The last trace of snow has melted. The robins are back and crapping all over cars parked under trees. Pedicures have been scheduled. It’s officially Chaco ZX-1 Classic season!
What I liked loved
- Footbed. This is what makes a Chaco not just a popular and attractive all-terrain, slip-resistant amphibious sandal that can go just about anywhere off the grid. The highly-unique curved footbed (LUVSEAT™) ensures that your feet and body are properly aligned and supported in any activity to control pronation. Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls too far inward, resulting in stress on the muscles and tendons of the foot. Sandal smack-talk this is not. The design relieves the stress that can radiate through the body causing injuries to your neck, back, hips, femurs, knees, shins and feet and also relieves the pain felt from flat feet and plantar fasciitis.
- Lively color choices. I haven’t had a new pair of Chaco’s in four years and the colors and prints available now are an ocular orgasm of modern art.
- Optimal traction on wet rocks (but not rocks covered in wet sea kelp). This is due to the beefy tread and the 3mm lug depth. I appreciated this most when scrambling over rocks at Big Sur. A Teva or a Keen would have sent me into the frigid April drink of the Pacific Ocean.
Adjustability for a fully customized fit. If you can find a way to complain about this category, bring it on. It takes some finagling and finger strength but once you set it, it’s set for life. I didn’t have to make any adjustments to the ZX-1’s strap though. Right out of the box they were set where they should be set.
- Durability. Chaco’s last a long time. I still have a pair of boring black ones circa 2006. Footbed is still in great condition and the tread has seen better days. Around 2012 the straps started to look tatty and frayed. So I sent them back to Chaco for re-strapping. I think it cost me $20 or something ridiculously cheap. Certainly cheaper than buying a new pair That’s the other cool thing about Chaco: Their ReChaco program. Look it up.
- Sizing. Chaco’s come in whole sizes. If you’re a half-size, order the next size up. I wear a 7.5 but the size 8 Chaco is the ideal size for me.
- Good hiking sandal for an easy two-miler hiking trail. After a day spent hiking the cliffs and bluffs above Big Sur, I just wasn’t in the mood to put on my hiking boots again. My feet needed to breathe, relax and re-calibrate. The ZX-1’s were what I used for quick jaunt on an easy trail from the trailhead to the swim hole at Big Sur State Park.
- The best après mountain bike shoe (or hiking shoe) out there. After a day stuffed inside mountain bike shoes or hiking boots, they will change your life.
What I didn’t like
This took some soul-searching on my part. I couldn’t find anything to bitch about.
But if you held a blowtorch to my Moots and threatened me to come up with something or else, I will say that the ankle strap is long and as a result hangs down and drags on the ground. I’m slowly working my way up to trimming it down.
When winter bears down on Minnesota, most people just cringe about skidding off the roads into ditches, shoveling craploads of snow and paying off-the-charts heating bills.
Not me. Winter means the return of my chronic plantar fasciitis and limp
ing around the house moaning because I’m too lazy to do the podiatrist-prescribed exercises to relax my inflamed plantar fascia.
I’ve been wearing my ZX-1’s for about four weeks now and I can say that my PF hurts only in the morning for the first three steps only. I know that from past experience that by early summer this initial pain will be gone.
I give the ZX1’s ten toes up. If I had more toes, I would gladly give them more.