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Chaco Z/Cloud Review (2023 – Still a Good Hiking Sandal?)

The Chaco Z/Cloud provided excellent arch support and cushioning, allowing me to hike long distances without discomfort as I tested them on the rocky paths of the Black Canyon Of The Gunnison for several weeks.

I’ve been familiar with the brand for years and wore their Chaco Z Classics on some heavy-duty hikes, but with this model, I could tell from the start that it is comfort-oriented. 

Chaco Z/Cloud

Equipped with a reliable ChacoGrip outsole that is suitable both for light hiking and medium-intensity backpacking, this comfortable sandal was also lightweight and supportive for my plantar fasciitis.

chaco z/cloud sandal

I liked the ChacoGrip outsole, which has the same 3.5mm deep lugs as the Chaco Z 2 Classic, but this comfortable sandal is a bit softer, and from my perspective, more suitable for everyday use and light hiking.

Overall, wearing Chacos was fun, so let’s dive into my Chaco Z/Cloud review and see the details.

Product Features

  • Luvseat dual-density PU midsole
  • Polyester jacquard webbing upper
  • ChacoGrip outsole
  • Adjustable strap system


  • Good arch support for all-day comfort during long hikes
  • Lightweight design makes them ideal for day hiking and everyday use
  • Grippy outsole provides excellent traction on various surfaces
  • Durable construction with water-repelling webbing


  • Compared to lighter models, they require breaking in
  • The sandal strap system can be tricky to adjust for the right fit

Things We Tested When We Reviewed Chaco Z/Cloud 

When I set out to review the Chaco Z/Cloud, I wanted to ensure that my research was thorough. Therefore, I established several elements to test right from the beginning, and here’s what I discovered during my evaluation.

1. Waterproofing

While these adventure sandals are not explicitly designed to be waterproof, they still handle water reasonably well. The polyester jacquard webbing straps proved to be quite water-resistant, allowing them to dry relatively quickly.

However, I did notice that the thick footbed had a tendency to retain water, which meant it took a little longer for the sandals to dry completely.

If you get caught in heavy rain or use them to cross a river, they tend to become a bit clunky and heavy, and it will definitely take some time to get them dry again. On the other hand, they can handle light splashes well, so they are a good choice for stream crossings.

2. Comfort


The Z/Clouds exceeded my expectations in terms of comfort.

The LUVSEAT™ footbed, with its excellent arch support, made a noticeable difference, especially during extended periods of activity.

It provided the right amount of heel cushioning and prevented any discomfort or fatigue in my feet.

Yet, I must admit that the loop on the sandals took some getting used to.

Initially, it caused a slight discomfort as it kept rubbing against my toe, but once I found the correct adjustment, the sandals became incredibly comfortable and provided a secure fit throughout the day.

I appreciated the ability to customize them with the adjustable strap system, which gave me a snug feel and no ankle chaffing.

3. Support

The sturdy construction of these sandals provided good stability, preventing any rolling or slipping of my feet, even on uneven terrains.

The support offered by the footbed, combined with the sandals’ adjustability, created a secure fit that allowed me to tackle various terrains with ease.

While there was a short break-in period for the sandals to adapt to my foot shape, once that happened, the comfort they provided was unparalleled. I felt more secure and sure-footed, allowing me to push my limits and explore challenging trails.

4. Durability


I rely heavily on my outdoor gear to withstand the demands of rugged environments, and the Z/Cloud did not disappoint in terms of durability.

The materials used, such as the rugged ChacoGrip outsole and the durable polyester webbing, proved to be highly resilient to rough surfaces.

Even after extensive use on rocky trails and abrasive terrains, the sandals showed minimal signs of wear.

The stitching held up well, and the overall construction of the sandals remained intact, assuring me of their long-lasting nature.

I appreciated that I didn’t have to worry about my footwear giving out on me during my outdoor pursuits, as the Z/Cloud sandals proved to be a reliable and durable choice.

5. Traction


The Z/Cloud sandals feature a non-marking ChacoGrip™ rubber outsole, which offered impressive traction on various terrains.

I felt confident while walking on beach sand, wet rocks, loose gravel, or muddy trails for miles, as this pair of sandals gripped the ground securely.

Also, the outsole was stiff enough to avoid feeling every rock. However, on extremely slippery surfaces, such as moss-covered rocks, I noticed a slight decrease in traction.

