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Friday, September 5, 2014

PRODUCT REVIEW-SHAMMA SANDALS WARRIOR

This was a product that came to my attention recently. It is made by a small company in Santa Cruz, CA, and they have put in a lot of time and attention in the production of their sandals. Shamma Sandals offers other models, however these that I tested really got my attention because they appeared to be ultra-minimalist. They were shipped very quickly, I might add. I could see right out of the mailer just how minimalist these sandals are. Very thin (5mm) sole with a sheepskin foot-bed, serious tread, on a Vibram sole, and laces pre-installed. The flexibility of Warriors is phenomenal. They were flexible to the point that I had some concerns about how they would ride on your feet when running. I followed the video to which they provide a link, and set up the strap laces for my feet. These have an interesting feature on the straps. On the outer ankle side, there is a movable "keeper" that slides over the strap to help keep the heel strap taught. I set up the straps using these keepers, but experienced a bit too much material in one place near my ankle for my personal preference, and I was concerned that it would bother me, particularly on longer runs. I elected (and this was not recommended by Shamma) to slide the keeper off of the strap and try a run without it. The lace has a nice suede-type heel strap cover that rides comfortably across your heel/Achilles tendon. I quickly found that, at least for me, after the first run (3 mi.) in them, I didn't need the keepers. I am sure that many people will prefer to leave them in place, and they are a nice additional feature, but I was most comfortable without them, and experienced no slippage issues on the heel strap. I have really wide feet, and I also had concerns that I could feel the ankle strap/sole contact points as I walked around in the house initially. Those concerns faded away quickly when I began to run. In almost every case, when I test a new sandal, I keep the first run to about a mile, just to assess issues of lacing/potential hot spots, and fit issues. I started off in these and reached the mile mark with NO issues, so I thought I'd push the test to 1-1/2 miles, then 2, then 3....then I had to cut it off or be late for work. I had no problems with the fit, the laces, nor any rubbing or chafing on my feet, toes or ankles. That is a very unusual situation for a pair of new sandals, fresh from the mailbox, in my experience. I ran the first test on a combination of concrete, some gravel, and dirt. They performed well on each. Perhaps the most significant thing I noticed was how they ride on your feet. Once the laces are the right tension all around, these sat on the sole of my foot like a second skin. As most sandal runners know, you will sometimes get sand and debris between sandal and foot, which is an irritation, at best. Such occurrence was minimized with Warriors. I had a couple of small pebbles/large grains of sand find their way under my heel, but they quickly fell back out, once with a little flick of my finger on the heel, barely breaking stride. The flexibility and ground feel of these sandals is great, assuming you are an experienced barefoot or minimalist runner, and have a good forefoot or mid-foot strike. I purposely tried heel striking a few times, and the flapping noise was VERY noticeable. These are not designed for heel striking, to be sure. The heel strap is a nice feature. It has, as indicated above, a suede "tube" that slips over the nylon heel strap. It provides a welcome contact with your heel/achilles and stays in place well. On one run, it felt a bit loose, and I was concerned that it would slip, however it never did. The hook and loop (velcro) method of securing the sandals is really handy and secure. No buckle to fiddle with, just snug it up and you're off. After the second run (total of about 6 miles), the sheepskin foot-bed was beginning to show signs of conforming to my foot shape, particularly at the toes. I continue to run in these, and have had no negative issues. They are thin enough to give you as close to barefoot feel as I've ever had with running sandals. Although these have a nice tread, it doesn't interfere with ground feel at all, in my experience. I tried them over some heavier gravel and fairly large rocks. They give your soles some protection, but allow you to feel the ground surface. If you are a true barefoot runner, and occasionally want some protection over rough terrain, these are great to throw in to a pocket or pack. They are so flexible that they roll up easily or tuck into a waistband. Shammasandals.com offers several different sandals, up to and including their 11mm "Mountain Goats". There seems to be quite a variety to fit your particular preference in a running sandal. The Warriors retail at $69.95. They have a nice Money Back Guarantee (see their website for details), and free shipping within the Continental U.S. There is a lot of detailed information on their website, and the sizing is pretty easy, with downloadable templates for the various sizes. With that info available, you'd have to try pretty hard to get the wrong size! I am very pleased with the quality and performance of these sandals.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Glad you like them!

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