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Chaco Suntrail

rated 3.5 of 5 stars

The Suntrail has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best trail shoes for 2024.

photo: Chaco Suntrail trail shoe

Nice shoe but only with Lynco Orthotics.

I was looking forward to receiving my pair of Chaco Suntrails but I am -somewhat- disappointed. I love my Chaco sandals, they are one of the best sandals/shoes I have ever worn, so I was expecting a lot of the sneaker.

They have a "biocentric contour" footbed insole that I don't like (code GFS-0558, women's 8-8,5). It has a 6 inch section of stiff bottom material from the heel on up, on which the softer rubbery footbed is shaped. Although other reviews say this shoe feels just like the sandal, I don't agree. The stiff part of the footbed creates a pressure point on both sides of my heel (but mostly on the inside) where the arch begins. It feels like odd and sore spots.

I feel these spots no matter what shoes I put the contour footbed in, and it doesn't feel like the sandals, that just fit and support my profile perfectly (although in the beginning they did feel a bit too much around the heel too).

In the reviews I read before buying, I tried to find more information on the "biocentric contour" insole, or an image, but I couldn't. It seems to be one trade name for all Chaco footbeds - that are obviously not all the same. I regret I can't find any additional info on this insole.

The sole of the shoe itself is quite stiff (with the squeaky traction of the ZX1 sandal) and does not compare to the regular Chaco sandal either. Together with the insole it makes the entire shoe stiff.

I don't know what the difference is with the Chaco Redrock. They have the same outer sole. The Red Rock has one more lace loop and a loop on the tongue.

Although it's a mesh shoe, I ran water over it and it did not get wet inside. I don't know how water-resistant or -proof and breathable the shoe is, but I like it that my feet don't get wet right away.

I don't care for the drawstring to tighten the shoe because it is elastic. That could of course be replaced by regular laces.

I have a pair of Salomon XA Comp 3 GTX Trail-Running Shoes with pull strings, and they don't stretch which I find better for finding the right snug fit. The Salomon as it is gives better arch support and is all in all a suppler shoe (for running). But it costed $110.

I also have a pair of Keen Targhee II's that I didn't like too much because of the heavy toe, until I purchased a $65 pair of Lynco Orthotics. These transformed the Keens into a great shoe that I now use a lot. They are sturdier than the Salomons and waterproof. The Lynco's give my feet just the right support.

When I put the Lynco insoles in the Suntrails it made the shoe a whole lot better. It has a nice support now, the harder sole gives more protection on rocky surfaces than the supple Salomons, good traction, and I am going to try them this way.

To conclude, I'd say: unless you are prepared to buy a pair of Lynco insoles ($50 on Ebay), definitely try the Suntrails for your personal fit before you buy.

Materials: mesh
Use: hikes short and long
Break-in Period: good right away
Weight: 25,5 oz with Lynco insoles
Price Paid: $45

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Price Historic Range: $19.83-$80.00
Reviewers Paid: $45.00

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