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I’ve been thinking about writing this for a while, and finally decided today’s the day. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. I love my Chacos. They are literally the best and I wear them all the time, like all the time. (Update 12/20: It’s winter in Wisconsin and I walk past them and wish I could wear them.) I’ve had mine for almost a year and a half, but didn’t wear them regularly until recently, but since then, I haven’t stopped wearing them. As in, I’ve only worn two other pairs of shoes in almost three months and I’ve gone right back to the Chacos.
I’ve been blessed with little baby feet as my mother calls them and this allows me to buy kids shoes, which is wonderful because they usually come in fun colors and are like, half the price of adult shoes. I’m all about cheaper shoes. Almost all of my sandals are kids sizes from Target. It’s usually the first section of shoes I even go there. I think I’m getting off topic.
When I decided I wanted Chacos I was only looking at adult pairs and wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the money. SPOILER ALERT: it’s worth it. Then I remembered my tiny feet and decided to look at the kid styles. The pair I ended up getting was the first I saw and I knew they were the ones. They’re fun and much closer to my price range. One of my coworkers happened to be going to Salt Lake in a few days and making a trip to REI and she offered to pick them up for me, and that was that. I was the proud new owner of super cute Chacos.
Now, onto the shoes themselves.
What I don’t like about them
I’ll start with the bad, which isn’t much, and get that out of the way before professing my love for them even more.
They take forever to break in
Update 1/2020: I got two more pairs this year on the cloud footbed and they didn’t need to be broken in at all. I was able to wear them for long periods of time right away. So I wouldn’t worry about this too much anymore if I get more, which I will.
This was the one thing I really didn’t like and why I didn’t wear them much last year. They take a couple months to break-in and in that time they just rubbed really bad on the sides of my little toes and outside of my ankle.
I even almost caved and got Tevas to replace them this summer, but I was reading comparisons and found out how long Chacos take to break-in. I figured I hadn’t worn them enough to finish the process, so I started wearing them as much as possible and what do you know, they were ready to go a lot sooner than I expected!
Sand and rocks are really hard to get out
Update 1/2020: I haven’t been having as many issues with that since I first got this pair. It still happens occasionally, but I may not have been wearing them right. I think it’s much easier to get them out and easier on your feet if the straps are on the more loose side, which is fine just for walking.
Like, really hard to get out. And very annoying. This isn’t always an issue, but walking around in washes in the desert was not the best use of these shoes. Sand would get stuck and sort of built up and packed down under my arch and it would feel weird and be really hard to get out. Then, when I took them off I would have to pretty much scrape it off.
Occasionally in the sand little pebble would get stuck under there, too, and I’d have to stop every time and either dig my finger under my foot and push the rock further under or take it off to get the rock out. Both are very inconvenient, but no reason to stop you from wearing them. It’s better than tennis shoes full of sand.
Why I love them
Now, onto the good stuff. Like I said, I’ve been wearing mine for almost three months straight now and have no plans of doing otherwise at this point. If I could justify five pairs to switch out, I totally would.
There are SO MANY OPTIONS when it comes to Chacos. I don’t even know where to start. First off, you can customize the strap color and print. You can have the two straps, like mine, and have one solid and one print, or both print, or both solid. Or you can have one strap and have it solid or print. There’s even a customizable option with three straps and a toe loop! Three straps AND a toe loop! It’s getting wild now.
The real first decisions when it comes to customizing (or buying any in general) is deciding on the strap configuration. One strap, two strap, top loop, no toe loop? I went with two straps and no toe loop based on literally nothing but how it looked, and it wasn’t an issue at all.
I’ve heard toe loop makes hiking much better, but I don’t know. I’d like to get a pair with the loop to see. I think that’s about it with this point, but see, there are so many options, there is literally something for everyone.
Update 1/2020: I got a pair with the toe loop and HATED it. I sold them very quickly. I still live in my no-loop shoes though.
They last forever
The only bad part about this is that it just makes it harder to justify buying a new pair. Since I can get kids ones, it’s not so bad, but still. The soles are super durable and fit for all sorts of adventures. AND, even better, if your pair breaks or needs to be repaired somehow, they can be rechacoed!
If you have regular adult sizes, this is the better option as it’s much cheaper, unless you really want a new style. It’s $40 to get them resoled and $10-20 to get straps and buckles fixed. If you have kids sizes, a new pair would be comparable or slightly more. I’m not sure how much prices would be to fix the kids sizes.
Update 1/2020: I still have my first pair and the only real problem with them now after almost three years of constant use is just the tread being pretty worn down. But they’re still comfy and perfectly fine for sandy desert hikes.
They’re great for land and water
I’ve worn them hiking around the mountains in Great Basin as well as wading through the waters of the Zion Narrows. I didn’t love them in the Narrows, I’ll admit, but they weren’t all the way broken in yet and were rubbing on my little toe pretty bad. Once I was in the water though, it was fine, but I kept slipping off the rocks and smashing my feet and toes into other rocks. They were great on the wet rocks in the water, though, and if I went back in with them, I think it would be much better.
They’re super rugged sandals and were made for this kind of thing. They dry fairly quickly, too which helps. I can confidently scramble up all kinds of desert rock and then back down with just as few worries. Plus, I can wear them walking around for 12 hours at work and my feet still feel fine.
So, now that you know that Chacos are literally the best and you probably need a pair, get customizing! If this hasn’t convinced you and you’d prefer regular shoes, here are some of the best walking shoes.
Tips for picking the right Chacos:
- If your feet are small enough (and you like the patterns) think about getting a kids pair. They are much cheaper and just as cute. For reference, a women’s 6 is a kids 4. So a 7 would be a 5 and a 5 would be a 3.
- If you are going to do lots of hiking, a toe loop might be good for you. If you’re not sure you’d like the feel of it, head to an REI and try a pair on first to see.
- If a strap breaks or something happens to the soles, think about getting them fixed instead of buying a new pair. You can send them in to get them repaired.
- They can take a while to break in, like a month or two, so don’t get too frustrated when after a week they still hurt.
- Adjusting the straps is a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s no problem. All of the straps are just one, so you have to figure out which to pull to adjust which section.
- I don’t know if there is any benefit to one or two straps, as of my knowledge, it’s just for looks.
Do you have Chacos? What do you think of them? If not, what are your go-to adventure shoes?