Search 62305 Camino Questions

MBT Masai Barefoot Technology

  • Thread starter Deleted member 3000
  • Start date

Deleted member 3000

I have been using these somewhat bizarre shoes for a week:

My feet are extremely "flat" (pronation). Most foot and leg pain in my life can be attributed to the mechanics of having my weight over the inside of my foot rather than the middle of the foot (only an act of God can get my weight over the blade of an ice skate). Insoles designed for flat feet generally work very well. However, new right knee pain from my last pilgrimage had not gone away after a month, so I bought a pair of MBT shoes and put in my own insoles.

The therapeutic effect has been pretty amazing; there finally is improvement in my knee. Because the stride in MBT shoes is completely different, I have found a few calf and thigh muscles that I did not know were there, and they are slightly sore. After a few weeks, though, I suspect they will be better.

My walking has all been on flat terrain, and stairs are a bit weird with the curved soles, so I am looking forward to some hill climbing and the effect of of the rolling action. I will post updates for those interested in my MBT shoe field test, particularly their off-road capability.
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
These are unique shoes, but they are not for everyone. I have knee problems and upon doing some reasearch and talking with a salesman, I purchased a pair. After wearing them for two months I ended up with much more knee pain and little else. It is without doubt that these shoes work wonders for some, for which I am grateful, but they are not for everyone.

I wonder what the key is to identifying who would benefit and who would not. Though I have had foot problems (painful heels), my feet were not the main reason I purchased these shoes.

Best of luck to you Falcon and I hope they continue to be a good shoes for you.
The MBT shoes are good therapy for me so far. They require that one roll completely forward on the entire foot each step, heel to toe; no just flopping the foot down, and very little toe-in or toe-out angling. The knee pain now is present only going up and down stairs indicating that there is some connective tissue issue.

I have not tried the shoes off-road on uneven surfaces. Cobblestones might be difficult for balancing since a forward rocking motion may not be possible on poor footing. Also, I am an advocate of stepping on the ball of the foot when walking up an incline (it gets more thigh muscle and less calf muscle involved in the lifting process), and these soles will not do that easily.

I will keep you informed in case you want to consider giving these shoes a try!
After six weeks I am declaring the MBT therapy a success for me. For the first few weeks, knee pain diminished while using the MBT shoes, but regular shoes still caused knee twinges. After six weeks, knee pain is gone with both MBT shoes and regular shoes.

It is said of a cold, if you treat it, it will last a week; if you leave it untreated, it will last seven days. I tolerated knee pain after my last walk on the Camino for about a month, and it never improved. After using the MBT shoes, the knee pain went away. It might have gone away regardless; there is no way to know. But for me, the MBT shoes seem to have worked. The question now is whether to use them on my next Camino walk. I still do not like them on stairs and hills, but both are do-able in the MBT even if I do not like the sensations. If using them will prevent knee problems, any inconvenience will be worth it. There is a radio advertising campaign in the U.S. for the MBT shoes, so someone else must be buying them besides me.

Has anyone done extended terrain walking in MBT shoes?
I have walked two days in the MBT boots, and they have been great. Up, down, and cobblestone have been fine. There has been no test in mud or steep slopes. I will keep you informed.
Hike 30 miles on California’s Santa Catalina Island as part of the Catalina Camino
Thanks for reporting your research on the MBT, Falcon. I'm happy that they worked for your knees - now the rest of us wonky-kneed pilgrims can benefit from it. I'll ask my physio about these!

Hi Falcon and others on this topic,
I'm on my second pair of MBTs and in general I like them a lot on paved and cement surfaces. I do find, however that I occasionally do a quick nose dive when I'm on uneven surfaces. I can walk on cobblestones or similar surfaces if I watch exactly where I'm stepping but of course I don't always do that. So I fall two or three times a year in them, generally when I'm with someone else and not paying attention to my feet.
Note: although hardly graceful, I don't fall down in other shoes - or at least I haven't since I was a year or so.
Although they might work for others, I would never wear them on the camino, but I do like the soft, bouncy step for hard, smooth surfaces.
Leon to Santiago is complete, entirely in MBT over-the-ankle boots. I am not graceful, but having used trekking poles for about 15 years, I have not stumbled in any boots, MBT or otherwise, in that time. It is possible that the boots give more stability than the shoes.

