for long distances. One woman from New Zealand told me that she loved walking in hers and that they were quite common there, so everyone knew that you needed three or four months of regular walking around in them before any long distance walking. In her opinion, the problems with achilles heels etc. that people run into is the lack of preparation with them. As noted above, there are several kinds and everyone seems to have a preference of one over another, but for long distance walking are unanimous in preferring the hiking shoes over the lighter ones - especially on rocky terrains which you will definitely encounter on the camino. Hope this is helpful.
Buen camino
Cecelia
 

Jnlee99

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: SJPdP -> Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Future: Santo Domingo de la Calzada -> Santiago
Barefoot'ing the Camino sound intriguing, although I couldn't imagine myself doing it. As someone who still have blister scares and yet to fill in toe nails from brief two week stint in Camino France last October, I have been researching and trying out so many different shoes/boots since I returned home. I am determined to avoid blisters and foot injury on my continuation of Camino, so any discussions, including barefoot approach makes my ear stand at an attention.

I am now into 5 boots (3 Merrell, 1 Keen, and 1 Mephisto). I am in process of breaking in the latest Mephisto by walking 4 miles daily. Luckily I have an electric car so I plug it in about 2 miles from my work - so it works out well.

Although I am not planning to do any barefoot walking in the future, I think I will take the advise from Sue Kenney about training myself for barefoot'ing. Who knows, I may just decide to lose these boots altogether with my first hot spot.
 

Tixunau

New Member
Good day. Just wanted to chime in about the barefoot/minimalist approach.

As a runner, some of my training runs are with Vibram FiveFingers shoes. I've been using them (3 pairs) for now over 3 years. Till this days, I still get some looks and lots of questions about my thoughts on them. People often ask how they feel and do I like them because they are intrigue about it. I always answered them with these 2 questions first before providing them with my thoughts:

1. Do you walk barefoot at home? (in the house, around the house, etc.)
2. if yes, how often?

Basically if you are used to be barefoot, the transition will be easier. When barefoot your instict when walking/running is to have your feet land midfoot to forefoot (toes). This motion comes naturally to protect your feet and also provide a level of comfort absorbing the kinetic energy produced when walking or running. This element is key to how adapted your muscles are already. By landing midfoot to forefoot, your feet will have a better 'rolling' motion and use that energy to push you foward.

Some folks that are used to regular shoes (aka running shoes) have the tendency to land on your heel (heel strike) - not all. One way to know is to look at the sole of your shoes. If you have wear and tear on the heel, you are either heel striking or just dragging your feet when walking. Either way because of the cushioning in the shoes, you will not noticed it. When going barefoot/minimalist, there is no more cushion to protect your heel. Therefore if you were to constantly land on your heel for a long period of time, it would not be a good feeling at the end of the day.

Also when you switch to barefoot/minimalist, it will impact your gait. (the way you walk/run) Some might think that it would be easy to transition because you are an active person... word of caution here because most runner switching to it would do it to fast and will get injured within the first 2-3 days. Basically midfoot and forefoot used different muscles which you are not used too anymore. You have to train those muscles accordingly and at a gradual pace.

So to sum it up, make sure that if you are considering going barefoot/minimalist; train first. It took me a few weeks to get used to it. I have also read that for some, it might takes months to years. Go slow and increase distance slowly to avoid injury. Wear them anywhere not to only break them but also to get your feet/muscles used to the new way you will be walking. Have fun.

Cheers.
 

Jnlee99

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: SJPdP -> Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Future: Santo Domingo de la Calzada -> Santiago
Good day. Just wanted to chime in about the barefoot/minimalist approach.

As a runner, some of my training runs are with Vibram FiveFingers shoes. I've been using them (3 pairs) for now over 3 years. Till this days, I still get some looks and lots of questions about my thoughts on them. People often ask how they feel and do I like them because they are intrigue about it. I always answered them with these 2 questions first before providing them with my thoughts:

1. Do you walk barefoot at home? (in the house, around the house, etc.)
2. if yes, how often?
....
Great advise. I am thinking of trying these FF shoes. I always take my shoes off at home so hope that helps.
 

sashaelise

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2014
Good day. Just wanted to chime in about the barefoot/minimalist approach.

