Review – Shamma Mountain Goats

Written by Barefoot Dawsy

ShammaLogoCompetition in the running sandal arena is steadily becoming more intense, with a lot of new companies coming on board with offerings ranging from the ultra thin to the ultra comfortable.

Some companies, however are pushing to the head of the pack with shoes that bring the best of all features together to create incredible footwear. One of these companies is Shamma Sandals.
Shamma3One of the many companies that sprung up in the post Born To Run craze, Shamma has been steadily adding to its range of comfortable sandals, slowly eating into the trail running area, held for several years by Luna.

With their latest offering, The Mountain Goat, Shamma have moved to take even more ground by delving feet first into the lucrative hiking and trail running market.

Construction

The Mountain Goats are sturdily built, featuring an 11m thick Vibram sole. This can be topped with either, black goatskin, yellow sheep skin, or for a saving of about 1mm, no top at all. For a sole that’s on the thick side, these sandals are surprisingly light at ~170g (6oz).

Shamma2

Strapped to the ample footbed is the remarkable Shamma lacing system. It comprises one continuous strap, huarache-style. Where it differs from other strapping systems out there is the placement of the buckles, the lack of a toe-post (a good thing IMO), and the super-comfortable leather heel strap.

Shamma4The shoes arrive effectively untied, so that you can lace to fit your foot comfortably. I really like this approach, but was a little surprised at how tricky the initial setup was. I won’t deny that I had to have a few looks at the lacing instructions (check out the Shamma lacing page here if you need help) before I got it right. In the end though, I found myself literally sighing at the comfort of the fit, and lack of any irritating rubbing.

Performance

The Mountain Goats use a fairly common aggressive tread, which can be seen on several other Vibram-soled sandals. It’s a really grippy design that holds well on the trails. Past experience with this tread have shown that they do wear down pretty quickly if used on the roads, however this can be mitigated by keeping them as dedicated trail shoes.

Shamma5My first trail run in my new Mountain Goats ended up being a wet one, and I’m happy to report that they performed admirably. Leaving them to dry in a sunny spot afterwards left them in pristine condition, with no bad smells (another big plus for a minimal shoe!).

The lacing system held up well under running conditions, with only one minor adjustment being needed to tighten them up a bit at the beginning of the run. Once they were dialed in, however, the lacing held its position well, and kept my foot firmly planted on the footbed. So far I haven’t had any blisters, most notably on my heel, which was nicely protected by the leather heel strap.

Impressions

Overall, I’m very pleased with my new Mountain Goats and with summer coming on, am extremely happy to have a new go-to trail shoe. I’m finding myself wearing them around town a fair bit, which is taking a bit of a toll on the tread, but that’s my own fault, since I know better. I’m really looking forward to doing some long runs in them, as I think they will work well as a long distance trail shoe.

Ultimately I think that if you’re in the market for a nice set of trail running sandals, you could do a lot worse than to invest in a pair of Shammas.

Have you tried Shammas before? What were your impressions? Let us know in the comments!
Beginning Barefoot would like to thanks Shamma Sandals for providing sample shoes for testing. if you’re interested in purchasing a pair of your own, please visit their website (shammasandals.com), and don’f forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

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Is It Time To Start Running In A Sport Kilt?

Written by BarefootDawsy

Sport KiltIf you’re like most people, then chances are you’ve never had the opportunity, nor the inclination, to run without pants on. I was in the same boat only a few short weeks ago, before the opportunity presented itself, and I was able to try it for myself.

Luckily for the general public, this came in the form of a pleated length of plaid fabric, otherwise know as a kilt! Or, in my case, a Sport Kilt.

When I first heard about kilted running, I thought that the idea was a bit
crazy. I’ve worn kilts before, and the idea of running around with a couple kilos of
heavy wool around my waist was far from appealing. But when I heard that a
US company was making lightweight, sweat-wicking kilts as activewear, I knew
I had to try one out.

The Works Sport KiltAs a barefoot runner, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a bit different to most people. I take my running very seriously and came to barefooting as a way to improve performance and stay healthy.

It took a bit of a leap to make the transition to barefoot running, but in the end, it has been rewarding and exhilarating. I’m finding the same thing with wearing a kilt.

I live in Australia, where the summers are hot, and winter is only a mild improvement. Finding ways to stay cool is a constant challenge, especially when coupled with the need to stay protected from UV rays, etc. Sport Kilt has given me a great new tool in my arsenal to help with this.

I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to review 2 different styles of kilt: A Hiking kilt and a ‘The Works’ kilt.

Sport Kilt - Hiking KiltThe Hiking kilt is a lightweight, athletic kilt that’s as minimal as a kilt can be. It’s essentially a piece of pleated fabric that wraps around you and is secured with thick velcro around the waist. The velcro makes it really easy to get on and off, and will come in handy when I have to let it out over the holidays!

Sport Kilt - The WorksThe Works kilt is a slightly thicker, dressier version of the hiking kilt. It has sewn-down pleats which improve the way the kilt hangs, and lend it a more fancy feel. It has lovely leather straps and metal buckles, as well as the hidden velcro fasteners, that make it look more authentic and dressy. On top of all this, it even has nice hidden pocket! I would wear my Works kilt to a wedding or formal occasion just as easily as I’d go hiking in it.

For testing, I’ve worn both, mainly for trail hiking and running, and usually in warm weather.

I found that performance-wise, the hiking kilt was much better for trail running. It’s very lightweight and super comfortable. The only real drawback I’ve found is that I’m reluctant to sit down in it, as I don’t want to get it dirty…though this makes me run more, so may not be a bad thing.

The Works Sport Kilt BucklesThe Works kilt is a more formal, yet still rugged kilt, that would be well suited to tournaments and spectator sports. I can see highland gamers wearing these, for example. As the weather cools off, I can see myself wearing my Works kilt more and more for hikes as it sits a bit nicer and is slightly heavier than the Hiking kilt.

Running in a kilt is to running in pants what running barefoot is to wearing shoes. It’s cool, and airy and makes you feel alive and in touch with the elements. I’ve yet to try it in the cold, so I can’t comment on the inverse conditions, but for the heat, it’s been a godsend.

There is a perception that wearing a kilt comes with a lot of baggage that may put you off. What if you’re not Scottish, or want to wear something underneath?

The truth is that this stuff is only an issue if you choose to make it one. If you’re Scottish and want to show off your heritage, then go for it, if not, there’s nothing stopping you from picking a pattern you like and running with it. You don’t even need to go plaid, as Sport Kilt also have a bunch of camouflage kilts too. As for what to wear underneath, that’s up to you, and regardless of what you do or don’t wear, it won’t stop people from trying to guess!

The thing is, a Sport Kilt is just like any other piece of running gear. You put it on, and go do your thing. It doesn’t matter if you want to wear compression tights underneath, or if you don’t have a family tartan. If it feels good and you like how it looks, then just wear it!

Sport Kilt Tartan Black Stewart

Altogether, I was really surprised at how well the Sport Kilts felt. They were light and airy, and did the job of keeping me cool beautifully.

Despite being made of high-tech materials, these kilts come in at a fraction of the cost of a traditional kilt (starting from ~$80). If you’re a barefoot runner, the money you’re saving on shoes would be well spent on one of these.

Will I wear it for every training run? Probably not, but it’s become one of my go-to trail running outfits, and will certainly feature prominently in future races!

Beginning Barefoot would like to thank Sport Kilt for providing sample kilts for review. If you’re interested in trying one out yourself, head over to SportKilt.com and check them out! 

All photos taken by Sam Dumworth