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Chaco Z/2 Classic Review (Still a Good Sandal in 2023?)

I’ve always admired Chaco’s commitment to creating comfortable and durable hiking shoes. So, when I got my hands on the Chaco Z/2 Classic sandals, I was eager to see how they would perform in comparison to their predecessors.

Our Verdict

The high-performance Vibram outsole gives you confidence in wet terrain, enabling you to navigate the path ahead effortlessly without the risk of slips and falls.

Chaco Z2 Sandal

I put these sandals through their paces at the Olympic National Park in Washington for three weeks, and I was very pleased with their versatility and adjustability.

Although heavier than other hiking sandals I tried, these Chacos consistently delivered excellent performance thanks to their improved strap system, toe loop, and the LUVSEAT polyurethane midsole.

That being said, let’s jump straight into my review and see how they fared out on the testing field.

Product Features

  • Luvseat polyurethane footbeds
  • ChacoGrip rubber outsoles
  • Polyester jacquard webbing


  • Good sandals if you are dealing with high-arch issues
  • Provided with a big-toe loop that prevents slipping
  • Good traction both for hiking and casual camping
  • Sturdy sole and straps that can face long days of hiking


  • Every new pair of Chacos needs to be broken in
  • Tricky to find a good fit since all the straps need to be adjusted

How Did We Test These Chacos?

adjusting the straps of these classic sandals

1. Durability

During my time testing the new Chaco sandals, I found them to be highly durable, thanks to the polyester jacquard webbing upper and rugged rubber outsole material.

Compared to other hiking sandals I’ve tried in the past, these definitely stood out in terms of their ability to withstand harsh conditions and daily wear without showing signs of damage.

2. Traction

classic sandals advanced sole

With a non-marking ChacoGrip rubber outsole and 3mm deep lugs, my first pair of Z/2 sandals from Chaco ensured a secure grip, both on rocky trails and while crossing slippery riverbeds.

However, I did notice that when faced with extremely muddy surfaces, the traction wasn’t as effective, which is something to consider if you plan on tackling more challenging conditions.

3. Comfort

One aspect of this Chaco model that I appreciated was the LUVSEAT midsole, which provided excellent arch support, making them comfortable for extended periods of use.

However, I must admit that the initial break-in period caused some discomfort for my sensitive feet, but this subsided after a few days of use, and the sandals became much more comfortable.

4. Breathability

these sandals have an awesome strap system

The open design of these classic sandals offers excellent breathability, which I found to be a significant advantage during my hikes.

My feet remained cool, unlike the experience I’ve had with closed-toe hiking sandals, which often cause them to feel sweaty and uncomfortable during long treks.

5. Weight

These Chacos weigh approximately 1 lb 4 oz for a men’s size 9, making them slightly heavier than other hiking sandals on the market.

While the added weight does contribute to support, it may be a concern for some users, especially when the sandals are wet.

6. Waterproofing

chacos classic

Although these versatile sandals aren’t designed to be waterproof, their quick-drying materials make them suitable for water sports and stream crossings.

During my tests, I got wet, but the shoes dried relatively quickly, allowing me to continue my hikes without much discomfort.

7. Support

The LUVSEAT midsole and customizable strap system in this Chaco shoe provide great support, ensuring stability and comfort for users with different arch types.

However, those with extremely high arches may require custom orthotics to feel completely comfortable.

8. Fit and Sizing

These great sandals offer a true-to-size fit, and the straps allow for a customized fit.

The big-toe loop keeps the big toes secure, preventing the foot from sliding forward.

While getting used to the strap adjustment system took some time, once adjusted, I found them to be an ideal fit for my foot shape.

How It Evolved?

chaco z2 clssic vs chaco z1 classic side by side

Compared to the Chaco Z/1 Classic, the Z/2 version of the Chaco sandals retains the customizable straps and durable construction that made its predecessor popular among outdoor enthusiasts but also adds some noticeable improvements.

The new model comes with a more stable design that reduces foot slipping while wearing it and a more supportive footbed for prolonged comfort.

The sandals also feature a toe strap that needs a bit of time to adjust but helps keep your foot braced better when trekking long miles.

How Does it Compare with Other Products?

Chaco Z/Cloud

Chaco Zcloud Sandal

The Z/Cloud is a sibling model to the Z/2 sandals, sharing many similarities and the $100 price.

Both sandals feature adjustable straps that provide a customizable fit, but the Z/Cloud offers a slightly different experience with its softer footbed.

However, if the added security of a toe loop strap is your priority, the Classic Chaco would be the better choice.

Xero Z-Trail EV

Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals

Quite affordable at $79,99, the Z-Trail EV features a thin and flexible outsole, promoting natural foot movement and a closer connection to the ground.

This minimalist design allows for an improved ground feel and freedom of movement for your feet.

However, the trade-off for its lightweight and flexible nature is reduced durability and less support compared to the Chaco model.

Teva Katavi 2

Teva Katavi 2

Retailing at $70, the Katavi 2 provides decent support and cushioning for day hikes and casual outdoor activities, but when compared to the Z/2 sandal, the Katavi 2 falls slightly short in terms of durability.

The Chaco sandals offer more robust construction and superior support, making them better suited for longer hikes and demanding terrain.

Where Do These Chacos Sandals Perform Better?

These sandals are ideal for hikes in warm and dry climates, where the breathability prevents discomfort from sweaty feet. They are also well-suited for water activities, such as kayaking or rafting, due to their quick-drying materials.

Additionally, this sandal performs admirably on trails with loose or rocky surfaces, offering stability and grip.

Where It Falls Short in Performance?

Although the Classic sandals from Chaco outperform other models in several aspects, the sandals’ weight may be considered a drawback for those who prefer a lighter shoe for faster hikes or backpacking trips.

I would also recommend going with a set of hiking boots or a hiking shoe option for rougher trails, as the open-toe design is not suitable for these scenarios.

Do We Recommend It?

Chaco Z/2 Classic

We also like that they fit on various hiking boots and footwear, giving everyone the confidence they need to walk outdoors in icy areas securely. 

Chaco Z/2 Classic

During the two short hikes, these Chaco Classic sandals rapidly demonstrated their value and were well worth the $100 price tag.

They are pretty heavy, so I wouldn’t recommend them for fast trekking, but for regular outdoor adventures, they have just the right traction a top hiking sandal should have.

I hiked long miles in them without blisters or discomfort, even after I crossed a river, and from my experience, they really are the best of the Chaco Classic sandals to wear when hiking through the mountains.

Jennifer Strom

Jennifer Strom

Jennifer Strom has been a writer for over 20 years and an outdoor and hiking enthusiast for most of her life. After spending much of her career in the corporate world, she decided to freelance to spend more time with her family and explore new places. You will find her always looking forward to her next weekend adventure and writing guides that help others make the most of their own hikes and time outdoors.

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