Chaco Yonder Boots Review

Chaco, a brand long known for extremely supportive footbeds and sandals that will last for decades is throwing their hat in the ring for fashionable winter boots for men.  The Chaco Yonder is a fashion focused boot that includes one of the things that has made the Chaco brand so popular, the LUVSEAT footbed.

Making of the Chaco Yonder

Stepping away from the outdoorsy hiking boot look, the Chaco Yonder takes aim at the work boot style with hints of urban fashion.  You might be thinking to yourself, this is different than the typical Chaco product, and you’re on the right track.  Chaco has a history of stepping outside of what they are best known for, rugged sandals, and they have had some wins and losses.  The casual men’s boot market is extremely competitive and an outdoor brand can’t just go making a product outside of their wheel house and expect it to win the hearts of millions unless it’s something truly unique.  In my opinion, the verdict is still out as to whether this boot will catch on.

Boot Upper

The Chaco Yonder is a made with a full grain leather upper which is a naturally waterproof textile.   In the snow, I haven’t had a single problem of moisture getting into the boot.  This includes walking through knee deep powder along with slushy ice mixtures in the city.

Yonder boot lining

The Yonder’s upper has a fabric lining which keeps the inside of the boot from rubbing your socks and feet raw.  This fabric allows the boot to create a nice connection with the sock that doesn’t slide too much which can cause blisters.  While wearing these boots for around the office, the Yonder boots are comfortable.  When wearing these boots for a long day of walking, I found the boots to create hot spots around the ankle and the heel of the foot.  I never actually got a blister of this, but this is a point of concern to me.

Boot padding above the ankle

The fit above the ankle is great due to a extra padding and a lace-up system that does a good job of snugging the boot above the ankle.  The toe box of the Yonder has enough room for people with normal width feet.  If you have super wide or narrow feet, you may need to look for a different boot.  One of my feet has a normal width and one has a semi wide width and I found the boot to fit both feet nicely.

For someone out on a travel adventure, I would not recommend these boots.  For someone who is using the boots for around the office or around town without covering a lot of miles, the boots will work just fine.

Boot Midsole and Outsole

Chaco LUVSEAT Insole

As mentioned above, the Chaco LUVSEAT Footbed has been a product feature the brand has spread throughout the Chaco line. Most companies put in a cheap insole into their boots with the expectation that most people will replace the footbed with a nicer footbed from brands like Superfeet.  While I love Superfeet insoles, it’s nice to get a shoe or boot and not have to pay extra money to switch out the insole.  If you spend a lot of time on your feet, a supportive footbed such as the Chaco LUVSEAT can make a world of difference.

To add a small amount of cushion underfoot, there is a thin layer of EVA.  This is about 1/10 the amount of EVA you would find in a running shoe.

Non Marking Rubber

ChacoGrip Ousole

The outsole of the Chaco Yonder is made with non-marking ChacoGrip rubber in a block format.  Part of this design is for style and part of it’s for traction in the snow.  In most snowy conditions the outsole will provide plenty of traction.  If you get into icy conditions, the outsole doesn’t provide you a lot of help.  Currently, there is only one outsole material on the market that really gives you real traction, Vibram IceTrek.  In dry conditions, the ChacoGrip rubber does a great job of providing excellent traction.

Final Thoughts

With a price point of $190, I expect more out of a casual boot.  I think the area around the ankle needs some work to make it a boot you will want to use for a full day of use and walking.  There is about this boot that lives in the positive category, but without a good fit, I can’t say I would recommend the Chaco Yonder Boot.  Visit Chacousa.com for more information.

Kevin_Fonger:
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