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!
How to Turn Your Critics into Believers, the Luna Way
A great story sent to us by a Luna-tic named Marty:
I thought you’d enjoy the following story about Luna Sandals in Hong Kong.
I bought my girlfriend (Alena who is a Filipina living in Hong Kong) a pair of Luna Sandals after I taught her the benefits of barefoot running. She in turn got one of her friends (Lea) interested in barefoot running and she too bought a pair of Luna Sandals. All though they are relatively new runners (about a year for Alena and a month for her friend Lea), they decided to run in a “fun run” at the Disneyland Resort. This was their first time running in any type of sponsored event because they just enjoy running on their own.
Alena and Lea
When they first arrived, she approached a group of runners who had really nice running gear and asked how far is the run and how to register. The runners made fun of her sandals and told her she doesn’t belong running in a sponsored event… they told her she shouldn’t run in sandals and that she should leave before she embarrasses herself. Undeterred, she and her friend Lea registered and ran in the event, and they both beat the entire group of runners who were earlier making fun of her. After the run, their attitude changed toward Alena and Lea, wanting to know about the sandals and running barefoot.
We love the Traditional Ribbon Laces! So soft, so comfy, and complete with a plug for minimal wear. Tying traditional laces can be a bit tricky, so we created an official, Luna-approved tying technique video. This is just one of many ways to tie your traditional laces, so be sure to view our other vids for the method that works best for you.
Think you have a great traditional tying technique? Check out the sidebar to find out how to get 30% off for sending in your own tying method video.
My name in middle school spanish class was Mono, because I was the king of jumping off of playground equipment and attempting – sometimes pulling off – flips and barrel rolls. From the age of 8 to 22 I chose soccer as my way to express myself as a human who loves movement. I ran, not because I really wanted to, but because I wanted to dance around and klck a little round piece of synthetic leather believing I would one day be able to show my movement skills to the world. I stopped playing competitively after college.
I could never find the right shoe as a child, teenager, nor child/adult. About a year and a half ago I was crying laughing at Barefoot Ted’s scenes in Born to Run. Two weeks later I experienced a happiness that I had never knew….happy feet. That’s right! Two pairs of Lunas appeared at my doorstep. One do it yourself kit and another pair of original Venados.
At first the Venados seemed a bit large, and I was too lazy to send them back, even though I am known to constantly send back footwear because they aren’t “perfect”. This time I decided to be patient.
Two months later I was running 10 miles runs at 7 min pace in the Venados, up and down hills in Louisville, KY, across the flats of Miami, Fl, and through various parks.
This morning I ran a spur of the moment 10k trail run at Oleta State Park in MIami, Fl. I ran in the Mono’s and the people I was passing thought i was insane. To my surprise I won the race…(I never passed the kid I saw jolt at the start of the race….he may have taken a wrong turn and run a longer route…..oh well).
Freel Pass on the Tahoe Rim Trail - I wore my new Luna Leadville Pacer’s 3 days out of the box on a 40 mile overnight hike with great success.
Crossing over snow was my only issue. Small patches didn’t bother me, but longer stretches allowed snow to accumulate between my toes like crushed ice and it was really painful.
Overall, the Pacer’s are my favorite trail shoe ever. Sand and pebbles definitely come, but they also go. If something is seriously lodged, I do a one-footed hop and flick the heel, releasing any debris. Stream crossings are awesome, in fact I look forward to them. Rocky terrain is a blast. Fast uphills and downhills are killer. And simply walking naturally truly does enhance my connection with the earth. Oh, and it’s also nice not needing a separate pair of shoes for camp.
I’ll definitely be wearing them on all future adventures in my backyard - the Tahoe basin.
We have been working hard all spring to get our hardcore trail sandal, the Oso, ready to launch, but have come across some unexpected setbacks in its development. Specifically, there were some last minute problems with the midsole we had chosen, so we had to start testing some new options.
We now have a midsole chosen that will make an awesome, rugged, and durable Oso — all that’s left is to wait for Vibram to produce and ship it out to us. It will take a couple months for them to make the material, ship it over from the east coast, and for us to create an army of Osos for your purchasing pleasure. We know a lot of you are excited for the Oso, and we apologize for the delay. We won’t settle for anything less than the best trail adventure sandal on the market, so we want to get it right.
If you need a trail sandal NOW, the Leadville or Mono are more than capable. The Oso will have a tougher, denser outsole than either of these sandals, but if you’re looking for a lightweight option with great moldability, the Mono and Leadville are here to console you while you wait. Many a mountainous ultra marathon has been run in both of these models with great success.
We’ll keep you updated on the Oso throughout the summer. We’re Oso excited!
Majestic Oak trees were scattered across the rolling hills of dry grass around us. The marine layer was burning off and the morning sun was greeting us as we finished breakfast and lounged around camp. After some frisbee, a game of whiffle ball developed quickly as more people wanted to join the fun. There were no rules or teams, or maybe the rules and teams were made up and changed for each individual at every new moment of the game. Sometimes first base was at the porta-potties, sometimes there were no bases, sometimes you could throw the ball at someone to get them out, sometimes you could bat 5 times in a row, sometimes it turned into tag, and sometimes you had someone blowing bubbles behind you while you bat. We all were smiling, running around, and deeply engulfed in one of the best sessions of full on child-like play I have been in in a long time. It felt good. The game went on for hours. I couldn’t imagine a better way to kick off what was to be an amazing weekend of play, running, partying, and all kinds of shennanigans at the 2013 Born to Run Ultras.
The Born to Run Ultras are put on by the one and only Luis Escobar; Mas Loco, ultra-runner, and photographer extrordinaire. Located in Santa Barbara County, California, the BTR Ultras are among beautiful rolling grassy hills on a 4000 (?) acre private ranch. Participants are encouraged to camp on the ranch right at the starting line for the entire weekend of festivities including races of distances of 10 miles, 50k, 100k, and 100 miles. There was also Tarahumara style bola races, an unofficial beer mile, live music, a giant bonfire, blasting mariachi, delicious food, and much more. The course was basically a figure-8 of two different ten mile loops. After each loop every runner would be coming through camp and the start.
After whiffle ball on friday morning I began setting up the Luna Sandals booth where I would be selling Lunas. More and more people were arriving throughout the day. The first (unofficial) event of the day was the Beer Mile at 4pm hosted by Luna-tic, and beer mile champ, Patrick Sweeney. A beer mile consists of running a mile and drinking 4 beers. Drink a beer, run a quarter mile, and repeat until a mile and 4 beers are complete. People were excited for the beer mile. They gathered their beer (or root beer for a few) and lined up at the starting line of the quarter mile out and back as Sweeney explained the rules. Luis started the race with the shotgun. Patrick was first out of the gates. I sat out and took pictures and cheered on the runners. At this point I was noticing there was a lot of people in Lunas. It was really exciting for me to see so many people in them. The beer mile was fun to witness and looked like a blast for the participants unless you were one of the unlucky to puke on the course and have to run an extra quarter mile. Sweeney, of course, came out the winner.
After the beer mile was the Tarahumara style Bola races. Luis brought wooden balls from the Copper Canyons. It would be 10 or so heats of 5 participants racing a quarter mile-ish each kicking a wooden ball. Luna was donating a pair of sandals to the winner of each heat and all the proceeds (10$ each runner) went directly to Norawas, the non-profit that benefits the Tarahumara. Since Luna was sponsoring the Bola races I was handing out gift certificates to the winners and starting each heat with the shotgun. For me shooting the shotgun for each heat was just as fun as participating. Mariachi music blarred from the speakers, people raced, and people cheered. It was a great time.
Mas Loco Lunatics! Kelly, Sally, Lola, Mike, me, Patrick M., Caleb, Guadajuko, Maria, Luis, Sweeney, Shawn, Steph.
After the Bola Races people hung around the camp and bonfire. A couple live bands played on the stage. People were dancing and hoola-hooping into the night. I manned the Luna Booth, sold some sandals, and met some great people. The night ended early so that we all could get up early the next morning for the start of the race.
At 4:15am our wake up call was 5 shotgun blasts followed by loud Mariachi music filling the dark campground. The race had sold out for a total of 450 people signed up to run that day. People lined up at the start, Luis made some course announcements, and I had the shotgun ready to start the race.
3. 2. 1… Bang! We were off. I handed Luis the shotgun, grabbed my water bottle and was off running down the dirt road in the crowd of runners. The course is a mix of dirt roads, two track, and some single track. It is a relatively easy course with about 1100 feet of elevation gain per 10 mile loop and not too technical. It is a very runnable course. I was running the 50k and I was excited to push my limits a bit at that distance.
Luna tribe’s Gregorio, Sweeney, and Tyler killing it. Congrats guys!
I ran with so many friends, old and new. The Luna Tribe was strong and in full force. So many people were wearing Lunas out there. I felt so honored and special to be part of such a great group of people. As well as the usual suspects of Mas Loco Luna-tics and others, there was also a lot of Luna-tics who have been customers and supporters for a long time that I finally got to meet in person. It was exciting. I’m so grateful for all you!
The miles flew by as the sun slowly rose above the horizon. The course was beautiful. On the second loop there is an awesome section of single track atop a long ridge with great views all around. I was feeling really good. Towards the end of the second loop my hamstrings started to get a little crampy for whatever reason. I made sure to eat some salt and drink water but my legs stayed crampy off and on throughout the race. But it wasn’t bad and I felt very strong otherwise. By the third loop the sun was getting higher and it was starting to get hot. It probably hit about 90 degrees. In the last 2 or 3 miles there is a big gradual downhill so I let it loose and ran my fastest miles of the race. I came through the start/finish at mile 30 and just had a 1/2 mile out and back to be done. I ran it in and got my amulet finishers necklace made by Hawaiian ultra runner AcaBill. I crossed the finish line in 5 hours and 35 minutes which was my new personal record by a long shot. I was very happy with that. I was finally feeling like I could push my pace at the 50k and 50 mile distances instead of just trying to survive. It felt good to be noticing progress.
Greg, Me, Tracy, Bryan, and Sweeney. Post race.
I was curious to see how others did and were doing. It turned out that Patrick Sweeney won the 50k again in 3 hours and 49 minutes. Team Luna runner Gregorio Ponce placed 2nd in the 10 miler in 1 hour even. Congrats guys! That made Pat the triple crown winner; he won the beer mile, his heat of the bola races, and the 50k. We grabbed some food and lounged around cheering on all the runners as they came through. That evening was a fun evening of hanging by the bonfire, watching Anthony shoot the pinata with the shotgun, push up acrobatics, human pyramids, and watching all the runners come through. I really wanted to stay up and watch all the runners come in but got tired and went to sleep. I was bummed I missed Tyler coming into the finish for his first 100 mile finish in 23 and half hours! Congrats Tyler, you’re a beast. James Bonnet ended up winning the 100 miler in 15 hours and some change and took home the surf board prize. Congrats to Jess on the 100k and to Dawn Marie on her first ultra. Congrats to Jim on his first 100 miler and so many others that ran strong and had fun.
Luna tribe. I love you guys.
