Why I Love Barefoot Sandals For Adventure Travel

Luna Sandals Copper Canyon Mexico
Luna Sandals: Great for Adventure Travel
Gear Review

I’ve been traveling with a pair of Luna barefoot sandals for over 5 years now, wearing them for running, hiking, and everyday use. Here’s what I think.

For the majority of human history, people haven’t needed sneakers. In fact they’ve 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 5 years.

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

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

Walling 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.

Luna Sandals Copper Canyon Mexico
Trail Running in Mexico’s Copper Canyon

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.

Luna Sandals

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 his journey in the book Born To Run.

I’ve been wearing Lunas for over 5 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.
  • Classic Look: Ok, maybe “ancient” is a better term. My sister calls them my Jesus shoes. There are different styles available though.
  • 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 aren’t flip-flops.
  • Cold Weather: Because it’s a sandal, it doesn’t keep my 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.


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 Lunas is the way to go.

I’m a huge fan! They’re a great addition to your travel gear. ★

Travel Planning Resources
Product: Luna Sandals (Click For Price)

Packing Guide

Check out my travel gear guide to help you start packing for your trip. Pick up a travel backpack, camera gear, and other useful travel accessories.

Book Your Flight

Book cheap flights on Skyscanner, my favorite airline search engine to find deals. Also read my tips for how I find the cheapest flights.

Rent A Car

Discover Cars is a great site for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Book Accommodation

Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine. Or rent local apartments on Airbnb ($35 discount!). Read my post for tips on booking cheap hotels.

Protect Your Trip

Don’t forget travel insurance! I’m a big fan of World Nomads for short-term trips. Protect yourself from possible injury & theft abroad. Read more about why you should always carry travel insurance.


I hope you enjoyed my article on barefoot sandals for adventure travel! Hopefully you found it useful. Here are a few more wanderlust-inducing articles that I recommend you read next:

Do you pack sandals when you travel? If so, which ones?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.


Hi, I’m Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for the last 10 years as a blogger, photographer, and digital nomad. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel with crazy stories, beautiful photos, and money-saving travel tips.
Matthew Karsten
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