Monday, December 9, 2013

It's always huarache season! Luna OSO vs Luna Leadville Review

Left: Luna OSO Right: Luna Leadville
Ok... so perhaps my timing is a little off.  I mean, it's not exactly huarache weather around here in the Rockies.  We've had several sub-zero F evenings and plenty of single digit temps during the day and a fair amount of snow too.

BUT.. that being said, not all of you deal with snowy cold winters and can easily run in huaraches all year round.  And, there are a number of you that continue to run in huaraches (or barefoot) even in wintry conditions.  I, however, have to switch to minimalist shoes and socks when it gets this chilly. But I digress.. this post is all about the Luna OSO sandals!

Leadville on the left, OSO on the right

The Luna OSO is the latest addition to the Luna line of sandals and was released earlier this year.  Prior to testing out the OSO, I reviewed the Luna Leadville (with MGT) October last year, and you can read that review HERE.   I love the Leadvilles as a heavy duty trail runner, so in addition to a review of the OSO, I'll provide details as to how they compare to the Leadvilles.

One of the key differences is the addition of the Tech Strap which you can see in the picture above. Also, the OSO sports a rubber padded heel strap that is not elasticized like the Leadville.

Top: OSO Bottom: Leadville

Besides the lacing/tech strap, the OSO sports a different tread pattern as well.  Both sandals feature the MGT foot bed (Monkey Grip Technology) and are 11mm thick.  I really like the tread pattern on the OSO's and found them to be really grippy.  I did several trail runs wearing one of each model, and I noticed slightly better traction in the OSO's, especially in wet conditions.

The key difference between the OSO and the Leadville? Check it out above...  the top pic is the Leadville rolled up, and the bottom is my attempt to roll the OSO.  Obviously a significant difference in the composition and flexibility of the sole.   The Leadville is about 5 oz, and is a more moldable (yet still rugged) sole.  The OSO's run about 7 oz, and are much stiffer.   As noted on the Luna site "The Oso (11mm) is secure and rugged, but also our heaviest, least moldable option. If you need a tough, long-lasting sandal for rocky terrain or a trail ultra marathon, the Oso is for you. If not, no Oso for you, yo! "

When it comes to running in the OSO's, they really are a great trail sandal.  I ran these in the hills outside of San Diego, as well as a variety of trails around here in Colorado.  Several runs I did in one OSO and one Leadville to get a good feel for the difference.  Both sandals handle rough terrain well, but of course the Leadvilles provide an edge with respect to ground feel and flexibility.  The trade off of course was that the OSO's deflected some of the really gnarly sharp rocks much better due to the stiffer sole.

I also ran a trail race this Fall in the OSO's that included a .75 mile upstream run in Monument Creek in Colorado Springs.  We jumped out of the water a few times (like the pic above), but almost all of it was in knee/thigh deep water with lots of gravel/sand/mud.   This is the same race that I ran in 2012 in the Leadvilles.  Either sandal was an ideal choice in this race since I didn't have to stop to empty 3 pounds of mud/sand out of my shoes after exiting.   The MGT on the OSO's performed just as it had on the Leadvilles, minimizing foot slippage... it only took about 30 seconds out of the water to regain full traction.  The OSO tread performed excellent on the wet grass and mud as well.

Finally, the added Tech Strap that crosses over the front of the ankle is a really nice feature.  At first I wasn't sure how much it would add, but I found that the extra support stabilized the straps and your foot, and it also helped to relieve some of the toe strap pressure on steep down hills.  I think that is where the Tech Strap really shines.  Overall, the strap (which is easily adjustable), helps provide some terrific stabilization for the entire sandal.

OSO Chillin...

Overall, the OSO is a fantastic sandal, and I would have not have expected anything less from Luna and Barefoot Ted!   In my review of the Leadville, I called them the "Rolls Royce" of huaraches... because of their quality, but also their position at the top end of the huarache pricing scale.  For the OSO's, I'll call them the "Humvee" of huaraches...  built to take an extreme beating, but you'll pay for that performance.  The OSO's currently list for $100, but if you are serious about going long on the trails in huaraches, it's a good investment.

As always, if you have any questions or if I've missed anything let me know.  If you have any feedback about your experience with these, or other Luna's... let me know below!

Thanks for tuning in, and happy trails!


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