Chaco or Teva? – The Decision of the Summer Sandal
Chaco or Teva? – The Decision of the Summer Sandal
Summer is in full-swing, and I have been heavily leaning into the “Salty Granola” vibes (I am not a Tiktoker but apparently it was a “trend” the kids have been throwing around this summer, and is one that I could probably get behind). In the spirit of “Salty Granola” – otherwise known as blending a love for mountains, oceans, and good vibes – what better wardrobe staple to rock during the Dog Days of Summer than the Adventure Sandal! Two of the biggest market competitors include Tevas & Chacos, both of which have done amazing work in using their products to reflect a certain “identity” for their customers. So today, I am here to provide my personal side-by-side comparison of the Tevas Hurricane XLT2 & Chacos Z1 Women’s sandals, as we hope to settle the debate of if the Queen of AOTDs is “Team Teva or Team Chaco?”
Teva – Had My Heart Since 2019:
I came into Summer 2023 strongly biased toward the Women’s Tevas Hurricane XLT2 sandals, as they have been my go-to summer footwear of choice for the past 5 years. The Hurricane XLT2 is outfitted for enhanced traction while keeping you comfortable on & off the trails. Employing recycled materials and supportive midsoles, this iconic sport sandal is up for any adventure. Some additional quick hitters on the Teva Hurricane XLT2 sandals include:
- Quick-dry webbing made from recycled plastic using traceable, verifiable REPREVE® polyester yarn by Unifi® supports your foot and stands up to abuse
- Injection-molded strap ends for quick and easy grip and adjustability, Easy hook-and-loop closure comes on and off quickly and gets the fit just right.
- Robust EVA footbed for enhanced comfort built for all-day wear
- Nylon shank stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain
- Rubber outsole for durability and traction
- Treated with Life Naturals, a responsibly sourced peppermint-based antimicrobial that fights the growth of odor-causing bacteria
Personally, I have been impressed with the lightweight design that does not sacrifice stability, making them perfect for adventures that require you to travel light but with quality in mind (think backpacking, camping, or day hiking). I also have loved how these Tevas took nearly no time to break in, accompanying me on a 4+ mile hike the day I grabbed them out of the box without causing any blisters.
Not only are they incredibly comfortable, molded to my feet almost instantly, and are pretty stylish with their multi-color block pattern, the Teva Hurricane XLT2s holds a special place in my heart as they have taken me on so many adventures across many National Parks, the Colorado wilderness, Aruban & Haitian beaches (just to name a few). Not only can they be found in most of my pictures over the last few years, they are like a time capsule of countless memories with so many special people!
So, needless to say, I felt like I was cheating a bit on Tevas when I started testing out Chacos this summer…
Chaco – Can I Convert?
After attending the Chacos Cross-Country Van Tour (check out that experience linked here), I left with a customized pair of Women’s Chacos Z1 Sandals, a one-of-a-kind design and a challenge to see what it would be like to swap these out for my beloved Tevas. Putting them to the test at the lake, the mountains, the trails, the ocean and the beach, I was curious how they would compare & stand up (and even more so, how would my feet look after trying something new). And I have to say, they have exceeded all of my expectations, leaving me hooked!
Streamlined and dependable since 1989, the Classic Chacos Z1 series comprises only 8 component parts, making for the simple, timeless sandal design that made Chacos a well-known name in the outdoor world. Other quick hitters on the Chacos Women’s Z1 Sandals include:
- Every pair comes standard with adjustable straps that custom-fit to your foot (Fun Fact: there are only three components that get sewn together to form this shoe. Check out the build here).
- Polyester jacquard webbing upper wraps around the foot and through the midsole for a customized fit and is complimented with adjustable & durable, high-tensile webbing heel risers
- Podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT™ PU footbed for all-day comfort and support
- Sturdy, heavy-duty 3mm lug depth outsoles with Non-marking ChacoGrip™ rubber compound that reassure your balance, traction, and support on multiple terrains
With a hard-to-mimic footbed that promotes arch support, and healthy alignment and eases the feeling of the perfectly imperfect Earth underneath your foot (think rocks, pebbles, tree roots, etc.), the Z1s are heavier in nature than the Tevas Hurricane XLT2. They are great for water activities, longer day hikes, and camping, but will weigh more and probably be a bit bulkier for your backpacking trips. And unlike the Tevas, which could be worn out of the box with limited blistering, it did take me about (3) weeks to break these Z1 soles in. However, since that point, I have not wanted to take them off as they are probably my favorite pair of shoes in the rotation these days, as I try to embrace & seek the coveted Chaco tan lines that epitomize summer!
