American-Made Gear: Sandal-Maker Takes 2017 Prize

The annual American Made Outdoor Gear Award recognizes companies with compelling domestic manufacturing stories.

Luna sandals made in usa 2017 winner

LUNA Sandals was named the overall winner of the annual American Made Outdoor Gear Award. The designation was announced last week at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah.

LUNA Sandals handcrafts sandals made for hiking, running, and everyday wear. The company is based in Seattle.

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Made-In-USA Manufacturing Success

LUNA was founded in 2003 by a man with the mission to run pain-free. “Barefoot” Ted McDonald developed his sandals as a minimalistic foot protector for trail runners.

His timing coincided with the beginning of the barefoot running revolution, and the brand launched successfully.

Luna Sandals 2017 made in usa winner
Luna Sandals’ founder nabs the wooden Sasquatch, the official trophy of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award

Fast-forward to 2016 and Luna has grown up. Today, it employs 12 full-time staffers and runs a production facility in Seattle.

The brand makes a variety of footwear designed for backpacking, parkour, travel, urban settings, and much more.

Luna Sandals 2017 American Made Outdoor Gear Award Winner

Several of our editors tested LUNA Sandals in the past. The footwear is durable and, true to its roots, tends toward minimal foot protection.

Check out the video below to peak into one of the brand’s “boxing parties.”


“We are so proud to make the best sandals we can right in Seattle,” McDonald, said. “As such a small company, we hope that winning will inspire others to follow their passions.”

American Made Outdoor Gear Award

Hosted by paddle sports manufacturer Kokatat Inc., the American Made Outdoor Gear Awards are open to all American manufacturers.

Judged by a group of outdoor industry peers, the award application includes more than 30 questions regarding size, scope, challenges, and success stories of domestic production.

american made gear

“We had another year of fantastic entries, but LUNA was a clear standout,” said Jeff Turner of Kokatat, the founder and host of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award.

“Like so many great brands, LUNA started in a garage, and they have embraced domestic manufacturing as a way to support their local community while growing their greater community.”

As winners of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award, LUNA Sandals will take one-year ownership of the “Sassy” traveling trophy — a two-foot tall, hand carved, redwood Sasquatch from Humboldt County, Calif.

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The ceremony also recognized winners in several categories based on company size:

  • Under 10 Employees: Cleverhood of Providence, R.I., a cycling cape manufacturer.
  • 10 to 50 Employees: Frost River of Duluth, Minn., a bag and durable goods manufacturer.
  • 50-100 Employees: Rock Exotica of Orem, Utah, a rock climbing gear manufacturer.
  • 100+ Employees: Exxel Outdoors of Boulder, Colo., an outdoor gear manufacturer.

Past overall winners of the award include Liberty Bottleworks, Benchmade Knives, Sterling Rope, and Hyperlight Mountain Gear.

Congrats to LUNA Sandals, and may it continue on a prosperous trajectory for 2017.

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Sean McCoy
By

Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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