Sunday, May 05, 2024

Miscellany: Luna Sandals Venado 2.0 review

Like many runners, I enjoyed reading Born to Run, Christopher McDougall's book about the amazing Rarámuri tribe of the Copper Canyons of Mexico.  The Rarámuri are famous for covering huge distances of unforgiving wilderness, and for doing so in traditional huarache sandals rather than modern athletic shoes.  They're not just plodding along, either; the fastest of the Rarámuri can go toe-to-toe with world class trail runners.

Born to Run kicked off the minimalist running craze, which is based on the hypothesis that modern running shoes actually cause more injuries than they prevent (by blocking the feet from feeling the ground and permitting an unnatural gait). The book also featured the founder of Luna Sandals, "Barefoot Ted" McDonald and the brand's namesake, Manuel Luna:

I tried out a pair of Luna Sandals, the "Venado 2.0." The sandals have the nickname given to champion ultrarunner Scott Jurek (Spanish for "deer"), and are the thinnest and lightest in the Luna lineup. With a flexible 9mm Vibram sole and a total weigh of 4.4 ounces per sandal, wearing the Venado 2.0 is about as close as you can get to being barefoot:

It probably takes some getting used to for most people. You really feel the ground, especially when you are walking on rough surfaces like gravel. There is also minimal protection for the bottom of your foot, so you have to be careful about urban hazards like broken glass or nails. 

If you can live with those limitations, the Venado 2.0 makes for a good everyday sandal and a great travel sandal; the flat form factor and light weight are ideal for packing. While I'm not sure about running a marathon in these things, they'd be great to use as casual backup vacation footwear, or to save your primary shoes from streams and muddy areas.


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