If you’re going to be hiking in the great outdoors in balmy, sunny weather, the last thing you want is for your feet to get clammy and sweaty in standard hiking boots. For outdoor enthusiasts everywhere, there is an alternative to consider that will solve the problem.
Whether you’re just now hearing of Chacos or are considering purchasing a pair but haven’t yet made the leap, this guide is for you. For our comprehensive Chacos buying guide and review of the top 5 best Chacos for hiking, scroll on ahead!
If you’re not sure what Chacos are, we’re sure you aren’t alone.
Invented during the 1980s, Chacos have become the hiking sandals of choice for outdoor explorers all over the world. The Chaco brand has a wide range of hiking sandals, with and without toe loops, with varying straps, soles, footbeds—the list goes on.
Here’s how to pick the best Chacos for hiking for you.
The first thing to consider when selecting the best Chaco sandals for hiking is whether you want a design with a toe loop vs. no toe loop. The decision is mainly personal, but will also depend on the type of terrain you will be hiking in.
For example, many outdoor explorers like to wear Chacos featuring a toe loop if they are hiking on a trail, but prefer shoes without the toe loop if hiking through the water.
Of course, the most obvious benefit to not having the toe loop is simply that it will be much easier to get your shoes on and off. Whether you’re making a rest stop or settling in for the night, after a long day of trekking this bonus feature might come in handy. The lack of a toe loop feature also makes these Chacos much easier to transition from the trail to meandering around town.
For added functionality and protection, some outdoor enthusiasts opt to wear socks under their Chacos. While some may view this as a fashion faux pas, this solution is a great way to guard your feet from the terrain and keep them a little bit warmer if a chilly breeze comes your way.
You’ll find it way more difficult to wear socks with a toe strap, so if you intend to wear socks under your Chacos you might prefer a pair without a toe loop to contend with.
However, if you are looking for additional stability while out on the open road, we would suggest you consider Chacos with a toe loop to ensure the shoe remains secured to your foot at all times. If you tend to go on extended, challenging hikes, that extra toe strap could prove invaluable and ensure debris doesn’t gather under your feet. A toe strap is going to give you, as the wearer, way more control, especially when dealing with slippery or rocky terrain.
Another key aspect of selecting the best Chacos for hiking is to determine how many straps you want your footwear to have. Chaco sells sandals with 1, 2 or 3 straps. All the straps are integrated into the midsole to secure your foot and ensure you don’t slip when out on the trail.
The choice is up to you because you’ll enjoy the same level of support and functionality with multiple straps as you would with a single strap.
You should also take the sole into account when hunting for the best Chacos for hiking. Chaco manufactures its outdoor sandals with 2 different sole types. The first type of sole is known as the ChacoGrip, featuring a built-in tread technology with a rubber design for durability and long wear use. If you plan on hiking steep trails or rough terrain, this type of sole might be just what you’re looking for.
The second type of Chaco sole you can pick from is called the EcoTread sole. The design is very similar to the ChacoGrip, with the difference being that the company’s branded rubber elements also feature 25% recycled rubber.
Below are some key elements you need to consider before purchasing the best Chaco sandals for hiking to meet your outdoor needs.
Naturally, the first thing you’ll want to consider when buying the best Chacos for hiking is the foot support they lend. It is important to pick a sandal that provides sufficient support for your arches and contours properly to the shape of your foot. That way, you won’t hold up your hiking performance with strained arches.
Another thing you’ll want to consider if you are in the market for the best Chacos for hiking is how they absorb shock impact. Whether you’re hiking a familiar trail or exploring rugged terrain off the grid, your feet are going to bear the brunt of your excursions. It’s essential to select sandals that are resistant to shock and cushion your feet, whether it be through materials like foam midsoles or similar.
Of course, your hiking sandals should protect your toes when you’re out on the trail, to prevent elements like debris and dirt getting caught. Chacos with toe straps can help prevent debris from gathering beneath your foot. Or, you can wear socks beneath your Chacos sans toe straps for an extra barrier of protection.
The fit is always an important consideration with hiking footwear, and Chacos are no different. Adjustable straps are a handy feature to look for. If your feet become swollen or irritated after hours on the trail, you’ll be glad to be able to adjust your straps and find some relief.
Plus, adjustable straps with a secure fit will also give you room to include some socks for additional warmth if you so desire.
You always want to make sure that the hiking sandals you pick have a durable sole with excellent tread. Quality soles not only support your arches but ensure that your feet don’t get too close to damaging debris or rocks.
Another key element to bear in mind when selecting the best Chacos for hiking is waterproofing. Waterproof design is a must when you’re going to be hiking in the great outdoors, whether you’ll be crossing a river or run into some unexpected rain showers.
Synthetic uppers and rubber soles will provide the waterproofing you require while staying durable enough to hold up against a variety of water elements.
