Product Review: Chaco Sandals

By: Paul Lallement

Chaco blog image

Some people know them as gladiator sandals, others sandals worn by a certain religious figure, but to the common outdoor enthusiast they are simply Chaco’s. These durable, but comfortable outdoor performance sandals have been a staple in the footwear market for over 20 years. One of the most recognizable pieces of footwear to exist, they were the first to perfect their signature Z strap construction, which is used on a variety of models. Although every Chaco sandal is unique, they all started from one simple design. With the help of orthopedic doctors, the arch-supporting platform of Chaco sandals was born.

We sell a few different kinds of Chaco’s here at Appalachian Outdoors, including the classic Z/1 Unaweep. This sandal has the standard “Z strap” construction without a toe loop. On the bottom is a sturdy sole made of Vibram TC-1 rubber. This rubber made by Vibram is more durable, and grips the ground better than most other sandals out there. Another factor that sets Chaco sandals apart from the competition is their customization of fit. The straps operate on one continuous loop that runs through the sandal. This loop works to make for a custom fit based off each person’s foot. This way you can completely customize the sandal straps to the exact shape of your foot. The Z/2 Unaweep sandal is crafted with a toe loop. This is a popular choice among white water rafters and kayakers because the sandal holds to the foot better against a current of water.

In addition to the Z/1 and Z/2 strap styles, Chaco also has different types of Vibram soles for the bottom. The Unaweep model is their original and most popular (and the one I like to wear). One would want this for pretty much any kind of walking, especially on trails. There are the Chaco Yampa sandals as well, which are lighter than the Chaco Unaweep sandals and also have a less aggressive tread.

Not only do we carry the classics, but there is a new sandal from Chaco hitting the shelves here at Appalachian Outdoors, and it’s called the Z/Volv. This new style is 20% lighter than the classic Unaweep design. Throw on the Chaco Z/Volv Sandals whenever you’re really looking to cut down weight.

All of these features for just a sandal can certainly make your head spin! Maybe concerned about the price? Not to worry. While the cost of the sandal brand-new is $104.95, you can get the Vibram outsoles redone when they wear out for roughly $40. That way, you can keep the broken-in Chaco foot bed that feels so comfortable forever. The sandal practically pays for itself! Don’t go waste your hard-earned money time after time on a sandal that won’t stand up to the abuse of daily life. I have owned my Chaco’s now for over 5 years, and they feel better than ever. The choice is yours, buy something that will change to vinegar over time, or spend a little more on something that ages like a fine wine. I hope that I was able to clear up any confusion about Chaco’s awesome sandals, and as always, feel free to talk to come on in and talk to one of our knowledgeable sales associates if you have any questions.


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