Shamma Sandals has updated their lineup with the adventure-ready and waterproof Ultra Chargers! The highlight of the new model is its grippy and waterproof all-weather UltraGrip footbed!
Looking for my own adventure, I put the new model to the test along the running trails and mountain hikes of Madeira Island!
Read through to see my thoughts on the new Shamma Sandals Ultra Chargers!
Here’s what Shamma says about the Ultragrip Chargers:
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.
The Chargers are our war horses – strong, balanced, and stable. They’re light, comfy, and snug. While their tread isn’t as aggressive as the Warriors or Mountain Goats, they’re still built for performance on and off road, and if you’ve never tried Shammas we recommend them as a first pair.
Weight | 4 oz (mens size 9)
Total Stack Height | 6mm Vibram Pyramid Sheet Morflex Sole + <1mm Ultragrip footbed
Barefoot scale | Excellent
Soft suede strap liners for excellent comfort
New nylon webbing is softer ever
Grippy Ultragrip footbed
Versatile Morflex sole
Slightly heavier than previous versions by a fraction of an ounce
While the uppers are waterproof, the sole loses traction in wet conditions
Morflex sole is a great all-around sole, but is not ideal for most runners for tricky terrain
Price | $69.95
Sizing | True to size and an excellent fit for wide feet
Here’s a photo gallery of the Shamma Chargers:
The Ultra Chargers use a revised 6mm Vibram Morflex sole from a pyramid sheet mold. Morflex is a microcellular material, which shapes up to your feet very quickly around mile 10 and is flexible, but not as floppy as denser sole materials, which leads to fewer slapping sounds. The Morflex sole has a slight give to it upon landing, which is excellent for smooth road running and tough trails as well.
In terms of their lineup, they use this 6mm Morflex sole for all variants of their Chargers line, a 5mm Vibram Newflex sole in the more technically-minded Warriors line and an 11mm combination sole of Morflex and Newflex for the trail-dedicated Mountain Goats.
If you are looking for something more capable with loose dirt and with better traction in wet conditions, go for Vibram Newflex!
Overall, Morflex is an excellent all-around sole that is great for road-running, light trails, and everyday enjoyment. The sole is made from a lightweight, low-density material that you will barely even notice on your feet. When taking long hikes, you will definitely appreciate the lightweight nature of this sandal. After eight hour hikes in Madeira, my feet still felt fresh, while many of my friends had nothing but complaints about their clunky hiking boots; one boot even fell apart on one of them, which is something I would not worry about with the Chargers for hundreds of files, they are that durable and elegant of a design.
Different from older models, this sole from Vibram features a slightly more raised pyramid design, while the older ones were slightly flatter squares.
New to Shamma Sandals is their new Ultragrip footbed. This waterproof footbed is made from a specially designed Toughtek® material and has excellent grip for your feet and plenty of small channels for water, mud, and dirt to flow out of the sandal surface. 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. This footbed is micro-perforated and can take in a small amount of water to maintain optimum performance on your runs.
Having been a fan of the goat leather uppers of their more premium models, I was a bit apprehensive about this new footbed option, but I am happy to report that this footbed is actually superior to the leather material in a number of ways.
For one, this material is much more durable than leather. While it won’t develop a lovely patina over time like leather, it is overall a much tougher material and will not fade, crack, or break like leather eventually will. In addition, the Ultragrip uppers are very sticky, while leather can be a little slippery as it dries out (frequently adding leather conditioning oil helps!), and is completely waterproof. I can easily sink my feet into a river or creek and my feet will be dry in mere minutes, ready for some more fun. Even as they dry, the uppers remain grippy and I never felt like my feet could slip on top of the upper.
Fit and Materials
The Chargers have an updated Ultra Lacing system from Shamma Sandals. This system, as seen in previous versions Shamma maintains a secure fit, but with more comfort than many other sandal designs. Nearly every aspect of the fit can be adjusted to my needs.
The center buckle can be moved in all four directions on top of your foot for the most comfortable fit, the main velcro strap can be adjusted forward and back, and the rear heel strap (my favorite aspect of the system) really locks in the sandal and rounds out the entire system.
In addition, the velcro straps have been given little tabs to assist with tightening down and removing the straps. This was the first time I had seen a little tab like this and I hope that other sandals start taking note.
It is a very polished system. No need to fiddle with self tying, cutting excess strapping material, or using a match to seal things up. I have had to do a little “sandal surgery” on some hikes when I encounter a paracord snap, or when narrow webbing rubs too much and I get a blister around the toe post; no such issues will occur with the Shamma Sandals lacing system.
