Softstar Camino – Comfort Sandals for the Barefoot Shoe Wearer

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Top down and side view of Softstar Camino minimalist sandals with a cushioned insole being worn by a person with wide feet on grass. The zero drop rubber sole is moderately thick.

The Softstar Camino is a barefoot sandal with plenty of space for your toes, a soft cushioned insole and a flexible but grippy outsole. Like the Birkenstock Arizona, but without the rigid arch support!

I prefer the Softstar Camino sandal over the Birkenstock Arizona that I religiously wore for 15 years because I now prioritize my foot strength. Simply walking around in minimalist shoes has been shown to strengthen feet! So I’m glad to have a barefoot alternative to this trending comfort sandal. Here is my review so you can shop with more success.

Softstar Camino Review

Leather & Suede | Sizes US 5.5W – 14M | Ships from US

The Camino is not your typical barefoot sandal because it has a moderate amount of cushion in the insole and a thicker rubber outsole – but it’s still flat and flexible.

The leather straps are also quite thick and durable, and overall this should make for a long-lasting and highly functional sandal – one of the reasons people consider Birkenstocks to be a good investment.

Close up of the grippy outsole of Softstar Camino sandals with a hand bending the sole into a U shape to show flexibility

Softstar shoes are all sustainably made by hand in a workshop in Philomath, Oregon. So in addition to that attention to detail in the materials and quality, the entire company is built on ethical ideals.

And of course I love that the Caminos have the back strap! This makes for a better fit than slide on shoes because you don’t need to grip your toes to keep the shoe on.

I personally prefer to undo that back buckle every time because of how close I have all the strap settings, but many people with higher volume feet (including Samantha) will be able to slide it on and off without having to undo it.

Sizing & Fit

Our team got two pairs of Caminos, one for myself in Carob color size 5u (women’s 6) and one for Samantha in Hydra size 6u (Women’s 7). We are one size apart, so I had the opportunity to try them both on and honestly it took me a while to determine which one I liked better!

I fiddled with the straps on both and kept finding that I needed to tighten them more to keep my low volume foot secure. I also was thrown off by how stiff the straps were at first, I wanted them looser for comfort but I needed them tight for security! For the first few wears I was convinced that I preferred the larger size and almost commandeered Samantha’s Caminos from her.

Close up view of the cushioned insole and seam around the edge of inside Softstar Camino zero drop barefoot friendly sandals

This is partly because there is a line of stitching around the insole where the cushion drops off and it felt a little funny for my toes to be past that line. But then the straps and the suede footbed started molding to my foot and the size 5u has ended up being perfect and 6u too large. I normally wear a women’s 6-6.5 in sandals (a size 6 in Birkenstock sandals), so this was pretty much spot on.

I’ve since worn my size 5u Caminos for hours at a time in comfort, but I might have to add additional buckle holes if the leather stretches out more.

I have really low volume feet and would say this type of sandal works best on people with medium to high volume feet. Samantha has a high volume foot and didn’t have as much trouble finding her optimal fit.

Note that the Hydra color is backordered and should be back in stock mid June.

Are They Wide Foot Friendly?

Top down view of a woman's extra wide feet. The foot on the right is wearing Softstar Camino minimalist sandals in silver Hydra leather handmade in the USA as a Birkenstock Arizona alternative

One of the big questions in the barefoot shoe community when a new shoe comes out is always “how wide are they?”. And for that we call in our resident extra wide footed friend Samantha! After I relinquished Samantha’s pair of Caminos back to her and she FINALLY got to try them on the verdict is that they are definitely wide and will work for many extra wide feet.

But remember that seam on the insole I mentioned earlier? Samantha’s toes hang off that seam and go all the way to the straps. So it’s not ideal on her toes, but they are also not terribly squished since she keeps the front strap a little looser for more space.

I myself have a wide foot compared to most people and find them to be plenty wide, so it’s really only in extra wide territory where you might be uncomfortable. If by contrast if you have a slim foot then these might be overall too wide.

Shoe Care

The Softstar Camino’s are still only a couple of months old for me, but my experience with leather indicates that these should age well with only a little care.

If they get wet the soles might become rough (I’ve had this happen with a few of my suede insole shoes), but a good suede brush and leather balm can re-hydrate and soften it.

Besides the occasional leather care, you should get lots of use out of these great Softstar Camino sandals!

Want to explore more barefoot sandal options? Check out all our reviewed sandals here.

Side view of a woman's extra wide feet wearing Softstar Camino barefoot flexible sandals to replace Birkenstock Arizona

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Comments

15 thoughts on “Softstar Camino – Comfort Sandals for the Barefoot Shoe Wearer”

    1. We are both finding them easy to walk in once we got the straps to our liking. My issue was that when the straps weren’t tight enough my foot wanted to turn and slide inside the shoe. As long as it’s secure, particularly the first strap, then I am finding them great for walking. I think they are too bulky for more dynamic stuff like dancing or sports.