What really makes this event special is the great community of people involved. I came away from the weekend feeling like I had just participated in something very special and unique. The feeling and vibe at the event really only reminds me of the vibe of one other event I’ve been a part of and that is the Caballo Blanco Ultramarathon. It is hard to describe the vibe of these two events. I’m not going to try anymore here. Go do them, you won’t regret it.
Thank you everyone involved!!! Thanks to all the Lunatics out there for your support. Thanks to Sweeney for driving and letting me stay at your house. Thanks to all the volunteers and wonderful people cooking those delicious burritos. Congratulations Luis on putting on such an amazing event! I will definitely be back next year!
If you’ve been waiting for an incentive to get yourself in a pair of Lunas, here it is: all Venado and Traditional Venado sandals are 20% off through the end of April. Simply enter the code VenadoMinus20 at checkout to get the discount.
The Venado (formerly the Original Luna) is our tried and true sandal model, and although it’s come a long way since Ted made each pair in his garage it still has the same sole/soul it’s always had.
Today was a MAGICAL day. For the first time in almost 3 months, since being inspired to go minimalist by Chris’s adventures in ‘Born to Run’, I was able to cruise around in my Luna Leadville Pacers with no calf pain and for a distance similar to what I was running before throwing out my Nike trainers. I am bubbling with excitement. The recurring pain in the sides of my knees is GONE, the pain in the ankle I ruined as a Masters student in Alaska while training for the IronMan in 2009 is GONE, and the pain in my upper left shoulder is GONE! Even the constant nagging fear that running was killing my knees and I would one day be a crippled old man because of it- is GONE! And my running style is completely different. I am now running like I used to ski slalom courses in University: Knees over the toes, body forward, nothing in the back seat. I feel like a kid, smiling constantly!
I will share a great story with you about my run today. I live on the flanks of Baru Volcano in Panama (see attached photo. It is a running paradise :). Returning from a long run about the flanks of the volcano, I passed a group of young indigenous boys who were hassling a chicken, soccer ball in hand. So I pass by, shirtless Branden (a real oddity in the mountains where few have ventured to the beach 50 km south and everyone thinks it is cold up here on the volcano. But I work hard and sweat a lot. So a shirt is never an option). Suddenly I heard this stamped of shuffling giggling kids behind me. And when I glanced over my shoulder I burst out laughing. The three kids had their shirts off and were running with me!
It was not always this fun. I discovered a river of things the hard way- like not to land and push off of the ball of your feet. This leads to awful calf pain and toe blisters galore. The better technique is to imagine landing flat footed. You still land forward but you let the ankle drop and the calf unload. And I swear my calf muscle and Achilles tendon must be an inch longer!
Barefoot Ted and other Lunar Monkeys went down Mexico once again for the Caballo Blanco Ultra Marathon (formerly Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon). Here are some of our favorite memories, in photo form, from this year’s trip:
"About ten miles into the race I was bombing down a hill in my Osos. I looked around and realized that I was running at that moment with one Canadian, one German and one Japanese runner, just the four us together by chance, and ALL of us wearing Luna Sandals!" - Tom Norwood, Luna Sales Monkey (Look for a more detailed account of Tom’s Copper Canyon adventures in the June issue of Trail Runner Magazine!)
The new Traditional Ribbon is our most comfortable traditional lacing yet. The ribbon is the same material used between the toes on our ATS laces, but for the entire length of the lace. If you love traditional laces, but have trouble with irritation from our thicker leather laces, give our Traditional Ribbon a try.
New Lace Advantages:
Silky soft and comfy
They don’t stretch
They lay flat on the skin
Great for sensitive feet and small children
New Lace Disadvantages:
Comes with the plug system attached, so you’ll need countersunk sandals
You don’t have any yet!
Traditional Ribbon Tying Videos
Many of the traditional tying methods available on our YouTube channel will work just fine for the Traditional Ribbon, but with the superior flexibility of the ribbon, some methods work better than others.
A couple of our sponsored monkeys, Jess Soco and Patrick Sweeney, were kind enough to make videos showing off their personal Traditional Ribbon tying methods HERE and HERE.
If you find more ways to tie your Traditional Ribbon, or any other traditional laces, send us a YouTube link and we’ll add it to our Favorites list.
Our do everything, go everywhere adventure sandal has arrived! The Mono is a versatile sandal used for monkeying around in a wide variety of environments. Get your Mono with ATS laces HERE, or grab a pair with traditional laces HERE.
Wanna be like Ted? Getting the Mono is a good start!
We often get asked which sandal model is best for use on both trails and roads. While the Original Luna is ultra-sleek, super minimal, and great for road running; and the Leadville (and soon-to-be-released Oso) are optimal for tough trails and wet weather; we’ve never had a sandal that handled a wide variety of surface with equal aplomb — until now!
The Mono gives us everything we want from a single sandal model. It’s tread won’t wear out as fast on pavement as the Leadville, and it’s added thickness provides more protection than the Original Luna.
The sandal is made up of a light, mold-able Vibram sole combined with the Pittards Premium Leather or non-slip MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) footbed. The added thickness means the ankle holes can be countersunk to reduce wear on the laces.
We recently changed the name of our staple sandal model, the Original Luna, to the Venado.
Why the sudden change? Once we release our new trail model, we’ll have three sandal models that follow a pattern of Spanish-named animals. Can you guess which is Ted’s spirit animal?
Well, not entirely new. The Venado is still the classic Original Luna in everything but name, we’ll always have traditional lacing options, and we’ll always be made in the good ol’ US of A.
The “new” part of Luna Sandals is all about the updates and upgrades we’ve made based on our constant curiosity and experimentation, as well as the ridiculously helpful feedback from our customers.
We’re ready to share our sandals with the world, and bring Lunas to retailers near you. Revolution is afoot!
TRAIL RUNNING (DOI SURTHEP, CHIANG MAI, THAILAND) – LUNA TRAIL SANDAL + ICEBREAKER TRACER SHORTS
Hi, I just moved from Seattle to Chiang Mai Thailand but just before I left I stopped in the Born 2 Run shop in Bellevue to get a pair of lightweight running shoes. There were two girls there working and they told me all about Lunas. I was sold. I purchased the Trail Sandals (as I’m a trail/mountain runner).
Fast forward…now I’ve been in Thailand for 27 days and just two days ago I did my first legit trail/mnt run in the Luna sandals. I blogged about it on my site, here.
The BEAR 100: A 100 Mile Vision Quest in Luna Sandals
I sat slumped over in a camp chair by the fire. It was dark and cold in those mountains in the wee hours of the night. I was tired, delirious, and defeated. I was at mile 68 of the Bear 100. As we neared the aid station I told Sweeney, my pacer, that I was done, that I was dropping out at this aid station. When I told him tears welled up in my eyes at the verbal admission of defeat. I was glad that the darkness hid my face. I held it in and tried not to cry. I wasn’t ashamed to cry but I didn’t want to completely fall apart out there and I was on the verge of falling apart. I sat there trying to make excuses in my head, trying to justify my decision. I laid my head down in my lap and dozed off for a few minutes…
The Bear 100 is a 100 mile point to point trail race in the Wasatch mountains of Utah and a little bit of Idaho. It has 22,000 feet of elevation gain and is 70% single track, 30% dirt road. I chose the Bear as my first 100 because I love the Wasatch Mountains, I grew up there, and that its point to point, mostly single track, has a lot of climbing, and would be really tough. And because of all that it was an appealing and exciting event for me. Plenty of other 100’s would have been easier for my first 100 but none excited me as much as this one. When I told Shawn I was thinking about signing up for the Bear it seemed like a joke. It seemed a little too crazy. But the more I looked at it the more I rationalized it and I signed up. I’m so glad Shawn was crazy enough to sign up too. He always is.
A week before the race I flew out to Utah and spent a few days acclimatizing in the canyons and mountains of southern Utah. We gathered pine nuts, made primitive pottery, and went on some hikes. (More on that in a later report.) Once back in Salt Lake I picked up Patrick Sweeney from the airport and the usual crew started assembling. We stayed with our good friends Shawn and Stephanie. The day before the race we drove to Logan, Utah, checked into our hotel and drove out to the mountains to check out some of the course.
Sweeney, Me, and Shawn.
The fall colors were in full effect. It was so beautiful. The aspens and oaks were bright red, orange, and yellow. It was pretty unimaginable to think that I would be trying to run 100 miles the next day but the gorgeous mountains got me excited. I had been nervous all week. Not too nervous consciously but subconsciously I think I was. I hadn’t been sleeping well the whole time in Utah.
I had done most of my physical training for the Bear in the Cascades of Washington.(training video) Mentally I had been visualizing the course and my run for weeks or months. Visualizing is an essential part of getting mentally prepared for me. I imagine different sections of the course, what the weather could feel like, how fast I might be moving, how I could be feeling, and I try to visualize myself moving light, smooth, and effortlessly through the mountains. I try to visualize my realistic goal pace. For the Bear I really just wanted to finish but I would have also really liked to finish in under 30 hours too. And so I visualized myself on pace for a 29:00 hour finish, floating up the mountains in the dark, or coasting down the hills in the aspens. But as hard as I tried to visualize the night and second day were pretty hard to imagine.
That night the entire crew assembled for dinner. Me and Shawn would be running the next day and our absolutely amazing crew was Sweeney, Steph, Eric, Izzy, Rebecca, Conner, Jesse, Melodie and Jackie. We ate Thai food that night though it probably wasn’t the best choice for the night before the race, but what is? I couldn’t think of anything better. We scrambled to get our things together and our crew instructed that night and got to bed by about 10:00-10:30. I didn’t sleep great but I didn’t expect to so it was fine. We woke up at 4:30 and were off to the start. It wasn’t as cold as I was expecting in the dark morning. I was so glad the weather was forecasted to be sunny and clear. Here we are just before the race:
I would be testing a new unreleased trail Luna model called The Oso. Which means ‘the Bear’ in spanish. I had been training in them for the last couple months and thought it would be the ultimate final test to test ‘The Bear’ at The Bear.
In the dark morning 250 or so runners embarked on a 100 mile journey. After a quarter mile through a sleepy neighborhood we were on single track climbing up the first big mountain. Shawn and I ran together in the dark chatting about who knows what. Excitement was in the air and time and distance flew by. Before we knew it we were at the top of the first climb, about 4000 feet of elevation gain, just in time for the sunrise. It was so invigorating and beautiful. This picture doesn’t even come close to doing it justice but gives you an idea. That’s Logan, where we started, down in the valley.
With the first big climb done and now in the beautiful morning light Shawn and I were anxious to pick up the pace. We sailed down the mountains in the red oaks and golden aspens. We were still chatting and time was flying. Before we knew it we were at the mile 20 aid station and the first station were we would see our crew. I felt super fresh and we were 30 min ahead of the 29:00 finish pace I had figured out. We grabbed some snacks and water and excitedly gushed to our friends about how awesome it was so far.
We left the aid station and had just a short 3 mile stretch to the next aid station at mile 23. We didn’t really stop there and pushed onward into the next big climb. It was heating up and of course we were slowing down. The mountains were still beautiful though. Somewhere around mile 28 I started to not feel very good. I was getting a little nauseous and having a hard time eating. At the 30 mile aid station I ate a little and used the bathroom. But still felt sick. By the time I got to the aid station at mile 36 I was feeling really sick and out of it. The crew said I was acting drunk. Part of me was still having a great time and another was miserable.
I was getting really nervous. To say “64 more miles seemed like a long ways” is an understatement. My crew took great care of me. They were so good to me. I changed socks, got a foot massage, and ate some food. It felt very weird to have a bunch of people feeding me and massaging me and pampering me. Thanks guys! After a long rest I finally got up and back on the trail. I still felt sick but I was moving forward. We climbed more. We climbed a lot. Shawn moved on ahead of me with Conner pacing him. At this point my focus became just to make it to the next aid station. Finishing was a pipe dream. I tried hard to eat, take salt, and drink water. I reached the mile 45 aid station pretty sick and tired. But my crew was now getting their groove with this whole crewing thing. I just sat there and probably mumbled incoherently as they prepped me and fed me. And somehow I was ready to get back on the trail after another long break. Through all this I was having all kinds of highs and lows emotionally and physically.
The sun was setting as we embarked on another big climb. 3000 feet of gain. I was still climbing well. On this stretch I picked up my first pacer; the wonderful Isabelle. We chatted and the climb was very pleasant. Beautiful color in the golden hour light. But the light left and we entered the darkness again. We dawned headlamps and moved forward. Still all I could imagine doing was just getting to the next aid station. With the temps having gone down my stomach started feeling a little better but the toll of not eating well and being sick and running 50 miles was still a giant load. We rolled into the 51 mile aid station at Tony Grove. I was getting even more nervous. I didn’t feel like I could even make it to the next aid station let alone finish. My spirits were pretty low but my crew beat some life into me with massages and warm food and magic.
My brain was definitely not functioning properly. I felt drunk. I sat for a long time not wanting to think about going forward. I had caught up to Shawn at this point and he was struggling here as well. I put on some warm layers and Sweeney got me up and we headed into the night. Onward. Sweeney would be my pacer for the next 25 miles. I was seeing a pattern here. I leave an aid station feeling pretty good for 2-3 miles then suffer for 3-4 miles then get to another aid station and need a long pit stop to recharge. Somewhere on this stretch my bowels started to give me trouble. I had to venture out into the woods to take care of business every half hour. That was not fun. Especially after running out of wet wipes and having to use pine cones and rocks which did not feel good on my cheeks that were already pretty raw and rashy from running 55-60 miles. I know, that is probably TMI but that is all apart of ultras. I had been lubing my cheeks with vasoline since mile 36. Sweeney kept me going well. I trudged along. On top of being tired, sleep deprived, and sore, my bowel troubles seemed to be the straw that was breaking the camels back.
…In the wee hours of the night I decided I couldn’t go anymore. I finally reached the mile 68 aid station and was set on dropping out. I rested my head and dozed off for a few minutes by the fire. This aid station was not crew accessible. Otherwise things might have been very different. I sat by the fire and listened to a woman who had hit her head, may have had a concussion, seemed way more out of it than me and she was debating whether or not to drop out. Another guy was sitting by the fire who was dropping out. As I sat there I realized I was in better shape than they were. Also, a big factor was that I didn’t want to have to ask a stranger for a ride at 4am to go find my crew who were at the next aid station waiting for me. (no cell service up there.) That seemed so embarrassing. I just wanted to lay down. But to lay down without freezing to death meant I needed to get to my crew. So I thought, what the hell, I guess I’ll just go the 7 miles to the next aid station and my crew and drop out there. That whole time Sweeney was very encouraging. It was so hard to leave that fire and get back out there.
So I got up from that warm fire and we entered the darkness again. I didn’t have much pep in my step at this point because I was in the mindset of dropping out at the next aid station. Sweeney would coax me into running runnable sections and I would think ‘why run if I’m just dropping out’. And if you didn’t know, mountain hundred milers are a lot of hiking. As time went on Sweeney and I were joking and having some good conversation that was surely of the bizarre sleep deprived drunk kind. Sweeney found me a hiking stick and we named it Poley Moses. And then it started to get light. A little bit at a time. It was so gorgeous in those mountains. It hit me that this was the second sunrise I was seeing since I had started the journey over 24 hours previous. That seemed so powerful to me. I had gone over 70 miles through the mountains. And with the dim pre-dawn light came a hint of hope. As it got lighter I realized I was feeling better. It was crazy. The new morning was a new day and my body was ready to start over. By the time we got to the Beaver Lodge aid station at mile 75 I was beaming inside. I had gained hope of actually finishing and I was feeling better than I had since mile 20. This was a true miracle. A miracle of the body and mind that I am so grateful for. I had no idea that bodies in general, let alone my broken body, were capable of that kind of recovery on the go. Thinking about that sunrise and breaking through that wall and the experience of that morning makes the emotions well up inside my chest. Thanks for getting me through the night Sweeney.
At Beaver Lodge I used a real bathroom, got cleaned up, fueled up, and picked up my next pacer Jesse. Who had only been running a few months but had recently ran his first race which was a 3:30 mountain marathon for 8th place. He was definitely Eric’s brother. They are both insanely talented runners. I would have to pick up the pace a lot if I wanted to make the cutoff. Shawn was 30-40 min. ahead of me. Jesse and I left the lodge and logged some fast miles. I was feeling great. My legs and feet were of course sore but overall I was determined and excited. I was cruising the uphills passing people and then they would pass me on the down hill as I gently pitter pattered down. I didn’t have the agility to dance down the rocks anymore so I had to go pretty slow down hill.
Another thing I was experiencing by that point was hallucinations. They weren’t crazy trippy hallucinations but I was definitely seeing things once in a while that weren’t there. Mostly I would look up and think that I saw an aid station tent in the trees and think ‘oh awesome, I’m already to the aid station.’ Then I would look up again and it would be gone. Once I thought I saw Steph on the side of the trail. I thought I was seeing cabins in the woods. At the time it seemed completely normal. It didn’t even register that I was hallucinating until later. At the time I would just think ‘dammit, where did that aid station go.’
Jesse and I cruised through the mountains. The aid station stops were short and sweet. The day warmed up again and I was so excited to be feeling great. When I hit the Beaver Creek Campground aid station at mile 85 my crew was so excited for me because I was coming in faster than they expected and Shawn had just left right before I got there. I still felt the urgency of making the cut-off so we didn’t dawdle and were out of there quick. After climbing some more mountains and moving at a determined optimistic pace we made it to the last aid station; Ranger Dip at mile 92. Just as I was coming up to the aid station my crew was cheering for me from a hundred yards away. Shawn was getting ready to leave. I hadn’t seen him since the previous night at mile 50 or 60 something. It was so good to see him. Everyone was so excited. I felt so happy and proud. After all we had been through we both new at that point that there was no way we weren’t going to finish.
I enjoyed my last quick round of massages and pampering and was back on the trail. Everyone was all smiles.
Immediately out of Ranger Dip is the steepest hill of the course. It was just about going straight up the mountain. At the top we were above 9000’ feet and that was the last climb of the course. All I had left was a 4000 foot descent in six miles. I would have loved to cruise the downhill but my legs just weren’t up for it. There was some rolling portions through the aspens that I was running but a good bit of the downhill was too steep and rocky for me to run. So I slowly made my way down. Bear Lake sprawled across the valley below with the tiny town of Fish Haven hugging the lake at the bottom of the mountain. It was steep rocky and dusty and just when you think you are getting to a smooth road of Fish Haven, Idaho the trail turns and goes up another little hill. But the smooth road came and I started trotting. As I got closer I got more excited and ran faster. I crossed the main highway and turned into the final stretch of driveway to cheers and the finish.
Crossing the finish line felt so good. I hugged Shawn and the rest of my crew, sat down, and ate some food. We did it. I couldn’t have done it without my crew. Thanks everyone! My official time was 34:51. I got the Black Bear belt buckle. I’m proud to have my first 100 mile buckle.
Running 100 miles felt like a vision quest. It altered my mind and destroyed my concepts of my boundaries and limits. It changed me and the experience was stuck in my brain for days afterwards. A week after the race Shawn sent me a message that he couldn’t stop thinking about the Bear. I felt exactly the same way. The experience was just so powerful, it wouldn’t leave me. I have never experienced something like that before. Thinking about that second sunrise with the shining golden aspens and my body and mind magically recovering blows me away. There are all kinds of interesting aspects of running 100. Our friend Andrew Labbe mentioned that you get a lifetime of varied emotions compressed into 30 hours. Others say running 100 is like running three 50’s. But for me it was just so different I can’t even compare it to a 50. Several times during the race I experienced ‘breaking through walls’. Which I had hit walls in previous races but nothing like at the Bear. I’m excited to run another 100. At this point I think I may be addicted to running. : )
'The Oso' Lunas held up and performed amazingly. They were enough rock protection, great traction, very secure, and comfortable. I didn't get any blisters or bruises. I love that about Lunas. Though after the race I did notice that the tip of my left big toe was numb. but no big deal, you can't expect to walk away completely unscathed after 100 miles. I was sore for a couple days but not as bad as I expected. I was capable of running a few days later.
I’m already scheming and planning for my next runs and races. I will definitely be going back down to the canyons for the Caballo Blanco (Copper Canyon) Ultramarathon in 2013.
And, as always, there is a ton more I could talk about but that is it for now.
Thanks to everyone! Shawn congrats and thank you! Thanks to Sweeney, Steph, Rebecca, Conner, Eric, Jesse, Melody, and Jackie. You all are the best crew and friends. Thanks to the Luna crew at the shop. Thanks Leland and all of the volunteers at the Bear. It was a great event! And again, thanks to the wilderness and its beautiful existence.
There are 26 bones in the human foot, 33 joints, more than 100 muscles, and roughly the same number of sensory nerves that you have on the palms of your hands. By the way, that’s the same amount of nerves as the inside of your mouth, and coincidentally, your genitals.
It should be pretty obvious that the foot is designed to be incredibly dynamic. It is fundamentally sensitive and responsive.
The foot is capable of an extremely wide range of functional movement and sensory feeling. It offers the possibility of stability in almost any context.
Your feet are your first and primary connection to the earth. It is no wonder that they are the foundation of your entire postural system, and of your spiritual and emotional health. Every joint and muscle in your body has a stake in how well your feet do their job.
When you change your foot, you affect what rests upon them. When you alter the position, mobility, stabilization, and sensory feedback of your foot, you directly disturb its natural relationship with your knees, hips, back, shoulders, neck, and head. Shoes change your feet and body.
Have you ever considered what you’re asking of your foot when you place a thick, supportive shoe on it? Have you thought about what you’re doing when you brace and restrict the natural movement and feeling of this very complex structural mechanism?
When you wear shoes you are essentially bracing and restricting the natural movement of not only your foot, but of your entire body. Make this a habit and before too long, you lose the very ability to perform the dynamic movements you were designed for. And since the movement of the foot directly affects every other joint in the body, poor shoe selection ultimately leads to significant postural dysfunction.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent decades with a poor selection of shoes. Years and years in shoes. A countless number of steps and miles in them. Walking, running, sitting, standing, jumping, squatting, lounging, and lunging etc., all in shoes.
On some level, you may already have noticed that there is a connection between your shoes and the tightness, soreness, or pain you have in your knees, hips, back, shoulders, or neck.
Natural foot movement and dexterity are hugely important for long term pain free health and vitality! If you don’t have healthy foot movement, you will have pain. I consider foot mobility and dexterity, or the lack of it, to be two of the primary indicators of long term chronic pain and injury in the majority of my clients.
Not interested in long term chronic pain? Do this.
If you’ve spent your entire life in shoes and what I’m writing about freaks you out, hold on a sec.
The body is so amazing at adapting. Much, if not all, of what you’ve lost in terms of functional movement can be regained.
However, if you truly do want to adapt, it will take a fundamental shift in how you move your entire body. And it all starts with your feet.
The shift can be so profound that it will also create a shift in your lifestyle and ultimately your life as a whole. This will affect you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Barefoot is by far one of the best options for maintaining foot mobility, stability, and a healthy connection to the earth. (Click to tweet!)
Unfortunately for most, going 100% barefoot is just not an option. Extreme heat, cold, local business policies, other unforgiving conditions, or even personal desire may prevent you from completely baring your soles. There are times that you must wear shoes to protect your feet, maintain employment, or buy groceries.
Shoes have a practical place and purpose in our society and culture. They are far from useless. So if you can’t go barefoot, what is the next best option? What kind of shoes?
If you’re going to wear shoes, don’t just wear any shoe. To regain natural foot movement, you need a shoe that interferes as little as possible with your feet. You want a shoe that allows for maximum mobility, stability of the foot, and is thin enough that you can feel the subtle textures of the ground with each step. Basically, you want a shoe which allows your foot to be a foot.
And let’s not forget, you also want a shoe that looks nice, to boot! (Pun intended.)
I love Luna Sandals. They have become my favorite shoe. Especially in the summer time.
I love Luna Sandals because they are the closest I can come to being barefoot without actually being barefoot.
The sole is thin and extremely flexible allowing my foot to move while providing enough protection from the scorching summer pavement. The lacing system naturally keeps the shoe on my foot, unlike flip flops (a very poor choice if you’re interested in healthy footwear).
What I love most about them is the simple fact that they are a sandal and don’t cover my foot. In the summer, my feet get hot. But not in my Luna Sandals.
And by the way, they look great too.
I own several different pairs of minimalist shoes. I use them as tools and I have a different tool for each situation. And the funny thing about it? Since I made the switch to predominantly barefoot over the past several years, I now own more shoes than ever before!
I want to say a big thanks to Luna Sandals. From the very day they came out of the package my other shoes have seen very little action. I wear my Lunas everywhere, and for everything. They’re with me when I’m mountain biking, running, working, working out, boating, for social engagements, and of course… grocery shopping.
Jesse James Retherford is a coach and therapist in Austin, TX. He helps his clients heal from the dysfunction of chronic pain and injury; recover and rebuild pain free posture and function; and propels them into the best condition of their lives so they can thrive physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in all aspects of their career and life. Find out more and sign up for his blog over at www.TAO-Fit.com
The following is a guest post from a Lunar Monkey, Greg Woods, who had a harrowing experience in Costa Rica.
Early in June, my girlfriend and I headed on vacation for 2 weeks in Costa Rica. We’d heard stories about muggings and the like and took precautions accordingly. We didn’t carry much with us at any time, avoided wandering off alone, etc. For most of the trip we didn’t have any problems, despite the fact that we avoided most of the most touristy areas in favor of more isolation and adventure.
Nearer to the end of the trip (Thursday, 14Jun2012), we decided on a chill day around one of the more tourist-infested spots: Playa Conchal. Gigantic resorts dot this area. We just wanted to enjoy the little calm bay and beach around it. Since the trip had gone so well up to that point we perhaps had begun to let our guard down too much. As we wandered down an isolated section down the beach by ourselves, three young men with sticks came out of the woods and demanded our backpack.
I promise I’m not always as stupid as I’m about to sound, but for some reason I steeled myself and refused. My mother would kill me herself if she knew this. I’d always been taught that if something like this happens you just quietly hand over your stuff and then run away. But as I looked at these three guys approach us I thought about how, A) they seemed pretty young, unorganized, and anxious behind their false confidence, B) the sticks they had were pretty unwieldy old tree branches with no apparent sign of other weapons of any sort, C) I was much larger than any of them, and most importantly D) I’m a runner and these guys clearly weren’t. I had no illusions that I was going to fight off three guys on my own. People always imagine that if they get into a situation like this they’ll somehow turn into Bruce Lee and handle it perfectly. I was just looking for a clear path to escape.
The guys ignored my girlfriend since she didn’t have anything on her and I told her to run and get the police, so she took off. They started swinging at me with the sticks, which I responded to by flailing wildly enough to keep them mostly at bay. When I saw an opening between them I took off down the beach. I was pretty far away before they’d even decided whether to try and follow me, and I looked back only long enough to see them sucking wind before heading back into the woods.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I owe a lot of our getting away safely to the fact that I had my Lunas on. (And coincidentally, was also wearing the t-shirt at the time.) Leadville Pacers, naked top, ATS laces. The area of beach we were on was a varied mix of fine sand, rough sand, sticks, driftwood, sharp shells, softball-sized rocks, and giant stones. I really don’t think I would’ve run that well barefoot even in an emergency with so much rough stuff underfoot. I’d taken four pairs of shoes for the trip but wore my Lunas the entire time. Hiking, running, beach.
The story has a happy ending in that they didn’t get anything of ours and nobody was seriously hurt. We didn’t really have anything of value with us except for a camera with hundreds of photos from the trip. The three punks were soon caught by police without having anything to show for their efforts. I was lucky and just had a swollen left hand from blocking a swing and a small scratch on my face where one of them had broken his stick over my cabeza dura. I’ve attached a couple pictures from about ten minutes after the incident.
Next time we’ll be even more vigilant, carry even less, and make a point to back up our pictures throughout the trip. I’ve also resolved to be less stupid/stubborn, and to invest in a couple more pairs of Lunas for myself and my girlfriend once we’ve saved a bit back up after the trip. Thank you for a great shoe!
I just went for my first run in my DIY Leadville Pacers. Which by the way, are so stunningly gorgeous (red laces) that I wore them to church on Sunday and was complimented several times on my dapper shoes. Anyway, It happened to be a sprint night, so I just went for it. I’ve been using VFF’s or minimal shoes for running the past few years but let me tell you, these Lunas are fast. I mean super, duper, pee-in-your-pants, brain-numbing fast. It was exactly (exactly!) like running barefoot except that every step I took was on “protected” ground so I was willing to run with absolute reckless abandon (as an aside, it’s possible I looked ridiculous, but who cares?). My forefoot absolutely loved the freedom the shoe allows. Seriously people, it’s like I never really ran before I had these things. I knew I was going to like these shoes, but this was a surprise. Wow.
I’ve had my eye on this race for a while. Unfortunately it was canceled in 2011 so my adventure there had to be postponed until this year. Everything happens on the Island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua. The course nearly loops around the entire island and boasts two volcanic climbs; Maderas, or as I liked to call it, “The Beast”, is inactive, wet, cold, and MUDDY and Mt. Conception which is active, long, and generally run in the dark. The two volcanoes represent Fuego y Agua.
Island of Ometepe
Let me start by telling you about the most magical place on earth. Ometepe is a hidden oasis in Nicaragua, even if you’re not going to run, at least make some time for adventuring on this island. I’ve never felt so welcome in a foreign country. Before and after the race I managed to eat tons of good food, scooter around the island, attend a seriously old fashioned rodeo, kayak to Monkey Island, hike to waterfalls, and swim at the most amazing water hole ever; Ojo de Agua
The island is quite easy to get to; flying into Managua you can hop into a cab to take you to the ferry; the ferry is crammed to the brim with people, livestock, supplies, and food, but it will only run you about $2. Not bad. Once on the island you can walk to a whole slew of great hostels and hotels to find a place to sleep, eat, and drink. I stayed in a pretty tiny room for about $6 a night. Pretty much anywhere on the island you can find amazing cheap food. I’m vegan and I was still able to find plenty of arroz con vegetales mixto.
Some of you may remember my successful Leadville race with hardly any training, well this race I had even less training, and I was totally unprepared with food, hydration and lights. Yeah, I knew this was gonna be a fun one. Luckily, everyone’s favorite Texan, John Sharp, had me covered with an extra light. The race started at 4am, we had a couple hours of running in the dark. The early hours were pretty uneventful, scooting along soft trails through the backwoods of Nicaragua. Some time after sunrise I approached my favorite aid station. Yep, it’s the waterhole I mentioned earlier, Ojo de Agua; this is a perfect spot to stop and take a dip. From Ojo de Agua we were headed towards Madares. This is what everyone came here for.
Maderas is brutal. On my way up the steep mountain I learned that just the week before a hiker got lost on the mountain. I could see exactly how this could happen, and I wasn’t even at the crazy part yet. We were warned that the mountain would be muddy and that we should have an extra pair of shoes waiting in a drop bag on the other side. I was using the ATS laces, which at the time were still in prototype, so I didn’t know quite how they would perform, so instead of in my drop bag I just strapped a trusty pair of Leadvilles w/leather laces to my hip belt. This is one really awesome benifit of minimalism, I could carry an extra pair of footwear with me!
Maderas is pretty much always strapped with it’s very own cloud:
Once I got up into the cloud, things got a lot wetter, and since it’s ALWAYS wet, there is no “dirt”, only mud. At one point I reached for my camera because I was standing up to my knee, literally, in mud, but I forgot to bring it :( No photo of crazy mud. Not only am I supposed to get my leg out of this muck, but I’m supposed to be running. I kept slogging along, mud and vines and water, lots of water, not just on the ground but on everything — grab a branch for stability and a pint of water will dump down your arm. I don’t know if this sounds terrible, but it wasn’t, it was so much fun, I felt like a kid with no cares in the world. I was SO dirty and wet that it didn’t matter anymore, there was no reason to avoid any of it, the best thing to do was embrace it. Let the mud take over.
Once at the top, you drop down into the crater of the volcano where a foggy lake lives. Somehow they managed to get an aid station up here (???), which was a very surreal sight. Some happy volunteers greeted me, I saw a sleepy pooch lying by a makeshift tent placed next the the shore of the lake. This was literally ALL I could see, everything else was engulfed in the mist. I caught my breath here and moved on not knowing that the best part was just ahead of me. After crawling out of the crater, I was greeted with more mud except on this side things felt a little more like a fantasy Tarzan world. I was using my upper body just as much as my legs, swinging and flowing through the swampy jungle, climbing down muddy slopes, at one point I was crawling over a giant root system and suddenly looked down to see nothing below me, just empty space, a few hundred foot drop, the roots had protruded from a cliff side and I was “running” on them. Soon after this I remembered the extra sandals strapped to my back. I figured if I were ever gonna compare the performance of the ATS laces to traditional laces this should be the time.
I took a second to change from my ATS laces to the traditional and took off again. The difference was night and day, the leather straps weren’t strong enough to hold my foot in place, the layer of mud on the sandal meant that I had zero traction, the ATS laces had been doing all of the work. Within 5 minutes the extreme pressure from my foot sliding pulled the knot through the toe hole. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve run some crazy things in traditional laces and managed just fine, but this was beyond crazy, this was unreal, a Hollywood movie could never capture the raw jungle of this place. With the ATS laces securely back on my feet I made my way down the mountain.
The aid station at the bottom, Hacienda Merida, marked the 50k point. I was feeling pretty good, but the volcano had taken a good chunk of energy and time. The rest of the race didn’t go too well for me. I left the aid station not thinking of hydration at all, having just been cold and wetter than if I were swimming. The next 8 miles was along a dirt road that went through a couple small towns. Turns out that that day was one of the hottest of the year, and I was running totally exposed right in the middle of it. I quickly ran out of water and trotted feeling pretty miserable, I had become dehydrated and exhausted from the heat. But I had one thing to comfort me: I knew the next aid station was back at Ojo de Agua and I had a pretty good idea that is where my girlfriend would be. If I said that my plan wasn’t to grab a fresh coconut, take a dip, pull up a chair next to my lady friend, and call it a day, I’d be lying. And that is exactly what I did. This is my second DNF to date, but in my mind it was the absolute best 38 mile race the world has ever seen.
From what I hear the rest of the course is pretty amazing, unfortunately I never got to climb Conception, but you should check out the entry from a good dude (Joseph Ryan) that I met there. The race was fantastic, the volunteers and organizers did a fantastic job. The aid stations were stocked, the course was well marked, and they made sure the each and every runner was happy and safe, They were even quite helpful in organizing much of my travel. The event also hosts a kids 5k where 500 local kids get to run there little hearts out, and the race gives away a pair of shoes and a medal to every child who participates. The next race is happening February 16th, 2013, seriously sign up now. You can snag $50 off for signing up early. I would highly recommend checking this race out. Bring a friend and have a blast.
After a long wait, our 8mm Pacer material has finally arrived! That means the Leadville Pacer and the LeadCat are back in action, but for the time being the Leadville Pacer will only be available in its birthday suit (aka naked top) version. Look out for the copper brown suede-topped Leadville Pacer in the next couple weeks.
And yes, the Leadville Pacer does have an ATS lacing option. As for the LeadCat, we’re not offering ATS laces on any shell cordovan or vegetable tanned leather sandals (LeadCat, Catamount, Equus) until further notice. We hope to have a good ATS lacing solution for those sandals in the coming months.
More Luna Fun on Tumblr, YouTube
We recently started a Tumblr to better share our collective Lunar Monkey stories, videos, and pictures. Have something Luna-related you want to show off to the community? Post it on our Tumblr.
We also started sprucing up our YouTube channel showing folks in the factory at work and play, as well as highlighting our favorite and most helpful sandal lacing and troubleshooting videos. If you need some visual assistance with tying your Luna laces, or want to post your own lacing video, hop over to the Luna Sandals YouTube Channel.
Barefoot Ted and the Lunar Monkey crew will gather in front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park for our first Full Moon Gathering and Trot. We’re meeting on Saturday, May 5th at 8:00 PM (just before the moonrise). Come wearing Lunas or whatever your feet prefer for a fun night under the beautiful Seattle full moon. We hope to see you there for some Cinco de Fun, yo!
Win a T-Shirt and Other Prizes with Our Weekly Runner Poll
Want to get in on a chance to win Luna-related prizes each and every week? Enter our Weekly Runner Poll every Monday on the Luna Sandals Facebook page. Here’s how it works:
Every Monday when we add a wall post asking how many miles you ran last week, reply with your answer.
We will already have a random magic number between 1-100 in mind. On Wednesdays we announce our lucky winner!
Our Favorite Lunar Monkey Pics
Below are some of our favorite fan shots from the last month or so. Want to show us pics of you and your Lunas out in the wild? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or simply post them to our Facebook page.
Some customer questions go places we don’t expect…
These sandals look like a truly fine product. I am concerned however that I will be labeled a “LunaTic” if I were to sport them. If so, I fear I may be disposed to retaliate via a flying back roundhouse. Are these sandals good for flying back roundhouse kicks?
The traction on the Leadville adds extra oomph to any roundhouse kick. At 10mm, it provides enough protection from pointy bones while still providing a fair amount of ground (or face) feel with each kick. I recommend the ATS laces, as they provide the security needed to make sure the sandals don’t slip when you respond to those questioning your honor. At the same time, they’re easy to slip on and off quickly should you need to dispose of your deadly weapons in a nearby river. The suede footbed is really comfy and pretty too, though difficult to get blood stains out of.
This past week I went up to Seattle to help out at the factory (again) because both Jeff & Scott were out of town, and we still aren’t as caught up on orders as we’d like to be. There were some long days lacing sandals and rearranging the factory a bit: it was a lot of work, but we did our best to still have some fun. Late on Thursday night Emily prepped & sewed a bunch of ATS buckles and then came up with a fantastic idea.
ATS Buckle Jump Rope!
Turns out Tommy & Emily are pretty good ropers, and I’m a decent jumper. ;)
I just wanted to let you know how pumped I am to enter this triathlon season with my Luna sandals that I made last year. I trained in them last summer, and did my first sprint tri in them at the 'SheRox Philly', and got 3rd AG! (http://score-this.com/ResultFiles/20110807SRPHResultsAG.pdf) I’m hoping to compete in all races this upcoming season (olympic distance) wearing them. Hopefully if I do well it’ll bring some attention to Luna here on the east coast! :) If there’s anything I can do to promote them, let me know!
A life-long runner, I thought I had to hang up my running shoes a year ago, because I was having chronic knee and hip pain. But then I started running barefoot. Then I made Luna sandals. They have been with me ever since…even running through the hills of Nicaragua for 3 months!
I’m a huge fan of the sandals, and of the company… the sense of community, commitment to health and wellness, and minimal negative impact/consumerism. I am excited to see Luna sandals grow, but hope these values stay intact! Rock on!
For as far back as I can remember, I have been obsessed with factories and how things are made: from “Reading Rainbow” and “Mr. Rogers” when I was kid, to “How It’s Made” as an adult. There’s something really exciting about peaking behind the curtain. When visiting a new city, I usually do a little research and see what kind of factory tours are available. One time in New York City, I went on a tour of the Madame Alexander Doll Factory. I was desperate.
I live in Portland and do web / graphic design for Luna Sandals, so suffice it to say that I was pretty excited when Scott (the Operations Monkey) asked me to come up to Seattle and help out at the Luna Factory for a couple days. They got swamped with orders just as Jeff (the Craft Monkey) went to Japan on vacation, and they needed some extra help. I figured a busy factory would be the perfect place for my time lapse camera.
As you can see, Luna Sandals are made by hand, with love.
We hope you like this little peak behind the curtain as much as we do.
I am a monkey, yet my feet, my hands and my tail are bare
Guest post from Guy Williams, a Lunar Monkey currently studying primates in China.
I am a primate, a traveller and a scientist travelling the worlds forests in search of our primate cousins. I am currently based in western China, spending my days following the trails of two monkeys of conservation significance - Francois langur (Trachypithecus fracnoisi) and the Golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana).
With the kind support of my monkey family at Luna Sandals I have just received my pair of Luna Sandals (Leadville ATS), and so now I set forth to enter these limestone mountains bare of mind, soul, body and feet, and to live and run amongst these monkey-folk.
I will soon send news from me, these monkeys, and the monkeys reaction to seeing a fellow primate spending his days connected by bare foot to this green earth.
We’re all still processing the death of our friend Caballo Blanco (aka Micah True). Head CraftsMonkey Scott Smuin shares some thoughts, pictures, and a poem by Caballo on his blog. Here’s an excerpt:
Deep in Las Barrancas del Cobre, on the trails of the Rockies, and in the hearts of the muchos Mas Locos all over the world, runs the spirit and legacy of Micah True. Words can’t express my sadness for his loss. With this sadness I also want to express my celebration for his life and spirit.
This year’s first Lunar Monkey Monday Night run will be dedicated to Caballo Blanco. Please join us in celebrating his life in the best way we know how: by running free and having fun. Refreshments to follow at the Luna Sandal Factory. Barefoot Ted and the Lunar Monkey crew will gather in front of the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park for a short run in memory of Caballo on Monday, April 9th at 6:30 PM. We hope to see you there!
“Put one foot in front of the other and have fun. :]" - Caballo Blanco
Original Luna with ATS Laces
The Original Luna is now available with ATS laces. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, the monthly Full Moon Newsletter for further product updates and expansions.
We played, laughed, and smiled as we ran in a pack, like a tribe, down the brush and cactus lined switchbacks from the lighthouse. Below the clear blue sky, the ocean stretched out to the horizon on one side and the rolling landscape of Mazatlan stretched out on the other. Shawn was the dj to our mobile party blasting some energizing dubstep from his speaker and ipod. The sun was hot and the ocean breeze felt amazing as we raced to the bottom of the huge rocky hill protruding from the ocean that El Faro Lighthouse sits atop. Vultures and Frigate (aka Friggin) Birds circled high above us en mass.
We waved to the people who stopped to watch the strange pack of shirtless gringos running by. Once down from the hill we ran along the shoreline boardwalk. We stopped momentarily to buy fresh coconuts from a street vendor and continued on with the cheers from local school children as we ran. We ran along the boardwalk back to the beach in Old Town Mazatlan. Once we hit the beach we stripped off our clothes in mid stride and went straight for the cool waves rolling in.
The beach in Old Town Mazatlan has some great body surfing waves. I felt my body surfing technique getting better. The first time I had ever body surfed was in Hawaii, just a few months previous. Here is what I’ve learned as the basics of body surfing: find the right spot where the waves are breaking, plant your feet in the sand as a good one approaches, don’t let the outgoing current pull you, push off the sand hard just before the wave, paddle like crazy for a few strokes with the wave, then extend one arm so the wave can catch your armpit and push you, then ride it, and as you ride watch for high five opportunities with Sweeney, who is bound to be riding every good wave.
Mazatlan was my first Mexican experience and first time out of the country (besides Canada). I really enjoyed spending a few days in Old Town Mazatlan. It wasn’t filled with resorts and felt very culturally rich. I loved walking the bustling markets on the streets and the sleepy colorful back alleys. As for “dangerous Mexico”, I never felt unsafe in Mazatlan, though we never wandered down sketchy alleys late at night. It was strange seeing the police trucks full of armored and masked men with machine guns driving around occasionally. As it turned out, seeing a truck full of dudes armed to the teeth was not an uncommon sight in any of the areas of Mexico we would visit. Most of the time it was police or military, but a couple times in the canyons it was cartel dudes, or mercanaries, or who the hell knows, just a bunch of dudes with machine guns, no big deal, right?
Our ragtag group consisted of eight people crazy enough to make the journey: Barefoot Ted, this would be his fourth year attending the CCUM, the infamous Patrick Sweeney, in full force with all sorts of games, jokes, and antics, my best friend Shawn and his partner in crime Steff, both from Utah, the one and only Eli Duke, from Portland, Claudia from San Diego, and Sabrina from L.A. It was pretty unbelievable how fun and easy it was to travel with all of them. I could go on and on about each of them with stories of how amazing they are. I felt extremely privileged to be travelling with everyone of them.
Sweeney, me, Steff, and Shawn
After three days of playing in Mazatlan the eight of us started our journey to the legendary Barrancas del Cobre. Our travel was thus: taxi, 6 hour bus ride, taxi, 2 hour bus ride, hostel in El Fuerte, taxi, 6 hour train ride, 3 hour layover in Bahuichivo, 1 hour bus ride, switch buses, then 2 hour bus ride into Urique. It was two full days of travel. The main buses were super nice, way better than Greyhound in the States. The train ride was my first time riding a train and was awesome. The bus ride into Urique from the canyon rim was the scariest road I’ve ever been on.The travelling was long but very comfortable and not too expensive.
We were on our way to participate in what could be the greatest footrace on the planet, The Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon. Inside, I had been buzzing with growing anticipation for weeks, months, maybe even years. We would be running 51 miles in the canyons of the Raramuri. The story of the CCUM, the Raramuri, and the book Born To Run had been a catalyst in my life launching me into a path deeply intertwined with it all. So it was a dream and honor to be going to participate in this celebration of life, running, the Raramuri, and that undefinable spirit of… good intention maybe, korima, community… no, not quite any of those… or maybe this “thing” is better left unnamed and undefined to float freely through the hearts of those that can taste and smell it.
If I finished this would be my first 50 miler. It was Barefoot Ted’s first 50 in 2006, and also Bookis’s (Luna co-owner and my brother) first 50 in 2011. This was a right of passage as one of the owners of Luna Sandals, which was born right there in the street of Urique with a Raramuri man named Manuel Luna. With a knife sharpened on the concrete and a chunk of tire rubber, Manuel made Ted his first pair of huaraches and the seed for Luna Sandals was planted.
The birth of Luna Sandals. Manuel Luna making BFT’s first pair of huaraches. Circa 2006.
We spent three full days in Urique before the race. We hung out with new friends, swam in the river, hiked around, and we cooked delicious food in the kitchen of the amazing hostel we were staying at; Entre Amigos. Two nights before the race we played basketball with the local teenagers and it was so much fun. The bleachers were full of all kinds of spectators; Mexican, Raramuri, and gringos. The court was super slick from all the dust. Urique is a dusty place. People were slipping and sliding all over the place and everybody was having a blast. Shawn would run by the girls sitting in the bleachers and get them to chant “vamos, vamos, gringos!” It was hilarious.
Walking home late that night we had an SUV full of drunk guys stop us a couple times wanting to hang out and drink. At one point they showed us their gun, in a friendly way. But with drunk dudes things can turn from friendly to hostile quickly and it put a little pep in my step to get back to the hostel.
The first Raramuri person I saw was in Bahuichivo on our way to Urique. She was a short, small woman in bright orange and red with a walking stick and the traditional tire huaraches. A smile came to my face when I first saw her. I was excited to finally get to meet the Raramuri in person. This woman ended up on the bus we were on down into Urique.
The Raramuri poured into Urique as the week progressed. They were dressed in their bright blouses and skirts and tire sandals. It is true that the Raramuri are a very beautiful people in general. Their skin tone is a vibrant brown and they have handsome facial features. Combine that with their bright traditional clothing, their timid personalities, and their reputation as legendary runners and they have a very awe-inspiring presence.
So much happened in those few days before the race there is no way I can write about all of it. I met so many amazing people. Including two local women who invited us to their home and taught a group of us how to make tortillas from scratch and how to roast and grind coffee.
Race day morning came fast. The hostel started stirring around 5am. As the race got closer I got nervous about it. Would I actually be able to run 50 miles? Especially with the tiny amount of training I had been doing. After the Orcas Island 50k a month before, I had only done a handful of short runs in the 5-7 mile range. I would definitely be testing the least amount of training possible approach to running ultras. With my drop bag packed and my sandals adjusted for racing, a group of us walked in the early morning pre-dawn darkness to the center of town and starting line. Excitement hung in the air as we all prepared ourselves. Then came the countdown and just like that we were off, running the dream that is the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon.
Just as I had heard, the Raramuri and front runners burst from the starting line as if they were running a 5k. I found my groove at a nice trot and waved to the cheering people lining the streets. In the early morning light we followed the Urique river out of town and off toward the Guadalupe school which would be the turnaround point for the first 10 mile loop. Which would also be the last loop and last 10 miles of the race. Running along the river the sun began lighting up the high canyon cliffs as we rolled up and down on a gradual climb to the school. It was a gorgeous morning in those canyons. At one point I thought about how on this stretch I would see the sunrise and later if I was still running I would see the sun set on this same stretch. It was a little shocking to think I was going to try to be running until the sunset. But I didn’t dwell on it and focused on the moment surrounded by beautiful people from all over the world all running together.
In no time the front runners were zipping by me on their return from the turnaround at Guadalupe. There were so many Raramuri running fast, just huge lines of them streaming by me at a pace that was mind-blowing. At the school I grabbed a snack and got the wristband indicating I had made it there. I cruised back, running with Shawn for a little bit and chatting with other runners. I was feeling great. My body felt 100% and my mind was reeling, trying to take it all in. Around mile 10 was the start of the first big climb. We left the dirt road for a switchbacked single track trail winding its way up the canyon. We climbed high and the miles were flying by. At the top was bracelet number 2 and a sweeping view of the canyons.
From the top was a 6 mile steady downhill dirt road. At the Orcas island 50k my approach to the downhills was to be conservative, take it slow, and conserve my leg muscles. But for Copper Canyon I decided to try the opposite and open it up, let my legs spin, and let gravity pull me down the hills. This approach felt so right and I hoped my legs wouldn’t regret my decision later. I cruised down the path feeling amazing. I caught up to Ted on this hill and chatted with him briefly. The trails and roads in the canyons are as you would expect, very rocky. On this long downhill I was really noticing that I was having to watch my steps more carefully than I wanted. Every once in a while I would catch the point of a rock right in the ball of my foot and when I was trying to open it up and run ‘fast’ it was slightly annoying to attempt to avoid every pointy rock. Watching the Raramuri running around me in their nice and thick tire sandals got me thinking. Their huaraches are heavy but they sure aren’t feeling the rocks that I was. I was making mental notes on the ideal sandal for Las Barrancas that I would develop later. Something even a little closer to the Raramuri’s tire huaraches. There is a reason the Raramuri don’t use thin sandals and prefer the beefy, thick stuff. I was also thinking about Ted’s concept of ‘Portable Ground’, which is the idea that you are running barefoot with a piece of ‘portable ground’ strapped to the bottom of your feet. Thinking about it this way makes the concept of ‘ground feel’ way less important. And in those canyons I was getting sick of “feeling” the ground. I was wearing the Leadvilles with a leather footbed and the ATS laces. They were performing wonderfully other than that I would have preferred a little more rock protection. The LeadCat would have been a better choice for rock protection.
Coming down the hill my goal was to keep these two girls in sight. They were really cruisin. The Raramuri never ceased to amaze me.
Before I knew it I was rolling back into the edge of town at mile 22. The first 22 miles were the easiest 22 miles I had ever ran. Not that the terrain was easy I was just feeling really good. I grabbed some snacks and ate some food in town and was on my way. The next stretch was relatively flat dirt road following the river for 5 miles out to the bridge and the biggest climb of the course up to Los Alisos. The sun was getting higher and the temps were rising fast. By the time I got to the bridge and started the steep dusty singletrack switchbacks the sun was in full force. It was really cookin. I power hiked up the mountain and saw Sweeney and some other friends on their way down as I was on my way up. Some people like to run parts of the course and get familiar with it before a race, which makes sense, but sometimes I really enjoy seeing the course for the first time as I’m running it. It helps keep me present by not being able to anticipate what is coming up. Instead I just take it as it comes. On the climb up to Los Alisos I was expecting it too be higher and was pleasantly surprised when all of a sudden I was at the top at the nice shady grove of grapefruit trees. The top of Los Alisos is about the 50k point in the race and it means most of the major climbing is done. At that 50k point I asked someone the time and found out we were 6:45 into the race. I was stoked to have done the first 50k in 6:45 and I still felt great. My legs felt surprisingly totally fine.
On my way down I saw Ted, Shawn, and Eli coming up and we exchanged words of encouragement. I strolled down the mountain and by the time I was at the bottom I was hot, really hot. The out and back up to Los Alisos was fairly exposed in the sun and it was now the middle of the day and really scorching. I went down to the river and filled my hat with water and dumped water all over myself which helped a lot. The 5 mile section back to Urique was brutal. It was just too hot. I made several trips down to the river to cool off but my brain was frying.
I made it back into Urique at mile 40 in just over 9 hours. My legs were still feeling great but the heat was getting to my head and stomach. I sat and snacked from my drop bag and chatted with Caballo and Steph. All I had left was the 10 mile out and back to the school at guadalupe which I had already done that morning. I left Urique again feeling determined and excited. It was still really hot but evening was around the corner.
On my way out I was seeing a lot of strong runners coming in for their finish and it was very appearant that the heat was taking it’s toll on most of us. I saw Sweeney coming in and he said he had laid down on the side of the trail and passed out for a while. I would really have to be careful if I didn’t want to bonk in the heat. So I would run for a stretch then walk for a stretch. This time out to the school felt much longer than the first time out. I eventually made it out there and got my final bracelet. The sun had gone down considerably by this point and it had cooled down quite a bit. My stomach was bothering me a little and after a bathroom break behind the bushes I felt much better.
Back on the trail I immediately ran into Flint from Montreal. Flint is such a positive and upbeat guy, he is amazing. This was his first 50 as well. He would make the perfect companion to tackle the last five miles with. As we chatted we would trot some and then walk some more as the last of the light left the canyons and we entered the darkness. I watched the sun set on those same rocks that I had watched the sun rise on. And I was still moving and still amazed by it all. Some kind of magic happened as we made our way with headlamps in the darkness. As we were chatting all of the sudden the bridge, that meant we weren’t too far from town, appeared out of nowhere. We were so excited and it hit me that we were going to finish this thing. We walked up a small hill, then with one mile to go we started running. As we approached town I could see lights and people about. Then I heard the music playing at the finish line and it pulled me in. When we hit pavement our pace picked up. My heart was beating fast from anticipation. People cheered as we ran through the streets of Urique and I was all smiles. A tunnel of people opened as we approached the finish line. Together Flint and I sprinted through the people, under the banners, and across the finish line of the greatest footrace on the planet.
Me and Flint just after crossing the line, running on magic. Thanks Flint!
Sprinting into that finish line was one of the greatest feelings I had experienced in my life. After the race I was floating. I felt great. I just wanted to sit, eat, and be.
Me, Sweeney, Maria, and Guadajuko, all grinnin.
Victory is ours! Me, Shawn, Steff, and Sweeney.
This was the first long run I had done that my legs felt pretty damn good afterward. It was really crazy. My legs would be stiff after sitting for a long time and they were a little sore but for the most part they were fine. I could trot around the day after the race without too much effort. During the race as well, my legs got tired but they never got sore or achy while I was running which I was so excited about and not quite sure why or how that is possible since I hadn’t trained much.
The next day we said goodbye to the amazing people we had met and started our non-stop journey back to Mazatlan and the States. The further we got from the canyons the more surreal the whole experience seemed.
The Crew. I love you all!
There is a lot more I would have liked to talk about here but it’s going to have to wait for another time.
Until the next adventure…
Muchas gracias a todos!!! Thanks to each of you in the Lunatic tribe above, Ted, Sweeney, Shawn, Steff, Eli, Claudia, Sabrina, and to Flint, Caballo, Maria, Caleb, Tyler, Tony, the Raramuri, the people of Urique, Sterling and Leslie, Jeff and the Luna crew at home for holding down the shop while I was gone, and all the other beautiful people I met, too numerous to count.
We have a plenty of fun pictures this newsletter, plus a 15% off coupon and the return of the Leadville Pacer:
Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon Photos
T-shirt Giveaway Brings out the Amazing Fan Pics
Free Sandals Winner
15% Off Leadville Sale & Leadville Pacer Returns Next Week
BFT & the Monkeys Run the Copper Canyon Ultra
Below are some of Barefoot Ted’s finest photos from an epic week in Mexico.
Ted with Luna Sandals’ namesake and inspiration: Manuel Luna.
Luna Sandals co-founder Scott finishing his first ever 50 miler!
Manuel Luna’s huaraches.
Colorful Raramuri runners.
Want to help the Tarahumaras? Donate to Norawas, Caballo Blanco’s non-profit dedicated to helping the Raramuri people. Remember, half of all Luna Bracelet sales also go to Norawas.
Lunar Monkey T-shirt Giveaway Pictures
It was a simple symbiotic exchange: your Lunar Monkey pics for our Lunar Monkey shirts. Boy, did y’all deliver! Here our some of coolest, prettiest, and funniest photos from the Lunar Monkey T-Shirt Giveaway:
Free Sandals Winner
Part II of our t-shirt giveaway involved tagging a lucky friend to give them a chance to win a free pair of sandals. Our winner…
Keith Grassick, tell your buddy Wes Barrett to email us at email@example.com to get his free sandals. Also, be sure to tell him he owes you one!
Leadville Sale: BFT’s Sandal of Choice for the Copper Canyon Ultra is 15% off
BFT and the Luna crew took on the tough Copper Canyon terrain in their Leadvilles with ATS and they performed beautifully. Try out the trail-loving Leadville for yourself at 15% off through Sunday, March 11th: simply enter the coupon code CCUM15 at checkout to apply your discount.
Leadville Pacer In Stock Next Week
We received word that the 8mm soling material we use for the Leadville Pacer and LeadCat will arrive early next week! If you’re on our product wait-list, we’ll contact you once it’s ready to roll, otherwise, stay tuned to Luna’s Facebook and Twitter for the in-stock announcement after the weekend.
If you were waiting for the 5/8” Vegan Elasticized Laces, they are already back in stock on all sandal models!
The orange and red Madronas contrasted sharply with the dark green evergreens, all clinging to a steep rocky slope spilling into the sea. Our ferry had just left Lopez Island and was rounding the northern point of the island on our way to Orcas Island. The four of us lounged in the cushy seats of our booth on the ferry. The sun was blinding and irresistible. I stared out the window, blocking my eyes from the sun with my hand and soaking in as much as I could. In the grey overcast winter of Seattle, sunlight is the most prized commodity. No amount of money can buy you sunshine in Seattle. You just have to wait and hope. But when it comes out it’s glorious. Something that I don’t notice until the sun comes out is the lack of shadow and color in the normally overcast weather. When it’s overcast everything is muted. People and objects lose depth in appearance. The trees and water are a bland shade of the their true colors. Skin pigment fades away. And then it happens. The blue water glimmers. The vinyl seats shine with warmth. The evergreens of the islands bursting from the sea are bright green. The white seagulls drift in the cloudless blue sky. The faces of my friends, chatting and smiling in our booth, have a depth of shadow, shades, and light that give a better glimpse of who they are. And the Madronas… wow. Light is beautiful.
We were on our way to run the Orcas Island 50k. I was nervous because I hadn’t been running much over the winter and didn’t know how I would do. With 8000 feet of elevation gain, Orcas is known as a tough 50k. Looking at the previous years results a lot of people were finishing in the 6.5-8 hour range which gave me an idea of how hard it is. Also, I am signed up the for Copper Canyon Ultra, which is a 50 miler I’ll be running just a month after Orcas. My performance at Orcas would be a good indicator for what to expect in the Copper Canyons. It can be hard for me to train in the winter, especially when choosing between a nice, warm bouldering gym versus a run in the drizzly 40 degree city gloom. Let’s just say that I’ve been getting a lot better at bouldering. Regardless, mentally I had a lot hinging on how things would go at Orcas.
I was excited for Orcas. I had never been to the San Juan Islands, the weather was supposed to be perfect, and the course is mostly soft single track through old growth rain forest in Moran State Park including summiting Mount Constitution. Orcas is a Rainshadow Running event and I had heard really good things about Rainshadow events.
I was lucky enough to catch a ride with a great group of people.Tom, who just joined us at Luna; Yitka, who I had only met once at the Vashon Island 50k; and Glenn, who I had never met, and who was going to be shooting all the official race event photos. We pulled off the ferry and drove around the island to the Moran State Park as the sun set with golds and oranges. That night there was a potluck style dinner and a lot of people hanging out in the lodge. I don’t do very many events but I recognized a lot of people there. It felt good to talk to friends I hadn’t seen in a long time and to meet a lot of new people. That night we stayed in one of the bunk houses that slept about 16 people. It was interesting sleeping in a room with 15 other people. Im glad I remembered my ear plugs, I woke up quite a bit in the night but still got good sleep.
Mountain Lake, the first time by.
In the morning everyone was up early. I had decided to run the early start at 7:30 rather than the normal 8:30 start. On the race’s website they suggest you start early if you expect to take over 7 hours to finish the course. Being that my plan was to take it easy, enjoy it, and just finish I expected to take over 7 hours. I put on my sandals (Luna Leadville with ATS laces) and strapped on my water bottle waist belt and was out the door to the starting line. It was chilly and beautiful. James, the race director, said a few words, gave a countdown, and we were off. Down a short little stretch in the campground then into the soft singletrack forested trails that would make up most of the course. Right away I realized I had made a mistake by not starting closer to the front of the early starters. I was close to the back and on the singletrack I was stuck behind lines of people going considerably slower that I wanted to go. It took two to three miles of leap frogging before I got into a place between people going a similar pace. Once we were running and on the trails a lot of my anxiety slipped away as I breathed in the crisp air and ran by giant old growth Douglas Firs. Coming up the back side of Mount Pickett I caught glimpses through the trees of the sun rising over the sound and Cascades. After the summit I started down the easy graded and surprisingly soft fire road leading back towards Cascade Falls and let my legs spin and pick up some speed coming down. I was feeling good and rolled onwards.
I pulled back into the campground lodge and first aid station at mile 9.7, grabbed some snacks, and was back on the trail. Shortly after leaving the lodge the front runners started passing me having started an hour later than me. It was pretty amazing that at mile 10 they had already caught up to me. I strolled next to Cascade Lake before turning to head up the infamous powerline climb. It’s definitely steep and full of false summits. Going up my legs were starting to feel worked and were actually getting a little crampy. Which got me worried. Did I just need to eat and drink? I started eating and drinking more and trying to analyze what was going on.
I finally made it to the top of the powerline climb and the trail flattened out and then started heading down around the back side of Mt. Constitution. My legs were still feeling a little crampy but as I moved from the steep climbing to the flat and downhill running my legs started to feel better. I really liked the varied terrain. When one muscle group was feeling tired the terrain would change and I would use another group for a while. The backside of Constitution and the run around Mountain Lake were very meditative. It seemed like a time of transition from a little anxiety about my crampy legs to determination and hope by the time I rounded the lake.
When I reached the aid station at mile 19 at the base of the climb up Mt. Constitution I was feeling pretty good. My legs were getting a little sore but not cramping any more. I climbed up Mt. Constitution and the view from the top was spectacular.
Coming down the steep switch backs of Mt Constitution my quads really started feeling my lack of training. By the time I was at the bottom they were pretty shot and I still had another big downhill coming up. I rounded the mountain and the last big downhill was brutal. My quads were done. I pitter-pattered slowly down the steep hill while others were racing by me. My friend Danielle flew by me ecstatically, urging me to run with her. I had no delusions that I could run that fast right then and she was two switch backs below me in no time. Near the bottom of the hill I stopped to look at a huge old growth Red Cedar towering above the trail. This was an amazing course. Back on flat ground my legs felt great and I was flying around the lake on the last couple miles to the finish line. Finishing felt amazing as it always does.
20 yards to the finish line:
Besides my quads being brutalized I was feeling pretty good after the run. Orcas is actually a little over a 50k at 32.75 miles. I think I had a tiny bit of gas still in the tank (Im telling myself that now, after the fact) so that leaves me hopeful for running 50 in the Copper Canyons. We’ll find out soon. CCUM is March 4th!
My Lunas performed great. The course was a little muddy in places with a tiny bit of snow at the top of Constitution but nothing we couldn’t handle.
On the journey back home that evening I was sitting in the car feeling completely satisfied. It’s funny how quickly memories of struggling on the course fade and are overshadowed by these celebratory feelings. I felt warmly content like I had just purged every ounce of anxiety out of my body. I wanted nothing, well food and a shower sounded nice, but really I was completely happy just to be. I remembered and I felt why I love to run in the wilderness.
Thanks to Tom, Yitka, Glenn, Rainshadow Running, and everyone at the event for facilitating such a wonderful time!
We have some big changes, new products, and a weekly contest to talk about as we head into spring:
10% Off Everything Sale
Leadville with ATS Lacing Option
BFT Runs Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run
Winter OR in Pictures
Monthly Photo Contest Winner
When Are the Leadville Pacer and Vegan Elasticized Laces Coming Back?
Fan Pics and New Photo Contest
Full Moon Sale: 10% Off Everything
From toe socks to a custom Catamount with 1/2” red elasticized laces, everything is 10% through Friday at noon SLMT (Seattle Lunar Monkey Time). Use the code SLMT10 at checkout to receive your discount. Go at it!
Introducing the Leadville with ATS Lacing
The ATS is Dead! Long Live the ATS!
We recently discontinued the ATS as a separate sandal model, but the ATS (which now stands for All-Terrain Strapping) lives on as a lacing option on the Leadville. Here’s a little faux-Q&A based off some of the questions we’ve recently received about the change:
But why? I love the ATS!!
We did too! Unfortunately securing the non-slip footbed to the soling material proved too time consuming and costly, so we kept the strapping system and added it as an option on the Leadville model. The secure, tubular nylon strapping is what made the ATS so effective, so the Leadville with ATS is a great all-terrain sandal that performs almost identically to the ATS.
How is the Leadville with ATS different from the ATS sandal?
The only difference in the footbed. The ATS sandal used a Leadville or Leadville Pacer sole. Once the Pacer is back in stock (sometime around early March; see the sidebar for instructions on being added to the wait-list), it will also come with an ATS lacing option.
Is ATS going to be a lacing option on other sandals? Pretty please with sugar on top?
Yes! We’re working on adding ATS lacing to more models in the near future. However, the lacing is very difficult to thread through sandals with shell cordovan leather, so we’re working on other methods of creating the laces. Stay tuned to Facebook, Twitter, and future Full Moon Newsletters for announcements on new ATS lacing options.
What about other non-slip footbeds? Gimme!
We’re testing out new materials and should have another non-slip option before next winter rolls around.
Barefoot Ted Recaps 50 Mile Minimal Training Experiment
Ted recently ran the Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run on Catalina Island in his Leadvilles with ATS lacing, successfully completing the run with minimal training. How minimal? Try a maximum of 2-5 miles per day of combined running, trotting, and walking. Check out his blog to find out more on how, and why, he took the minimalist approach beyond his feet and into his training regimen.
BFT and the Monkeys Storm Winter Outdoor Retailer
One of these things in not like the other…
The Luna Sandal Tree, where we grow each and every Luna
BFT = Ladies Man
Monthly Photo Contest Winner
Our winner for the January Wet ‘n’ Pet Fan Photo contest is… Scott Mullins! His thieving mutts steal the show in his photo submission:
Congrats Scott! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your t-shirt size and color, bracelet size, toe socks size, and address to get your prize package.
Our new theme for February: Anything Goes!
Forget the theme, we just want to see your great pics involving Lunas. To participate, add your favorite Luna photos to our Facebook wall. The winner will get a special, limited edition sandal! Winners, runner-ups, and the identity of our limited edition sandal will be posted in March’s Full Moon Newsletter
Hop on the Leadville Pacer or Vegan Elasticized Laces Waitlist
We’re expecting to have our 8mm Pacer soling material and vegan elasticized laces back in stock sometime around March. If you’re waiting patiently to get your hands on either of these, send your name and email address to email@example.com with the subject line "Put me on the waitlist" and let us know which product you’re waiting for. Remember, the Leadville Pacer will have ATS lacing available!
As soon as the materials are available to order again, we’ll send you an email to let you know.
Our Favorite Fan Photos
We received some seriously awesome fan pics this month, so thanks to everyone that submitted! Want to show us pics of you and your Lunas out in the wild? Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org or simply post them to our Facebook page.
Our Weekly Runner Poll is going so well, we thought we’d add a new way to win stuff! Each month, we’ll ask you Lunatics to post photos on our Facebook wall based off a specific theme. We’ll choose 3-5 photos to go in our monthly Full Moon Newsletter, one of which will win our Fan Photo of the Month, winning the pic poster a Luna-related prize.
As we posted on Facebook last week, this month’s theme was Christmas/Winter. At the bottom of this newsletter you can find all of the finalists and the winner of this month’s prize: 2 pairs of toe socks.
Our new theme for January: Wet and Pet! To participate, go to Facebook and post photos of you and man’s best friend (or any other pet you may have) going on a rainy or wintry run. We’ll post the winner in February’s Full Moon Newsletter. The winner will get a prize package that includes a t-shirt, toe socks, and a Luna bracelet!
BTF’s Wet and Pet example (minus the Lunas):
Luna Heads to Outdoor Retailer Expo
After a successful trip to Austin for The Running Event, we’re ready to show off what’s new at Luna at OR in Salt Lake City later this month. We have a bunch of new and exciting changes coming this spring and Summer, and the Outdoor Retailer Expo marks the start of our 2012 journey.
Stay tuned to next month’s Full Moon Newsletter for some tidbits about what we will have revealed at OR!
BirthdayShoes Reviews the ATS
BirthdayShoes is at it again! After a great review of the LeadCat in November, the minimalist running site tried out a more winter appropriate model: the ATS. Check out their in-depth review, which is based off hundreds of miles of testing on tough terrain.
Barefoot Ted’s been on a roll lately over on his blog, Barefoot Ted’s Adventures. Be sure to check out his latest thoughts on hunting as dance and his response to Christopher McDougall’s latest inspiring article.
Patrick Sweeney Snags 1st at Operation Jack 1/2 Marathon
Sporting his trusty Original Lunas, Luna runner extraordinaire Patrick Sweeney rocked Manhattan Beach and earned a win. Way to go Pat! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Patrick’s always entertaining blog, Bourbon Feet, where he has more on the Operation Jack 1/2 marathon, other races, and more.
This Weekend Only: Free International Shipping
We want to show our appreciation to our oversees Luna-tics who have to wait an extra few weeks and spend a few extra bucks to get their sandals. While we can’t do much about the wait, we can lower the cost a bit by offering free shipping for international customers through Sunday January 8th!
If you live outside the U.S., simply place an order on any Luna product and your sandals will arrive free of shipping charges.
Our Favorite Lunatic Pics and Contest Winner
And this month’s winner is…
Kate Kift sporting her “Snowflake” Tutu in New York. Email us with your address and shoe size Kate and we’ll get you those toe socks!
Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run” has moved a lot of us to reexamine what it means to be human, what it means to locomote with two feet over the world. He has reminded us that we are not broken by default and that some of our most basic primal capacities are awesome before the admixture of anything, that we embody some pretty impressive ancient technology worthy of remembering and rediscovering.
Testing the Original Vibram FiveFingers January 2006
Since 2004, I have been committed to rediscovering for myself the joy of running, the joy of primal movement, the joy of tuning into my own body’s sophisticated and time-tested tools for survival and play. That led me to the bare foot, but my investigation did not stop there.
I started becoming fascinated by the footwear of our ancient ancestors, footwear that has played a role in our species’ ability to get to every nook and cranny of this planet on our own two feet. I looked for modern versions of these most fundamental designs and in late 2005 hit pay dirt when I was among the first to recognize the original Vibram FiveFingers as the perfect shoe for human beings, the first modern shoe that achieved full expression of the most amazing footwear design ever…the foot itself. (See my blog post Paradigm Shifting Trojan Horses - Vibram Five Fingers)
Tarahumara Huarache Sandals Made by Manuel Luna in 2006
One thing the footwear of our ancient hunter-gathering ancestors share is an elegance of design, a functional simplicity based on an underlying assumption that the foot is just fine as it is and at best requires protection from the extremes of hot, sharp and cold. Sandals and moccasins have played a role in our success from the very beginning. Go hither and thither on this planet and do some investigating… you’ll find fine examples of minimalist footwear everywhere.
It is no mistake that the Tarahumara Indians of Northern Mexico happen to be among the greatest long distance mountain runners on the planet. They have remained true to a tradition of running and sandal making that goes back into our distant past. Simple sandals have proven themselves through the natural selection of human experience and use. The simplest, most elegant solutions that work tend to rise to the top: sandals like the Tarahumara huarache and the traditional Japanese waraji and the San people of South Africa’s giraffe-hide sandal.
Traditional Japanese Waraji, part of a long footwear tradition
Regaining an acquaintance with our own bodies is a first good step in getting a chance to taste what it means to be fully human. Learning how to move well in your own bare feet directly connects you to an aspect of the human condition that is as old as time and older. Every able bodied 21st century primate of the genus Homo can relive the magic and majesty of our species’ bipedal mastery of movement in their own default equipment. It is a human birthright available to all, and when practiced well, brings health and happiness by virtue of being what our bodies and minds have evolved to crave. We know it when we feel it and humans have been practicing this amazing art for some time now.
Sandals of the Bushmen, among our oldest ancestors
In the end, is barefoot and minimalism for everyone? Is it the new cure all? Will it make me faster, better, stronger? It has yet to be determined, after all, we as a cohort of humans in modern urban societies are the among the first who have ever been so differently-abled as to literally need therapy and coaching to reconnect to our own bodies’ basic primal abilities. With insights from evolutionary biology and the cultures of our most ancient ancestors, we can pick up on a powerful riff of movement that when played through the instrument of our own bodies is instantaneously recognized by many as being the most perfect solution.
Using health and happiness as a motivator, you will find much to gain in reconnection to the earth and your body. 10 years ago, barefoot and minimalism was barely on the palette of footwear choices available to mainstream America. Now that it is actively being rediscovered, I feel like new-old aspects of movement culture can once again flourish. Running is not just about times, distances and speed. Running is about human exuberance and joy, about allowing the human animal to express and come alive, about mastering functional movements by moving well in one’s original hardware. All you need is your own two feet and a patch of earth, the rest is up to you.
In my own personal investigation of running and living, I have gained much inspiration from the American Transcendentalists like Emerson, Thoreau and Whitman. In particular, I have been amazed to rediscover a similarly inspired anarchistic philosopher named J. William Lloyd who in 1890 wrote the first treatise on running as an exercise where he suggests that health and pleasure should be our primary motivation for movement, not competition. I plan on sharing much more about him and his insights in the future. For the time being, here is a great tidbit he wrote in a paper on coed running clubs and games in the 1890s:
"I would advise that each runner leave shoes and stockings at home, but of course this should be optional with the individual; next to bare feet are sandals, next to sandals moccasins, next to moccasins, soft, low shoes."
Deep insights into the human condition are timeless. Gaining access to some profound insights may be a bare foot away. Enjoy with gusto.
And of course you can always take it one step further and run with the animal that has hung out with us from time immemorial, the loyal, loving dog ;-). I do.
Ted with Hiko and Edgar in front of the Born To Run store in Seattle
Info on Austin, beating the Christmas shipping deadline, a fan dressed as Nurse The Joker and more:
Luna Invades The Running Event in Austin
Sale on Toe Socks
Holiday Shipping Deadline
New Sandals, New Shipping Options, New Sizes
Reviews Show Luna Some Love
Win an ATS with Toe Socks in our Weekly Runner Poll
Last Month’s Fan-tastic Photos
Monkeys in Austin
Barefoot Ted, Dylan, and Patrick Sweeney will be attending The Running Event in Austin next week to show off our new retail line of sandals due out in March 2012. Stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates and pictures, and if you’re in Austin, come say howdy!
Stuff Your (Toe) Stocking Sale
Get 20% off toe socks through December 14th! Use the discount code TWINKLETOES at checkout and it will be toe-tally worth your while. Sock up, er, stock up now! (No more puns, we promise.)
More on our Toe Socks: ToeSox ULTRA Sport Socks with Cocona® Natural Technology™ are the ultra wicking, anti-blister toe socks designed to meet the demands of high endurance sports while protecting your feet. Cocona® technology utilizes recycled coconut shells (not husks) that would have gone to landfills.
The socks can be used with any of our sandals, but we recommend using them with the ATS or other naked top models as the socks tend to grip to a rubber surface better than leather.
Will Your Sandals Arrive Before Santa Does?
If you’re a last minute shopper*, it’s helpful to know when that last minute is for online orders. Customers within the U.S. should order by December 14th to guarantee (barring huge postal service delays) delivery of their sandals before Christmas. All orders placed on or before the 14th will be shipped out by Monday the 19th, which gives a healthy five day cushion for your sandals to reach your (or a lucky recipient’s) doorstep.
As for our beloved Lunatics abroad, we have no way of guaranteeing how fast a shipment will arrive once it crosses our borders, so you might want to order right about NOW to have a chance of getting your sandals before December 25th.
Every Monday when we add a wall post asking how many miles you ran last week, reply with your answer
We will already have a random magic number between 1-100 in mind; if you hit that number, you win!
Our Favorite Lunatic Pics
Below are some of our favorite fan shots from the last month or so. Want to show us pics of you and your Lunas out in the wild? Send them to: email@example.com or simply post them to our Facebook page.