Gear Reviews

Gear Review – Chaco Z/1 Classic

Most people are familiar with the Chaco brand these days, but if you aren’t, meet the Chaco Z/1 Classic. It could be one of the most versatile pieces of gear in your bag, or even your closet. For a few months now, we have been testing them everywhere. From the beaches, to the mountains, to the bicycles, heck… even the shower at the gym. That’s right folks, don’t go barefoot in locker rooms. Anyways, we think it’s safe to say that we have finally came to a conclusion on them.


We want to start by saying, these puppies aren’t ever going to win you a fashion award. However, if you are seeking the swiss army knife of footwear, these could be the ticket.


Gina has a tendency to wear those really thin, flimsy, thong-style “flip flops” at the beach. On a pretty regular basis this summer she ended up getting her feet literally burnt. They literally even ended up peeling from the hot beach sand. With the Chacos on it was a different story, it was smooth sailing. Obviously, they have a much thicker sole and heal on them, and they do a great job of elevating your feet out of the sand. Chad never experienced any issues with them, and even laughed that they gave him a traction boost while trucking through the sand dunes. We have heard some people mention that they had an issue with sand getting into the strap adjustment system, which ended up causing some issues.  From our experience, if you rinse them off afterwards or just shower in them, it should keep any issues at bay. At this point we haven’t ran into any concerns.


Things get a little humid in the Carolinas, and if we can keep our feet out of smothering shoes, that’s a plus. These Chacos did great on the mountain bike. Whether we were just strolling around the neighborhood at night, or hitting the dedicated biking trail by our home. They basically stuck to the pedals, and your feet will love the fresh air circulation. We dig it.


If you know Chad, he loves his Danner Boots. We weren’t sure how he would feel about these, but he ended up loving them. They are great for hitting the trails in warmer conditions, trekking through water, wearing around base camp, or just providing some foot relief on a multi day hike. It’s nice to be able to air out your feet and change the friction locations if you end up getting a blister from your boots. The fine people at REI said that when you first purchase them to gradually break them in, due to the flatter sole. We took them straight to the trails and never came across any discomfort during the break in period.


This is a wild card category. Don’t really recommend them here. Chad’s taken them in his bag a few times but thinks they are a little too heavy and bulky for that purpose. However, if you need something to cover your feet, these are more than capable.


Gina: No way.

Chad: Heck yeah, express yourself.


Wilder Minds Rating



We deducted half a point based on the strapping system. There’s a method to loosening and tightening them.

Well, here…there’s even an Instructional Video. In our opinion, if there’s a video on how to put your shoes on, it’s too complicated.

The only other issue we have was the bulkiness of them.


Have any experience with Chaco sandals? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.


Stay Wild.

-Chad and Gina


Product Description from Chaco

Streamlined and dependable since 1989, our Classic series is comprised of only 8 component parts, making for the simple, timeless sandal design that made our name. Every pair comes standard with adjustable straps that custom-fits to your foot, plus our podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT™ PU footbed for all-day comfort and support. Now featuring ChacoGrip™ rubber for our best performing Classic outsole to date. Experience our Classic Sandal like never before.


  • Polyester jacquard webbing upper wraps around the foot and through the midsole for a customized fit
  • Adjustable and durable high-tensile webbing heel risers
  • Injection-molded ladder lock buckle


  • LUVSEAT™ PU midsole
  • Antimicrobial application for odor control
  • Vegan-friendly construction


  • Non-marking ChacoGrip™ rubber compound
  • 3.5mm lug depth


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