Luna takes another step forwards, or backwards, in evolution
If there’s anything to be learnt from the barefoot brigade, it is that even if you’re not prepared to run in minimalist shoes you should be spending as much time as possible with as little as possible on your trotters. While even the most dedicated of us will struggle to spend much more than ten hours a week running, we spend plenty more than that moving, walking, chasing after the kids, browsing the supermarket aisles and generally being bipedal. It is this time that runners can spend strengthening up lower legs, foot muscles and getting back in touch with a natural stride just by wearing shoes with zero drop or arch support, and after just a couple of weeks getting around in not much, the benefits are clear.
. Luna have recognised that people running Ultra marathons in their slim Vibram soles is going to be a limited market and their products now reflect the joy of getting around life in something as close to barefoot as possible. The company is the brainchild of Barefoot Ted of Born to Run fame and he encompasses the company’s philosophy; “barefooting is all about mindfulness and presence, being acutely aware of our own bodies and environment. This connection is a fundamental source of happiness and good health. That’s why we’re so excited to bring the barefoot experience to more people with this new collection. These sandals are everyday footwear for all your activities.”
The company personifies the grassroots businesses that are finding niches in the booming trail running market. The testing and refining of their products is a team effort where ideas bounce back and forth from the designers through their handful of sponsored runners and their team of ‘monkeys’ who handmake every pair of sandals in Seattle. From a simple sole with leather laces the Luna range now includes a range of sole thicknesses, and their now almost perfected All Terrain Strapping. The big advance of recent years has been retained with the Monkey Grip Technology sole covering solving the initial problem of a slippery sole in wet weather. I have been running in a pair of Leadville Pacers with MGT footbeds for well over 3000 kilometres now and not only are they still sticking firm to my soles but the MGT shows as minimal a sign of wearing down as the soles do, still providing enough protection for the gravel trails I frequent daily. I have a few different Luna models and to watch the clever yet unobtrusive innovations that are made with each new release shows they are a company who value the design process and live by their own minimalist creed. The subtle design of the All Terrain strapping show plenty of tinkering has been done to produce a model that works in both form and function. Their footbeds are a similar success with the attractive leather a stylish option on their street sandals and the MGT design having more than proven the test of time on muddy, sandy, dry, wet and especially rocky trails. The choice then is left to you – how thick do you want your sole, and what do you want to do with them?
Luna’s new range includes three models, designed for urban, general and heavy trail use. The inspiration of the Tarahumara and their car tyre sandals have brought Barefoot Ted a long way, and even if you’re not quite ready to jump through the Copper Canyons in a pair of sandals, getting around in Lunas is the most comfortable way to improve your form, get the barefoot experience and strengthen up leg muscles atrophied from years in foam padding.
By Garry Dagg, Trail Run magazine’s resident barefoot/minimalist adherent and editor.