Chacos are the king of the rafting and guide world. Outdoorists wear their sandal lines like a badge of honor. Rugged enough for the trails, but chic enough to rock on city streets, these shoes do it all in temperate environments. For Spring 2016, Chaco updated the footbed with their proprietary Z/Cloud and made their sandals that much better.
Think of the Z/Cloud as mattress topper, except built in for your shoe. The polyurethane (PU) layer is ultra soft, doesn’t wear through or compress for a footbed that lasts you forever. The outsole is constructed from Chacogrip, a proprietary compound developed specifically for Chaco. Sticky as heck for scrambling on wet surfaces, the outsole also uses 25% recycled rubber to leave an eco friendly footprint.
Each piece of footwear in the Chaco line is the LUVSEAT footbed which provides arch support and is certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association. Double strapped polyester jacquard webbing wraps around the foot and is fully adjustable for a customized fit.
The Z/Cloud X2 are not my first trip to the Chaco rodeo. My first pair were the Z/1 Pro. They were awesome, but they were painful. The soles were impossibly stiff. The straps cut into my feet and gave me blisters. I thought Chacos are supposed to be comfortable? I stuck it out nonetheless until I discovered that Chaco bliss.
When it came time to try out the Z/Cloud, I was hesitant. I’d already broken in my first pair. I didn’t want to go through the trouble of breaking another pair in. Intrigued about the Z/Cloud, I decided to take the plunge. This time, it was with a strappier pair that included the toe loop; I thought they were cuter.
There was no break-in period needed. The Chaco Z/Cloud X2 were comfortable right off the bat. The cushion felt like stepping on mushrooms out the box, while the Z/1 Pro were stiffer than a board. I spent a week walking and hiking around waiting for the inevitable blisters to arrive. I’m still waiting.
I thought the Z/Cloud X2 would be less versatile with the toe loop because I couldn’t wear socks. I was very wrong! All I need to do is push the toe loop to the side, and socks are no problem.
I love my Chaco Z/Cloud for everything, technical climbing and hiking aside. They’re the perfect lightweight hiker, especially when you’ve got creeks to cross and lakes to dip your feet in.
The Z/Cloud an awesome travel shoe, especially for getting in and out of airport security. Despite the weight, they’re an awesome camp shoe, especially for extra beautiful destinations where you want to keep wandering after you’ve dropped your crap.
They’re perfect for going out and about, even if they might be a little dusty. Not gonna lie, I wore my Chacos to a wedding and a holiday party. It wasn’t even that bad. I do wish the ends of the straps were a little shorter. I’m always afraid of them flopping into unquestionable substances while I’m out and about. That aside, I’m a fan for life.
Buy the Chaco Z/Cloud through Amazon, REI, Moosejaw, or CampSaver for $110.
Photos by Landon Faulkner Photography.
These were sent to me for review.
Last updated on December 26, 2018.