Shamma Sandal’s Chargers have been one of my favorite sandals of the last few years. Now in 2019, Shamma has made tons of new updates and design changes to this best-selling sandal.

And since I’m such a fan of Shamma’s take on huaraches/minimalist sandals, Josh sent me the current model of Chargers to put to the test—which I did by running around in Iceland!

Read through to see my thoughts on the new iteration of the Shamma Sandals Ultragrip Chargers!

Overview

Here’s what Shamma says about the Ultragrip Chargers:

What Shamma Says

Tap into your natural strength – Regain your form, balance, and movement. Chargers are light and responsive without even a trace of floppiness. Smooth on the road, and rock solid on the trail.

Hand-Crafted every time. Right in Santa Cruz, California.

Weight

3.2 oz (mens size 9)

Total Stack Height

6mm Vibram Pyramid Sheet Morflex Sole + <1mm Ultragrip footbed

Barefot Scale

Excellent. Minimal and flexible sole gives you adequate protection and excellent dexterity.

Ideal Uses

Roads and trails, rivers and mountains, boardwalks and sidewalks

Sizing

True to size and an excellent fit for wide feet.

Price

$74.95

Pros

  • New strap anchors are more durable
  • Elegant buckle and webbing updates
  • Lighter than the previous version
  • Versatile sole
  • Faster shape
  • Enhanced fit

Cons

  • New strap anchoring design may not be usable for their CLASSICS line
  • Morflex sole is a jack of all trades, but master of none

Shamma Sandals’ website provides the option to print sizing outlines at home for you to test out the correct size and shape for your foot. It’s a super handy feature that I wish all shoe companies would use.

Take a look around the Shamma Chargers through this photo gallery:

Sole

The new Ultra Chargers use the same 6mm Vibram Morflex pyramid sole as last year’s Chargers. Morflex is a microcellular material, which conforms to your feet over time, is flexible, but not as floppy as some other sole materials made of denser rubber, which leads to a quieter run and more “give” upon landing. Because of this whisper of comfort, you have a less jarring landing when hopping around or stepping on rocks.

This sole is a true Jack-of-all-trades. It can handle most things well and is incredibly versatile. This pyramid version is slightly more capable than the older Morflex sole used in many sandals with a tad better grip and denser composition.

Morflex is an excellent all-around sole that is great for road-running, trails, and everyday enjoyment. The sole is lightweight and the design is overall even lighter than last year’s Chargers model.

Question: Ever see someone lugging up a mountain in chunky hiking boots? Yeah … that is just not for me. When my feet are free, so am I.

 Let your feet do their job!
Let your feet do their job!

So when taking long hikes in the Shammas, I almost forget I’m wearing anything, at all. After eight hour hikes in Madeira, a 12-hour detour at Mount Washington, getting lost in Acadia National Park, and 24 hours of sunlight-fueled madness in Iceland, I really would never adventure in anything but huaraches—and the Shamma Sandals Chargers provide a great balance of weight and features.

Carried over from the previous version of Chargers is the Ultragrip Footbed. This waterproof footbed is made from a specially designed Toughtek® material and has excellent grip for your feet. The Ultragrip footbed features a very subtle diamond pattern provides a large, sticky surface area for your foot, while channeling away water, dirt, and mud.

The Ultragrip uppers are tough and have held up after many miles and many adventures. It is sticky enough for wet environments, and does not distract when on dry land.

Fit and Materials

Shamma Sandals went for a radical redesign of Chargers for 2019. The overall design has the most changes since their original Jerusalem Cruiser sandals in 2014.

The most apparent change is in the anchoring straps where the webbing meets the sandals on the sides of your feet.

 The new anchoring system makes the Chargers more durable and versatile than ever!
The new anchoring system makes the Chargers more durable and versatile than ever!

Previous versions of these sandals wrapped their webbing around two points on either side of the foot with the webbing exposed to the ground. While this never was an issue for me in terms of durability, it would be a weak spot in the design where something could potentially break.

The new anchor straps are now sunken into the sole like the toepost. No webbing ever touches the ground and this new design is potentially much more durable. In addition, because the straps no longer need to be anchored into the edges of the sandal, they can be moved slightly inwards, giving a more secure fit for the foot.

 Sunken posts for the side straps and the toe post for superior durability and smoothness: Previous model on the left and the newest update on the right
Sunken posts for the side straps and the toe post for superior durability and smoothness: Previous model on the left and the newest update on the right

This Charger feels more dialed in to my foot than previous generations. Where the straps anchor is really good placement for where my feet land and there is less sway and side motion as a result, providing a more compliant and confident run cycle on roads, and more assured traction on hikes.

