Chaco Z/1 Unaweep
Comfortable, durable, great for hiking and water sports,…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $60
Comfortable, durable, great for hiking and water sports, as well as casual wear. They last forever! Great for anyone looking for a sporty everyday sandal and/or outdoor activity sandal.
- Great traction
- Rough footbed
- Pricey—look for them on sale or clearance
I was given my first pair of Chaco Z! Unaweep sandals over 15 years ago. I have had them re-soled once, and one strap replaced, and still wear them for hiking and gardening all summer. I bought my second pair about 10 years ago. They are now my "water shoes" for rafting, kayaking and playing in river with the dog. I bought 2 new pairs in the last year in different colors to wear for work and casual wear.
I love that they are comfortable, have great traction on uneven terrain and in water, and last forever. I have a high arch and find Chacos fit much better than Tevas in that regard. The straps are endlessly adjustable so you always have a good fit. To clean them I just throw them in the wash with towels and such-of course if they're muddy I hose them off first!
My only complaint is the footbed is a little rough. This probably keeps your foot from sliding when they're wet, but does tend to roughen the bottom of my feet. My boyfriend got his first pair of Chacos this year in the new "Updraft" style and they seem to be a little easier on the bottom of the feet.
The only problem is I already have 4 pair and they'll never wear out, so it's hard to justify new ones! They are a bit pricey, but if you shop around you'll find them on clearance (that's why I have so many...). A great looking, great wearing outdoor activity and casual wear sandal.
Very rugged outdoor sandal; heavy and possibly too…
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Very rugged outdoor sandal; heavy and possibly too supportive.
- Simple, functional strap design
- Possibility to fix without replacing the whole shoe
- Rugged sole
- Very heavy for a sandal
- Non-foam footbed with high arches can be uncomfortable
I've owned my Chaco Z/1 Unaweep sandals with Terreno soles for 10 years now. The beauty of Chacos lies in their simplicity and functional, no-frills design. In this case, form and function melded into one beautiful, clean sandal with no crazy bungees or doodads.
The strap system is all integrated in the sole, beneath the footbed; when you pull one piece, it shifts the fit of all the other pieces. This allows you to adjust the fit to your own foot, and to add socks and still feel comfortable. This also makes the sandal easy to fix; you send it in to get re-webbed and get to keep your nice, worn-in sole and footbed.
The sole/footbed is a bit of a point of conflict for me. It is very heavy; I imagine if I added straps to my Asolo boot soles, they would weigh about the same as the Chaco soles. However, they are also incredibly durable. Furthermore, the once-piece construction prevents any sort of delaminating or general falling-apart issues of more "complicated" soles.
The footbed, which they call LUVSEAT, is accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association. They purportedly align your foot and body and force you to walk how you're supposed to walk, without overpronating, etc. They feature very high arches; as someone who has very high arches, I find them almost uncomfortable.
Every summer, it takes me some time to get used to wearing the Chacos. It's not so much that you break them in; they break you in. Until then, if you wear them for too long a stretch, your feet will be sore. They are not padded, there is no foam, supposedly your body heat helps the rubber conform to your foot but I think this effect is imperceptible if it exists at all. In short, the fit is specific, and while they come in multiple widths, they are definitely not for everyone.
They are pretty much as far from being barefoot as it gets, despite them being sandals. If you're a fan of FiveFingers, or Merrell Gloves, or other "barefoot" shoes (I am!), these are definitely a "try before you buy" item.