User Review: Chaco Women's Z/1 Unaweep
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.