The Roots of LUNA Sandals

The simple sandal is perhaps one of the oldest human inventions. Human beings have learned that protecting the bottom of our feet can give us a huge advantage in many environments.

In 2003 (Barefoot) Ted Mcdonald was on a seemingly simple mission: to learn how to run pain-free. That simple desire led him down a rabbit-hole of a quest to learn as much as he could about natural running form, the natural selection of footwear, and the evolution of human movement. On his journey he re-discovered that the human body is not broken by design. We, as humans, have an amazing capacity to move well solely with the equipment we were born with, our own bodies. As he learned more about the natural selection of footwear in human cultures, he kept finding the simple sandal as the footwear of choice for many cultures past and present.

This fascinating quest into the world of movement, running, and simple footwear led him to a man named Caballo Blanco and into the Copper Canyons of Mexico in 2006; the story of which is famously chronicled in Christopher McDougall's best-seller, Born To Run. If you’ve read Born To Run, you are familiar with Ted's story. He traveled down to the Copper Canyons of Mexico to run a 50 mile ultra-marathon with the legendary Tarahumara natives and while there, Ted became friends with a Tarahumara man named Manuel Luna. Manuel made Ted his first pair of traditional tire 'huarache' sandals. The spark for LUNA sandals was born and as they say, the rest is history.

Manuel Luna making a pair of huaraches for Ted

After the famed 2006 Copper Canyon Ultra-Marathon, Ted began tinkering and experimenting with sandal designs. In 2007 he went back to the Copper Canyon Ultra and ran the race in a pair of huarache sandals that he himself had made. He was hooked and knew he was onto something that he really wanted to share with the world.

By early 2010 he was inundated with requests and orders for the simple traditional sandal he had been developing and making in his garage and selling on his blog. In March of 2010 at Volunteer Park in Seattle, he met two young brothers slacklining in the park. As if it was meant to be, Scott and Bookis Smuin knew who Ted was and had already been making and running in tire sandals. They quickly became friends, the stars aligned, and a business plan for LUNA Sandals was born. As business partners, Ted would be the visionary, Scott with a background in various crafts would be in charge of production, and Bookis as an accomplished web developer, would build the website. They moved production into a small space on Capitol Hill in Seattle where they got started on the adventure of developing, learning, struggling, and growing the business of LUNA Sandals.

Fast-forward to 2016, now located in a beautiful space in Lower Queen Anne (just 3 blocks north of the Space Needle) in Seattle with 12 full time employees, LUNA's team, products, and processes have grown and evolved immensely. Ted and Scott are still running the show (Bookis moved out of the day-to-day to pursue web-development) and they have an amazingly talented team of people, including Irem as the Director of Sales and Business Development, Matthew Ryan as Production Manager, and Kelly Andersen as the Customer Service Manager and Community Leader, to name a few. (Check out our staff bio page to learn more about our stellar team.) We are also blessed with a worldwide tribe of LUNA Monkeys, LUNAtics, ambassadors, fans, and amigos that have developed into a beautiful global LUNA community.

We hope to continue to grow, have fun, and make sandals we are proud to wear.