As a runner, some of my training runs are with Vibram FiveFingers shoes. I've been using them (3 pairs) for now over 3 years. Till this days, I still get some looks and lots of questions about my thoughts on them. People often ask how they feel and do I like them because they are intrigue about it. I always answered them with these 2 questions first before providing them with my thoughts:

1. Do you walk barefoot at home? (in the house, around the house, etc.)
2. if yes, how often?

Basically if you are used to be barefoot, the transition will be easier. When barefoot your instict when walking/running is to have your feet land midfoot to forefoot (toes). This motion comes naturally to protect your feet and also provide a level of comfort absorbing the kinetic energy produced when walking or running. This element is key to how adapted your muscles are already. By landing midfoot to forefoot, your feet will have a better 'rolling' motion and use that energy to push you foward.

Some folks that are used to regular shoes (aka running shoes) have the tendency to land on your heel (heel strike) - not all. One way to know is to look at the sole of your shoes. If you have wear and tear on the heel, you are either heel striking or just dragging your feet when walking. Either way because of the cushioning in the shoes, you will not noticed it. When going barefoot/minimalist, there is no more cushion to protect your heel. Therefore if you were to constantly land on your heel for a long period of time, it would not be a good feeling at the end of the day.

Also when you switch to barefoot/minimalist, it will impact your gait. (the way you walk/run) Some might think that it would be easy to transition because you are an active person... word of caution here because most runner switching to it would do it to fast and will get injured within the first 2-3 days. Basically midfoot and forefoot used different muscles which you are not used too anymore. You have to train those muscles accordingly and at a gradual pace.

So to sum it up, make sure that if you are considering going barefoot/minimalist; train first. It took me a few weeks to get used to it. I have also read that for some, it might takes months to years. Go slow and increase distance slowly to avoid injury. Wear them anywhere not to only break them but also to get your feet/muscles used to the new way you will be walking. Have fun.

Cheers.
This might be a bit of a silly question but do you wear any kind of socks/sockets with the barefoots?
 

Tixunau

New Member
Hi @sashaelise

I do not wear any socks with my vibrams. They are designed to be worned without socks. Some might choose to buy those toe socks which is a good combination but I didn't like it as it felt to much fabric around my feet/toes.

If you are looking for toes socks, Injinji and Smartwool brand make some good ones. I personally have a few pairs of Smartwool toe sock for regular usage (http://www.smartwool.com/activities/run/phd-toe-sock-micro-sock.html).

If you have any question, don't hesitate to ask.

Cheers and Buen Camino!
 

StuartM

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012)
My Vibrams came with toe socks but I only used them a few times. They made getting the shoes on a lot harder and werent that comfortable.
 

sashaelise

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2014
Hi @sashaelise

I do not wear any socks with my vibrams. They are designed to be worned without socks. Some might choose to buy those toe socks which is a good combination but I didn't like it as it felt to much fabric around my feet/toes.

If you are looking for toes socks, Injinji and Smartwool brand make some good ones. I personally have a few pairs of Smartwool toe sock for regular usage (http://www.smartwool.com/activities/run/phd-toe-sock-micro-sock.html).

If you have any question, don't hesitate to ask.

Cheers and Buen Camino!
 

howlsthunder

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2018)
Camino Francés (2020)
This might be a bit of a silly question but do you wear any kind of socks/sockets with the barefoots?
I've been wearing FiveFingers since 2007 and have owned over 20 pairs. I prefer the feeling of wearing my FFs without socks but almost always wear them with. This is mostly because they tend to get stinky pretty fast without socks, even if you do/can just toss the shoes in the washing machine at the end of the day, but I also wear them because I live in Alaska and it is often a bit colder/buggier out.

I also find that socks also help keep more debris out of the shoe, even the ones designed to do so on their own. Socks can also be helpful if you are kind of between sizes. Different models of FFs fit differently, some more loosely than others and I find that socks can help with that if they're too loose.
 

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