While I’ve already written a post about my favorite travel shoes, I get a lot of questions about Chacos specifically. I truly think they’re the absolute best travel sandals in terms of durability and comfort. There are a lot of variations and options, so I thought I’d break them down in a little Chacos buying guide.
This pair below are my babies which have been with me since 2011. They have been to a lot of countries and lasted through some crazy adventures! As you can see, they have a double strap, while others have a single. I like that but it did take some time to get used to. From a distance, it may look like all Chaco’s are the same but they vary quite a bit and when you search on Amazon or in the stores you might be overwhelmed with the styles.
Why Chacos are the Best Travel Sandals
Great alignment, good for all day wear, good arch support
LUVseat footbed technology
Foodbed made of Polyurethane (PU), which doesn’t breakdown or compress, means it’s super durable
Soles are designed for traction and grip
Good for hiking and trails
Amazing for water as they are made from PU, so they don’t need to dry after (just the straps which dry fast). They double as a “water shoe”.
They literally last forever – I have worn them ALL over India for years, all over Uganda, Thailand… you name it! From white water rafting to chasing waterfalls and trekking in the Himalayas, they continue to last.
a throwback to 2012 when I wore these all over India – even with a skirt like above!
Best Travel Sandals: A Chacos Buying Guide
Single Strap or Multi Strap?
The multi-strap version takes longer to get accustomed to your foot and get out of line when wet until you get it set just how you like it. The single strap is more secure and easier to get on, but won’t conform to your foot as nicely. If I could re-do purchasing, I would go for a single strap. Unfortunately, these will never wear out (lol) so I don’t get to buy a new pair.
Toe Loop or No Toe Loop?
Not all styles come with the toe loop. I prefer it – and I know a lot of people don’t. The straps on Chaco’s are highly adjustable which means that if you pull one area, another area will get pulled so what can happen is that when you pull to tighten at the top of the foot you could actually pull the toe tight and it does wrap around the toe so it kind of squeezes it. Sounds bad, I know. BUT, once you get it all situated and get a feel for your shoes, the toe loop makes them 100x more secure, comfortable, and it is worth the hassle for me. The hassle only lasts for about one week until you are familiar. If you don’t want to bother, then no toe loop for you! But, I really suggest getting the toe loop.
The Different 3 Styles
They are a “Z Classic” with a double strap and toe loop. I chose this color because I knew it would match most of my outfits simply by blending in. For me, I didn’t want bright colors as I didn’t want them to be noticeable. I wanted to wear them with skirts and dresses, or jean shorts sightseeing, not just for adventures. They are my “everyday” shoe when I backpack.
The classics are a simple design, super durable, and the most common pair you’ll see out in stores. Online, you’ll find more sizes and color options. These are the normal pair, not “light” so they will be VERY durable although they have some weight to them.
These are the extra soft style (20% lighter than Classic Z). This might be better if you’re not doing super adventurous activities since they are a lighter, less durable sole compared to the Classics.
These are the ones with enhanced comfort and more support. If you have problems with your feet/arches then you might want to check out these bad boys.
For more best of posts, check here:
- Best Bikinis for Travel
- What’s the Best Travel Bra?
- Best Travel Shoes
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Except the fact that these show are so freakin’ ugly and that no one who gives an ounce about their appearances would ever be caught dead in these f-ugly shoes. You can’t even give us a pic that doesn’t date from 2012. Girl you have wicked fashion so please don’t promote this travesty on fashion.
lol, you have some strangely strong opinions about these shoes! I so wear them all the time, the pic is the only close up one I have and I was too lazy to go take another when I had one on my PC! You can be fashionable and still have practical things – chillax lady!
Yikes that comment above is so hostile! Fashion is awesome but I’m not about to wear fancy flats when i’m climbing a mountain or exploring an island. I freaking love chacos….I had two pairs but one was destroyed by my host family’s pitbull in Guatemala :(
Lol, I know right!? I was like Woah, I love my chacos! I’m sorry yours got destroyed. Maybe Amazon will do a huge sale one day!
Rachel! Hello!! I happen to LOVE your helpful advice and have shared it with multiple people who have traveled abroad and appreciate it just as well!!! I have a question if you have time to answer…. do you happen to know if any of the Chacos have a heel that is elevated? It seems as though most of them sort of start to go down a bit in the heel area. Just wondering. I need a sandal that keeps the heel UP. THANKS IN ADVANCE! God Bless.
Can you tell me what style has the pebble shaped sole? I don’t like the little diamond bottom.
Been wearing different Chacos to hike and walk for miles/kilometers all around the world for the last 15 years! They are still the most long lasting, and comfortable shoes I have ever known.
Hey thank you for posting this article. I bought a pair of chacos years ago when the classic was the only pair available haha. I am buying a new pair and trying to maneuver through all the new styles. I am an RN and think it is really cool that you went and did what you wanted. Thank you again!
Thank you for this advice!! I’m going to Brazil for 2 weeks and was so confused on which Chacos to purchase. I can’t wait to get them and have happy feet in Brazil :)
I have lived in pretty much nothing but Chacos for the last 30 years!!! I can’t find another shoe or sandal as comfortable and versatile. They go everywhere! Hike mountains, in water, and with socks when cold. Don’t knock them if you don’t know them.