If you are excited to add either of these amazing Adventure Sandals to your collections, just note that Tevas tend to run smaller, so I would recommend sizing up, especially if you are in between sizes (looking at you all of my fellow 0.5 sizes!). Oppositely, Chacos tend to run larger and also are only in whole sizes, so I would recommend sizing down. I typically wear a W8.5 shoe size, so I have a W9 Tevas and W8 Chacos. Both websites have helpful sizing charts though, to help you get the best fit!
Both shoes are amazing in their special ways. And I honestly would recommend either based on your unique needs. But if it had to come down to a tie-breaker of which team I am on, it may come down to the company practices that are being done to bring purpose & impact to these businesses.
Sustainability: Keeping Our Footprints Out of Landfills
If you have read any of my other reviews, you know I like to shine a light on how the brands are demonstrating their purpose-driven missions. Both Teva & Chacos have sustainability at the forefront of their products, doing their part to reduce our footprint on Earth’s rapidly declining state.
Both sandals are made from recycled materials (Tevas uses recycled plastic & verifiable REPREVE® polyester yarn by Unifi®; Chacos uses a vegan-friendly construction methodology). Tevas allows you to recycle your well-loved Teva sandals to keep them out of landfills through their TevaForever program. However, Chacos seems to go above & beyond, offering lifetime repairability through the ReChaco program, which theoretically means you can buy one pair of Chacos, and they could last you the rest of your life! I was lucky enough to learn more about this process during Chacos’s annual Van Tour, as their team was traveling state to state for customer activations, education, and on-site repairs, so awareness of this program could become more widespread!
So…..Team Teva or Chaco?
So, one may ask, am I a Chaco or Teva girl? Both are pretty incredible, and you can bet I will be rocking one of these every day during the summer months. But after the last few months of pondering, testing, and truly weighing all of the pros of each, I may have been converted to Team Chacos after this Salty Granola Summer because of their strong, durable sole, adjustable & customizable single-strap system and most importantly, ReChaco lifetime repair program.
But at the end of the day, whether you’re looking at the Chaco Z1 or Tevas Hurricane XLT2 Sandals, either is guaranteed to open up more adventure possibilities, lay a solid foundation (literally) for chasing AOTDs, and leave you with some incredible memories wrapped up in the iconic summer sandal tan lines. Stay tuned for more & in the meantime, make your own adventure and Get Up And Go!
With all of the above information, I feel it would be unfair to not make a quick disclaimer for both Team Teva & Team Chaco. Although I am obsessed with both my Tevas & Chacos, the models outlined above are the only models (at this time) I would strongly recommend.
Why, you may ask?
Well, for Chacos, the Z1 open-toe strap design allows for comfort, flexibility, and freedom, with limited blistering and friction, wear after wear. Before finding Tevas, Chacos were actually my entryway into the Adventure Sandal Game. It was 2018; we were road-tripping cross country from the University of Oregon back to my hometown in Massachusetts. In two weeks, I was about to head down to Haiti, which I would call home for that summer as I worked at an orphanage teaching sports & fitness. I vividly remember stopping at a small outdoor retailer in Johnson City, TN, where I purchased the Z2 model. Thinking the big-toe strap would provide greater stability while running around on the dirt fields, mountainsides, and beaches, I thought this would be the best fit for me. However – within five days of being in Haiti, rock, sand, pebbles, and shells had painfully wedged themselves in between the toe strap, resulting in blister after blister to be formed around this strap. Although I have not had similar issues with the Z1s (and that’s after a summer living in them at the beach) and think this specific shoe will be my go-to for years to come, the Z2 model was not one I would purchase again.
And then there are Tevas. Although Tevas has a deep Product Line with many variations, colors, and models of sandals, I will say the only one that I have found is the best bang for your buck, and the most versatile would be the Hurricane XLT2 model. Unlike most of their other sandals, the Hurricane has a solid, durable, and hefty sole that mimics that of a traditional hiking boot (without the toe restriction of the boots)! This is also the closest in comparison with its Chaco competitors. Compared to other models, which I think have more of a flimsy sole, similar to that of your run-of-the-mill flip flops, the Hurricanes are the perfect blend of sturdy, rugged, and able to keep up with all of your summer adventures – whether that be rafting, hiking, paddle boarding or camping.
