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Minimalist running shoes?

2020 Camino Guides

Feargal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 - Camino Francés from Sarria
2019 - Camino Francés - Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port - Logroño
Hi folks,

At the end of July, I will be walking the Camino Francés with my father from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Logroño.

I was originally going to wear a heavy pair of hiking boots, but I have become uncertain now because I actually find these quite warm during our training walks in mild Ireland - and I can see online how hot it is in Navarra and La Rioja at the moment.

I have a pair minimalist running shoes (New Balance Minimus) which I have had for a good few years and can run long distances in comfortably - so I'm now thinking about using these as my main footwear.

Has anyone any experience of wearing minimalist footwear along the same route? What was your experience?

Regards,
Feargal
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF, CPo, CdN, CPr, F, CS, CV, CI, VdlP, CS, CA
Hi Feargal,

I have walked a few times in August and always wear New Balance running shoes, in my opinion it will be far too hot for hiking boots.

Regards,

Paul (Cork)
 

Moorwalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
The Saint's Way, Cornwall
I've walked in light trail runners or sandals for many years now, my boots only come out for winter walking in rocky places.
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe, BR (01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT (09/2019)
@Feargal welcome from one to another I'd recommend pair of Merrell Moab Ventilators, one size bigger than you normally wear. It offers sturdier, flexible vibram sole suitable for all terrain on Camino. Personally I wouldn't take risk of tendonitis with thin minimalist sole and easily could stubb toe on the rock's. Plus when home in Ireland more suited for your preparation walk until you return to walk the rest. I bought my Dad a pair and he wears them constantly suggesting that there the most comfortable of his footwear. Buen Camino 🤠
 

Davidmm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
Hi folks,

At the end of July, I will be walking the Camino Francés with my father from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Logroño.

I was originally going to wear a heavy pair of hiking boots, but I have become uncertain now because I actually find these quite warm during our training walks in mild Ireland - and I can see online how hot it is in Navarra and La Rioja at the moment.

I have a pair minimalist running shoes (New Balance Minimus) which I have had for a good few years and can run long distances in comfortably - so I'm now thinking about using these as my main footwear.

Has anyone any experience of wearing minimalist footwear along the same route? What was your experience?

Regards,
Feargal
Both my wife and I walked just under 1000km wearing Keen CNX Sandels with socks, with no foot issues last year ( no rain) The previous year we were in trouble footwise by the time we reached Pamplona, me in well worn hiking boots and she in trail shoes
 

JamesVT

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2019
Hi folks,

At the end of July, I will be walking the Camino Francés with my father from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Logroño.

I was originally going to wear a heavy pair of hiking boots, but I have become uncertain now because I actually find these quite warm during our training walks in mild Ireland - and I can see online how hot it is in Navarra and La Rioja at the moment.

I have a pair minimalist running shoes (New Balance Minimus) which I have had for a good few years and can run long distances in comfortably - so I'm now thinking about using these as my main footwear.

Has anyone any experience of wearing minimalist footwear along the same route? What was your experience?

Regards,
Feargal
Please don’t wear those heavy hiking boots on the Camino, you don’t need them. In fact, heavy hiking boots, above the ankle types, are the footwear I saw most frequently abandoned along the Camino. I just completed the Camino while wearing lightweight New Balance trail running shoes— “Fresh Foam 1080”. These were light on my feet and perfectly adequate for every step of the Way. Heavy hiking boots are overkill for the Camino, and you will be unnecessarily lifting their poundage over and over with every step you take toward Santiago.
 

NualaOC

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few and hopefully lots more. See signature.
Hi Feargal, I agree that hiking boots aren't needed for the Camino Francés. Lots of people walk in running shoes, but as @trecile said, minimalist ones mightn't be sturdy enough.

However, it's all very subjective. I've worn New Balance 1080s for marathon running and would never consider them for a Camino, but I see that they worked fine for @JamesVT. Maybe try your running shoes on a couple of rugged walks at home? That should give you an idea of how they might feel on a Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I've worn New Balance trail shoes every year for years on the Camino.
Minimalist shoes may not have enough of a sole, as some have mentioned, but you sure don't need hiking boots, in my opinion. There is a variety of terrain, from roadway to cobblestones to mud. You might consider some trail runners with a bit more support - but dump the boots!
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I met a woman of graceful years wearing those barefoot minimalist shoes on the descent to Molinaseca. She'd worn them since SJPP and loved them.

If you are used to them, it is likely fine.
 

hotelmedicis

Commercial Interests
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2001 (+more)
VDLP 2013, 2018
You'll be walking on mostly hard-packed dirt trails, asphalt or concrete. I walked with New Balance running shoes and with a pair of SuperFeet Green Insoles and they were great. Perfect for street walking, which is mostly what the Camino is. Some people swear by boots. Others swear by sandals.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (July 2016), Primitivo (July 2018), Portuguese (March 2019)
Hi folks,

At the end of July, I will be walking the Camino Francés with my father from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Logroño.

I was originally going to wear a heavy pair of hiking boots, but I have become uncertain now because I actually find these quite warm during our training walks in mild Ireland - and I can see online how hot it is in Navarra and La Rioja at the moment.

I have a pair minimalist running shoes (New Balance Minimus) which I have had for a good few years and can run long distances in comfortably - so I'm now thinking about using these as my main footwear.

Has anyone any experience of wearing minimalist footwear along the same route? What was your experience?

