Girl Sandals

Before I get into my new project I wanted to get a few smaller projects out of the way.  I have loved my Luna’s but felt a bit selfish being the only one to enjoy them.  I had the material and some super soft deer hides (thanks dad) so I decided that I wouldn’t be the only one to enjoy these fine sandals. First, I made my daughter a pair because she runs with us every night and didn’t really have a good running shoe.

I made her a cute pink pair and she loves them.

Not to be left out, my wife received two pairs. The first one was ok, just an average brown, but I went all out on the second pair and made them purple.

Comfortable, versatile and stylish. Enjoy your sandals girls.

My son was sad not to get a pair because I ran out of material. Luckily he loves his zebra shoes and didn’t feel too bad. I’m planning on using my wife’s first brown sandals and converting them into a bright yellow pair for him.

My son and I having fun with his zebra shoes on.

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Luna Sandal Review Summary

I’m about to switch gears and start a new project but I thought after so many posts about my Luna’s it would be helpful to summarize my experience and put everything in one place.

In my experience there are three aspects that make a huarache or Luna sandal

Each of these three work together and can dictate weather you love your sandals or hate them.  Laces come in three varieties:

  1. Elastic – Quick and easy to put on, these laces provide the least security but are great for casual wear.  Since they are elastic there is a constant snugness that I am not overly fond of.  My Equus sandals (which I don’t run in) have the 5/8″ Equus laces and I find them to be the most stylish and publicly accepted option.
  2. Leather – Comes in different sizes and colors.  In my opinion, this is the best overall option.  They are aesthetically pleasing, secure, and comfortable.  Since they are inelastic they allow for a looser fit without sacrificing security.  I like both the 1/4″ and 10mm laces.  Most people will get used to either just fine.
  3. Wool, hemp, rope, etc.  This is sort of the other category.  Since I haven’t tried the hemp I can’t comment personally, but from what others have said they work great and are comfortable.  From my experience with the wool laces I can attest to the fact that there is nothing more comfortable to wear.  Style and security may be half a notch below the leather but the comfort fully makes up for that.

The sole options have gone through a transformation.  When Ted started he had the Originals, then added the Equus and the Leadville’s.  I actually have all three so I will give a short summary of each.

  1. Originals – 6mm neoprene.  It is the original for a reason and is still one of my favorites.  The neoprene has the right combination of flexibility and thinness to provide great ground feel and allow for natural foot movement.
  2. Equus – 2mm rubber and 2mm cordovan.  The cordovan feels amazing but is stiff.  Moisturizing it helps but I am not a fan of stiff and thin.  These sandals look great and have become my church sandals.
  3. Leadville – 10mm newflex.  10mm!!  That is what I said, but the properties of this sole are deceiving.  The material is extremely light and flexible.  Ground feel is better than the Originals but in a muted sort of way.  It is hard to explain but I’m excited that Luna is taking this amazing (and very expensive) material and using the 8mm and 5mm versions.  The Leadville Pacer is being made in my shop now and I’m excited to test it out.  I think that this is the sort of natural progression that comes through testing and striving to create the best sandal on earth.

Once you have decided on the right lace and the right sole the last part is to connect them all together.  My advice – experiment – a lot.  In the end I went with the very standard tying method (the way the Equus are tied on Luna’s website).  I don’t wrap or double up just lace them and tie it off.  I cut all my laces so there is no extra cord since my new knot design will allow for many more miles of wear and I don’t have to worry about knot breakage.

After several months of wearing these exclusively, my originals have molded to my feet and feel like an extension of my foot in a way.  My advice, if you are looking at getting a pair of Luna sandals, is to get the originals with the 1/4″ leather lace.  This is the cheapest way into a truly magnificent sandal.

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Filed under Equus, Long term test, Luna Laces, Original Luna Sandal, Review

Huarache Tying 101

I mentioned last post about feeling comfortable in my Luna sandals.  It had a lot to do with the tying of them and I wanted to share my success to help others.  This is not a tutorial on how to tie your Luna’s (Huarache’s) you can find that HERE and HERE.  This post will help those new to tying understand what each part of the lacing does and how to adjust it for a perfect fit.

