The following is a guest post from Lunar Monkey Cole Chlouber.
It’s no secret that I am a Luna fan. Let me start my Oso review by stating that to understand my comparisons to my Mono you must understand;
I bought the leather (slick) footbed with my Monos because these were my wedding shoes, my work shoes, running shoes… So when Luna states the Mono to be the “do all sandal” they mean it and I’ve truly put that statement to the test.
The “weaknesses” the Mono shows when compared to the Oso… Are not weaknesses, they are the best comparable to describe differences. I prefer Lunas first at this point, shoes are dead to me. ;)
If I am not wearing Osos I am wearing Monos or barefoot inside my home.
Mono on the left; Oso on the right
Okay, now the good stuff! First off, I got a pair of Osos! I GOT A PAIR OF OSOS?! Yes!!! When the mailman showed up that day I kissed him on the mouth! I haven’t gotten mail since but does it matter?! I owe Ted, Scott, Dylan and the whole Luna Crew the biggest thanks for getting these to my door. I realize the demand and am in your debt for always meeting my crazy requests, you all will always have a friend in me (and if you get close enough, you’re getting kisses! ;)).
So, with just over 50mi. (and a long run of 14mi but that will change today!), to say I love the Oso is a bit of an understatement. In those 50mi my Osos have experienced everything from greasy mud, large amounts of water, humid heat, sand, you name it! I ran with the local trail running hotshots two Saturdays ago on greasy mud. Having run similar conditions with the same group for almost all 300mi. in my Monos, and learning to control my slippage along the way, I prepared for the worst. With the Oso this would not the case.
Just as I was questioning myself silently about why my traction was so good, I look up to see my buddy ski by in good trail shoes. As he glided to a stop he asked me how I held it together with the way I’d been slipping on past runs. I told him this was my new pair of Osos and I hadn’t noticed any slippage. In fact, I finished the day with zero loss of traction, top or bottom… Epic win!
My Monos, in water, constantly need adjusting or removed during and after water crossings. When I hit my local trail into the park I came to a 1/4 to 1/2mi. section that had flooded. Deciding not to turn, and ready to adjust, I forged the crossing. To my delight, with the added Oso tech strap (crossing over the front of the ankle), I blazed right through and never had to re-adjust the straps, even with the water catching the foot paddles with every lift. This was epic win #2 of the day! You won’t notice the strap and may almost feel it ineffective (wear it with some play as to not cut circulation) but pay attention because the other times when you needed adjustments, odds are in your favor that now you won’t.
Having many gravel paths, lined with craptastic, large, horrible, pain inducing gravel (shoe or sandal), and having been constantly running on tenter footpads in the Monos, the Osos felt like a gift from God himself! As it turns out, it was a gift straight from those crazy Luna monkeys, but they are such a gift, I am still not convinced that God wasn’t still involved… ;) The Osos powered over a fresh base of the stuff and it was hard to decide if it was smooth under foot or not. Today I shall run almost 20mi on this gravel, my home loop, and today I am finally not dreading it.
In summary, I LOVE the Monos, am on my second pair, and will buy more… I’t’s just that the Oso is that much better for the trail. The improvements are calculated and serve a purpose. You will notice a slight bit more weight to the Oso because of the added rubber, giving a loss of some foam. Save them for the off road stuff and use the Monos (or of course the Venado) for the road for longer life with both models. Also, the “dots” holding the toe strap wear quick at first but now mine seem to have stabilized. It is not as recessed as on the Monos but similar to the Venado. For the record,I have not run in, or own Venados.
Cole with his best friend, Chase.
If you are still reading my review you;
Need to be out running, grab your Lunas and go!
Must be really bored and need something to do, read the Luna blog, after that see #1.
Were already Luna lovers and were sold before I said hello. What are you waiting for? Go order Osos, STAT!
Are thinking about Lunas but have not made the leap, it’s time, you will never know if you remain without experience.
Already know Lunas are not for you and now feel like I’ve waisted your time. If that’s the case, sorry, you are actually right. ;)
Now go make the most out of your day and move around outside for a few hours, you deserve it!
The Oso is finally here! Read up on the specs behind our new premium trail sandal below, but first things first for you Oso-hungry monkeys:
Launch Date (when the Oso will start shipping): August 1st
Oso Details and Photos
The Luna Oso, 100% made in Seattle, is a durable, secure trail sandal with a rugged sole and protective midsole, topped by our non-slip MGT footbed. An aggressive tread pattern makes the Oso a great option for off-road adventuring and adverse weather conditions where maintaining your footing is essential. This sandal can handle most advanced trails and wet conditions, whether running, walking, or scrambling (on all fours).
noun 1. Bear en Español 2. The latest in Luna Trail Technology
Oso with the Tech Strap removed
The Oso laces and Tech Strap* are brand new and exclusively available on the Oso (at least for now). If you need more strapped-down security for technical trails, mud/obstacle runs, MovNat adventures, wilderness walkabouts, or Fuego y Agua-like Ultras, this strapping system was developed with you in mind.
