Luna Sandals Mono Review


Lately, I’ve been curious about running in Huaraches. I recently spoke with evolutionary biologist, Daniel Lieberman on the podcast and he mentioned that he likes to run in them. Another thing that piqued my interest in huaraches was watching Xero Shoes on Shark tank. Now that summer is here and the temperature is rising, it would be nice to have something to just slip on for a run.


Luna Sandals

Barefoot Ted is the owner of Luna Sandals, and Luna seemed like sturdy pair of Huaraches to start with. I ordered a pair for both my wife and I. I decided to go with the Mono because it is an all around sandal that has just enough cushion so it can be worn on trails and road. When ordering you have the 3 footbed options: suede, leather or Monkey Grip. I went with the Monkey Grip footbed, as it is supposed to have improve traction in wet conditions. Also, because I have an extremely wide forefoot I chose to pay extra to order the custom sandals where you trace your foot and email the tracing to Luna.

Fit & Function

Getting the straps to fit was a bit of a challenge, and requires some experimenting. The heel strap is elastic, which allows you to easily slip them on and off. Once I started running I began to notice a few things that were a little concerning. First, the stitching on the logo started to rub against the top of my foot. Maybe I had the straps too tight? I stopped, adjusted the straps and kept going. I picked up the pace slightly to around a 6:30 min/mile pace and noticed my heel slipping out the back of the sandal. Too loose, I stopped to adjust again. I backed off to around 8 min pace and things started to feel better. Still, they felt a little sloppy on my feet, but maybe that was something I needed to get used to.


Hot-spots, Blisters & Monkey Grip

After about a mile I started to notice a distinct hot-spot on my heels and ball of foot. Was the Monkey Grip footbed too strong for my delicate feet? It seems that the Monkey Grip was gripping a little too well and causing some serious hot-spots on the bottoms of my feet.

My next trip with the Mono was a 2.5 mile walk. My wife was wearing her Mono sandals as well. After about 1.5 miles I looked at my wife and said, “do your feet feel like they’re burning or is it just my feet?”, “yes, I think I have blisters on both feet” she said. This was definitely something to do with the sandals and perhaps the Monkey Grip footbed. It seemed to be gripping both of our feet a little too well. When we got back from our walk, we felt like the bottoms of our feet had rug burns. My wife’s feet had 2 well developed blisters.

Bottom Line

Maybe it was the Monkey Grip footbed, maybe our feet were not used to wearing Luna sandals, but I can’t see myself using the Luna Mono, at least with the Monkey Grip footbed. I might try out the leather footbed to see what it is like. If you are going to give Luna sandals a try I would recommend getting the suede or leather footbed, maybe you’ll have better luck than I did. Also, you can try Luna’s risk free as they have a 30 day money back guarantee.

What has your experience been while wearing sandals when running? Let me know by posting your comments below.

Topo Athletic Shoe Review: Run RT

 

I was very excited to try out the new Topo Athletic running shoes. Topo is a company started by Tony Post, former CEO at Vibram FiveFingers. I love my FiveFingers, but there are times when they just don’t provide enough protection on rough trails or from the occasional sharp rock on the road. In addition, after 2.5 hours of running, my feet tend to get a little sore and it would be nice to have some extra cushioning.

I ordered a pair as soon as they were available on July 1st. The Run RT is promoted as a daily trainer, it has 8mm of cushion and a 4mm rubber outsole. It is a flexible, zero drop shoe with a wider toebox. It utilizes a split-toe design. The split-toe design allows your foot to function more naturally by giving you more room in the forefoot. Individual toe pockets allow a shoe to have a wider toebox without feeling sloppy on your foot.

Sizing

I wear a 10.5 2E in NB running shoes. Topo’s website says they use a standard Brannock device for sizing, so I printed one off to measure my feet. I was between 10.5 and 11. I went with 10.5. This seemed to work. I had a little bit of extra room near the end of my toes, but they seemed to fit pretty well.

What I like

The thing that draws me to shoes with individual toe pockets such as Topo, B2R and Vibram FiveFingers is the wide toebox. Most running shoes can’t provide the same roomy toebox because as the toebox gets wider it can feel sloppy on your foot. This design challenge has been overcome by shoes like this. The split-toe creates an anchor point on your foot that provides stability and allows your foot to function more naturally.
 
 

What I don’t like

I don’t like how they decided to create an arch in the shoe. The foam is very flexible, but for a person with a wider foot, or slightly lower arch, this can be uncomfortable. For most people this probably won’t be a problem. I am hoping that Topo will eventually make this shoe in various widths. 
 
As far as minimalist footwear goes this shoe is a little bit too much shoe for my tastes. I am thinking about trying out Topo’s RR version of the shoe, which is more minimal.
 

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a shoe that allows your foot to function more naturally and you like the idea of a split-toe design, I would definitely give this shoe a try. If you have wide feet like me, it may not work. Keep in mind I’ve only worn this shoe for about 3 miles, so this is a very preliminary review.

 

 

 
Comparison to VFF insole
A comparison to VFF (VFF slightly wider)

 

 

Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport Multisport Sandals Review Update

The Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport Multisport Sandal is my 5th pair of VFF’s. The treksport sole that this shoe utilizes has the best blend of protection from stones, flexibility and a small amount of cushion for longer runs. For the first few months I really loved these shoes and was planning on wearing them in an upcoming marathon. Today, however, I took them out on a Half-Marathon time trial and after about 10 miles I started to develop a blister on my foot where one of the straps crosses the arch of the foot.

It seems that the cutout strap design causes extra friction at some parts of the foot. I wear socks with my VFF’s to reduce blisters on anything longer than 3 miles. I could go with the original Treksport, but those don’t have a lacing system and can be a little sloppy on the foot if they don’t fit exactly. I am waiting for a VFF to come out with a shoe that has a little more cushioning to protect from occasional rocks or for longer runs. The thing that I like most about VFF’s is the wonderful individual toe pockets. They give my wide forefoot plenty of room to move naturally. My feet feel cramped in other running shoes. I hope that the people at VFF will eventually realize that we need various amounts of cushioning depending on the terrain they travel and the distance they plan to go. My feet are fine for anything under 10 miles in something like the Bikila, but around 15 miles the bottom of my feet start to hurt and get tired. 

These sandals are performance footwear that may work for you. In my case I’ve never had a blister while wearing any of my other VFF’s and can’t see myself using these for longer distances.

Cushioned Fivefingers

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The only problem with VFFs is that sometimes after 2 hours of running the balls of my feet start to hurt. Here is the solution I used to keep the balls of feet pain free for 20 miles of running last week.

Last Wednesday I decided to head out for a 20 mile run. I have not ran in shoes other than Vibram Fivefingers since October and didn’t want to go back to my other shoes if I could help it. For this you need the Komodosport version of the Fivefingers. Carefully remove the Komodosport insole. It is glued down near the ball of the shoe, be careful not to rip it out, just slowly work the glue away from the insole. Once you get it out, position the ball of foot cushion just behind the metatarsal heads. You don’t want the cushions to sit directly under the metatarsal heads, but rather just behind them. This actually helps to encourage toe splay.

You can see a video on how to position the metatarsal pads below.