Tag Archives: Flexible

Custom Soft Star Dash Completed

They worked!!  I was seriously nervous and a bit scared that I had just ruined my shoes.  I had dreams that I had mistakenly glued them in the shape of a pretzel.  I didn’t and they turned out beautifully.

It was not an easy job and I have a new respect for effort Soft Star puts into making their shoes.  I started with a pair of expertly sewn shoes thinking that the hard part was done.  I didn’t realize that the glue you use, how much of it you use, the pressure applied, and the way they are applied makes so much difference in the final product.  Soft Star, you have my full and complete respect for creating great shoes.  Fear not, I will not be entering into competition with you anytime soon.

On to the finished product.

Finished product. Notice the difference between the tip of my right shoe vs the left. Gluing can change the shape if not done carefully.

Finished product. Note: I changed my mind on how to handle the arch on my left shoe.

The shape of the sole was identical prior to gluing, but gluing can be very tricky.  I inadvertently stretched the leather while trying to smooth it out.  Balancing pulling it taught and not stretching it are something that takes skill (and I had none).  So I now have one pointy shoe and one round one.  Luckily the pointy one does not affect my gait so I’m ok with it.

Showing how the arch pulls up around the foot

I’m very happy with the arch cutout.  It is 100% unnoticeable, but saves weight and adds to the flexibility.

Finished arch area

I was initially planning on using some 2mm cherry material to fill in the arch but after accidentally applying glue to the entire sole I realized that the glue provides more than enough protection.  I’m going to add glue to the other arch too.

The sole 

If you want to make good barefoot shoes, this is the new gold standard.  I went with the 8mm newflex sole because I had feared the 5mm would be too thin.  After using these I’m not so sure.  They are great but I bet that I could have saved some weight and gone with the 5mm because the glue does add some protection.  If I weren’t intending these to be used in such rough terrain I probably would have gone with the 5mm, but as it stands I’m happy to have picked the 8mm.  The suppleness more than makes up for the extra thickness.

Can your shoes flex downward? Mine can

This material is new and quite expensive, but totally worth it.  The properties that are important to a barefoot enthusiast are embodied by this new sole.  It is light and flexible in a way that make it feel like it is attached to your foot.  When walking over rough terrain it feels more like super thick skin than a sole that is protecting your foot.  The rubber is just a little bit squishy so it forms over rough objects and lets your foot mold to them like they would if you were barefoot.  Comparing it to my 1/2 worn out trail sole on my originals I would say that it out performs them in every way.  They are more flexible and provide more ground feel but somehow don’t sacrifice protection on rough terrain.

Overall, I am happy with this project.  The sole is perfect and I’m glad I cut out the arch.  Next up is some serious testing.  I need to see how these perform in the water and mud.  I’m hoping to take them for a swim before it gets too cold out.  They seem to be more flipper shaped than any traditional trainer so I think I will have an advantage on the swim.

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Filed under Custom Shoe, Dash, Running, Soft Star

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

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