The descent from the Iron Cross into Acebo completely exhausted my thigh muscles because the MBT mechanical action required their continuous use. Other than that, they were excellent. I did not encounter rain or sticky mud. I suspect the mud would be a real problem because of the absence of significant tread on the boots. Regular boots are one step forward, one-half step sliding back. MBT might be one step forward, one step sliding back!!

Overall, I would rate the MBT as good as any boot I have used.
I bought a pair of Kifundo MBT shoes a few months ago for camino in Sept. After moderate walking the soles have lost most of their tread. They will definitely not last the whole 800km !! Very dissapointing
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Hi all..I'm a bit late posting here but thought I should anyway.
Firstly, I was the State Manager for MBT in Western Australia for 2 years and a primary part of my role was training the retailers in how to fit them properly and how to tell the customer to walk in them. Another significant part of my role was to train the actual customers who bought them. Initially I did this on my own but the sales grew so much in WA that I ended up with a staff of 9 trainers. I personally trained 4000 people to walk in MBT's.

Now, here's the thing...I also dealt with every complaint anyone had and there were several.

The first difference between MBT's and a regular shoe is they provide NO support. They are in fact an Anti shoe. The purpose of this is to activate intrinsic muscles in the body which are involved in our balancing. Consequently, any dysfunction a person may have could be exacerbated by wearing MBT"s without training/information. It was a policy in Australia that every person who bought them was entitled to a one hour training session...I believe this is no longer the case but the lesson on " how to walk in MBT's" can be found on any MBT website.

Falcon, your reports and progress are fantastic and it's great to have updates of your improvement. Your story is not unusual and I have seen many people avoid surgery on ankles and knees as a result of wearing MBT's. However I have also seen many get worse. In every instance it was because of their particular gait. (Gait is how you walk)

So here are a few tips for walking correctly. Always walk with your feet pointed in the direction you are going..straight ahead. (if they are pointed to the left and right = 10 to 2 on a clock or 5 to 1 on a clock then make up your mind which way you are going :wink: ). If you walk at 10 to 2 or 5 to 1 then your feet are loading from the outside of your heel diagonally across your foot landing heavily on the pad under your big toe...this causes pronation or flat foot! This in turn loads your joints unevenly resulting in ankle and knee damage eventually. This will also wear your MBTs out at a rate of knots!, The tread will war down on one side causing the soft sensor section to expensive exercise for already expensive shoes.

Take short strides. This engages your spinal and buttock muscles and aincreases the action of muscles which act as shock absorbers for the vertebrea. Long strides change your centre of gravity and do not support the skeleton effectively in movement.

I live in a very hilly suburb in Perth and I walk most evenings in my MBT's and love the softness underfoot. It's like walking on air. As Falcon says you must roll your foot through from the back to the front and not only walk on the front pad section. This will stretch your calf muscle and cause discomfort initially because that is not used to being stretched but in time it becomes as flexible as any other muscle
Having said all that I personally would not wear MBT's on uneven surfaces such as forests and bush walks. They are already unstable without the added aggravation and I fear falling would be an increased liklihood. I have not walked the CAmino yet (next April..woo hoo) and had not considered for a moment taking MBT's because I understand the terraine changes all the time? My preference is for a well worn in shoe with great sole grip. But you have me thinking now Falcon because they are incredibly comfortable otherwise.
Hi Carol,
where are these available in Australia? Cheers, Janet
I can do only two things in my MBT shoes:


Standing, meandering, and pausing are nearly impossible.

My toes don't point straight ahead naturally, but my stride is much more linear in the MBTs. When I notice that fatigue is affecting my foot roll, the MBTs allow me to consciously control the forward motion more easily than regular shoes. They want my feet to go straight ahead. Once my toes, mostly the right foot, have started pointing diagonally in regular shoes, my stride is off the ankle rather than the ball of the foot.

