Running has now become a passionate exercise for me. As such, besides registering for various races in this past one year, I have been actively looking at all the different gears or equipment related to running. And one of those gears is this pair of running sandals – LUNA Mono.
Thanks to RUNMiNiMAL.com, I was able to have in my hands this pair of unique Luna Sandals.
Revolution is afoot. Run like a Human.
The Mono [Moh-No] (means Monkey in Spanish) is the do everything, go everywhere adventure sandal. When you think of hiking, traveling, lounging, camping, running, spelunking, or anything else-ing, this is the go-to-footwear.
The Mono quickly molds to your foot with wear and becomes “your” sandal.
The Mono is made up of super light, moldable Vibram® USA sole made in Massachusetts combined with the non-slip MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) footbed. The protective, lightweight sole allows for a wide range of uses from casual wear to trail running, while the overall thickness means the ankle holes can be countersunk to reduce wear on the laces.
Luna Mono Specs
Weight: 4.6 oz (single sandal)
So after receiving my Mono, I wore it out for a leisure trial run of about 11km. Stopped a few times just to re-adjust the laces so that I can get the best fit and run.
It was an overall smooth run, I didn’t have any abrasion on my foot after the run. Though I did have a few blisters on the toe, probably due to the friction, but this is all part and parcel of running in new gears.
So why run “barefoot”? What are the benefits? Is the support good enough? Will there be greater impact on the legs when running? Isn’t it more dangerous to run with sandals?
For the majority of human history, we have been running without cushioning. The invention of running shoes (sneakers) was a relative new idea as compared. Hence, some say this is an invention or modern product created to solve a problem that never existed.
Research is starting to show that heavy over-padded footwear may actually help to contribute to shin splints, knee injuries, and back problems. And Luna Sandals offer a lightweight and minimalist alternative to running shoes.
The Barefoot Movement has been around for more than 5 years now. People all around the world are re-discovering the benefits of running with minimal footwear or none at all.
So with the Mono, it enables the runner to effectively feel the ground when running, and this in turn strengthens and toughens up the foot. Without the extra padding, we are able to run more naturally, and learn to strike the ground with the ball of our foot and not the heels.
Comfort is achieved mainly due to the straps on the sandals. The straps are the highest quality of any sandals I have worn before. They are thick where it will provide stability on the top of the foot and thin for comfort near the toe area.
The rubbery material around the heel strap and under the top strap provides that additional secure feeling when running in it. And also it prevents unnecessary pressure or rubbing causing abrasion.
Recently, I wore the sandals for a 10km run around Kranji Farm area. The terrain was not as easy as the usual roads in the city, much more stones, sands, gravels, and dust. But the experience was great! I had a good run, no injuries, and I have learnt a few more things about my own running style and habits.
And most surprisingly, I actually broke my PB in a 10km race, with the LUNA Mono sandals. Woohoo!
What do I think of the Luna Mono sandal?
1. It is incredibly light weight. It almost feels like I am not wearing anything.
2. Easy to pack and bring along in any bag. Hardly takes up any space in my backpack. And if I run in the sandals, I don’t need to bring along a separate pair of slippers to change out after the race. Convenient.
3. Good support and the strap system doesn’t slips off.
4. Great in wet terrain and suitable for all water sports like kayaking, rafting, trekking, etc.
5. No smell like wearing shoes. No worries of my girls complaining every time I take off my running shoes after a race.
Any product, no matter how good or effective it is, it can never be perfect.
And here are some of the disadvantages of the Mono.
1. Risk of strap break during a race, and that would mean slowing down or worst case, to end the race. Unless you are so determine and continue on the real barefoot way.
2. I realized (maybe just me), I cannot run fast in sandals. Probably I am still new to this style of running.
3. Due to the fact that it is a sandal, there is no covering and will not provide warm in colder weather.
4. With the same reason as the above, there is a certain risk of stepping on sharp objects when running.
I think I will be using this pair of sandals quite frequently, for my endurance runs and definitely for my travels where it can be a great wear on all terrains. Am I ready to use it for Half Marathons or Full Marathon? Not yet, but I won’t say no.