Shamma Sandals Old Goat Huaraches Review
Shamma Sandals makes a quality huarache-styled sandal that is built on Vibram sole materials and is styled in various lacing/upper configurations. It's in the same league as other minimalist sandals manufacturers like Luna Sandals.
BirthdayShoes readers know Jarvis has been a big fan of Shamma Sandals for awhile now (Reviews | Shamma Classic All Browns Shamma Mountain Goats Shamma Jerusalem Cruisers and Warriors) but up until early May when Josh (Shamma Founder) reached out to have me try out one of Shamma's newest designs, did I get a chance to see what all the fuss was about.
So it went that I got a pair of Shamma Sandals Old Goats — just in time for summer — to test and review, which is what I"ll be doing today!
The Shamma Sandals Old Goats
Shamma Sandals describes the Old Goat sandals on the product page:
Mountain Goats and All-Browns meet on the rocks of a mountain slope. Classic all brown leather and lacing with the sole of a Mountain Goat (our 11mm composite sole). An 11/16″ Oil-Tanned Hide Leather strap is mated to our molded toe-plug and laced into a Slip-On configuration for easy use. Extra-long laces are supplied, and the excess is trimmed when you’ve found the perfect fit. Like their Mountain Goats brothers, Old Goats are hardy, rough-terrain-ready adventuring sandals. Ideal for hiking, running, and adventuring, with these sandals you’ll be as sure-footed as a mountain goat!
Since the Old Goats are my first Shammas, I'll be reviewing them independently of those reviews! First, once assembled, my Old Goats looked like this:
The Old Goats remind me of Luna Mono Premium huaraches sandals. The Luna Premiums are similarly leather all over and about the same thickness in the sole (10mm with the Lunas vs 11mm with the Shammas). That said, a key difference (apart from the leather and sole materials being a bit different) between Shamma's Old Goat and Luna's Mono Premium is that the Old Goats use a ladder clasp to keep everything together at the knot. Lunas, by comparison, use a tied knot.
Take a look at the Shamma Old Goats in these photos:
Old Goats Soles
The Old Goats feature a hybrid sole of Vibram Newflex (the zig-zag you see in the above photos) and Vibram Morflex (sandwiched between the Newflex and the leather-top).. The net thickness of the soles is around 11mm per Shamma.
For me, the sole is a bit on the thick side. I'd prefer something a little more flexible. While ground feel still happens, the rigidity of the Shamma Old Goats sole tends to keep your feet on a platform that stays fairly flat when you step on rocks and pebbles. Mind, this might be considered a feature for some! It's just not my personal preference as my primary use case for the Old Goats was as a casual, all-day sandal.
Old Goats Laces, Break-in
Here are the Old Goats after about three months of wear:
The Old Goats are leather laced save for the toe post. The suede side faces your foot. All in all, I liked the feel of the Old Goat laces against my feet. I appreciated the elastic band that keeps the extra lace snug against the sandal strap.
The one drawback to leather laces (just comes with the territory) is that they stretch over time. Because huaraches rely on tension to stay on your feet, stretching laces can be frustrating when you're out and about and your sandals start slipping off at the heel, requiring you to stop and make an adjustment. As adjusting huaraches goes, Shammas ladder tensioner makes the process pretty painless. The main thing is that you tighten at the tensioner and then distribute howevever much lace you took away to the whole laced sandal (e.g. you have to pull some lace through the holes that wrap either side of your ankle).
I'd say it probably took 5-10 stretch adjustments over the course of the first few weeks to get to a less stretchy point. And that's a nice payoff — at some point, they don't stretch quite so much.
Regarding other break-in, I kept hoping that the soles would start bending and wrapping my foot more, but it really just never happened—at least not very much. This isn't too surprising given the overall sole thickness. It's not a must-have for your huaraches to "break-in" to your foot but I do like the added custom fit of broken-down sole material to make the sandals hug your feet.
I'll also say that I wish the sole upper had the suede side facing my foot. One of the earliest experiences I had with the Old Goats left the pads of my feet rubbed uncomfortably after I'd had to walk a couple of miles in them.I didn't quite get a blister that time, but I had to shelve the sandals for a few days so my feet could recover. For whatever reason, I didn't have a repeat experience (thankfully!) at any other time during the testing.
Finally, I did notice that the Newflex sole started to show some wear after about three months of fairly regular use. Just something to note. Doesn't strike me as a problem though!
Old Goats Looks
Shamma Old Goats are nice-looking huaraches. Aesthetically, they're just like the Shamma All Browns as seen from above. Because they're leather, they go well with dressier summer attire (e.g. khaki shorts and a button down shirt) or can be worn with jeans.
Most importantly, the Old Goats don't have a sporty look, which is good in my book, and having a "dressy" sandal is really the everyday use-case I prefer. In fact, this selling point is what would have me reaching for them when heading out the door to a summer event.
While there are a lot of options in the huaraches world, there aren't as many when it comes to sandals that look professional enough to feel comfortable wearing to a summer cocktail party. On this account, the Old Goats make me feel a little Old because they're the kind of sandal I most need and am most likely to wear.
Don't get me wrong, I love my more casual minimalist sandals (Exodus are still my favorite), it's just that I usually only get to wear them during active weekend stuff. The Old Goats are right at home in any endeavor and then can keep up if I'm heading out to dinner with the missus.
If Old Goats fill that niche in your closet, you should check them out! I'll conclude with saying that I'm impressed with Shamma's offerings — based on Jarvis' reviews and my experience with the Old Goats, they make a quality product.