Travel Sandals: Chaco Z/Cloud Review
For someone who has always naturally gravitated towards visiting warmer destinations, it took me an awfully long time to find a decent pair of travel sandals. For many years I stuck to plain flip flops, which may be the easiest thing to pack into a carry on, but they're rarely ever the most practical. There have simply been too many times of having a flip flop shoot off my foot across the room, sidewalk, or street, and having to awkwardly bounce on one foot to retrieve it. Enough was enough.
In recent years, I've been on the hunt for a travel sandal that fits like a glove without forfeiting style, but also has to meet other requirements too. Clearly, they need to be ridiculously comfortable for all-day wear without squishing toes or leaving red strap marks. Secondly, they need to provide adequate support for all kinds of activities because nothing ruins a vacation faster than calf or back pain from flat soles. Finally, I don't want to be stuck in a pair of sandals that while comfortable, look as if they belong to a vagabond hippie. Call me vain, but there has to be some element of style (if vagabond hippie is your style, all the more power to you).
I've tried several different brands only to find that at least one of these aspects was always lacking. That is, until I tried... Chaco!
I am currently the proud owner of a pair of the best-selling Z/Cloud sandals by Chaco. They sent me this pair to review for you, and after putting them to the test for a few weeks, I'm eager to share more.
About the brand
The company began almost 30 years ago, when a Colorado whitewater rafting guide started manufacturing sports sandals out of his own home. His focus was on creating a sandal that combined ultimate comfort with maximum durability and traction that would be able to withstand whitewater rapids.
Fast forward several years and Chaco has evolved into one of the most beloved sandal companies on the market. Today, the company features a vast collection of sandal options (among shoes, boots, and flip flops) that are available with a range of sole types and strap configurations to suit all kinds of environments and activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, and of course, rafting. With hundreds of colorways to choose from, as well as the option to create your own custom Chacos, they've created a product that effortlessly seems to combine the needs of the extreme adventurer with the occasional traveler and the everyday person just looking for a comfy pair of sandals.
Or, in their own words:
But now let's take a closer look at these Chaco Z/Cloud sandals.
Review of the Chaco Z/Cloud
- Fit. I wasn't sure if these would fit when I ordered them. I am usually a size 8.5, but as Chaco doesn't manufacture half sizes, I sized down to an 8 hoping they wouldn't be too short or constricting. Much to my delight, they ended up fitting perfectly.
- Comfort. These sandals are probably the most comfortable pair I have ever worn. When I wear them on uneven terrain, my foot feels like it's encased inside a supportive shoe instead of a sandal. The adjustable strap system doesn't cut into my feet at all and allows me to tighten or loosen the sandal exactly to my foot shape. Finally, the podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT™ PU footbed is insanely sturdy yet soft, and after several hours of outdoor activity both my feet and legs didn't feel tired or strained.
- Durability. I haven't owned the sandals long enough to accurately report on the durability, although from the brief time that I've had them I can tell the sandals feel really well-made. And at a price point of around $100 per pair, I wouldn't expect anything less.
- Design. Either you love 'em or you hate 'em. Much has been written online about the design of Chaco sandals, but I personally really like the way they look on my feet, as well as the many different bright and patterned strap color choices to choose from. The one thing I do want to mention though is that I found the strap buckle itself to be a bit clunky-looking, but as it's such an integral part of the sandals function it's certainly not a deal breaker. While most of the styles do look quite sporty, Chaco also has some urban-friendly and leather options like the Wayfarer or the Loveland.
- Super comfortable and lightweight. They are easy to wear for several hours at a time, and will undoubtedly find a spot in my luggage for future travels.
- I'm happy to report that they were ready to wear right out of the box without the awkward breaking phase that usually includes blisters and copious amounts of band aids.
- The sole features an antimicrobial application for odor control, and as someone who easily gets sweaty feet I didn't find there to be any weird odor after several hours of wear.
- If your Chacos have been well worn and are in need of some love, instead of throwing them away they can be sent back directly to the company for repair.
- Chaco doesn't make any half sizes, so if you're a first time buyer and unsure of your size, reach out to their customer service team for help in choosing the best fit.
- They aren't immune to dirt, and debris occasionally gets caught in the straps. However, they can easily be washed by hand so this more of a potential con than a real concern.
I can highly recommend the Chaco Z/Cloud, and can't wait to wear them again during my travels later this year as well as once the weather warms up a bit more at home (the photos in this post were taken recently, even though it looks like autumn - such is early spring in Canada!).
Chaco kindly sent me a pair of the Z/Cloud sandals for review. I found them to be to my liking and eagerly wanted to share my thoughts. All opinions are my own.