Check out our review of the top 5 best Chacos for hiking, and keep scrolling for our final verdict.
The best Chacos for hiking selection in our review is the Chaco ZX/1 Classic, featuring a polyester webbing design and multiple, sturdy straps to secure your foot in place. We really liked the adjustable heel risers for optimal comfort and support, plus the PU footbed and midsole to conform to the shape of your foot.
These Chacos feature the proprietary ChacoGrip rubber outsole design for extra foot cushioning. If you’re not a fan of the toe strap, you’re in luck, because the open-toed Chaco ZX/1 Classic gives your feet plenty of breathing room.
If you like to wear socks with your Chacos for chilly hikes, these could be the pick for you. They are also very attractive aesthetically, so you can enjoy wearing them both on and off the hiking trail.
The next best Chacos for hiking on our list are also designed with handy polyester jacquard webbing and a PU footbed for raised support. We really liked the elevated midsole and quality, branded EcoTread sole with 25% recyclable rubber. These hiking sandals feature an easy ladder-lock buckle to make fastening and unfastening a total breeze.
If you’re looking for a simple yet wonderfully comfortable pair of Chacos, you might have just met your new best friend. They are super lightweight, so you won’t have to worry about your feet feeling bulky or weighed down when you’re out on the trail. One of the best aspects of the Chaco Z/Volv 2 is the impeccable arch support these sandals offer, so if you have lower or flat arches, you’ll love this design.
One thing we would note is that these Chacos do include a toe loop, so if you find that uncomfortable or frustrating it could take a few days to adjust and break the sandals in. That said, these Chacos really perform well out on rougher terrain, with superb traction.
A close companion of our previous pick, the Chaco Z/Volv features an open-toed design, with a comfortable rubber sole and polyester materials. These are super light, so if you like to take your Chacos with you on the go in your pack, you’ll barely notice a difference.
Likewise, if you’re going to be embarking on a long trek and don’t want your feet weighing you down, the Chaco Z/Volv could be an excellent pick for you.
We really loved the style of these hiking sandals, particularly because they are so versatile. They can easily take you from a day out on the trail to dinner at your pit stop in town. You’ll have plenty of colors to choose from when selecting these sandals, which is a nice, bonus touch.
If you have fallen foot arches or struggle with any type of food condition, the Chaco Z/Volv could offer much-needed relief with the extensive sole support. These hiking sandals are also highly durable, so you don’t have to worry about them wearing out after a few tough hikes.
The Chaco Z/1 Classic is a strong contender for any outdoor enthusiast’s hiking wardrobe, with a durable rubber sole and jacquard webbing designed from sturdy polyester. We particularly liked the branded LUVSEAT PU midsole and footbed to support any type of arch. These Chacos feature the ChacoGrip rubber outsole, making them a great choice for tough trails and rugged terrain.
One of the things we really love about the Chaco Z/1 Classic is its exceptional fit. It fits snug enough to secure your foot and avoid any slippage, but it also gives you enough room to breathe without feeling constricted.
The ChacoGrip rubber sole is extremely durable, so if you frequently go on strenuous hikes you will love this design that could serve you well for many, many outdoor adventures to come.
We would like to note that the Chaco Z/1 Classic is one of the bulkier selections on our list. The extra weight might deter some, but if you need a sturdy shoe you can rely on during tough hikes you’ll be glad of the extra stability.
The final pick in our review of the best Chacos for hiking is the dependable Chaco ZX/2 Classic. You’ll find the traditional jacquard webbing on the upper of this shoe, with extremely durable heel risers and the reliable ChacoGrip rubber outsole. The tread on these shoes is fantastic, so if you’re facing steep or slippery slopes you’ll be glad to have these as part of your hiking arsenal.
We liked the adjustable straps on these shoes, that dry quickly even when exposed to wet conditions so you won’t have to worry about damp feet. We were also really impressed by the fit of the Chaco ZX/2 Classic model. It might a few wears to break these puppies in, but once you do, you’ll barely notice that you have shoes on.
These hiking sandals are also very comfortable and offer quality arch support for a variety of feet types and needs. On top of that, the Chaco ZX/2 Classic provides a hint of style on your hike, so you can wear these both on and off the trail.
So, what’s the final verdict? After carefully considering each of the 5 best Chacos for hiking, our top pick would have to be the Chaco Z/Volv 2. We really liked the touch of the EcoTread sole with 25% recycled rubber, plus the simple buckle that doesn’t complicate the fastening and unfastening process.
Most importantly, we were impressed by how lightweight and durable these shoes are, so you can hike on a wide variety of terrain without feeling bulked down. For steeper trails, the toe strap is there to secure your feet and avoid slippage. For incredible arch support, durability, and stability when hiking both on and off the grid, it’s hard to compete with the Chaco Z/Volv 2.