Chaco Sandals Review
We’ve been selling Chaco’s for quite a while, and decided to do a review on them because it seems like everyone on the CKS staff has a pair (or 2 or 3), and loves them. Besides being the most utilitarian footwear on the planet, they are also really comfortable. Great combo. As we were looking for someone to interview for this review, one person in particular came to mind. A friend of a CKS staff member, has worn his Chaco’s (and only his Chaco’s) all over the world. Luke, has traveled to Patagonia, Chile, Argentina, Nepal and all over the Western US in his Z2’s. He was the perfect person to interview. Here are the things that he thought were noteworthy:
- You can use Chaco’s for almost any outdoor activity. Luke has worn them hiking, backpacking (25-80 lb pack), climbing, sea kayaking, rafting, whitewater kayaking, for glacier and snow travel (with wool socks), desert travel and music festivals. Chaco’s really seem to shine when they are used in water based sports. They function just like shoes (or river booties), except they do not fill up with water. Sea Kayaking is a great example. You can wear your Chaco’s in the boat while paddling, then walk through the water and bring your boat to shore. When you are at camp, your feet will be dry. Just throw on a pair of wool socks, and your feet will be warm too.
- Overall durability is a 10 out of 10. After traveling much of the world for 6 years, Luke eventually had to replace the soles. Chaco is very easy to work with, and will be able to replace the soles quickly. Overall they have a great warranty program.
- If you are on a backpacking trip, and have a limited amount of space, you can bring some Chaco’s and they can double as hiking shoes, as well as camp shoes.
- When socks are added to the mix, any pair of Chaco’s will function just like insulated shoes. Luke, our trusty test pilot, wore just his Chaco’s at 17,000 feet above sea level, when he visited Nepal.
- The heel lock is perfect for walking in the water. This system is MILES better than wearing flip flops in the water.
- The toe strap (Z2) adds stability, by locking the toe down. If you are very active (running, climbing, jumping) this is a good feature. The cool thing about the toe strap, is that you can also pull them down so they are out of the way. Wearing socks around camp is a good time to do this.
- Ultimate adjustability. This is a life saver for doing activities like back packing. You can fine tune the fit really well. Also the BioCentric foot bed ensures the most comfortable, and supportive fit possible. When you are carrying a heavy load, it is very important to have a sandal that fits like a hiking shoe or boot.
- Great for desert living. Why not air your feet out when it is hot outside?
- The Vibram soles are AWESOME. You can have the freedom of a sandal and the durability of a mountaineering boot at the same time.
- Sometimes sand and gravel gets into the strap adjustment system. This can inhibit the ease of use. If you wash your Chaco’s well, it should solve the problem.
- The toe strap is not for everyone. If you don’t like the feeling of your big toe being tied down, get a pair of Z’1’s.
- Chaco does not make 1/2 sizes.
Writing this review made me think about all of the cool places that I have been in my Chaco’s. Grand Canyon slot canyon hiking missions, Delores River trips, Rogue River overnighters and walking the dog in the river all come to mind. It is amazing how thinking about a pair of shoes can revive these lucid memories. Steven Stills had it right when he wrote Southern Cross and said “I’ve been all around the world”…wonder if he was wearing Z1’s or Z2’s. Where have you been in your Chaco’s?