Chaco's Z2 Sandals Review

I tested the Chaco Z/2 sandals and this is my verdict.

January 09, 2023
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The Chaco's Z2 Classic sandals are super popular among outdoor adventurers. They have a highly adjustable zig-zag strap system with a loop for the big toe, a supportive and comfortable midsole, and an insanely grippy outsole. They could be lighter but then would lack durability, so we’re not complaining.

Product Overview


✅ Durable

✅ Repairable

✅ Supportive

✅ Comfortable


❌ Heavy

❌ Straps need to be broken in

❌ Significant heel-to-toe drop


  • Weight: 1 lb 12 oz (size 10)
  • Thickness: 25-15 mm
  • Heel Drop: 10 mm
  • Material: Polyester Jaquard Webbing, LUVSEAT™ PU Midsole, ChacoGrip™ Rubber Outsole

The Chaco Z2 Classic sandals are some of the most popular sandals for outdoor adventures of all kinds. Plenty of hikers have hiked thousands of miles in the same Chaco’s.

These sandals have a cult-like following and for good reason. They have a very secure zig-zag strap system with a toe loop to keep your foot locked in place. They’re also extremely durable and offer some of the most underfoot support of any sandal. They feature a ChacoGrip™ outsole, which is one of the grippiest soles we’ve tested.

Chacos can also be repaired through Chaco’s ReChaco Program, so if you wear out your sandals you don’t have to buy new ones. The Z/2 Classics are great sandals for hiking, backpacking, thru-hiking, and every water sport. They are pretty heavy, so they aren’t recommended to carry as camp shoes, though.

To see reviews on other hiking sandals, see our post on the best hiking sandals.

Performance Test Results

chaco z2 sandals review performance score graph

How We Tested:

I have hiked nearly 10,000 miles on two of three triple crown trails and lots of shorter thru-hikes. I hiked 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in sandals and have been an avid adventure sandal-wearer ever since. I tested the Chaco Z2 Classic Sandals while hiking on the Colorado Front Range in autumn over a series of warm, sunny days.

Weight: 3/10

The Chaco Z/2 Classic Sandals are not lightweight. They aren’t as heavy as a hiking boot, but they’re closer to that weight than most hiking sandals. Their extremely thick sole is responsible for all the weight. Other than this sole, the sandals are made of thin and lightweight webbing.

If an extremely durable and supportive sole is important to you, then Chacos are the absolute best choice. But, if lightweight sandals are what you’re after, these are not the best choice. Personally, I really like heavier-weight Chacos for certain activities like rugged hikes and activities where I’ll be on my feet all day. But the Chacos Classics do stand out as some of the heaviest adventure sandals available. I’d be interested to see a Chaco with a thinner sole one day since these would be significantly lighter.

hiker wearing chaco z/2 sandals

A size 10 of the Chaco Z/2 Sandals weighs 1 pound and 12 ounces.

Price: 9/10

If you’re looking for long-lasting sandals with great support, Chacos are an excellent value.

The Z/2 costs about as much as most other minimalist sandals. They are not the least expensive but aren’t the most expensive either. With these sandals, you get the most material for the price–their soles are up to three times as thick as some other hiking sandals. The 15-25 millimeter soles on Chacos will last much longer than sandals with a 5-millimeter sole.

Also, Chaco will perform any needed repairs to your sandals if you do wear them out. This means if you wear those soles down, you can get a new sole. You can also have the straps replaced if those wear out. This adds a lot of value to the Z/2 and all other Chaco models since you won’t have to pay for a new pair of sandals when they wear out.

There are very few other sandals that can be repaired as Chacos can.

chaco z/2 sandals

You can purchase the Chaco Z/2 Sandals for $100.

Comfort: 8/10

The Z/2 sandals are extremely comfortable right out of the box. They offer tons of support and are very cushioned. After a break-in period, they don’t cause blisters or chafing, either. However, the extreme support and cushioning cause them to be quite stiff. If you’re looking for lightweight and flexible hiking sandals, look elsewhere.

The soles provide a lot of cushion and support, which makes them more comfortable than most hiking sandals. They have a contoured footbed that provides arch support and keeps your foot in place, which is rare among sandals.

The footbed has a soft feel and is textured to keep your foot from sliding around. However, all that cushion and support might be too much for some people. I find these sandals extremely comfortable underfoot for long days of hiking, but some might find they feel clunky, especially compared to some thinner-soled hiking sandals.

The straps on these sandals are very comfortable, too. It takes some tinkering to find the right way to tighten them to your feet. But once you get them properly adjusted, they’re very comfortable.

When these were brand new, I noticed a slight chafing on the edge of some of the straps near my toes. Once the straps are broken in, I can tell this won’t be an issue. But when the straps are new, their edges can be stiff and sharp. I found if I tightened the straps near my toes even more, the chafing went away, but then they felt too tight. I suspect washing the straps would make them softer without wearing them, too.

Other than this chafing on top of the foot from new straps, these sandals cause no chafing or blisters after prolonged use. Over difficult terrain, the straps hold your foot in place so there isn’t any uncomfortable rubbing.

