Luna Sandals Venado Review

Posted on July 10, 2013 by Dan Fairbanks | 2 Comments

I have been wearing Luna Sandals since 2010. In fact, for about 9 months I was the CEO of Luna Sandals while also serving as the CEO of Born to Run. This has given me a unique perspective over the last few years as I have seen Luna grow and develop both their products and their company.

It has been no wonder to me why we can never keep Luna Sandals in stock at Born to Run stores or online. Quite frankly, there is nothing like Luna sandals on the market. Of course there are, technically speaking, a few running sandal competitors, such as Xero shoes and Unshoe, but neither of these have ever been able to hold a candle to Luna Sandals. Part of the reason is that Luna‘s are simply the real deal.

Many of you know the story about Barefoot Ted, in the book Born to Run, when he went down to the Copper Canyons of Mexico. While there, one of the legendary Tarahumara runners, Manuel Luna, made Barefoot Ted a pair of huarache sandals out of a piece of used truck tire and a long strip of leather for the lacing. So intrigued, Barefoot Ted, came back to the U.S. with his head spinning about how to make a running sandal using more modern materials and processes, while sticking to the simplicity of what Manuel Luna had made.

Of course, Barefoot Ted decided to name the sandals after Manuel Luna and thus was born Luna Sandals. After many years of tinkering and selling Luna’s on a small scale, in 2010, Ted teamed with the Smuin brothers to really get his sandal company off the ground. The result has been the creation of the most authentic and high-quality running sandals on the market.

The recently released Luna Venado isn’t really all that new. In fact, it’s just the most recent iteration of the Original Luna, with the same 6mm Vibram footbed. But just because it is based on the original doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been vastly improved upon. First of all, the lacing system on Luna’s just gets better and better. The current lacing system does the best job of being easily adjustable and staying in place while keeping the friction low between the toes. Second, the uppers are a big improvement. The Monkey Grip Top, or MGT, is amazing in wet conditions and keeps the foot planted at all times. The Pittards goat leather is my particular favorite. Though it is not as good when wet, it has the right balance of stickiness and comfort for me.



  1. Authentic: These sandals are the real deal. You will not find a group of people more dedicated to making the most perfect, yet simplistic running sandal that sticks to the roots of how sandals have been made for millennia.
  2. Molds to Foot: I have found no other footwear product on the market that molds to the foot like a pair of Luna Sandals. What makes it so different is that the entire sole molds to the foot, not just the foot bed. This allows the foot to move 100% naturally. It also makes for some of the most comfortable footwear around.
  3. Zero Drop: Cut from a sheet of Vibram soling material, the sandals are naturally flat.
  4. Ground Feel: The 6mm Vibram rubber has incredible ground feel. You almost feel like you are running barefoot.
  5. Air to Foot: It feels incredible to have your foot out in the open while running.


  1. Abrasion: It takes patience to work into running in Luna Sandals without getting uncomfortable abrasion between the toes and at other various points from the lacing. I recommend using athletic tape for problem areas if you don’t have the patience.
  2. Wet and Cold: This is not ideal footwear for running in the wet or cold. That said, you may be surprised how cold it needs to be before its too cold to run in Luna’s.

The BTR Take

The Luna Venado is definitely my favorite footwear during the summer months. Also a Born to Run staff favorite, the Venado is a versatile sandal that can be worn while running marathons or just as a great minimalist sandal for every day use. Hopefully Luna can keep up with the incredible demand so that we can be sure to sell you a pair whenever you decide to drop by our store or site!

Luna Sandals Venado

About the Author: Dan Fairbanks grew up in the Northwest amongst the evergreen trees. Now living in Seattle, he loves to get out in nature to go running, backpacking, camping, and hiking. Dan was inspired to start the Born to Run stores after knee pain caused him to rethink his running form and he experienced the miracle of switching to barefoot-inspired shoes. Current shoe rotation: Altra Superior and The One, Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS, SKORA Core.

Posted in Luna Sandals, Shoe Reviews

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2 Responses

Dan Fairbanks
Dan Fairbanks

August 19, 2013

The Venado, along with all Luna Sandals, should last at least 500 miles on the road. I have known some people to get 1000 miles out of them.


August 03, 2013

Great review! Do you know about the endurance of these sandals when submitted to the road? My friend tore through her BedRock sandals in less than 2 months, and they have a 6mm Vibram rubber sole. Thanks!

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