For the past three weeks, I have been enjoying the latest offering from Shamma Sandals: The Mountain Goat. This model provides the most protection of any other Shamma Sandal and is aimed at rough-terrain hiking and running.
If you are new to Shamma, I previously reviewed the Shamma Sandals Jerusalem Cruisers and Warriors. I absolutely loved those so I was happy to review the latest product from Josh Stiles and his buddies at Shamma Sandals.
This is an exclusive first review of the Mountain Goats for birthdayshoes.com. Read on!
The Mountain Goats are Shamma Sandal’s interpretation of a durable, lightweight sandal for rough terrain use. They are very lightweight (6 oz) for their thickness, very comfortable, durable, highly adjustable, and are made in the USA. They feature a combination sole comprised of 5mm of Vibram Newflex on the bottom of the sole and 6mm of Vibram Morflex on top or the footbed—totaling 11mm of sole.
The Mountain Goats are nicely priced at $79.95 with a naked top and $94.95 with a very nice goatskin leather footbed (what I’ll be reviewing today) and available on the Shamma Sandals website.
Plenty of protection for the rough stuff but still lightweight
Hand-crafted in the USA
Diminished ground feel compared to other Shamma Sandals models
Less flexible than other Shamma Sandals models
Testing Background: This review was written after about 60 miles of trail hiking in The Green Mountains of Vermont and some road running mixed in for good measure.
The Lacing System
The lacing on the Mountain Goats is the same super strong 11/16” tubular webbing that is used in Shamma’s other sandals. It is extremely durable and comfortable against my skin.
The lacing system wraps around the ankle and loops through the underside of the inner and outer parts of the sole and comes back up (forming a “V”) towards the toe post, which is recessed into the sole for comfort and durability. While I was initially concerned with the looping of the straps underneath the sandal (as seen here), I never noticed them and the webbing is incredibly durable and has shown no signs of wear in the time I’ve had with other models.
Tip: I would recommend to all potential buyers of Shamma Sandals to give the toe post a slight twist at the bottom of the sole to slim the webbing between your toes for increased comfort.
All Shamma Sandals use a hook and loop fastener to tighten the laces quickly and easily. This photo from the Warriors review best shows off this system. It is a Velcro strap that is very secure and a piece of cake to use. Having the Velcro strapping system gives Shamma Sandals a very familiar feeling when putting them on. They are very simple to put on and do not requiring and tying or fiddling to get the perfect fit.
Like the other Shamma Sandals I have reviewed, there is a lot of customization with these straps and you can move the main strap and plastic top buckle in four directions to get the best fit. The main strap can be moved left and right by either threading the ends of he straps through the sole or with the Velcro strap. The plastic buckle can be shifted up and down along the top of your foot for the best fit as well. Shamma Sandals provides a few how-to videos to get a perfect fit on their youtube channel.
Tip: 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 and allows for a tighter fit:
The Mountain Goats have a FANTASTIC leather heel strap, which keeps the sandals snug to my heels when moving around and it is very comfortable, providing a touch of softness and a little more security than if I only had the webbing on its own.
Returning from their other models is the “heel strap helper”: It is a small elastic band is added to the “V” formed by the straps on the inside portion of the sandal. This helper is handy as it aids in keeping the heel strap from slipping on the back of your heel. It’s a great little innovation for increased security when climbing downed trees of clambering over rocks.
The Mountain Goats are Shamma’s heaviest sandal at 6 oz. They are roughly the weight of a Vibram Bikila LS or just a shade more than the eva-comprised Bikila EVO. With 11mm of sole, 6 oz is still very lightweight, especially considering how heavy duty these sandals are.
In the fitting process, Shamma provides printable sole outlines on their website for ease of ordering. Just print out your size, place it on the floor and see if your foot fits. Many minimalist shoe manufacturers have been incorporating printable outlines to make online orders more fitting and it’s great to see such an easy process with Shamma Sandals.
Shamma Sandals’ design should accommodate a large range of foot shapes—even my famously flat and wide duck feet!
Shamma Sandals use two different materials the sole of the Mountain Goats: Vibram Newflex and Vibram Morflex. The Newflex provides superior durability and traction (with an aggressive tread) and the Moreflex provides extra protection and density to the sole. You can see the full stack in profile here:
Morflex feels similar to a very dense neoprene, slightly squishy and conforms easily to the shape of your foot, while the Newflex bottom provides slip resistance in wet conditions and durability.
In terms of ground feel, the Mountain Goats definitely do not have the same sensitivity as the previously reviewed Warriors or Jerusalem Cruisers since their sole is twice as thick. Even so, you can still feel rocks, pebbles and roots. As this is a heavier duty sole made for rough terrain, the extra protection is appreciated for most users.
The aggressive tread is fantastic for hiking and going uphill and downhill on uneven dirt and rocks. The Newflex tread is one of my favorites due to its slip-resistance and grip.
Personally, I found the super thin 5mm Newflex sole of the Warriors to be great for most of my hiking needs, but I’ve learned to be very careful with my footing and where I step. Any major mistakes with my hike and I could definitely hurt myself with only 5mm of protection. By comparison, the Mountain Goats excel in that regard. For longer hikes, less experienced hikers, or those looking for more protection, the Mountain Goats perform very well.
When running with the Mountain Goats, I noticed the thicker sole. I am used to 3mm to 5mm soles for my usual runs, so these are not exactly made for my style of road running. Luna has several models that have a similar thickness, so these will probably be good for either new runners or anyone looking to run on trails and tougher environments.
The Mountain Goats are protective, but not as flexible as thinner sandals, so they are great for running in the woods or along riverbanks, but not so much general road running—at least for me.
The Mountain Goats come topped with either a premium goatskin Leather footbed (as seen in this review and above, photoed) or Naked Top. The goatskin footbed is stylish and comfortable — especially in the stealth black color that I received. The goatskin footbed is also available in a honey yellow.
The leather provides just the right amount of cushion for your feet and grip for running and hiking. The Naked Top is another great option (not tested on the Mountain Goats but tested and reviewed via the Jersalem Cruisers/Warrior Review), ideal for water-bound adventurers and those that plan on running on trails with very wet conditions. In a couple of rain-soaked trails, I have not noticed any slipping when they were wet.
The combination sole of the Mountain Goats provide superior durability. I have yet to see any wear on the treads after many hiking days and I believe they will last a very long time, perhaps even more than just Newflex on its own as the Morflex top provides extra density and strength.
I believe the Shamma Sandals makes some of the best huaraches currently on the market and the Mountain Goats continue the trend with this rough-terrain specific model. A lot of thought and care went into the design and crafting of these sandals and it clearly shows. The strapping system is very simple, comfortable, and secure. The sole is aggressive, provides lot of protection for those that need it and is super durable. All of this is packaged into a very stylish and surprisingly lightweight sandal.
Overall, another home run for Shamma Sandals for those looking for a more niche product for tough-terrain use. If these strike your fancy, you can find them at Shamma’s website.
Special Thanks: A huge special thanks goes out to Josh Stiles for sending me a pair of Mountain Goats for this review. He is the founder of Shamma Sandals and he made my shoes. I have never met a more eager and helpful shoemaker in all my barefoot travels.