One of my favorite running sandals gets revamped for 2016 with a more premium leather topper, a new leather insole post, updated buckles and highly-requested heel strap.
Do these updates keep the Jerusalem Cruiser on top (see my review of the original 2014 Jerusalem Cruiser here)?
Read on for my thoughts on Jerusalem Cruiser 2.0 from Shamma Sandals!
Time to ditch those flip-flops! The Jerusalem Cruisers are our original go anywhere, do anything sandal. JCs are simple, elegant, and comfortable sandals that you’ll quickly find become your go-to pair.
You’ll find yourself equally at home in JCs cruising around town, relaxing at the beach, or taking your dog for a jog around the neighborhood.
The JCs are our all-rounders. They’re light, comfy, and snug. While their tread isn’t nearly as aggressive as the Warriors or Mountain Goats, they’re still built for performance on and off road. They shape up nicely and more quickly than their sandal brethren, and are a good compromise on thickness. Great for casual wear and hanging out, with a little adventure on the side.
MSRP at time of review – $70
Weight – 3.8oz (mens size 9)
Total Stack Height -6mm Vibram Morflex sole provides good groundfeel and flexibility. (5mm Newflex in the Warriors 2.0) (11mm Newflex+Morflex in the Mountain Goats 2.0)
Barefoot scale – An excellent compromise for barefoot enthusiasts and new runners. Just enough comfort for long runs and training, great ground feel for dexterity and sensitivity.
Ideal Uses – Short and long-distance road running, trails, hiking, and light-to-moderate terrain technical running.
Still a very lightweight sandal
New leather uppers are more durable and water resistant
Excellent ground feel and protection
Vibram sole is always reliable and consistent
Long leather strap and omni-directional center buckle provides tons of fit customization
Hand-crafted and made in the USA
Nylon straps take some time to soften up
I miss the suede heelstrap from the older, non-adjustable strap.
Like many huaraches, they may “bow” over time
Only one shape
Shamma Sandals uses the same tried-and-true Vibram Morflex sole for the Jerusalem Cruiser 2.0. The soles in their 2.0 designs carry over from their original versions: 6mm Morflex for the Jerusalem Cruisers, 5mm Newflex in the Warriors and an 11mm combination of Morflex and Newflex for the Mountain Goats.
Morflex is a micro-cellular sole, with one third the weight of rubber, but excellent resilience and a little bounce. The material feels like a very dense neoprene (think of a mouse pad), is slightly squishy upon impact, and conforms to the shape of your foot within 10-20 miles.
In the past, I would waffle between choosing Newflex or Morflex as my favorite Vibram sole. Both have excellent density, durability, and traction, but they diverge when it comes to overlapping functions. Both are “all-around” soles that are good as many things, but Newflex leans more towards traction and terrain, while Morflex is the better sole for smooth roads.
As I do much of my running on roads or light trails, I tend to lean more towards Morflex, but will reach for Newflex sandals when I know things will be slippery, tricky, or rocky.
Morflex is a fantastic sole for newcomers and the 6mm sole provides plenty of groundfeel but enough protection for anything you can encounter in on a road or light trail run.
Unlike Newflex, Morflex is almost perfectly smooth on the bottom. Though it lacks a tread, Morflex has good grip for non-wet surfaces and excellent durability. After running hundreds of miles with a plethora of huaraches, I have yet to wear through a single pair. I can easily recommend any Vibram-based running sandal for over 500 miles or more provided you are using proper technique.
As a sidenote, like many hauraches, the sandal may “bow” over time where the front and the back lips of the sandal lift a bit. This is pretty common with simpler constructed sandals with a toe post and does not affect the sandal’s function in any way. My original Jerusalem Cruisers have a slight smile these days, but are still great for running. Morflex seems to exhibit this change in shape more than Newflex. I believe it might be an effect of soaking in water and drying after many rain runs.
The Morflex sole that is used in a variety of running sandals gives VERY slightly when you land, but no so much as to qualify as “cushy”. Morflex is just soft enough to give you a bit of protection and comfort, but still has plenty of durability to last seemingly forever. You will not land on rocks with full force, but that’s not what minimalist running is about. Minimalist, or “barefoot”, running is about relearning how to run as we were evolved to do, quickly, lightly, and with speed and purpose, using our mass to carry our bodies forward as we maintain perpetual momentum. We continually move forward as our feet skim the ground beneath us as “fall, creating the feeling of running downhill while perfectly level.
