For my birthday this year, my dad got me a pair of Leadville Trails from Luna Sandals. I read Born to Run in 2015, and that was my introduction to the running sandal. When I ran my first ultra marathon in February of 2016, I got to see others actually running in sandals! It’s a real thing, guys! I’ve been interested in barefoot running, minimalist shoes, and running sandals ever since.
I had really great luck with a pair of Lems shoes when I started running 50 milers, so I never really got around to trying out running sandals even though I love the idea of never losing another toenail. My dad has been experimenting with running sandals for about three years now, and he’s put about 1,400 miles on his Lunas. I ran three miles on the beach today in my brand new Leadville Pacers, and I have some work to do before I’m cruising around the way my dad does.
My Lunas arrived two days ago in a cute little box with some neat stickers and an instruction pamphlet explaining how to adjust the sandal straps. I do not ever read instruction booklets until after I have failed miserably multiple times, so this was no different. I need to figure out how to adjust these sandals, but I’ll run in them a few more times before I consult the booklet. They seemed to fit really well for walking around, but as soon as I started running in them, they felt incredibly loose.
I ran 3 miles in them on the packed sand at the beach today. Going out they were loose, but they didn’t really start to bother me until a mile in. I started to get a hot spot on one of my big toes so I stopped to adjust them at 1.5 miles. I tightened the tech straps but I couldn’t really do a quick adjustment of the whole strap system right then. On the way back, I spotted a cool horseshoe crab in the surf so I had to stop running and wade into the water to get a closer look. I can’t pass up a chance to look at a crab.
Now my Lunas were loose in the toes and wet. My foot slid around in them for a while, but they didn’t take long to dry out. I’m just imagining how great this will be for water crossings in trail races later on! I had a pair of shoes that I had cut the toes out of before. They worked far better for running through water than non-chopped up shoes, but they still held a lot of water for too long. The biggest problem I had with the wet Lunas today was picking up a ton of sand while the sandals were still wet.
The combination of the sand and looseness of the sandal in the toes left the balls of my feet and my toes a bit sore. I was also “grabbing” at the bottom of the sandal with my sandy toes to try and keep them from wiggling so much.
What I Love About Them So Far
I hate putting socks on to go run in the summer in Florida. It’s disgusting. And then pulling off my sweaty socks after a run is just gross. I was able to just rinse my feet, still in the sandals, at the beach shower and drive home with no super hot feet or offensive socks.
While the bottoms of my toes are sore, My toes weren’t jammed together and my toenails aren’t sore. I really hate losing toenails. It’s just terrible. I currently have a weird half toenail on my right foot’s big toe. I hate it. I would have to kick an anvil to do that in the sandals. I lost that big toenail just walking around, too. It wasn’t even some trophy from a cool ultra.
I’ve watched my dad change his running form and become an expert at adjusting his sandals to fit really well. He started off with a pair of running sandals that ate his skin right off during the Keys 50k a few years back. He just spent time figuring out to transition from shoes and sandals, and now he never gets foot injuries. I know I’ll do the same and the problems I had during my little beach run today won’t last forever.
I’ll be taking my running sandals to my new home in Shanghai next week where I’ll really got to out them to the test. Come back in a couple weeks for Part 2!