Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot Review
There are several companies offering light hikers and travel shoes. Of all those companies, Chaco never really came to mind – when I think of Chaco, I think primarily of sandals and summertime. This is why I was surprised and pleased to receive the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot for testing. I love my Chaco sandals, and have been beating up on the same pair for just about 8 years – and after my round of testing, I fully expect to be beating up on the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot for years to come as well. After a full month spent trying them out, they’ve become my go to choice for just about any outdoor activity where comfort is not only a requirement, but a necessity.
First take on the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot
We’ve tested several Chaco offerings in the past, including a selections of both men’s and women’s products. Chaco has been expanding their line up in recent years, and offers a multitude of shoes and boots fit for just about any activity you can think of. What hasn’t been lost is their dedication to comfort and wear-ability. In the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot you get both of these qualities in spades. But I get ahead of myself a bit.
Right out of the box, the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot felt balanced in my hands, and appeared to be a of quality construction. I elected to test a waterproof offering as I work outside – in my work, I encounter just about every condition you can think of. Some days I’m in my shoes for over 14 hours, and other days I slog through mud, snow and even water every now and then. I need footwear which can tackle all of these conditions, and I usually don’t have time to switch shoes for different conditions. Thus, I look for seams to be taped/sealed, the tongue to be secured/sealed, and a lacing pattern which avoids penetration into the shoe itself. All of these attributes are found on the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot. I liked the fact that Chaco included all of these features without adding a ton of weight – and they styling is subtle enough to pass for a multitude of casual situations here in Colorado. I like the fact that the styling is tasteful and not overly loud.
Testing the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot
As I stated above, the testing phase on these boots lasted just over a month, and was (in a single word) excellent. I had these boots on through all the conditions stated above, and found that they performed great. Keep in mind that this is a light hiker, however – these aren’t heavy, rubberized winter boots. I didn’t expect them to perform while slogging through 4 foot deep snow drifts. I did, however, have them on through cold winter days (sometimes below zero, thanks Minnesota Christmas trip) in which snowpack and ice covered the ground. I shoveled a couple of driveways in them, and even wore them to slog around in that muddy/snowy thaw condition that hits Colorado when the sun comes out. I liked the fact that they had a sure grip in all but the iciest conditions, and when coupled with a pair of thick wool socks (like the ones Kevin reviews here) they kept my feet quite warm.
But, the million dollar question for light hikers is always this – were they comfortable? Chaco, of course, has the answer to this question nailed down with their patented “LUVSEAT” technology as a footbed, and couples this with a lightweight, cushioned midsole. This combination makes the boot feel just like the sandle does – in short, I loved it. Chaco sandals are so comfortable; they provide the right amount of arch support without turning your arches into an achy mess by the end of the day. These boots do just that, and as mentioned above, were worn for up to 14 hrs a day without getting that “my dogs are barking” feeling.
I did manage to get these out on the trail in Colorado for a few hikes of up to 5 miles. As these are light hikers, I did not test them with a pack, but mostly just for casual strolls throughout the Colorado foothills and front range. I hate to sound like a fan boy, but this is what the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot was truly designed for; as such, they performed beautifully. The sure footed grip I received was largely due to Chaco’s “EcoTread”, which is very grippy in all conditions. I really liked the fact that I found sure footing on flat rock and scree, even in muddy/wet conditions which are the hallmark of early winter in Colorado. For those of you who are environmentally savvy, have no fear – “Ecotread” is made of 25% recycled rubber.
Final thoughts on the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot
Throughout my testing, I found the Chaco Hinterland Mid Waterproof Boot is a great selection for hiking, casual comfort, and a multitude of outdoor activities. The surefooted outsole will keep you firmly on your feet in all conditions, and the footbed/midsole combo is designed to wear with the comfort that Chaco is known for. With three different color offerings, it’s easy to find the pair that fits you most. I found them to run true to size, and at $145, it’s a great price point for such versatile boot. Head on over to Chaco’s website to check them out for yourself.
***Chaco, if you’re reading this – I’m so confident in your boot offering, I’m taking them on a two week long sojourn to Ecuador this summer in which I’ll be porting water purifying equipment up and down 15,000 feet mountains. I’ll let you know how it goes.