Hiking in MBTs requires trekking poles. I cannot even imagine descending from Alto de Perdon in MBTs without the poles. Younger, stronger, and more agile pilgrims may be more successful, but balancing laterally on rocks while yielding to the mandatory forward roll of the MBTs is not part of my skill set. Running in MBTs risks serious injury!

The majority of the Camino is just walking, and the MBTs are perfect for me. I wear them daily, so all my muscles and joints are conditioned to them. In mud and on slippery surfaces, the treadless soles are a disadvantage, but I have always managed.

The MBT boots I use on the Camino weigh more than any other pair of footwear I own, so that is probably tiring. I stop often enough that I have not really noticed the weight.
Hi again Falcon

Standing correctly in MBT's requires good balance, all proprioception is triggered and in fact they can be tiring for some people to just stand in (correctly)..some people tend to rock back on the heel when standing, thus extending their knee joint, which is a BAD thing to do.

I agree with you, rocks and slippery surfaces could be deadly in MBT's which is why I personally would not chose to wear them in such terraine. On the roads, there is nothing like them for comfort.

Yes you are right, they are particularly heavy (because of the sole technology) so if weight is a problem then they would not be advised. I have read that every lb your shoes weigh is the equivelant of 5lbs on your back. The consequence of wearing a heavier shoe is greater effort is required, thus more energy is burned. This is a selling point of MBT"s in that they burn fat apparently faster (however you can't keep eating junk food and expect a pair of shoes to address the balance...for anyone who thought that might be a miracle worker!! )

Where they excel is in improving posture and gait, thus reducing stress on joints and often retraining those with poor posture or gait (particularly if worn and used correctly every day!). Many people who spend all day on their feet as a consequence of their job (nurses etc) choose MBT's for that reason. They are also very soft to walk 'on' so that feeling that your feet have been hit with a baseball bat when you spend all day on them is no longer an issue.

As I said, I think I'll be wearing my Keen's on the Camino! They are the most consistently comfortable of all my shoes over long distances and on differing terrains.

Just a point to mention..MBT does not reccommend the use of ski poles when walking in them because they can cause you to lean forward, thus negating the "upright posture" promoted with MBT's.
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.
Interesting. Any newer stories about MBT for camino? I am suffering from plantar fasciitis after my fourth camino. Maybe MBT could be a good extra shoe for me?
I notice that this is a very old thread. The MBT shoes were a craze in the midwest US around that time and I'd heard good reports. But a few years later they seemed to totally fizzle out...another short lived fad. I occassionaly see them at resale shops, but I never see anyone wearing them anymore on the streets.

I'd be curious to know if Falcon is still sold on them all these years later.
Sure it was a 90ies thing. But I have Heel problems now that made me Think of them again. Not as only shoe but maybe an extra pair...
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Not as only shoe but maybe an extra pair...
Too heavy as an extra pair! My MBT boots are great, but be aware that the nearly flat sole reacts poorly to slippery situations. I am a compulsive trekking pole user, so that eliminates many falls. However, a wet, flat sole on a wet, flat rock is not a good combination. Also, lateral ankle movement, is so restricted that you won't be "hopping" in MBTs. Since the hop disappeared from my gait a decade ago, I don't notice; but others might.

MBT is a great primary shoe if you are accustomed to them.

Most read last week in this forum

I’m planning to start the CF the beginning of the 2nd week of December. I read it is mandatory to take the alternative winter route! I understand why but winter doesn’t officially begin till...
Hello, last week I traveled on Frontier Airlines(U.S.) and became aware of their carry-on luggage and personal bag policy. Until then I thought one carry-on is always free as long as it fits in...
Hi I’ll be walking my first Camino from Sarria next month and think I’ll want walking poles! Should i bring them with me (from Australia) or are there poles others have left behind. I don’t own...
Hi. My backpack has been on two caminos Le Puy and CF. It is five years old. It has started to wear near the bottom of the frame where its placed on the ground. It also has developed holes in...
Do you bring a camera apart from the one on your phone? If so, what kind? Do you use a wearable camera like a GoPro? If you have a phone with a really great camera for taking pictures on the...
I am going to be walking in December and expecting much rain. For the most part, I plan on wearing my Topos but, as I have in the past, also changing shoes mid-day. Previously, I changed into...

How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides