Do you have a favourite piece of gear? Vincent asked me. I thought for a moment and then answered “Yes, I really like my Luna Sandals.”
I picked up my pair of OSO sandals in Munich as I was visiting the ISPO and have worn them on the trail in Luxembourg and Poland, on the OutDoor 2014 and pretty much the last three months every day in Finland.
They’re sandals, so they’re, like, made for having cool feet. Minimal walking. Protecting your soft feet from sharp bits and stuff.
- Has a non-slip MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) footbed
- ATS (All Terrain Strapping) laces with a non-stretch, cushioned heel strap
- Optional Tech Straps
- A grippy Vibram® sole
- Is 11 mm thick
- The HEAVIEST Luna Sandal there is :D
Sandals and innovations, right? Right. If you saw the features above you quickly will see some things which you likely haven’t read before. The MGT footbed, the ATS laces and the Tech Straps are all innovations when it comes to sandals, or then Barefoot Ted just paid close attention to how the Tarahumara indians made their sandals, and improved a bit on those with modern materials.
These sandals are hand-made by monkeys in Seattle, USA. I couldn’t find any fault with them, and I looked close. And walked a lot in them. They’re high-quality sandals.
The OSO is the heaviest Luna Sandal available and my pair in Size 43,5 weighs 412 g or 206 g for one sandal. The Tech Straps (two) add 18 g to the pair.
Sustainability & Recyclability
Ah well, sandals are shoes. Here in Finland they go into the rubbish bin nowadays and are burned for energy. If the sole is still good you could probably just try to order a new ATS system and rig it yourself, if that was what was broken. And if the sole is walked through, maybe get your shoe maker apply a new one? Or then you really could just put them in the trash and start to walk barefoot.
I settled on the OSO because both Benjamin and Marius had them and liked them. And if those young men can walk in a pair of sandals in the mountains then the strapping young lad that is the author of this website most surely also could walk in them. Should. Would. And thus walking in the mountains with sandals he did.
In the Lake District I wished I would have taken the OSOs along. On the Escapardenne Trail I did and hiked 85 km of it in them. And in Poland I hiked five out of seven days in them, much to the surprise of the Mountain Guide I was walking with. Minimal footwear is still an unusual view in the mountains and hills, and a pair of sandals at 2000+ m most certainly has people turn their heads. Which might be dangerous for them if they’re walking on a narrow ridge.
First you will need to learn to walk in them correctly. Walk wrong in these sandals - with your heel first as you might have learned by using high drop, thickly cushioned shoes - and you will get pain. Pain in the heel, knees and your back. The strap will pull uncomfortably into the front of your foot and hurt the top of it. After having used some cushioned shoes I switched into the OSO and walked wrong for a while and quickly experienced that pain. I realized that I walked wrong, and by walking as nature intended the human body to walk - the front first - the pain eased and walking became a pleasure. So much that I have barely used any other shoe in the past three months.
Lets talk a bit about the construction of the OSO. The toe webbing is soft and comfortable and will mould to the space between your toes after a few days of wearing them. At the beginning it was something to get used to, but nowadays I don’t even realize that I have the sandal on and that there’s some webbing between my toes. Much of that has to do with the ATS strap which really is what makes a Luna Sandal a Luna Sandal in my opinion. This is a super-smart system. When they’re new you once need to sit down, fiddle around with the buckle and strap to get it to fit your foot just right, and then that was that. Unlike other Luna Sandals the ATS in the OSO is not elastic so you need to pull it a bit to slip it over your heel, but then it sits there. There’s a MGT rubber lining on the inside of the heel part which helps to keep the strap in place. The same MGT material is on the top webbing before the buckle, with the same comfortable effect. By the way: The whole strap really is just one piece of webbing with a buckle & the plug, which are threaded through the sole and buckle to keep it connected to your foot.
