If you knew me as a child, you’d remember me scampering along pine needle-laden trails completely barefoot. If you knew me in college, you’d remember grimacing at the quarter-sized callouses on the balls of my feet from twirling the night away sans shoes — earning me the presidency of the contra dance club.
Shamma Sandals recommends that Warriors are best sandals for experienced minimalist runners, walkers, and hikers, because by design, they are extremely thin and light. So what did I do?!?!
I walked right into the Warriors with zero minimalist footwear experience, and a desperate need for a lightweight camp shoe. From the moment I strapped in, it was like all my barefoot dreams had come true.
Circumstances of Review
Initially, I was in the market for the most minimal camp shoe out there to accompany me and my sacred base weight onto the next long trail. However, instead of finding myself in the Texas backcountry, as planned, a Guadalupe Ridge Trail closure prompted me to head to Costa Rica instead.
To be sure, these sandals were put through the wringer! Hiking up more mud-laden switchbacks and along more coastal beaches than I can count, these sandals were my faithful companions on my first trip outside of the country.
Thickness (inside tread): 2.5mm-3mm
Thickness (total with tread): 5mm-6mm
Weight: ~4 ounces / sandal (~8 ounces for the pair)
Materials: 5mm Vibram Newflex sole, Toughtek® footbed
Made in the USA
Pros of Shamma Sandals Warriors
That Foot Feel: The barefoot feel of these sandals was what won me over from the start. I could easily scrunch my foot and grip the ground while still being protected from rocky edges and slick surfaces alike. I’m not exaggerating when I say instead of wearing shoes, it felt like my feet got superpowers, or at least like I was taking them off-roading.
Good Traction: The tread pattern on the bottom of the sandals accounts for 2mm of the 5mm total thickness, and it’s so very worth it. Even slippery wood, my nemesis since my fall on the Appalachian High Route, wasn’t as fearsome a foe. I confidently encountered footboards in my Warriors over the worst of the muddy rainforest floor.
Ultra Lacing System: The freedom of movement for my feet when strapped into the sole seals the deal for me with this minimalist shoe. The Ultra Lacing system allows for 3 adjustment points for fitting: the heel lace, the inside lace, and the outside lace. Additionally, the buckle can be adjusted up and down as preferred. Unfortunately, I can’t speak too much to the ease of use of these adjustments, because the Warriors fit my feet perfectly right when I slipped them on, Cinderella style.
Slip-On, Slip-Off: Worthy of mentioning is the convenience and ease slipping these sandals on and off. I’m speaking on behalf of future Oats … I’m already thankful for those moments in the middle of the night when I don’t have to fumble shoe laces with frozen fingers, or check for hidden insects in the top of my trail runners, before venturing outside the tent for a quick tinkle.
Worth the Weight: At a mere 4 ounces per sandal, I can confidently say the Warriors would more than earn their place as a camp shoe on a long-distance hike. My last 3 thru-hikes (over 800 miles cumulatively) were spent with my lone pair of Altras to keep my feet company; and after my latest finish I was determined to change my ways.
Even if you are, like me, the sort that prefers hiking to camping, there will still inevitably be hours of solitude spent hanging out alone in the woods, so why not make it monumentally more enjoyable? Don’t confine your hard-working piggies to the wet, cold, and grimy feel of your hiking shoes every time you need to venture away from your tent. These ultralight camp shoes are worth the weight.
Cons of Shamma Sandals Warriors
Not for water crossings. If my feet got superpowers when I first donned the Warriors, water is their kryptonite. Though the sandals held up well on wet, muddy trails, any time I tried to take these sandals under water they were about a half inch behind wherever my foot was enticing them to go. Additionally, I’d recommend against braving any kind of current as the sole was hopeless to secure on my foot, and the extreme flexibility made it a bit dangerous to attempt any kind of movement while submerged. According to Shamma Sandals, their Ultra Lacing system can be paired with their power straps to add an “additional layer of stability and performance”.
Zero cushion can wear on you. This is to be expected from a 5mm shoe, but I only found this feature to be particularly unpleasant when walking on hard surfaces for extended periods of time. If you were planning a particularly active zero day in town, or had a stretch of road walking ahead, unless you’re a minimalist footwear expert in your daily life, it may not be the recovery day your feet had expected and hoped for. I’m living in a hardwood floor apartment building surrounded by asphalt roads, and that is the only reason these aren’t my daily go-tos.
I came for the lightweight camp shoe and I stayed as a convert to minimalist footwear. I’m only just a little bitter that I didn't discover these sandals at age 11. There are certainly situations where you wouldn’t want to rely on these bad boys for actual shoe things (like warmth or river crossings), but anywhere the trail takes me, I’m confident the Warriors are worth the weight.