Over rugged terrain, these sandals are more comfortable than most other hiking sandals. Over rough, rocky terrain, many sandals won’t protect your foot as much. This causes your feet to work harder and tire more quickly. The Z/2 Classics have a lot more material between your foot and that rocky terrain, so they are much more comfortable in this regard.

However, this thicker sole won’t give you that barefoot feeling like some hiking sandals. In this regard, the Z/2 Classics are less comfortable. These aren’t light enough to ever forget you’re wearing them.

chaco z/2 sandals with socks

Stability & Versatility: 9/10

The Z/2 Classics are very stable sandals. As mentioned above, these are some of the least minimalist sandals we’ve tested, and the extra thickness underfoot makes them very stable.

The straps wrap across and around the foot in a way that holds your foot securely in place. Four straps wrap across the top of your foot, from toes to ankle, to create a very secure fit. I find this strap system feels the most secure of any hiking sandal, over any terrain.

chaco z/2 sandals

The thick soles of the Chaco Z/2 Sandals make them very stable.

The Z/2 Classics are also very versatile. These are a favorite among rafters since they dry quickly. They also float, which is a bonus for water sports. These sandals also perform very well in light rock climbing and scrambling scenarios. The rubber grips rock well, even when wet. Whether it’s for scrambling in light rain or climbing out of the river, these sandals are a stable platform to trust.

They work well for bicycle riding and bikepacking, too. These are some of the most popular sandals for bike riding since they work much better than thinner-soled minimalist sandals.

The thick, stiff soles are a great platform to pedal a bike, as many of my bike-riding friends will attest.

These sandals aren’t as great for running, though. Compared to other minimalist sandals, the Z/2 Classics feel slower, especially when you try to run. They’re just a little too heavy for fast movements with your feet. I tried running in these, and though it’s possible, it isn’t fun. These sandals feel like mini anchors on your feet when you run in them.

chaco z/2 sandals

Adjustability: 10/10

The Z2’s are some of the most adjustable hiking sandals available. They use a strap system that wraps around the foot from the big toe to your ankle. The main strap is one piece of webbing that wraps underneath the footbed through the sole of the sandals. When you pull on one strap, another piece gets tighter.

To adjust these sandals, start by pulling all the straps until they’re loose. Slide your foot in place and tighten the strap that crosses from inside to outside on top of your foot by pulling the toe loop strap. Pull the strap that attaches to the adjuster buckle to tighten the other strap that wraps across your foot, tightening the toe strap as needed before this. Now, pull the adjuster buckle to finish adjusting the sandals.

As you can see, pulling one of these straps to loosen it makes it tighten somewhere else. This allows you to fully adjust these sandals to get an excellent fit for most foot shapes. It took me some practice before adjusting these straps became second nature. But now that I’ve figured it out, adjusting these is pretty intuitive.

Some who have particularly low-volume feet will have to shorten the strap by cutting it shorter past the adjuster. But, this is normal with many sandals. Also, the toe loop makes these hard to slip your foot into than many hiking sandals. The toe loop makes these sandals more adjustable and creates a very secure fit, though.

chaco z/2 sandals


The Z/2 Classic Sandals have a polyurethane midsole that is firm but supportive. This midsole doesn’t compress as you walk. I find this supportive midsole feels really good underfoot. The footbed is textured to give the soles of your feet something to grip, but the texture isn’t as extreme as some sandals, so it’s not uncomfortable.

The straps on these sandals are made of polyester jacquard webbing. This webbing is smooth and soft. It is very comfortable against your skin. All the materials that make up these sandals are water resistant and fast to dry. The only material that absorbs water is the straps, but they dry very quickly after getting wet.

Compared to other hiking sandals, the Z/2s use similar materials. Some sandals use a Vibram sole, but Chaco uses its own proprietary rubber compound for the outsoles. Some Chaco sandals have a Vibram sole, but these use a ChacoGrip™ rubber compound. These outsoles have 3.5-millimeter lugs and are very grippy and long-lasting.

hiker wearing chaco z2 sandals

Durability: 10/10

Chacos are significantly more durable than most other hiking sandals. And, they’re some of the only sandals available that can be re-soled, which adds to their durability.

The Z/2 sandals are very durable. And, as mentioned earlier, Chaco will repair these sandals when you wear out part of them. You can have them re-soled or have the straps replaced. However, these sandals probably won’t need to be repaired in any way for a long time, since they’re some of the most durable sandals out there.

Many hikers have hiked thousands of miles in the same pair of Chacos. I know one hiker that used the same Chaco sandals when hiking all three triple crown trails, with no repairs needed for those approximately 8000 miles. Granted, the soles were pretty worn through by the end of her last triple crown hike, but they did last for three thru-hikes.

hiker wearing chaco z/2 sandals

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Sam Schild photo

About Sam Schild

By Sam Schild (aka “Sia,” pronounced sigh): Sam is a writer, thru-hiker, and bikepacker. You can find him in Denver when he’s not out exploring in the mountains somewhere..

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