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Minimalist Sandals For Adventure Travel (Luna Sandals Review)

Luna Sandals Review
My Review of Luna Barefoot Sandals
Gear Review

I’ve been traveling the world with a pair of Luna barefoot sandals for over 7-years, wearing them for trail running, easy hikes, and the beach. Here’s why I love them!

For the majority of human history, people haven’t needed sneakers on their feet. In fact “sneakers” have only been in use for the past 70 years.

It’s a modern product, created to solve a problem that never really existed.

Research is starting to show that heavy, overly-padded footwear actually contribute to shin splints, knee injuries, and back problems.

Which is why more and more people are re-discovering barefoot sandals for the first time. Including me!

What Are Barefoot Sandals?

You may or may not already know about the barefoot running movement. But it’s really taken off in the last few years.

A barefoot shoe or sandal is one with very little padding on the sole.

Without all that extra padding, so called “barefoot” sandals allow you to feel the ground while strengthening and toughening up the foot naturally.

Walking and running the way humans were made to. Striking the ground with the ball of your foot rather than with the heel.

I got into the action a few years ago with a pair of Vibram Five Fingers. While I enjoyed the benefits of the funny-looking Vibrams, they would get smelly quickly, and stood out a bit too much for my tastes. Especially in foreign countries.

You kind of looked like an alien while wearing them…

Hiking in my Luna Sandals
Hiking with My Luna Sandals in Utah

Traditional Huarache Design

Huaraches are simple leather sandals worn by native peoples in Latin America, traditionally by Mexican farming communities.

Constructed with braided leather — more modern versions also use strips of rubber tire as soles.

The Luna Sandals Experience

A friend of mine, and fellow long-term traveler, recommended I check out a pair of Luna Sandals. They were created by a guy named Barefoot Ted.

He based his design on the traditional huarache sandals worn by Mexico’s native Tarahumara people for centuries.

You may have read about the Tarahumara in the famous book Born To Run.

I’ve been wearing Luna Sandals for over 7 years now — while traveling around the world to places like Greenland, Turkey, Thailand, Mexico, Afghanistan, and Costa Rica.

So what do I think of them?

  • Incredibly Lightweight: At about 4.5 ounces, Lunas weigh next to nothing. Made with a thin piece of high-tech rubber sole & a leather strap.
  • Easy to Pack: They take up very little room in my backpack.
  • Great for Running: The strap system keeps the sandals on my feet very well, letting me run & scramble up rocks without them slipping off.
  • Decent in Water: While not ideal for walking long distances in water, they work great for most water activities like kayaking, rafting, short river crossings, etc.
  • No Smell: Because it’s a sandal, I don’t have to worry about sweaty feet.
  • Super Comfortable: Once they wear in and mold to the shape of your foot, it really does feel like you’re barefoot.

Very Few Disadvantages

While I really love these sandals, nothing is perfect. Here are some of the issues I’ve found with them.

  • Tighten Often: You need to remember to re-tighten your sandals every so often, especially if you are running or hiking. They’ve improved the design over the years though, and stay on very well.
  • Cold Weather: Because it’s a sandal, it doesn’t keep your feet warm in colder weather. Which means I carry a pair of shoes with me too. I usually want shoes with me for nights on the town or serious hiking trips anyway.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for comfortable barefoot huarache sandals to provide minimalist protection for your feet while running, walking, or on easy hikes, a pair of Luna Sandals is the way to go.

I’m a huge fan! They’re a great lightweight and multi-use addition to your adventure travel gear. ★


Useful Travel Planning Resources
Packing Guide
Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip.
Book Your Flight
Ready to fly? Here’s how I find the cheapest airline flights.
Rent A Car
Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find a deal.
Cheap Accommodation
Learn how I save money booking hotels & vacation apartments.
Protect Your Trip
Don’t forget travel insurance! Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read why you should always carry travel insurance.

READ MORE TRAVEL TIPS

I hope you enjoyed my review of Luna Sandals! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:


Is there anything else you want to know about minimalist footwear or Luna Sandals? Drop me a message in the comments below!

Michael Steinberg

Sunday 19th of May 2019

Looking for some advice.

I have achilles tendinitis in both feet; capsulitis in one; minor plantar fasciitis in the other; starting to develop arthritis. I'm 72 and walk about 5-8 miles a day. My legs, feet and calves feel better when I'm barefoot which is contrary to current medical and therapeutic advice. I would like to try a minimalist sandal for the summer. Anyone with similar afflictions have any suggestions?

Thanks you.

M

Thanks.

Mike

Tuesday 29th of January 2019

I bought a pair of Lunas for their cool looks and the thin sole. They are very durable and surprisingly comfortable. Birkenstocks are still my go-to shoes for everyday, but I love the free feeling of the Lunas. The straps do need frequent re-tightening, even just walking. I've tried them in the winter and noticed that the soles loose grip as they get colder over time. The loose fit makes it easy to shake snow out from under my feet. For extra cold days, Injini socks fit these sandals nicely. I find I get the most benefit from alternating each day between flat flip flops, Birkenstocks most of the time, Lunas (when more support is needed) and completely bare feet once in a while. This keeps my feet and legs/back well trained and not too used to the perfect support Birkenstocks provide.

Tom McGuirk

Tuesday 11th of September 2018

Great adventure. Don't think I'd ever have been up for it. One question. The benefits of bare foot walking aside, would you not be afraid of a bruised toe or suchlike. As a kid in rural Ireland in the 50s I seldom wore shoes for my entire summer break from school. I'm sure my mother was glad that I wasn't wearing out (hard-to-find-money-for) shoes. Amazing how quickly the feet hardened up on the tarmacked road. Still remember the exhilarating feeling of running full tilt barefoot on the sun warmed tarmac.

Paul

Wednesday 5th of August 2015

Mathew, I'd have to agree with your review. I've been wearing Luna's since I discovered them about 4 or 5 years ago and rarely wear anything else outside of work (running, hiking, kickin' around, etc). For running they're the best! I've experimented with different soles, footbeds and lacing systems (I own 5 pair; 3 Mono, 1 Oso, 1 ). I'd have to say they're all excellent. You're right about the MGT footbed gripping your foot better than Pittards.

Mat

Tuesday 10th of March 2015

Great review Mat! Thinking about picking up a pair. Which footbed did you get, the MGT or the Pittards? From what I've read, MGT are non-slip; Pittards mold to the feet.

Cheers!

Matthew Karsten

Tuesday 10th of March 2015

I have the MGT, they grip to your feet better.

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