Want more versatility? Then you want the do-everything, go-everywhere Mono. Want a lighter weight, more foot-forming trail model? Go for the Leadville. Want the toughest, most secure trail sandal around? You’re oh so ready for the Oso.
* The Oso laces and Tech Strap are only available on the Oso, and can not be purchased separately or added to other sandal models at this time.
The Oso Laces: A variation of the ATS laces. The buckle and basic design remain the same, but the elasticized heel strap has been replaced by a non-stretch, cushioned heel pad to add more security and comfort to the overall strapping system.
Tech Strap: The Tech Strap is an optional add-on Velcro strap that helps keep your heel strap and ankle secure. It’s the final piece of an ultra-secure puzzle meant to keep your foot secure in slippery, hilly, and otherwise technical terrain. See how it works in our Oso Tech Strap video.
I have run in minimalist shoes for a little over 3-1/2 years. I believe that the design of any minimalist shoe (extremely lightweight, zero heel-to-toe height difference, zero interior support) is inherently superior to that of any conventional running shoe: a true barefoot shoe compels runners to use excellent body mechanics, a true barefoot shoe develops and strengthens a runner’s feet, and the lightweight nature of a true barefoot shoe places less stress on our knees (which act as the fulcrum of a pendulum as we move).
Having now run several thousand miles (exclusively on pavement) in a variety of minimalist shoes, I have formed definite opinions on the relative merits of several competing brand names and styles of shoes. If you are inclined to read no further, then the take-away is that the Luna Mono huarache is by far the best running shoe I have ever used. It is my present go-to shoe and I can’t see this changing. I have experience with the following for comparison:
Vibram Five FingersKSO and Bikila: My first minimalist shoes were the KSOs. Excellent shoes with good ground-feel and as close as possible to true barefoot short of the obvious move - pitching one’s shoes. The KSOs both lasted for about 700 miles per pair, at which point holes wore through the soles. Both the Bikila and the KSO provide a good foot workout. Both are fairly comfortable. The KSO has some ridges at the toe-foot juncture and these can cause blisters. The Bikila has a plusher interior than the KSO, the ridges are gone as well. The KSO has a thinner sole than the Bikila. Both shoes are extremely hot on pavement during Virginia’s warm summer months. Like all of the toe-pocket shoes I have run in, they are annoying to put, challenging to keep clean, and impossible to keep odor free. Even with frequent washing, they can (and will) develop a terrible stink!
Merrell Road Gloves (2012 model): I began alternating the Merrell Road Glove with the Bikilas and did so for several months before retiring the Bikilas and using the Merrells exclusively. The Merrells have a little less ground feel than the Bikila (and a lot less than the KSOs) but are far easier to put on. The Merrell’s interior is as comfortable as that of the Bikila. I have gone through two pairs of Road Gloves, getting about 1000 miles on one and 400 on the other before they developed holes through the outer edges at the sole-upper joint. As each pair began to wear, a nasty ridge (enough to cause a cut) developed in the interior at the little-toe area. While there is more structure to the Merrells than the Five Fingers, there no real internal support on the 2012 models (this might not be true on the 2013s). These shoes have the same issues with odor as the Five Fingers. I prefer the Merrells to Five Fingers simply because putting them on is easier.
Luna Monos: Once adjusted (this took me about 75 miles), these have developed into by far the most comfortable running shoe of the lot. Whether used for short fast-paced runs (4-8 miles) or longer (12-15 miles) moderate-paced runs, these huaraches are amazingly comfortable. I have run in the pouring rain (feels great on your feet) and in very hot temperatures (no issues with hot roads). They are simple to put on, easy to keep clean (no odor issues at all), and very light weight. The bottoms of my toes are already toughened; so blistering has not been a problem. The Monos have adequate road-feel (somewhere between the Merrell and the KSO) and allow your foot to flex in any direction with nothing to rub against and nothing supporting it. Huaraches give full foot workout much like the Five Fingers do. These shoes promote the best running form of any.
With about 150 miles on my Monos, I have utterly abandoned any other running shoes. Furthermore, I have had excellent support from the folks at Luna. The first Monos I bought were too large. Even though I had used them, Luna swapped them out at no charge other than return postage. Luna Monos are simply the best of an already good thing.
Any advice for running downhill? I've just started running in the sandals. First I had some chafing issues. I think I'm getting past that. But when I run downhill I hear the "thud, thud, thud" of my heal striking past. Also I feel my toe jamming up against the lace. Just wondering if anyone has had these issues and found solutions.
Short, choppy steps tend to work best. Because of the fact that you’re angling downhill, it’s hard to avoid heel striking, but shorter steps can minimize the impact. Good luck!