Luna Sandals – Huaraches For Running

A few years ago a best selling book called Born To Run by Chris McDougall introduced mainstream America to an indigenous Mexican group called Tarahumara or Raramuri which translates as ‘those with light feet’. The Raramuri live in the Copper Canyon in the southwest of Chihuahua State and as the name suggests have a long history and strong tradition of running. In fact the Raramuri are known to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury and more incredibly with no specific training.

Scott Jurek runs with Arnulfo Quimare. Photo by Luis Escobar.

Arnulfo Quimare. Photos by Luis Escobar.

Running Raramuri. Photo from Norawas De Raramuri – Friends of the Running People.

Below is a good video about the Raramuri as runners:

Running shoe companies have been paying homage to Raramuri for many years and long before the book Born To Run was released. To name a few designs Nike has in the past released shoes called Nike Tarahumara and more recently the Nike Raramuri. But no company has come as close to paying homage to the incredible superathlete Tarahumara as Luna Sandals.

Luna Sandals is a company started by one of the protagonists of the book Born To Run, a man called Barefoot Ted. The name of Luna comes from Manuel Luna a Raramuri in Urique who made Ted his first pair of Huaraches in 2006 where he was running in the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon.

Manuel Luna and Barefoot Ted. Photos taken from

Raramuri ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huaraches at the 2011 Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon. Photo taken from Barefoot Ted’s Facebook page.

Luna Sandals make ‘Pata de Gallo’ Huarache as used by the Raramuri to walk and run, but elevate the product with lighter and better performing materials. Whereas the Raramuri run in thick and heavy Huaraches made from old car and truck tyres, Luna Sandals are made using fine suede and leathers such as 2mm Cordovan which is glued to a 2-8 mm Vibram rubber outsole. With the addition of Equus elasticized laces Luna Sandals have essentially evolved the Pata de Gallo to turn it a performance running Huarache.

The top of the line at $125 is the LeadCat designed for the rough trails of the Leadville 100 race.

Then others are the Leadville Pacer at $75 which comes without a leather top and therefor has a thinner sole for improved ground feel and better performance in the wet.

As with all Huaraches they always look better worn in.

There is the Equus for $125 on a 2mm rubber sole.

And here is a worn Equus, notice how the Huarache has molded to the foot shape.

Photos taken from  Luna Sandals and

The main philosophy behind Luna Sandals is to honor the foot first by offering traditionally designed sandals which promote the rediscovery of a more natural style of running while fitting the needs of the modern consumer. And as far from a traditional running shoe as Luna Sandals are, I think they are right. The human body has evolved and developed to run shoeless over millions of years and running shoes have only existed for the last seventy, which poses the question; do we need all those technical running shoe designs, or do we just need to protect the soles of our feet with a light weight Luna Sandal?

Like Huarache Blog Luna Sandals is interested in the designs of traditional sandals from all over the world, sandals made out of natural, sustainable materials that are easy to make by hand with simple tools. And like Huarache Blog they also believe that minimalist footwear traditions are part of our shared heritage and that we should preserve them and encourage others to do the same.

Huarache Blog has designed and is currently testing its own running sandals, combining  construction principles from the Tarahuamara ‘Pata de Gallo and the Ho Chi Minh sandals from Vietnam. Check them out on the post titled ‘My Running Huarache Sandals‘.

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