Chaco Z/2 Pro Review
As a Chaco owner for 8 years, I was stoked to check out a new pair of Z/2 Pro’s. My 8-year-old Chaco Z/2 sandals have seen better days; nicely worn treads which make hiking on slick rock a treacherous exercise, and straps that are gunked down with sand and no longer adjust the way they used to. With that said, my first Chaco Z/2’s have lasted 8 years and still look great for casual use. Therefore, I was extremely interested to see what is new and different in the world of Chaco after almost a decade since my last purchase.
The Z/2 style features a wrap-around toe loop that adds side-to-side forefoot stability. The Z/1 style is basically the Z/2 without the toe-loop. I personally love the toe-loop because it keeps the sandal anchored more to your foot. Some may think that a toe loop would strangle your toe. On the contrary, the Z/2 is equipped with a 360° Wrap-Fit adjustable straps. Which in layman’s terms, means that you can pull up on the middle strap, providing more strap in the toe region to get a precise fit. The straps are easy to adjust to a variety of foot widths, including narrow feet, like mine. The new Z/2’s were extremely easy to get a precise fit due to them being new, the straps being a bit stiffer and gliding underneath the foot-bed. When the straps are cinched, the sandal remains in contact with your foot at all times and provides added stability.
Speaking of the footbed, the Z/2 has Chaco’s nice arch design which provides support while you are on the go. It wasn’t all to long ago when sandals were archless and flat. Thankfully, those days are behind us and the Z/2 provides all day comfort.
What makes the Z/2 Pro different from the Z/2 of old? The Z/2 Pro features new marking Vibram® PRO Outsole, which is suppose to provide the best traction in-out-and around water. I personally can’t say that I have noticed a huge difference between the Vibram of old and the new PRO outsole. With that said, this outsole can cause marking. If you plan to use your Chaco’s on a boat deck, you may opt for the Z/2 Marine which offers a non-marking Vibram Marine Outsole.
The Z/2 Pro has a bulkier outsole that is designed to grip wet rocks, for serious paddlers and canyoneerers. However, if you are looking for a lighter weight outsole, Z/2 Unaweep may be right up your alley if you plan to use it mostly on dry land. I have used the Z/2 Pro hiking and around the water and have not felt that they are overly bulky, but then again I am used to the weight from my old Chaco’s. The outsole has provided ample traction, that I have come to expect from my Chaco’s.
Unfortunately, I have suffered some serious chaffing and blistering while testing out the Z/2 Pro’s; near the size information on the flip side of the main strap, left foot only, at the inner aspect of my foot-near my arch. I am hoping that this is simply my winter feet needing a little more time to toughen up, but I have to admit that I don’t remember needing a 4-week break in period with my previous sandals. Definately a negative quality thus far.
On the flip side, all Chaco’s come with a lifetime garauntee and I feel that gives you some piece of mind when paying a pretty high price tag for a pair of sandals (MSRP 105). Fortunately, my Z/2’s of old have stood the test of time and I hope the new Z/2 Pro’s do as well. I did notice that my Chaco’s were made in China, as are many products these days. But I do remember that my Chaco’s of old were made right here in the USA 🙁 If there are any problems with your Chaco’s, customer service is great, and getting repair work is pretty painless too with their easy to use online ordering system.
As far as sizing goes, Chaco’s, including the Z/2 Pro, are only available in full sizes. For men the Z/2 is available in size 7-15, and size 5/12 for women. In certain styles, Chaco makes wides, as well. I typically wear a size 9.5 in most shoes and tested the size 9; they were the correct size for me, allowing ample toe protection and a close fit. For sizing inquiries, it is always best to try before you buy!
Despite almost 10 years since my first exposure to Chaco’s, fortunately not much has changed and they are still producing quality sandals for your next adventure. The Z/2 Pro is no exception and I look forward to a summer with them on my feet. Please check out Chacos.com
• New Marking Vibram® PRO Outsole
• Heel-leash for front-back stability
• Toe-wrap for side-side forefoot stability
• 360° Wrap-Fit adjustable straps