Origins of LUNA Sandals

Once upon a time…

...Ted McDonald took off his shoes and started running. It inspired him to realize humans were perfectly adapted for running in their original equipment. He got fascinated with the history of running and solutions to running found all over the world. Following the "natural selection" of footwear in human cultures, he kept seeing the simple sandal crop up as "the solution" used by humans since prehistoric times up until now. 

In the spring of 2006, Barefoot Ted visited the Copper Canyons of Northern Mexico with a group of American runners. It was there in the rugged Sierra Madre mountains that Ted met Manuel LUNA, a local Tarahumaran, who helped him make a pair of traditional huarache sandals out of an old tire. The seed for LUNA Sandals had been planted.

Manuel Luna making a pair of huaraches for Ted


A few years later Ted found himself at Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill in Seattle, Washington, where he serendipitously met the Smuin Brothers: Bookis, an accomplished web designer, and Scott, a primitive tinkerer and aspiring survivalist. They were exactly what he needed to really get LUNA Sandals off the ground.

Within 6 months they had moved sandal production out of Ted's garage and into a humble factory at 19th and Prospect on Capitol Hill, launched the LUNA website, and, as they say, the rest is history. 

The LUNA philosophy

We believe that when we become more connected and in tune with our own bodies, as well as with each other, we can often regain a fundamental source of happiness and good health. Our bodies are not broken by design, and when we trust them, our instincts, and our desires, we often find a more genuine expression of who we are.

We are 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. Minimalist footwear traditions are part of our shared heritage and we should preserve them and encourage others to do the same.

Our sandal collection represents the best fruits of our experiences and experiments with old-school footwear and gleanings from insights that we have gathered from both our ancestors and our customers. Through small-scale, sustainable production, we give a growing audience a chance to try what we consider to be fine minimalist running sandals that happen to also be great everyday footwear.

We believe that building community, encouraging health, wellness, fun, and adventure is more important than a standard business model.