Regards,
Feargal
Adidas supernova running shoes with a decent insole are superb. Absolutely perfect on the Frances, Portuguese and especially the Primitivo. 25k to 40k days despatched effortlessly (well - pretty much).
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I wore New Balance Vazee Summit - very lightweight trail runners for my first two Caminos (Frances) , and they worked well for me. Last year I brought Xero Shoes Terra Flex trail shoes which have a more minimalist sole, but I found my Merrell Siren Strap sandals to be more comfortable, and wore them exclusively after about the first week.
I just finished over 1000 km on the Frances, Salvador and Norte in another pair of Merrell sandals, and my feet are so much happier than when I wore shoes.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
I wore Nike running shoes on four summer/ fall caminos.

Buen camino.
 

Wendy Werneth

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés from SJPdP (2017)
Camino Primitivo (2018)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Kumano Kodo (2019)
I deeply regret wearing minimalist trail runners on my first Camino. I developed plantar fasciitis because of it, which caused me lots of pain on that Camino and the other two I've walked since then. I had run a trail half-marathon in those shoes before (Merrell Bare Access) and loved them, but on the Camino they were a disaster. As others have said, your feet will likely need something with more cushion and support.

That said, I don't recommend hiking boots either. Running shoes are probably your best bet, but get a pair with lots of padding. Or sandals. I ended up walking the last 300 kms of that Camino in Crocs, and they were a miracle worker!
 

bikerkvw

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Inglish, Camino de la Plata. Future Camino Francis
Hi folks,

At the end of July, I will be walking the Camino Francés with my father from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Logroño.

I was originally going to wear a heavy pair of hiking boots, but I have become uncertain now because I actually find these quite warm during our training walks in mild Ireland - and I can see online how hot it is in Navarra and La Rioja at the moment.

I have a pair minimalist running shoes (New Balance Minimus) which I have had for a good few years and can run long distances in comfortably - so I'm now thinking about using these as my main footwear.

Has anyone any experience of wearing minimalist footwear along the same route? What was your experience?

Regards,
Feargal
I tried on a pair of Hoka one to one Stinsons shoes and my feet feel happy. I have hiked in the desert for 5 days in a row and the style took some getting use to. However, now I love them. When I begin my 5th Camino mid August I will be using the Hoka's and not my Keen tarhee hiking boots.
 

Jyrki Wahlstedt

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo 2018 (, Portugues 2021)
Shoes are of utmost importance for the walk as long as Camino is. Hence one has to find shoes that are comfortable and so that one can rely on them. FWIW I walked Primitivo last August with Merrell barefoot shoes (apart a few kms just barefoot), worked for me really well. The reason I chose those shoes were the same, I had hiking shoes, but my feet started to sweat heavily in cool temperatures already, so I couldn't think using them while on Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2017)
Santiago-Muxia-Fisterra (2017)
Porto-Santiago (2018)
Ferrol-Santiago (2019
Hi folks,

At the end of July, I will be walking the Camino Francés with my father from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Logroño.

I was originally going to wear a heavy pair of hiking boots, but I have become uncertain now because I actually find these quite warm during our training walks in mild Ireland - and I can see online how hot it is in Navarra and La Rioja at the moment.

I have a pair minimalist running shoes (New Balance Minimus) which I have had for a good few years and can run long distances in comfortably - so I'm now thinking about using these as my main footwear.

Has anyone any experience of wearing minimalist footwear along the same route? What was your experience?

Regards,
Feargal
I have used NB on the Porto-Santiago route. We carried all our gear. I kept a pair of walking shoes in my sac but now I have confidence to just wear trainers. I carry over shoes in case it pours. Doing Ingles this way in October!
 

Dilbin

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Irun to Santander del Norte
Hi folks,

At the end of July, I will be walking the Camino Francés with my father from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Logroño.

I was originally going to wear a heavy pair of hiking boots, but I have become uncertain now because I actually find these quite warm during our training walks in mild Ireland - and I can see online how hot it is in Navarra and La Rioja at the moment.

I have a pair minimalist running shoes (New Balance Minimus) which I have had for a good few years and can run long distances in comfortably - so I'm now thinking about using these as my main footwear.

Has anyone any experience of wearing minimalist footwear along the same route? What was your experience?

Regards,
Feargal
Hi. From experience of these threads although helpful and genuine I really feel the footwear to be a personal thing. I would however suggest bringing a back up pair in case you have issues along the way. For example I read a recommendation for a particular pair of Merrels and also the one size up suggestion. I followed this and had 2 of my worst ever weeks on the Camino. Pain, blisters and had to take pain medication. I have since found what works for me but the same shoe might destroy another pilgrim. If what you wear when you walk regularly works then maybe stick with that choice. Regards Daniel
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe, BR (01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT (09/2019)
" I read a recommendation for a particular pair of Merrels and also the one size up suggestion. I followed this and had 2 of my worst ever weeks on the Camino. Pain, blisters and had to take pain medication."

I expect the Op has completed his Camino in July last year and my recommendation of Merrell Moab Ventilator 2, one size bigger is based on walking 2,500 kms without a concern or blister. The one size bigger allows me to wear double socks and I moisturize with barrier cream called Gehwol. The extra room in toe box allows my feet to thrust forward on steep decline without losing a toe nail. Advice always comes with a large dollop of caution and your right what works for some may not be for others. That shouldn't detract from recommending what works orherwise we'd be all signing disclaimers. I'm glad you've found what works for you but your lack of preparation was your choice first time around as any equipment should be tested before arriving on the trail 🤠
 

Davidmm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
I started our first Camino in hiking boots I had just used for an 8 day hike in Namibia, the Nakluft, and straight after the 5 day Fish River Canyon hike. My feet were shot by the time I reached Pamplona. I finished the Francais, in what can best be described as Jesus sandels. The next 3 Camino's were in Keen CNX sandels with socks, by both myself and my wife with no foot issues. I am looking f the opinion that it is the pavement pounding that does the damage. At the end of the day it is a personal choice.
 

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