My first Chacos – And a video preview of what’s to come!
Devan has already shared so much here about Chacos, and comparing them to some other adventure sandals. And because I’ve loved mine, I wanted to chime in about my experience and share the video our recent connection with them from OMA.
This past spring, I purchased my first pair, and since then, I’ve worn them almost every day. I decided to buy some Lowdowns, as I was looking for good sandals to wear at campsites and for #vanlife this summer.
I had tried on Chacos once years ago, however, for some reason, I wasn’t convinced about the benefits at the time. In my mind, I’d worn traditional flip-flops or light trail runners and thought those were adequate. Wow, was I wrong. Not only are these incredibly comfortable, the straps also provide a perfect fit for my feet for summer adventures or on a trip to the coffee shop.
I’ve been using them fly fishing, paddle boarding, river rafting, even some short hikes and been consistently happy. A couple of weeks into wearing them, I’ve even developed a “Z” tan line on my feet, which I’ve had a laugh about. Aside from professional settings or longer hikes, I’ve worn them every single day. So when I had the opportunity to check out their new lineup at OMA, I was thrilled.
I’ve been using the casual “everyday” style, the Lowdown. Now, as a believer of their outdoor active sandal style, I’m stoked to try some of the other designs highlighted in the video. (I’ll report back)
I also wanted to share one last point that I appreciated, also highlighted in our meeting video at OMA.
The Re-Chaco program. I often use my gear for its entire lifecycle, sometimes well past its prime. This has been particularly true for footwear, either because I wear through it quicker than I’d like or to hold onto shoes I loved. Chaco recently introduced a program to resole and repair their footwear for a small fee. This gives you the chance to restore your favorite footwear for years of more adventures, keeping worn out or damaged pairs out of landfills and on your feet.
Growing up in Massachusetts, Devan has been an athlete all her life. Starting at the age of 4 as a competitive gymnast, she learned quickly the joy that comes from hard work, determination, and a jammed packed schedule. Eventually, gymnastics led to competitive lacrosse, which resulted in her growing some wings and going to the PNW to pursue a DI College Lacrosse opportunity at the University of Oregon.
On the single off-day each week, she quickly learned to see Mother Earth as her playground and wanted to use every second of free time to find chase AOTDs (Adventures of the Days). These AOTDs were the inspiration for her blog Dabbling in Traveling & youtube channel.
From waterfalls, to snow covered mountains, to sand dune hikes – one thing was certain, something always went awry on these AOTDs. But hey, memories were always made! Not only was UO an incredible college experience, Oregon sparked her love for the outdoors & traveling across the country for games helped introduce her to Colorado in 2014. Staring up at the Flatirons on CU Boulder’s campus, she knew one day she would call Colorado home!
After returning to the east coast upon graduation, Devan’s heart never stopped longing to live in Colorado one day. But luckily the pandemic brought a newfound acceptance for remote work and in Nov. 2021 her dream came true!
By day, Devan is a Product Manager at Capital One. By afternoon, she is a personal trainer, coaching group Crossfit classes at Axistence Athletics (the best Adventure gym you will ever find!). By evening, she pours her heart into nonprofit work, specifically focused on driving sustainable change in Haiti through the Brace for Impact 46 organization (Fun fact – she has been traveling to Haiti since 2015, accumulating 7 trips and 7 months of living down there!).
Brace for Impact works in Northern Haiti to provide sustainable, multifaceted approaches to support child development, education, medical care, job development, and implementation of clean water & sanitation across the community, which touches 40,000 people each day! (Want to learn more? Check out their website www.braceforimpact46.com )
As her friends would tell you (despite trying) Devan does not slow down and is always trying to fit AOTDs into each open moment. Whether it be hiking, paddleboarding, road-biking, running, Crossfitting, weight-lifting, snowboarding or simply exploring different parts of CO with her favorite furry friend Bailey, it’s safe to say Devan has found her “Home” here in Colorado!
Fun fact – Devan had reconstructive hip surgery in 2016 (actually called a Periacetabular Osteotomy… but that’s a tongue twister), where doctors said she may never run or walk again. After a 22 month recovery period, she proved doctors wrong and uses that motivation to encourage everyone she interacts with to truly treat movement as a gift and to never take it for granted. With that being said, to keep her body active, she needs to make sure her gear can support her so she can remain #PAOStrong!
Devan is excited to join the Engearment team!