Hands-on Gear Review

Chaco ZX/2 Review

Price:  $105 List | $78.73 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Support, style, durability
Cons:  Annoying to adjust, comfort is not uniform for all users, can't be worn with socks
Bottom line:  This sandal has serious street cred, and it lives up to the hype.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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Weight (pounds):  1.59 lbs (size 9)
Width options:  Medium, Wide
Sole Material:  Non-marking ChacoGrip
Manufacturer:   Chacos

Our Verdict

The Chaco ZX/2 is a good looking, high traction model with high versatility. Although many testers found this and the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 to be the most comfortable in the test, others felt that they were among the most uncomfortable. The ZX/2 has a high arch and the firmest sole of any of the sandals tested, and we feel it is worthwhile to try these models on before purchasing, as their comfort varies so much from person to person. The double webbing straps of the ZX/2 are the defining difference between it and the Z/Cloud 2, and many of our testers felt that this was the more stylish, although less adaptable, version. If you're looking for a sandal with high performance like a Chaco but that received better comfort ratings, check out the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.

Chaco is constantly rotating their colorways and patterns. The photo above, though a different color than the one we tested, is one of the current 2018 styles.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Shey Kiester

Last Updated:
Saturday
June 3, 2017

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The ZX/2 is distinct from other Chaco models in that it has two thin webbing straps instead of one. With a hard footbed and the sole with a high arch, Chaco has built a name for their sandals based on their durability and support over may miles.

Performance Comparison


The Chaco models both sat near the top of the contenders in our review, so much so that the ZX/2's sibling, the Z/Cloud 2, earned our Top Pick for Distance Hikers. Beware, though, that those with low arches may find these sculpted shoes uncomfortable.

Rugged terrain and side-by-side comparisons gave testers some of their most valuable feedback on sandal performance. Both of these Chacos were very difficult to adjust.
Rugged terrain and side-by-side comparisons gave testers some of their most valuable feedback on sandal performance. Both of these Chacos were very difficult to adjust.

Comfort


As has almost always been the case, Chaco shoes have a reputation for having comfort that varies from user to user. While the sole is stiffer than any other model tested, most of our testers saw this is a huge pro. The tough sole protects from variable terrain underfoot and provides a shoe that is built to last. With that, more flat-footed testers felt frustrated by this model's high arch that will not break into a flatter foot. We recommend trying this model on before you purchase. Despite some debate about whether or not the ZX/2's sole was optimal for a broad enough swath of users, our tester unanimously declared the Chaco's strap system as one of the most comfortable in the test. For a more universally comfortable model, try the KEEN Clearwater or the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.

Stability


The stiffness of the sole was advantageous when it came to the stability of the shoe. The footbed securely cups the outside of the heel and supports the arch (for better or for worse…). Users agreed that the toe loop (which is absent from some Chaco models) did provide more stability for the sandal, as it eliminated the possibility of your foot sliding forward. The heel-toe drop of the shoe was more significant than most of the other sandal models we tested. This spec was unimportant to some testers and unwelcomed by others. It gave the heel of the shoe a particularly clunky, insensitive feeling. For a more minimalist model, we recommend the Bedrock Ciarn.

Traction


On rocky terrain, both the traction and the stiffness of the sandal made the ZX/2 feel stable and ready for anything. Our testers reported feeling less likely to roll their ankles in this model, as the stiff footbed combined with decent rubber underfoot made for a tough product to slip around in.

The tread on the Chaco ZX/2 Yampa was average. The sole seemed too hard to be able to adequately grip on to slick surfaces.
The tread on the Chaco ZX/2 Yampa was average. The sole seemed too hard to be able to adequately grip on to slick surfaces.

Adjustability


This sandal's webbing system is composed of one continuous piece of webbing that wraps around the foot in multiple locations. In order to adjust one of the strap locations, you must do so by lengthening/shortening one of the other strap locations. This system has advantages and disadvantages. It means that micro adjustments and a hugging feeling a 100% possible, but these adjustments are not quite or without complication. This can result in an impressively long and unsatisfying cycle of adjustments. The Bedrock Cairn had a much less confusing adjustment method.

If you buy the ZX/2, save yourself some time by watching Chaco's instructional video on webbing adjustment which can be found here.

Adaptability


The ZX/2 proved to be a versatile option, although it did not match the versatility of the Z/CLoud 2. Because of this model's heavy sole, it was good for long days on the trail, but not as light as other models, like the KEEN Clearwater. When compared to its Chaco sibling, the ZX/2 lacks the ability to be worn with socks. (With the Z/Cloud 2, users can simply step on the toe strap while wearing socks, but the double strap of this model takes away that possibility.) However, despite the sock dilemma, the ZX/2 does bring slightly more fashion than the Z/Cloud 2.

Style


The ZX/2 is quite attractive. We actually thought it was one of the best-looking sandals in our testing selection, rivaled only by the Bedrock Cairn and the Chaco Z/Cloud 2. The difference between the ZX/2 and the Z/Cloud 2 is that the ZX/2 has double straps instead of single. Both models have a sleek footbed and webbing that comes in a variety of flattering colors and patterns.

The two Chaco models side by side.
The two Chaco models side by side.

Best Applications


This shoe is good for burly use and many years of rugged travel. With that said, consider trying it on before you purchase to ensure it fits your foot well.

Value


With the burliest footbed of the models tested and straps that are ready for use of use, the Chaco's $105 price tag seems reasonable, as it is ready for many many seasons of wear.

Conclusion


The Chaco ZX/2 is ready for action, whether you're hiking to the crag, strapping in for a long hike, or hitting the local frisbee golf course. While this model slacked on comfort for some users, it's a good choice for those with higher arches who need support.
Shey Kiester

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Most recent review: June 3, 2017
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