Tying should be simple, there are only three parts to deal with.  Somehow after the 300th time tying mine it was still NOT simple.  (but it is now) Lets look at the three parts.

Toe Strap – This part is only useful in keeping the sandal on your foot.  Think of this as the part that controls flop.  The toe strap DOES NOT keep your foot from sliding forward!  Tie this tight and your foot will never leave the sandal.  Loosen it up untill it is comfortable but not overly sloppy and floppy.

Heel Strap – The heel strap keeps your foot from sliding back.  It is important to have this tighter than you might think.  Keeping the toe strap firmly between the crack of your toe will be more comfortable and will reduce chafing.  Play with tension a bit, I have found that I rarely over tighten the heel strap.

Midfoot Strap – This strap is the key to tying success.  It is also more complex due to two factors.  Tension and location.  The midfoot strap keeps the heel locked in place both vertically (down) and horizontally (sliding forward).  Look at the picture, notice that the knot can slide along the toe strap.  Moving the knot towards the toe opens up the foot and allows more movement.  Sliding it back towards the heel locks the foot in place.  The tension magnifies what the location is doing.

Trouble Shooting

Heel strap falls off
– Slide midfoot strap knot further towards heel

Toe strap rubs toes
– Tighten heel strap
– Use narrower strap (see picture below)

Foot does not feel secure
– Tighten midfoot strap

In the end, I found that a slightly looser approached works better for me.  I start with the toe strap loose enough that the sandal will “just dangle”.  Then I tighten the heel strap so that the toe strap is deep into my toe crack, but just before it becomes painful.  Finally, the midfoot strap is tied off.  It is not tight or loose just tied.  Fit is then determined by the location of the knot on the toe strap.  For sprints I move it as far towards the heel as possible.  For walking I move it more towards the toe to loosen up the feel.

Average tying

Very loose casual fit. Notice location of midfoot strap

If the toe strap hurts choose a smaller lace or make it smaller (pictured: 5/8" Equus lace wrapped in wool yarn)

Note:  Use an inelastic strap until you learn how to tie.  I started trying to learn with the Equus laces and became very frustrated.  The 1/4″ leather, hemp, or wool laces make learning to tie much easier.

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Filed under Long term test, Luna Laces, Original Luna Sandal, Review

Epiphany of sorts

 

Two great things happened this week.

First and probably the biggest is that I finally feel totally comfortable in my Luna’s.  It was a very sudden change and took a rather long time to get there (4 weeks of daily use).  I always felt a little insecure in them, like they might fall off at any moment.  This caused me to tense up and not stride naturally.  I have played with lacing endlessly and am finally confidant that I can run without concern.

The transformation on how they feel is nothing short of amazing.  I now feel like I am running barefoot all the time.  Graceful and free.  The sandals are almost unnoticeable beneath my feet.  It also helps that the foot bed is smooth and supple and starting to take the shape of my foot.

The second great epiphany came when lacing up with the wool laces again.  I have never liked the double strap on my heel due to the tenancy of one of them falling.  The wool is so soft and supple that I realized that I could wrap them to create one larger heel strap.  Perfect!  Then I realized that I would wrap the wool everywhere and it would lock itself into place and not require a knot to tie it off.  Now I have super comfortable slip on luna’s that have no knot anywhere.  Very clean looking.

I am very happy with these sandals.  More than I could have imagined several months ago.

Very clean lines with no knot anywhere
1 Month Update – Now silky smooth

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Filed under Long term test, Luna Laces, Original Luna Sandal, Review, Running

Luna leather lace review

I finally spent some considerable time in the leather lace options.  I spent my vacation in nothing but the 1/4″ leather laces and some time before and after in the 10mm leather.

