For those of you who have come to our summer camp in any of the past years, you may have seen our guides wearing a specific type of sandals called Chacos. Our summer guides are required to have these shoes in order to work at our camp because of their durability and strong grip that is necessary for the types of adventures we lead our campers through. Many of our campers ask about these Chaco sandals and it can become confusing with the different types and which is better for what activity. However, we at Rock-N-Water are experienced with these sandals and are here to help!
The Different Types
First off, you may have seen the letter Z in front of different Chaco sandals and a number after that as well. This can be confusing, but it really doesn’t pertain to the shoe type, its merely the straps. The Z1 sandal has no toe loop, the Z2 has the toe loop, and the ZX2 has double strands instead of one solid strap. These differences are more for personal preference because some people feel that the toe loop is uncomfortable, while some like the toe loop because it secures the foot in a little bit more. The straps are important for the overall comfortability of the sandals, but are not that different like the soles of Chacos are.
A few years ago, Chacos came out with a few sandal types that were very popular. There were the Unaweeps, Yampas, and Colorados that hit the Chaco scene that many of our guides in the past and some now still use. There are variations between all of these that make them each their own. The Unaweep sandal has aggressive traction similar to a hiking shoe and are great for someone who will be using them for a lot of hiking. The Yampa sandal is said to be the female version of the Unaweep sandal that has a low profile and is lighter weight. The Colorado shoe is also very lightweight for versatility.
However, more recently, the Chaco company has come out with three different types of soles: ChacoGrip, EcoTread, and the Pro soles. ChacoGrip is the companies main sole for their active sandals that the company has perfected. This sole has an ultra sticky outsole, and is designed for dry and wet traction. They created new tread designs that are consolidated into a single men’s and women’s outsole. There is an increased surface area in the heel and toe to maximize grip and balance performance across the land and water. The next type of sole is the EcoTread sole. This sole is a lightweight sole that is made out of 25% recycled rubber, and is mainly used for the chaco flips and some low profile sandals. The last sole type that Chacos offer is the Pro sole. These soles have a very aggressive outsole that is incredibly sticky. This sole was made so that it would stick well on both trails and wet rocks. These soles are made with [email protected] rubber and are the toughest sole they offer.
Rock-N-Water requires our guides to use the Pro sandals because they are the best of the best. These soles are made with less elasticity in the rubber which allows the sandal to grip onto all the nooks of the surface its on. The Pro sole has the strongest traction out of any of Chaco’s sandals, which is very helpful for our guides who not only can go up steep rocks themselves, but can also help others up. The soles are so grippy that our guides are able to be secure on the rock slopes and help campers up. Our guides even use the shoe as a secure foothold for someone with little traction on their shoes. This makes it a perfect sole for the types of adventures we go on, especially on our rock climbing and canyoneering days.
The Pro sole is Rock-N-Water’s favorite sole because it is the best for the job that our guides have of keeping campers safe on our crazy adventures. That being said, just because the Pro sole is our favorite sole to use doesn’t mean its the only good one. Any of the sandals that Chacos makes are going to be top quality and are great for any type of wear. Even if you weren’t going to go adventuring at all, Chacos are worth the buy for their support alone. Not only are these sandals durable and grippy, they have a great arch support while still being comfortable.