      1. I have a pair of Softstar primal shoes. I think their quality is great, but I would advise to proceed with caution if this is your first foray into barefoot shoes. They aren’t for everyone. Ease into them little by little by wearing them a couple of hours a day to start. Be extra careful if you are overweight. Listen to your feet and don’t try to do what they aren’t willing to do, or you could do more damage than good.

  1. Do you think these would be ok for walking long distances on pavement? I am looking for a sandal with slightly more cushion to wear to a weeklong trip to Disney World and am interested in these!

  2. Thanks for the review! The info about how these fit Samantha gave some insight into how they may work for me (although, I’m always translating to the size and shape of my flat, straight man-feet, your reviews always give good insight into the size, shape, and volume of the footwear, which is very helpful). I am newer to SoftStar, but most models have “regular” and “wide” (plus, they have a variety of sole shapes throughout their product line) and the Camino does not appear to have this option, but I’m assuming I can get a decent mid-foot fit by adjusting the straps.

    How “squishy” are the footbeds? I don’t mind the sandal being thicker (although, that choice surprised me coming from SoftStar) as I do still go back to Lem’s and Barebarics shoes some days. I’m just hoping the poron foam isn’t over-doing it. Is it fairly thin or firm? Does it pack down?

    I know I’m asking a question that might be hard to explain, and I apologize. If a comparison is easier, I have your Huarache Wide by Anya/Origo Shoes, so I’m familiar with that footbed. And I’m hoping that it’s more similar to that (except, obviously, suede will feel softer instead of smoother) and less like a pair of memory foam Skechers that you sink into with every step.

    Thank you in advance for any insight you can offer!

    1. Hi Brian, the footbed is a little bit squishier and thicker than the Huaraches Wide but don’t have that sinking and rising with every step that you get with high cushioned shoes. When I’m wearing them I feel the cushion but it’s more like my foot is molding the footbed to my shape. I get bothered when my shoes are too thick and cushioned, and these are more like Lems and Barebarics than memory foam shoes.

  3. Caroline Grannan

    I have a very sloped toe shape (big toe is longest and they slant down from there) and I’ve found that some Softstar shoes didn’t work for my toes, though I have other Softstar shoes that work for me β€” the Merry Janes and the sandal version do. But a surprising (to me) number of even barefoot shoes are designed for the foot with a longer second toe and absolutely don’t work for a slope shape. That kind of looks like the situation for the Caminos.

  4. Good review, and how great to have all your reviews, giving us some idea as to what can be expected in various brands. I would like to gently point out, though, that Softstar Shoes are lovingly hand made in Philomath, Oregon…..not Portland. They have an absolutely delightful space, where people are considered to be important.

    1. Whoops, thanks for catching that error Diane. Anya visited the Softstar workshop last year and loved their unique space!

  5. I absolutely “almost” love my new Camino Softstar sandals. They beat the dust out of Birkenstocks. My sandals are 9U, I have a high volume foot. They are so “almost” perfect. So now that I have said that: I will cover 1st, where the shoes come up short: this is a concern that I will be sending to Softstar. These shoes are all handmade, which is a plus. The Camino is a new venture for Softstar. I ordered on release day because I was very anxious to get my sandals. One shoe is comfortable, one is not. So what’s up with that? It took me 2.5 weeks of wearing them to figure it out. Look at the pictures Anya posted showing the ankle straps: both ankle straps angle upwards. So here is the problem with my pair which came out of the 1st production: the shoe that fits: the ankle strap angles up. The shoe that is not right: the ankle strap does not angle up, but instead is either level or angles down a little. It does not hold it’s position on the ankle. This is a fixable problem, and will be in contact with Softstar about this.
    Now what’s to love about this shoe: everything else: the strap issue aside: they are very comfortable. I love the padded foot bed and the non slip grippy soles are amazing. I think they will be comfortable on hot cement in the summer: an area that some barefoot shoes fall short. With the strap issue resolved, I could walk long distances in them. As comfortable as this shoe is, I honestly would recommend them for use on clean surfaces, as cement versus trail use. The reason: I tested them on a dirt and grassy trail and the beautiful suede picked up some smudges. On that, I will try Anya’s cleaning suggestions. They do have the potential to be a very comfortable trail shoe though, if the cleaning workaround can clean them up enough.

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Picture of Hi. I'm Anya.

Hi. I'm Anya.

I first discovered barefoot shoes after a long history of foot issues. By changing my footwear and strengthening my body I was able to completely transform my life. Anya’s Reviews is my way of sharing with the world that healthy feet are happy feet!

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