Rock/Creekers wear Chacos, as do many of our customers …which means we field quite a few questions about them! To answer some of the most common ones, we’ve put together this FAQ to help you choose the right pair for you and/or take care of the ones you already have. ~Jeff
Q: What’s the difference between the Chaco Z/1 and Z/2? What about the ZX/2?
A: Basically, ignore the “Z” here. Z/1 means no toe loop, and Z/2 means toe loop. The choice between the latter and the former mostly boils down to personal preference; some love the additional security from the toe strap, especially for hiking or boating, and some hate the feeling of a strap around the big toe. Both are made with a single strap threaded through the sandal. Try them both to see which you prefer.
A few women’s sandals also have an X, like the ZX/1 and ZX/2. The X means that, instead of a single wide piece of webbing, there are two narrower straps. Many women prefer the way this looks and feels; in fact, the Women’s ZX/2 is our most popular sandal!
Q: Where did the Vibram soles go?
A: Standard Chacos are now made with ChacoGrip Rubber, a proprietary outsole introduced in 2016. It features a new tread design that essentially is a combination of the best elements of the old outsole styles. The Yampa and Uniweep outsoles no longer exist, but if you’re really set on keeping a Vibram sole, you still have options. You can choose to custom order your sandals, and select from the Colorado or Terreno soles, both made from Vibram rubber. Some of the limited edition sandals, like this year’s National Parks tributes, are also made with Vibram soles.
Q: What happened to the Zong X/Sleet? That was my favorite!
A: This one is pretty interesting. The Chaco Zong X was one of Chaco’s best-sellers, and then they changed the name to the Chaco Sleet in 2013… and now they’ve changed it back. So, yes: the Zong X sandal is here to stay. We’re not sure why they changed the name, or why they changed it back, but it doesn’t matter — it’s the same classic sandal, essentially a backless ZX/2.
Anyway, in keeping with the naming conventions above, the “X” in the old name tells us that the Zong X is a skinny-strap version of the popular Zong. Love it! One difference is the EcoTread outsole, used in Chaco flips and some lightweight styles, which is a low-profile outsole that uses 25% recycled rubber.
Q: How do I know if I want the Classic, the Cloud or the Z/Volv?
A: Last year, Chaco introduced two new footbeds that are both great, but make things a whole lot more complicated. Now not only do you need to know your size, number of straps and toe loop preference, but you have to select the right footbed as well.
The Classic footbed is what most people are used to. If you’ve been wearing Chacos for years you’re probably going to want to stick with this one because it’s what feels most normal to you. It features that heavy, durable outsole and maximum arch support that you’ve come to love.
The Cloud footbed is the Classic with a little extra oomph. It has a layer of cushion atop the regular sole that makes your ride a little squishier but still pleasantly firm (think Tempurpedic
mattress topper). This is a great option for people who want a softer shoe without compromising Chaco’s trademark toughness.
The Z/Volv is the newest addition to the lineup, made from recycled materials and weighing 30% less than its counterparts. This footbed feels significantly lighter and more flexible than other styles and is perfect if you find classic Chacos “clunky.” The Z/Volv’s arch support is slightly less prominent and makes a good fit for those looking for a more low-key shoe.
Q: How do I clean my Chacos? They smell funny. How often should I do it?
A: We are asked this so often, we actually wrote a separate article with some short-and-sweet video content. Click through to read our tips on how to wash Chaco sandals.
Q: I heard that Chacos are certified for proper foot support. Is this true?
A: Yep! The APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) awarded Chaco with a “seal of acceptance” for their arch support, stability and shock absorption characteristics. If you’d like to read more, check out this article about the recommended Chaco sandals for proper foot health