Leather summary
Both laces gave a very secure feeling.  I don’t know that the 10mm leather is necessary but they do have a more substantial look and feel to them  The 1/4″ laces were slightly more comfortable and felt like less like you were strapped in for battle.  The 1/4″ laces were also easier to tie in two regards.  First they were easier to get laces right.  The slip on method worked well with them.  The slip on method did not work well with the 10mm laces due to the thickness of the laces.  The bottom heel strap tended to fall off if the tension wasn’t just right.  Second, the knot used to tie off the end of the 10mm leather is much bigger and often caused issues, not so on the 1/4″.

Pros of the leather laces

  • Provided the most secure feel
  • Looked “fancier” than other lace options
  • Don’t stretch

Cons of the leather laces

  • Not quite as soft and comfortable as other options
  • Tying can be quite difficult to get right because they don’t stretch.  You have to get it just right which can take multiple attempts.
  • Caused minor chafing while running longer distances.  (I’m sure I would toughen up to this)

If I were to get only one I would go for the 1/4″ leather.  They perform as well as the 10mm without some of the tying and comfort issues I found with the additional size of the leadville laces.  With that said, I am currently using the 10mm laces and may find a better way to tie them that works for me.  I’m glad I got both.  (Update)  I finally found a method that works for me with the leadville laces.  I’m starting to like these more and more.

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Luna Sandal Knot Fix

I have been feeling like the princess and the pea lately.  The knot on my Luna’s really bothers me, especially while walking.  Even when very small the knot hits the joint of my toe and causes a bit of discomfort.

I have come up with a knot fix for all of the types of laces.  Now, with the new method the knot should not only last much longer but will also not provide any “bump” to step on.  The best part is that this is easy, cheap, and quick.  Here is what you will need.

  • Plastic epoxy (available at any home depot)
  • Pliers
  • Nail, staple or wire (basically any small bendable piece of metal)

I had some heavy duty staples so I used those but any type of thin 1″ long metal should work.  It just needs to be able to be bent.  Bend half of the metal into a u shape.  Slide it over your lace and bend the other half over the first half.  See photos below.  Once it is secured I usually use my pliers to smash it down flatter before adding the plastic epoxy.  The plastic epoxy serves two purposes.  First, it helps to secure the metal and second, it helps extend the life of the knot.

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Filed under Long term test, Luna Laces, Original Luna Sandal, Review

Wool Lace Review for Luna Sandals

I was fortunate enough to have my friend over at Baring My Soles send me a pair of wool laces to test out.  I am glad she did because she made my Luna Sandal wearing experience 100% better.


For me, the Original Luna Sandals are nearly perfect. It is just a piece of rubber and leather that you step on. They feel very close to barefoot but there are two problems that can cause discomfort.

  1. They connect to your foot with laces that run between your toe and can rub
  2. The toes strap uses a knot which you step on and can become very noticeable and annoying

Each type of strap/string has its own pros on cons concerning these two issues.  Taking these in order, lets dive into how the wool laces compare.

Wool Laces

  1. Pros
    The wool laces above all else are comfortable.  Amazingly comfortable.  They are soft and fairly inelastic so they provide a secure fit without causing blisters, chafing, or hot spots.  They tie well and stay where they should.  They also do well when wet as wool doesn’t hold water well.  Wool fibers aren’t elastic so they don’t stretch when wet.  The weave is what stretches with wool so once stretched wet or dry they shouldn’t change much.
    Cons
    They stretch a little.  Generally I have to retie mine every third run because they have stretched out.  I’m assuming that this will stop once they have reached some equilibrium point.
  2. The knot has been my biggest annoyance with these sandals.  My goal with all of the laces is to make the knot disappear.  With the wool laces the standard knot is only slightly noticeable.  I played with it a bit and came up with the perfect solution.  I will go into detail on knots in a week or two but have solutions for all of the laces that effectively remove the knot from being obtrusive.  However, using the standard overhand knot, the knot is almost unnoticeable.  The durability of wool is great and a single knot has lasted 30 miles with no noticeable wear.

