Chaco ZX/2 Unaweep sandals

By Louise Southerden 28 March 2014
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These single-strap sandals offer simple, slip-free support.

I recently replaced my worn-out Tevas and, despite 10 years of faithful service, thought it was time to try another brand. I’d heard good things about Chacos, especially for water sports, and I loved the look of the twin-strap ZX2s.

I WANTED SANDALS that would be tough and travel-friendly – but Chaco’s patented single-strap system has definitely taken some getting used to. The concept is great: one strap to rule the world, or at least reduce the number of attachment points and keep things simple.

In reality, the straps on my sandals run from the inside of your ankle, over your instep, under the ball of your foot (within the sole), over and under your big toe, over your toes and finally under the arch of your foot. Adjusting the strap tension is like doing one of those puzzles where you have to slide three tiles around to release the one you really want to move.

I’ve also found the straps quite stiff – although I am guessing they should free up with more wear – and I usually have to take the sandals off to adjust them, which can be a tad painful when you’re mid-walk.

Having a strap wrapped around each big toe feels a bit restrictive. I know the theory – as with life, so with sandals – what you lose in freedom, you gain in support. The Chacos are great for rock-hopping and walking through water.

Your feet never slip around in them and the webbing straps dry faster than you can say, “Where did my wet Chacos go and who replaced them with these dry ones?” The Vibram sole is super-grippy too, but seems a little heavy (each sandal weighs 335g).

Overall, these Chacos are well made and solid, but I didn’t find them comfortable enough to wear them all the time, in all situations. So I gave them away and replaced them with a pair of Keens, which I wear all the time.

It was like ending a bad relationship; I tried to make it work with the Chacos, but we just weren’t right for each other. The Keens and I, on the other hand, are inseparable. But that’s a whole ‘nother gear review…

RRP $99 from Trek & Travel,