We spend so much of our lives on our feet that we really should take better care of them. How often have you found yourself opting for the cheaper shoe, just to save some money? It is essential to the health of your feet that you invest in shoes which are going to be comfortable and support you. If your feet are sore, your entire body can suffer.
What about the great outdoors? This is often an area where people skimp, not wanting to pay a premium for shoes which ate only going to be used for part of the year. Well, they may only be used for part of the year, but a decent pair of shoes will last you for many of those years. The other way to think about it is that a great pair of shoes will motivate you to get out into the great outdoors more frequently.
Who are Chacos?
Chacos are a brand of hiking sandals. They use an adjustable Z-strap to lock and hold your foot, bringing support and comfort. They are specifically designed to be able to handle the great outdoors, handling water extremely well.
Chaco sandals are well known for being ugly; that is almost part of their charm. The soles are big, and black, and chunky. These soles help you to tackle almost any terrain. The truth is that the shoes are not all that ugly. Yes, the soles are thick and chunky, but when they are on your feet, the soles are less noticeable. The straps can add flashes of color to your feet if you opt for it, and the soles are one of the key features of the shoe.
The soles are durable and will not wear down easily. You can step on dirt, sand, rocks, water, and more, and the sandals will take the brunt of the impact, protect from slips and falls, and resist the water. They are also more comfortable than they look.
Difference between and Classic
The name of the sandal, cloud or classic, is referring to the type of sole and footbed on the shoe. The footbed is, as you may expect, the part of the shoe where the foot sits. It is the part of the shoe which sits underneath your foot. This part is responsible for the comfort of your foot. The sole is the part on the bottom of the shoe. It is the part which sits between the footbed and the ground.
The Chaco Classic uses a LUVSEAT footbed to give all-day comfort. This footbed is podiatrist certified, making it a great choice for your feet, and well worth the cost of the shoe. This footbed has a contoured arch to support the entire foot.
The Chaco Cloud adds to this LUVSEAT by having an instant-comfort top sheet to add more cushioning and comfort to the supportive arches. The extra cushioning is great for anyone who suffers from sore feet or afflictions such as plantar fasciitis.
Chaco soles are made to be durable and long lasting. The Classic Chacos use Vibram outsoles. These soles give great grip and protection to your shoes. They also give great performance in more extreme conditions. They are almost unaffected by wear and are one of the reasons that your money is well spent when you buy a pair of Chacos.
Both shoes, the Classic and the Cloud, use a non-marking design on the shoes, but the Cloud adds a new tread design to the bottom of the shoe. The Cloud sole works better in wetter conditions than the Classic.
What else to look for?
The Cloud design adds to the footbed and the sole of the shoe, but what else should you be looking for?
Single strap vs. multi-strap
A single strap is easier to use. You are able to get your foot into the shoe easier, and the strap will stay in place more readily. Multi-strap Chacos take a little getting used to and are harder to use overall, but they do conform to your foot better, giving a better fit. The only problem the multi-strap shoes have is that they can get out of line when they are wet.
Toe loop or no toe loop?
Some Chacos come with a loop for your big tie and others do not. The toe loop can be a nuisance to some, and when the shoes are tightened, the toe loop can tighten too far and be constricting. If you take your time and are careful with your toe loop, the loop will never become constricting and will always make the shoes more secure. The toe loop can take a week or so to beak in, but you will feel the benefits once you do.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to Chaco shoes, you have three main choices to make. Do you want multi straps or a single strap? Do you want a toe loop or no toe loop? Do you want a classic footbed and sole or a club footbed and sole?
The straps are tricky and depend a lot on what you feel comfortable wearing. The multi straps do give the sandal a better look but can take some getting used to. The single strap will work fine and bring you a lot of comfort; the single strap is also easier to wear.
We recommend going for a toe loop and pushing your way through the first few uses of your shoes. Once you have worn the toe loop for a while, you will benefit from the extra foot security.
When it comes to the footbed and sole, we like the Cloud Chacos. The extra comfort is a lifesaver, especially when you are out hiking or walking for long periods of time. The extra cushioning feels great on your feet, and the tread stops you from slipping. The only downside is that the extra cushioning will wear down faster than the Classic, but the shoes will still last you for longer than other sandals.