In the end where do the wool laces fit?  I see them as a hemp alternative.  The 1/4″ leather is a bit more secure feeling but nothing can compare to the comfort of the wool.  Getting your Luna’s to be comfortable is about 3 things in my mind.  Toe comfort, knot size, and lacing security.  If I were to give my wife a pair of Luna’s (which I’m planning on doing) they would be laced with the wool laces.  Good security with premium comfort and easily tied.

What’s a good blog post without pictures.  Here are some select pictures from the last two weeks of trying to get these sandals to feel right.  I’ve had lots of failures but feel that I finally have it right.

Loop used instead of knot which reduced the bump on the underside.  I eventually took this loop and plasticized it

Use this to make moldable plastic.  In 3 days you have steel like strength in any shape you want.

Traditional knot vs. Plasticized knot.  This was a terrible idea.  The plasticized knot was like stepping on a boulder.  Back to the drawing board.

Traditional knot vs. Plasticized wool

Traditional vs. Smashed plasticized wool.  Before it fully hardens it can be shaped.  I smashed mine in the vice to flatten it out.  Better but still noticeable due to the abrupt edges.

Plasticized Wool after Sanding.  Seriously tough stuff.  I had 36 grit sandpaper on my belt sander and it took awhile to sand this down.  Now the knot can not be felt at all.  Perfect!

Final Product – Long lasting and nonobtrusive

Wool laces in action

Final thoughts
The wool didn’t need to be plasticized but if makes me feel more confidant that it will last.  For reference the knot had almost no wear on it after 30 miles (both plasticized and traditional).  These laces are light and would be a great backup on a run.  If you were concerned about rubbing leather laces on a long run, bring these with just in case.  Better yet, just use these.  Finally, wool laces are 100% different than the Equus laces.  If you don’t like your Luna’s because of the laces, try these and you will be surprised how different your Luna’s feel.

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Filed under Long term test, Luna Laces, Original Luna Sandal, Review, Running

Equus Sandal Break In

This is a slight divergence from the Original Luna long term testing but I wanted to show everyone something amazing.  Anyone with the Equus sandals has made the same sort of comment.

They go something like this

  • They are so hard
  • They are so stiff
  • They feel like plastic
  • I can’t feel the ground

I felt the same when I got mine.  For the price I was completely underwhelmed.  I decided to play with them a bit and noticed that the rubber sole was actually very flexible.  The leather was stiff!  I have worked with leather over the years and have used leather that was initially stiff but after working it and moisturizing it, it has become soft and supple.

The fix for stiff Equus sandals

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Get a bottle of leather conditioner and rub it all over the Equus foot bed.  It is very dry so poor it on very liberally and repeat often.  I did mine about 3 times and it was still sucking the conditioner in.  Two very noticeable things happened.  The color was amazing.  No more cheap plastic look, this was the Equus that you paid for.  Secondly, and most important, the flexibility has improved.  A lot.  They don’t compare to the ground feel of the originals but they are sooo much better than they came from Luna.  I’m calling this my Luna Hack.
The same thing applies to the Equus laces.  From Luna they are rough and abrasive, but after a little conditioning they are soft and supple.  Still not my favorite lace but much better than before.

Note on leather conditioner:  Allow all leather items to dry for 3 days after conditioning to allow the leather to absorb and seal itself.  You can use them earlier but they will be sticky and you will discolor them.

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Filed under Equus, Luna Laces, Review, Running

Running for fun in Luna Sandals

I have been running almost every day since I got my Luna’s.  Not all are long or fast but it feels good to get out each day.  Actually, I have been running consistently for about a year.  What was new with my Luna’s was the freedom of it.  Leaving my house with nothing more than a pair of running short and a thin sheet of rubber on my feet is freeing after being burdened by so much stuff.  By stuff I mean I never leave the house without a cellphone, wallet, knife, and keys.  On work days add to that water, lunch, computer, watch, files, and backpack and I start to feel like a pack mule.  While my Luna sandals are generally less comfortable (Luna’s with wool laces excluded) than my RunAmoc’s, they are much more freeing.

