I have run in my LUNA Mono 1.0s for a long long time now. Over 1000 miles and so many stories on that old pair. Two 100 mile finishes, some DNFs, and so many runs in all seasons with good friends. These sandals are have shared some incredible experiences with me. When I knew it was time to retire them from distance runs and relegate them to shorter runs I was a little sad.
In late 2017 I picked up a pair of the Mono 2.0s to start breaking in. Initially I found the thick tread, a feature not found on the 1.0s, a little too thick for my liking. Whereas running shoes tend to not have much break-in needed LUNAs are constantly breaking in for the life of the sandal. They form to your feet and get more and more comfortable over time so when it was time to start breaking in a new pair all I wanted to do was run in my old favorites, the Mono 1.0. The Mono 2.0 first became my “dress sandal” for wearing around town. Later it would move into the ranks of the chosen.
Upgrades from the 1.0
A few changes were made with the introduction of the Mono 2.0. The first was the thick tread mentioned above. The 11mm base plus the 4mm tread gave a thicker overall sandal than the Mono 1.0 sitting at 12mm of base with a negligible tread thickness.
The buckle was changed to a type with less profile on the contact point with the foot with the outcome of less likelihood of chafing. The elastic heel strap of the 1.0 was replaced with a piece of webbing and a padded cup over it again reducing the likelihood of chafing on the heel. All in all solid changes from the 1.0.
The Mono line has the softest of footbeds of all the LUNAs I have tried. I like this because it will form to your feet quicker. I found wearing them for long road runs on hot asphalt helps them break in even faster.
Here’s the specs direct from the LUNA monkeys in Seattle:
Overall I am happy with the changes. The extra 3 mm thickness was something I didn’t like initially. Now, after 150 miles of use, the Mono 2.0 is starting to mold to my feet and feeling more comfortable. The added tread thickness likely will increase the lifespan, which I love the idea of. It also provides slightly better traction in soft ground. So how do the Mono 2.0s perform?
All the Ground Feels
Minimalist footwear users will often speak about ground feel. The connection of the foot to the surface we tread on can form a feedback loop. This feedback from the earth’s surface to the body and brain allows the body to make slight adjustments based on the environment, whereas thick cushioning shields our senses from this data. The longer I run in minimalist footwear or barefoot the more I relish in that ground feel.
The Mono 2.0 doesn’t provide as much ground feel as I like new out of the box, but they will get there over the 1000+ miles to come. For me it is a good balance between comfort and longevity.
Like most minimalist footwear the toe-off feels very responsive, a side effect of not being cushioned like a traditional running shoe. More of your energy output to the ground is translated into forward propulsion, whereas a heavily cushioned piece of footwear absorbs and buffers some of that force.
The Mono 2.0 has really good traction on road and trail. Technical terrain is fun to move through. The light, responsive feel makes running rocky terrain enjoyable.
The one condition these sandals can not handle is a lot of mud. For occasional muddy spots on the trail no problem, but for long stretches of mud you’d do better to take them off and barefoot it or wear alternative footwear. Mud between the sole and footbed causes lateral sliding in the sandal and the only remedies are washing it off in a stream crossing or letting it dry and flake off.
If more ground feel straight out of the box is what you are after LUNA also has a number of thinner sandals available. The Leadville Pacer with a 9 mm base or the Origen Flaco with a 10 mm base are two ideal options.
Everyone finds their own way their body works best and while I don’t believe in any “one size fits all” ideology I do believe everyone can benefit from some barefoot walking and running in the grass or on a soft trail surface. I also believe most people that fail in transitioning to minimalist footwear fall into the category of “too much too soon” leading to overuse injuries. Patience is a virtue and one that pays nice dividends in life and that microcosm of life we love, running. Run Free! Run Happy! Run Strong!