Shamma Sandals has a single shoe shape that was designed to fit most feet. They provide size templates on their website for you to print out and test for yourself at home. Many running sandal companies
With my wide feet, the Jerusalem Sandals are a perfect fit. Shamma Sandals provides a wide sole shape around the toe section to accommodate many foot shapes and sizes. If necessary, you can easily trim your sandals to fit narrower feet, but for me, it’s one of the best.
Fit and Materials
Let’s get one thing straight:
The adjustable heel strap is the best darn addition to this sandal and it completely transforms the potential of the Jerusalem Cruiser for more activities and more foot and leg shapes. In my previous reviews of the Jerusalem Cruiser and Warriors, the most requested feature I wanted for a future iteration of these sandals was to add another adjustable strap and Shamma delivered!
In my comparison review of the latest Unshoes Pah Tempe vs the Xeroshoes Amuri Z-Trek, I could not sing enough praises about the TWO adjustable straps for top of the foot and the heel that allows for a very custom fit and better stability and comfort in the Amuri Z-Trek. Ultimately, the Pah Tempe was my favorite because of the multiple shapes (the Z-Trek was too narrow for me) and its excellent sole and balance, but the Z-Trek had a polished-looking design and the rear strap makes a huge difference in feeling secure with your running sandal.
Clearly, Shamma Sandals also realized the benefits of a heel strap and their latest generation of products (minus the leather-options, such as the ALL BROWNS I reviewed last year) now feature a velcro heel strap and a new leather insole post. These two changes make the Jerusalem Cruiser better than ever and are my top choice for a non-self-tying running sandal.
The heel strap allows you to customize the fit not only in terms of how secure and tight the sandal is on the top and sides of your foot, but now also in the back of the foot. One issue that I have experienced with many sandals and running shoes is that the heel can slip while running. The old versions of Shamma Sandals had a little bit of slip, but not enough to really criticize, especially if I tightened the main straps a bit. This new velcro heel strap really makes the entire sandal feel more secure than just about any other sandal or shoe on the market. Of course, you will still have some issues with cutting motions and side-to-side movements (that’s a common issue with running in sandals), but everything else feels great.
The use of velcro rather than loops or self-tying paracord makes the Jerusalem Cruiser a very easy sandal to live with, slip on and off, and tighten to your exact needs.
As a side note: the older versions of Shamma Sandals featured a nifty suede strap around the heel area to provide a little extra comfort, but having a fully adjustable heel strap means that this beloved featured had to be removed. For this reason, the heel section can be a bit scratchier than previous versions at first. The nylon webbing is a bit stiff out of the mailing envelope, but they soften up over time and, in my opinion, become very comfortable to run in.
Another new addition is a Y-Shaped leather insole post. This is where the strap meets the sandal on the inside of your foot. This is a durable connection point that has been changed from the previous design, which was a circular loopknot. The circular loop remains on the outside of the foot, but this change on the inside strap connection is much sleeker than the knot and makes for a more comfortable place for your foot to touch if you have thicker feet or more developed muscles (big boned feet, basically).
In terms of everything else: The entire sandal is constructed with just four materials: Leather, nylon straps and buckles, and the vibram sole.
Shamma Sandals updated the original goat leather topper with a more premium-feeling tobacco brown goat leather. This leather is more durable, stands up to water a bit more, and feels great. The older goat leather would dry out very quickly after taking some abuse and a few rainy runs, but this version holds up better and continues to feel great after many miles.
As with previous models, there is a lot of customization with the Shamma buckle system and leather straps. You can move the main strap and plastic top buckle in four directions to get the best fit. The central strap section that goes across the chasm between the bones of your big and index toe can be moved up or down the foot by threading the outer strap and the buckle can be shifted left to right by threading the inner strap.
The nylon webbing is wide and flat and you can adjust how it holds between your toes with a quarter twist of the toe post. Give it a turn to twist the straps and make them narrower if you experience and rubbing or leave it wider and flat.
Personally, I would recommend that you position the main strap straight and angled between your big toe and index toe, running down the valley between the bones in your feet. This prevents rubbing on top of any toes or bones and allows for a tighter fit.
Like all Shamma Sandals, the toe post is countersunk into the sole material and is perfectly seamless under the sandal.
Overall, Shamma Sandals put a lot of thought into updating their flagship sandal and just about every aspect has been at least tweaked to some degree, save for the ever-present and always reliable Morflex sole.
The Jerusalem Cruisers have been given a big update that keeps them at the top of my list of favorite all-around running sandals. They have more polish, comfort, and adjustability than ever before.
In terms of running sandals, they truly are among the best all-around models–Able to just about anything.
If they are a good fit for your feet, you definitely should check them out: they run for $70 over at ShammaSandals.com.