Most huaraches have a weakness in the rear heel strap and can cause some irritation over time, especially if they are too tight or too loose, but the webbing and suede combo really makes the entire sandal feel invisible.
The webbing has been updated to be more comfortable right out of the box and important contact points are given extra comfort with suede liners. Even though the wide webbing is already very comfortable, the suede is a nice touch and makes the Charger the most comfortable sandal in my closet and the easiest to live with. Strap adjustments are incredibly quick and easy with the velcro straps and center buckle and everything is very secure; once I locked everything down, nothing is going to move even after an entire day of hiking.
In a previous review, I used Shamma’s Power Straps to get a little extra security, but I left those at home and never regretted leaving them behind. The Power Straps are extra straps that add extra security around the top of the foot. However, the sandals are plenty secure on their own and do not require the Power Straps except in very specific conditions.
Having reviewed Shamma Sandals in the past, I decided to just go for it only bring the Ultra Chargers to the trip with no alternative sandal, shoe, or option should I encounter tough terrain, poor weather, or a strap break. I went in with an open mind and was rewarded with a wonderful running and hiking experience that I will never forget.
Portugal was an amazing place to visit and the Shamma Ultra Chargers made this trip even more enjoyable. I was free to dash around, maneuver past trees, people, obstacles, clamber on rocks and man-made structures, and run to my heart’s content with these light sandals. I have been a huarache runner for many years and believe that less is more when it comes to shoes. Shoes should provide minimal protection without interfering with the movement of the foot; Shamma Sandals has always been excellent in this regard.
During my many hikes—as is a common occurance—I would be stopped by people telling me I was “crazy” for hiking in“flip flops”, but after a little chat and some demonstrations of how secure the sandals were, many gave an impressed grin and carried on with their hikes—still thinking I’m crazy, but perhaps a little less so.
It became readily apparent that I had a number of advantages over my fellow hikers and trail runners around Vereda da Ponta Sao Lourenç and Achada do Teixeira, where lifting up heavy hiking boots would tire out other hikers, while I was still springy and bouncy after an entire week of hiking. On one occasion, I had forgotten my phone in someone’s bag and I had to run back to the beginning of the Vereda hike and back again, all the while I saw others huffing and puffing along. To my surprise, I ran into a random couple that recognized me as I was passing them “Wait, are you Jarvis?!”—my wide feet are world renowned!
The Ultra Charger is an excellent platform for all but the most treacherous trails. Having something light, thin and flexible on your feet trains you to be lighter with your steps and landings, more efficient with using your body weight and more fluid in your motions. Clunky boots and shoes do not readily train our bodies to move efficiently, they merely provide protection while adding too much weight.
Other hikers looked HEAVY while I was feather-footed. Everyone looked tired, while I was energized. No one had more fun on that trail that that “crazy guy with the flip flops” during that week.
The Morflex sole is great for a variety of activities, but as an all-around sole, it is not perfect. It is basically a bald sole, so it won’t have the same traction as, say, Morflex or Gumlite soles, and it can be slippery on wet rocks, so you will have to be a little more careful. However, this sole is a joy to use as it feels more connected to your feet because of its molding nature. It does not take very long for the sole to have your footprint embedded into it and it truly becomes yours.
Shamma is always coming with improvements and have been open to my suggestions. For future models, I would like to see a second side velcro strap and some new colors! Having been a fan of the Yellow Flash Earthrunners from my previous review, all black felt very minimalist, incredibly functional, albeit a bit drab. I would love some navy, deep red, or vibrant yellow straps in future models.
I am wondering if it would be possible to shave a mm or two off the width of the straps for a more streamlined
Shamma Sandals continues to impress with their latest updates to their popular running sandals. The Ultra Chargers are an excellent addition to their lineup and my favorite huarache for all purpose use. The Ultragrip footbed is incredible and is a marvel of durability, grip, and function. Coupled with their strap system and the excellent Morflex sole and you have an incredibly polished and easy to live with sandal.
MSRP $69.95, Available at ShammaSandals.com
I'm a lecturer in Statistics and American Government and photographer living in Boston. I hold a PhD in Political Science. I've been a minimalist and barefoot runner for the past five years and have flat dinosaur feet. I was recommended motion control shoes in high school and they were a miserable experience. I switched to minimalist shoes and I now smile with every run. You can follow my photography adventures at jarvischen.zenfolio.com and Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/chenjarvis