Aside from the anchoring points, all the buckles and webbing are revised. The center buckle is smaller and lighter, but still offers the same versatility and strength that allows you to move the straps in all directions on top of your foot for a custom fit, and there are two Velcro straps for added customization and security. The main velcro strap can be adjusted forward and back with the buckle, and the rear heel Velcro strap allows for not only a more locked in feel but comfort as you can shift your entire foot forward and back to give the toepost a sweet spot.

 The latest buckle design is more streamlined and adjustable
The latest buckle design is more streamlined and adjustable

Like before, the velcro straps have been given little tabs to assist with tightening down and removing the straps.

Also new is a slightly smaller webbing at 5/8″ wide, down from the previous 11/16″. This new webbing is flatter and stronger, which allows for updated smaller buckled. This webbing is every bit as comfortable as the old one, while being more durable.

The final addition is a buckle adjustment tab that can be tugged to shift the central buckle to whereever is comfortable. In the last generation, you had to thread the webbing through the buckle in small increments, but this tab makes for a much easier adjustments, like changing the strap lengths of a back pack. It even features a keeper slip to keep the strap from flapping around.

These changes make this the most elegant sandal design this season with an incredible amount of customization, comfort, and durability.

The result is a running sandal without fuss. No longer will you have to run with anything out of alignment or forcing yourself to “live” with something being off about your fit or being too lazy to make complicated changes to the straps. Everything about the sandals are easy and polished.

Performance

Having previously tested out last year’s Shamma Sandals offerings in Madeira and Portugal, I decided to take the new model on a trip to somewhere more chaotic and diverse in terms of geography: Iceland!

In my travels, I usually bring a pair of Chargers with me. They are my go-to sandals for carefree fun. In Madeira, I was surprised to see a couple of hikers recognized my feet from my reviews on Birthdayshoes! We’re international!

From shopping in Reykjavik, standing under the pressure of Skógafoss, hiking to the airplane wreck of Sólheimasandur, and even the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, there was little that the new Chargers could not handle.

The Cruiser/Charger line has always been an excellent all-around sandal; they are great for just about anything—a tried and true part of the Shamma Sandals lineup. And while there are some sandals that are made for more speed and traction (Warriors) or tougher terrain (Mountain Goats), the Chargers are my favorites. Running is incredibly smooth and carefree, hiking is even more fleet-footed when compared to all the awkward hiking boots you see on the cliffsides, and the Chargers are comfortable for just kicking around with friends on the weekends.

Really, the new Chargers have so many little updates and tiny design changes that make these the best Shamma Sandals yet! While the previous design was one of my favorites, the new version is 100% better in so many ways. The sandals are lighter, more secure, comfortable, and have a better fit than ever before.

In my testing, I found the Ultra Charger was an excellent sandal for all but the nastiest trails. Having something light and flexible helps train you to be lighter with your steps and more efficient in how you use your weight. You end up more fluid, as well.

I found the Morflex sole of the Charger to be a bold surface. Even still, you can press down on individual parts of your foot for better grip and it is very difficult to slip with a sole that has so much dexterity and groundfeel. If I start to slip, I can simply emphasize a different part of my foot and, voila!, stability.

Shamma Sandals really outdid themselves with this latest update. The new anchoring points are more durable and comfortable than ever, the straps are lighter, but still just as strong, and the adjustments are easier and more customized than before. I truly appreciate that Shamma Sandals is constantly looking to update and rethink their designs and demonstrate true passion for the art of running.

 An excellent sandal for everyday adventure sand not-so-everyday adventures
An excellent sandal for everyday adventure sand not-so-everyday adventures

Future Improvements

Shamma Sandals has always been very keen to feedback and I am happy for all the updates that have done over the years. Each iteration has added something that I wanted! From the second Velcro strap, thinner webbing, and now the new anchoring positions, they truly do not rest in their pursuits of the perfect shoe.

In future versions, I would love different webbing colorways for a splash of color and personality and a pull tab on the buckle adjustment webbing that mirrors the ones in the Velcro straps.

I would also like to see some thicker, traction-oriented soles. Perhaps a new model could provide the thickness of the sole offered by the Chargers with the traction of the Warriors (which are a thinner sole).

Summary

TL; DR: Shamma Sandals went back to their bestselling sandal and reworked nearly every aspect. The result is a sandal that exceeds all of their previous designs and is the best huarache of 2019. The new straps are more comfortable and durable, the fit is more secure and user-friendly, and all in a more customizable and lighter design.

They are excellent for runners, hikers, and daily use.

My only complaint? I end up wearing them for everything.

You can pick up a pair of Shamma Chargers from their website for right about $75.