Hi, my name is Lesley and I’m a Chaconian. There, I’ve said it. I love my Chacos, like so many others. I’ve worn Chacos for countless adventures in countless places for more than a decade. I decided to join the ranks and write my own review.
I’ve owned just two pairs during that time and both of them have been the Z2 variety. The Z2s sport a LUVSEAT footbed which is said to cradle the foot in the correct anatomical position for long-lasting support and comfort, and the continuous 1 inch webbing strap that wraps around the entire foot (including the big toe) for superior adjustability. Many folks have a toe-loop phobia I’m told, and can’t stand the feeling of a strap between their toes. I’ve always loved the added security, but for those who wish to omit this, the Z1 which does not have this feature is a perfect option.
Chacos really shine in wet environments where in normal circumstances a person would have to change shoes repeatedly from dry to creek-crossing shoes. Chacos are quite amphibious and serve as the only shoe needed whether you’re in the creek or on the trail. My first pair of Z2s were my creek-crossers and camp-walkers. They were the shoes I changed into when I needed to cross a creek while backpacking and the sandals that my tired feet rejoiced in when camp was made. Many many miles of trail passed underneath my trusty sandals as they dangled from the carabiner on my Kelty pack daisy chain. I spent two years hiking the Himalayas with them and they became like an old friend.
During a visit back to the states, my sister’s dog shredded the strap on the left shoe and broke my heart. A visit to Ozark Adventures and I discovered that Chaco could actually give me new straps as well as new soles, which were also wearing pretty thin by that point. This service, called ReChaco, still survives today as the company strives to keep their footwear out of the landfill and on the feet of fellow Chaconians. For a reasonable charge plus shipping, Chaco can revive your old sandals with straps and soles to meet the challenges you face.
My new straps came about the same time in life that my passion for kayaking developed and my Chacos never skipped a beat. They served me in the boat and in the river just as they had for years on the trail. As any sandal will, Chacos eventually will let a rock slip in. I’ve read this posted as a negative on other reviews and am just wondering what else you would expect from a sandal? In my opinion, they have everything to offer a river rat. They have a really grippy Vibram sole that grabs onto slick rocks that would send others flying and the curved LUVSEAT footbed holds my feet in solid place during all kinds of topsy turvy.
I’ve read that others have been able to use these for their only shoe in minimalist backpacking endeavors. I am interested in this option and have tried a couple of times, including a small trip this past weekend, to actually hike the entire trail in my Chacos. I’m sad to report that my feet develop hot-spots that are concerning enough to warrant a change in footwear after several miles carrying a full pack. I don’t know if it’s just a toughness that develops over time or if it’s just something that my feet won’t do, but blisters can ruin a good trip and I take them seriously. After several miles of trail, my feet begin to swell and rub on the outer edges of webbing. If there are any avid backpackers out there that have a solution to this problem, shoot me a comment.
I wear my Chacos all over town, the house, the trail and in the river with love. Where have you worn yours?