Historically I've never been a sandals person, and this is mostly due to my undying love of wearing wool socks year round. However, I also go bananas for trying out new pieces of gear, so when Shamma sent me 2 pairs of their Mountain Goat Sandals, my pasty feet started seeing the light of day! While designed for running, hiking, and general around town and outdoor use, this overview will focus mostly on the Mountain Goats performance while hiking. We'll be taking a look at both the leather and the ultragrip styles, and talking about the pros and cons of both! Note that the Mountain Goats being reviewed here are a slightly model. While very similar functionality, the newest editions of Shammas Sandals have the new "Elite Lacing System." While the feel and function of the sandal remains the same, you'll notice the lacing is updated.
Let's dive in!
Shamma makes three different types of sandals: the Chargers, Warriors, and Mountain Goats. While all identical in basic design, they all vary based on the thickness of their sole and their overall weight. The Charges have the thinnest sole and the lowest weight, while the Mountain Goats have the thickest sole and the highest overall weight.
- Leather Mountain Goats: 12.4oz (size 10.5)
- Ultragrip Mountian Goats: 12oz (Size 10.5)
The thicker sole of the Mountain Goat (11mm-12mm) makes for a more comfortable wear, and for me, the added ounces are worth the bit of additional comfort and durability. While there is a slight difference in weight between the leather and the ultragrip, all of the performance differences between the two styles of Mountain Goat derive from the differing material found on the footbed. The straps and sole are identical on both the leather and ultragrip sandals, and the main performance difference between the two is that the ultragrip is far superior in wet conditions. While your feet can slip and slide on wet leather, the ultragrip footbed keeps your foot nicely in place regardless of the terrain.
The strapping system is simple, and relies mainly on two velcro straps. One strap is positioned across the top of the foot, and the other is positioned around the heel. Both can be adjusted independently of the other. Additionally, there is a sliding tension lock buckle that allows you to change where the top strap falls across your foot. NOTE: as alluded to earlier, the sandals being reviewed are a 2018 model. The biggest difference between these and the new version? The heel straps on the 2019 versions do not wrap around the outside of the sandal (they go through the sandal itself - similar to the front strap). While this doesn't do much to change the feel or function of the shoe, it does extend the life of the straps by reducing unneeded rubbing and wear.
If you are looking to use the Mountain Goats for running, the added power straps help lock in and stabilize your foot. As mentioned, the Mountain Goats are intended for hiking, running, hanging around camp, or general traipsing around town.
Things I like:
1. Comfort. Let the feet breathe!! Both pairs of Mountain Goats are exceptionally comfortable, and both provide the freedom of sandals without the feeling of every rock, root, or branch. The Vibram soles provide sufficient support for long hikes, but don't come accompanied by an extraneous amount of weight. Foot health is king on extended trips, and my feet have been really happy in my Mountain Goats so far. I love the ability to easily make minor tweaks to the lacing system, and after getting my feet acclimated to sandal life, haven't encountered a blister since!
2. Great to actually hike in. While great as camp shoes or for around town use, the Mountain Goats are wonderful as a primary footwear option. While I initially relegated them to shorter trips, I've gradually transitioned them from part-time to full-time status. While this switch is somewhat weather and trail dependent, using sandals as my primary footwear allows for constantly ventilated feet (I've got a history of recurring trench foot), and the ability to leave one pair of socks at home. Not bad! The Mountain Goats are also the most durable pair of the bunch, and both have held up well after a couple of week long trips (and a lot of trade show wandering).
Things to note:
1. While this is the case with most new footwear or gear, your feet do need some time to acclimate in order to ensure a comfortable wearing experience. If your feet aren't accustomed to footwear without arch support or with tongs between your toes, you'll need to ease your feet into the process and build up to longer hikes. If you don't (and just decide to hike 20 miles on day 1), you'll find yourself with sore and possibly injured feet. You'll also most certainly have some irritation between your toes. To avoid hot spots and soreness between your toes, start with low miles and pay attention to how you're feet are feeling. If you start feeling discomfort, stop before a blister or cut forms. Make adjustments to the straps as you go to find the configuration that feels best. It's really not that dramatic, just don't overdo it to start!
2. If you are planning on hiking in wet areas or trails with lots of river crossings (and plan on using your sandals as your primary hiking footwear), go with the ultragrip. You'll thank me. While I love my leather Mountain Goats, they become very difficult to wear once wet. Sure they look sweet and feel exceptional when dry, but there is nothing worse than slipping and sliding on a tough switchback. While the power straps can help with some of the sliding, in wet conditions, you are still better off with the ultragrip. Hiking in dryer regions, just going around town, or simply looking for some camp shoes? The leather Mountain Goats are perfect.
The simplicity and comfort of the Mountain Goats make them truly wonderful. While I find the weight to comfort ratio acceptable, for those looking for a lighter option, the Chargers and Warriors have very similar credentials for a few less ounces. They feel good, they look good, and after getting your feet acclimated to sandal life, you'll probably find it hard to go back to shoe or boot life.