If you go running in the OSO, and it’s perfectly capable of that, then I found the Tech Strap a good Add-on. It is included with the OSO and really is just a Velcro strap that helps to keep your heel strap and ankle secure. While this might sound trivial, it makes the OSO a completely different sandal. With the Tech Strap on the sandal is glued to your foot, no slipping, nothing. It’s just as easy to put the sandal on - it’s still slip-on-and-off-able - as the Tech Strap is just a Velcro strap but makes a world of difference. If you run and like the sandal to be glued to your foot, then you’ll love the Tech Strap.
So running. Trailrunning, really, because running on asphalt still sucks in my opinion. During the winter I ran in a different pair of shoes each day, and I looked forward to the Luna Sandals days. Sure, running on snow at -5°C is a bit fresh, but with a pair of Injinji Toesocks it’s just fine. You generate a lot of heat when running, so the feet were never cold. The OSO had superb grip on the snow and ice, which surprised me. The OSO kept on surprising me as I was hiking in Luxembourg on the Escapardenne Eisleck Trail, where it rained every day and I was hiking up some slippery, muddy hills. But like a bear the OSO just had grip and didn’t slip. Neither did my foot, thanks to the really grippy MGT footbed.
While my feet got wet and a bit dirty when it rained, they got a nice tan from the sunshine which we had in Finland the last months, including an ATS mark =) I already mentioned the Injinji Toesocks, which are nice on cool evenings or if it’s very windy & rainy or you’re running on snow.
So yeah. The Luna Sandals are my de-facto everyday shoes since about May. Foodshopping. Going to the crag. Travelling. Visiting Fairs. Going to eat ice at the beach. Even now that it gets cooler I still slip into my OSOs when I go out, be it to pick up the Newspaper or going somewhere. Cycling. In the rain. Sunshine. On sand. Gravel. Asphalt.
If we look at Minimalistic Sandals I’m only aware of Bedrock Sandals which have a slight variation on the toe webbing but otherwise are fairly similar to Luna Sandals. There’s a bunch of “traditional” hiking sandals but honestly, these can not compare with Luna Sandals and are pretty heavy.
What Could Be Better
As they’re hand-made there can be bits of yarn standing over where things were sewn together, and that was what I had with my sandals. I called to Luna Sandals and asked what to do, and the solution to this was to singe the yarns briefly with a lighter to burn off the over-standing yarn or fabric. Done and never had a problem again.
To get back to the intro and elaborate a bit further, as I did to Vincent: The Luna Sandals are one of my favourite bits of kit because they’re simple. They’re comfy. They’re light. They communicate to anyone who see me in them that I like it minimalistic. Going back to nature. Feeling the ground, the air, the mud & rain on my feet. But also the sunshine. Cool breezes on hot summer days.
Sweaty feet are a thing of the past if you wear Luna Sandals. At the Arc’teryx Alpine Academy 2014 I was wearing another favourite pair of shoes which are awesome up high and when it’s cold (more on those soon), but down in the summery 35°C of Chamonix they were too hot. Way too hot. And I was happy indeed that I had my Luna Sandals along. Comfy, cool feet down in the valley.
To conclude this wee review: If you want to take the next step in terms of minimal footwear for hiking, backpacking, packrafting and everyday-life and you have a healthy, natural fore-foot stride, get a pair of Luna Sandals. The OSO, which by the way means bear in Español, is a superb, hand-crafted sandal that allows you to experience the nature much closer than in a closed trail running shoe, or God forbid, a boot. It’s a beautiful sandal that once you’ve put it on you will forget is there, and you can concentrate just on the trail ahead, and the hiking, wherever it may lead you.
Where to buy your Sandals
You can buy your Luna Sandals from Luna-Sandals.de and Racelite in Germany, Fastway in Finland, Moonlight Gear in Japan and of course at Luna Sandals in the USA and else where on this globe. Be sure to read up on the sizing on their website and print out the template to find the right size!
The accompanying book is “Born to Run” and you might want to order that at the same time to get into the mood & mind-set. If you are unsure about hiking barefoot but want to give these sandals a try, order a pair of Injinji Toesocks which help to protect your feet a bit more.