I have been running with my wool laces this week and want to expand more on these but I will wait until the end of the week due to some recent experimentation with them.

Wool Laces

What I became keenly aware of yesterday was the cut of my Luna’s.

Luna’s can be custom cut based on an outline sent to Luna.  They cut what you trace and in my case I could have traced a little better.  Actually, it depends on what you want to do with them.  Mine are great for the road.  They are narrow and fit my foot and have nothing extra on them.  My downfall was that I traced under my arch a bit.  Not a big deal on pavement but while running over poky grass my toes and arch got jabbed.  I am planning a 15k later this year that is on rocky trails and I don’t know if my arch is too exposed.  My point is that if you are tracing your foot make sure to think about what type of terrain you will be running on.  A little extra on the toes and instep would be appreciated.

My Wall-E Story
I went for a run with the dogs last night.  While on this run I came across an all too common sight in my town.

Walking the dog

I didn’t have my camera with but I wish I did.  A lady came up behind be who was walking her dog by driving her golf cart while talking on the phone WHILE sipping a 96 oz soda.  It was disgusting to watch but I was happy that I was running so I picked up the pace and left the sad sight in my dust.

For reference, in my town, golf carts are like cars.  Check out these photos to see what I mean link.  Here is the high school parking lot.

Yes these are all golf carts


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Filed under Original Luna Sandal, Run Smiley, Running

Equus Lace Weekend

Continuing my long term Original Luna Sandals review.  The past weekend I decided to spend the entire weekend in my Luna’s fitted with the 5/8″ Equus laces.

Friday was not a good day for me and Equus laces.

Grumpy Friday

I spent nearly as much time fiddling with them as I did wearing them.  My wife and kids were sick of me constantly tying and re-tying them.  They stopped playing with me and pretended that I wasn’t there anymore.  First they were too loose and my right heel was falling off the back.  To prevent this I laced them tighter and tighter until they were in the right place.  By now they were so tight that my feet hurt.  We ended the night doing yard work and even with them super tight my foot could still slide completely off of them.  I was determined to spend the weekend adjusting them until I got them right.

Saturday I spent about 45 min tying and re-tying using different methods and placements.  By noon I had it figured out.   My final method looks like this.

Alternate Equus tying

I put the final knot on the side which allows the strap connecting to the toe strap to move with my foot a bit.  I did a shorter 20 min run in these and they did well.  The IPTP is less noticeable but still uncomfortable.  After wearing them all day the IPTP was sort of deadened.  It was still there but it was as if my body just decided to ignore it.  I really like the look and wearability of the Equus laces but I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing them for more technical activities.  They are great for casual wear though.

I wanted to use the Equus for my longer run but couldn’t get myself to do it.  The wool laces were calling me.  I laced them up and took off.  Ahhh…..the soothing feel of wool between your toes.  After a weekend in the Equus the wool felt magnificent.  However, a couple miles in I noticed that the wool had stretched out a little and my right sandal was starting to flop.  I stopped and retied and had no problems the rest of the run.  I think that the wool actually needs a break in period.  After being felted I think that there is a period of restretching before they stabilize.  I also noticed that I can’t synch the wool too tight.  The are comfortable no matter how tight they are tied.  This makes tying really easy.  Simply pull them tight and tie them off for the perfect fit.

I will be switching to the leather laces this week after they dry.  I wanted the leather to be as soft as possible so while conditioning some other leather goods, I dipped the 1/4″ and 3/8″ leather laces in some of this.

Leather Conditioner

It will take 3 days for the leather to dry out so it will give me some time to run in the wool laces.  (More on these laces in another post)

To finish it off, my one week update:

Original Luna's at 1 week

Beautiful aren’t they.  I will start talking about the actual sandals more once I get the laces figured out, but over all they feel like you are barefoot with really tough feet.

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Filed under Long term test, Luna Laces, Original Luna Sandal, Review, Running