While the sandals performed well in most conditions, showing a good grip that prevented sliding, extra caution was necessary for particularly challenging environments.

6. Weight

Even if their robust construction made this pair of sandals look heavy at first glance, at only 1 pound and 12.96 ounces (size 9), they felt incredibly light on my feet.

This feature was particularly advantageous during long hikes or extended walks, as the shoes did not weigh me down or cause any discomfort.

Whether I was traversing mountainous trails or exploring urban landscapes, the sandals remained light and allow for unrestricted movement.

I appreciated not feeling fatigued, even after prolonged use of sand and dirt. Plus, I was able to avoid heel pain due to their comfort-oriented design.

How Does it Compare with Other Products?

Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal

Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal

Compared to the Chaco Z/Cloud, the Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal offers a more versatile design and is more suitable to be worn every day.

The Teva sandals have a more open and minimalist style, with fewer straps and lighter overall weight. While the Z/Cloud provides better stability, the Teva sandal excels in terms of breathability and quick-drying capabilities.

Yet, the Teva Terra Fi 5 may not deliver the same level of sturdiness as the Chaco sandal, especially in rugged terrains.

Xero Z-Trail EV

Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals

The Xero Z-Trail EV sandal shares some similarities with the Chacos, such as adjustable straps and a lightweight design.

However, the Xero Z-Trail sandal has a more minimalist construction, with a thinner sole and less cushioning. While this makes it incredibly lightweight and flexible, it may result in less overall protection and durability compared to the Chaco Z/Cloud.

The Chaco adventure sandals also provide a more secure fit due to their toe loop design, which can be advantageous for more challenging terrains.

Find out more about this product by exploring the full Xero Z-Trail EV review.

Chaco Z/1 Classic

Chaco Z/1 Classic Sandal

The Chaco Z/1 Classic is a close counterpart to the Chaco Z/Cloud, sharing many similarities in design and performance.

The primary difference lies in the footbed design, with the Z/Cloud featuring a softer and more cushioned LUVSEAT footbed compared to the Z/1 Classic.

This makes the Z/Cloud more comfortable for extended wear, especially on longer hikes. However, if you are looking for better stability, Z/1 Classic is your choice.

Both Chaco sandals offer good durability, making them reliable options for outdoor activities, but the z/1 Classic sandals retail at a smaller price.

Learn more about this product by checking our Chaco Z/1 Classic review.

Where Does Chaco Z/Cloud Perform Better?

Chaco’s rugged outsoles provide exceptional traction on rocky trails, slippery surfaces, and wet environments, making them some of the best hiking sandals on the market. This sandal model offers superior cushioning, ensuring comfort during long-distance hikes or walks.

I liked their adjustable straps, which can easily accommodate any foot shape and help prevent blisters. Moreover, their footbed is designed to reduce heel pain, making them a good fit if you deal with plantar fasciitis.

Where Chaco Z/Cloud Falls Short in Performance?

sandals toe

Although Chacos are generally good sandals for hiking and the Chaco Z/Cloud sandal offers remarkable performance, I did encounter a few minor flaws.

Due to their design with a loop around the toe, you cannot wear them with socks, which may lead to chaffing if the fit is not proper.

Additionally, some users with narrow feet may need time to adjust to the toe loop, and the straps could deliver even more adjustability for a perfect fit.

However, these issues can be easily overcome with a proper break-in period.

Do We Recommend Chaco Z/Cloud?

Chaco Z/Cloud

My experience using this sandal on various terrains, including rugged trails and wet conditions, was nothing short of excellent.

Chaco Z/Cloud

Not only that the Cahcos worked great for my high arches, but their strap adjustment system was easy to use, and they quickly molded to my foot.

While it’s worth noting that, like most shoe options, they require initial adjustments for the best fit, these minor considerations do not outweigh the overall benefits they offer, especially their excellent durability that guarantees many years of use.


Are Cloud Chacos Better Than Classic?

Yes, the Chaco Z/Cloud sandals come with several improvements over the classic version. They provide enhanced comfort with the soft LUVSEAT PU footbed and have a lighter weight. Additionally, the Z/Cloud sandals have better adjustability with their straps, allowing for a more customizable fit.

Are Chaco Clouds Good for Hiking?

The Chaco Z/Cloud sandals are excellent for hiking. They feature good stability, durability, and traction, making them suitable for various terrains. These sandals are designed with grippy soles to provide comfort and stability during long hikes, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors without compromising performance.

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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