On my quest for the most minimal footwear possible, I found Luna sandals. What I wanted was open air protection from extremely cold or rough surfaces that I haven’t yet adapted to. There are increasingly more situations where I don’t need my whole foot enclosed due to weather or terrain. The more time my foot skin is exposed to air, the less it is susceptible to cold and the more full enclosure feels uncomfortably hot. Often, in the cold, all I need is something to insulate a bit from the frozen or icy wet ground.
After reading a lot of personal experiences on the Barefoot Runners Society forum that got me interested in Luna sandals, I finally had a chance to see some in real life at the Boise Barefoot Run this September. The wearer had owned them a long time and tried a couple of different versions. I was impressed with the flexible, but sturdy looking soles. Not the kind of sturdy that interferes with ground feel, but that holds up with repeated use. I still wanted the thinnest soles I could get, so I ordered the Luna Venados. Their option of “Monkey Grip Technology” looked like the best for a non-slippery foot bed should there be moisture.
What I hadn’t thought about was bike riding. Up until now, I have been riding my spinning bike using flip-flops and my outdoor bikes wearing RunAMocs. Both of these have suited me nicely, but I after test walking around in the Luna sandals for a day, I realized they might be a good option for riding my spinning bike in the basement.
Previous barefoot pedaling attempts had included trying to wrap the spinning bike pedals in rags. These tended to fall apart with the constant motion. Smoother pedals could have been purchased to replace the spiky originals, but there would still have been ridges and constant pressure points from the spaces in parts of the pedal. I already know about dealing with pressure points on the pedals. Using the flip-flops had given me the desired flexibility in my foot, along with a more regularly flat surface to push on, but there were some small problems.
Wearing the Luna sandals was like strapping something to the pedal, only it was only incidentally attached to my foot instead. With the flip-flops, I had always had to be careful that the heel portion didn’t slip out of alignment under my foot to catch on the main frame of the bike. It only happened a couple of times, but it was startling when it did. To keep it from happening, I had had to be fairly cautious about adjusting my foot position on the pedals. With the security of the Luna straps (or ATS laces they call them), I could ride without the constant attention to keeping my footwear under my foot. The soles of the Luna sandals closely match the outline of my foot. When I needed to move my foot a bit to fight off some numbness or discomfort from pressure, I could move the foot without worrying about the sandal going in another direction. There was no trouble with slipping off of the pedal, either. The Luna sole seems to have a great balance between friction and maneuverability on the pedals. I rode for 75 minutes at a fast cadence and had no issues with straps rubbing me anywhere on my feet.
For my outdoor bikes, I have been adamant about wearing fully closed shoes. Now, I am thinking the Luna sandals will allow me to ride “barefoot” outdoors during the summer, too. I’ll have to test how they interact with those pedals, but that might have to wait until warmer weather. Biking tends to create a personal wind tunnel and I get much colder biking at temperatures that I can run in with shorts and a t-shirt. When I run, barefoot is barefoot, so I won’t say I’m running barefoot wearing the Luna sandals. But with the bikes, the sandal is just a modification of the pedal that my foot is in constant contact with. It leaves my foot free and open to the air.