Chaco Men’s Z/2 Classic:
The legendary Chaco Men’s Z/2 Classic is a whitewater icon – and, by now, pretty well everywhere else. NRS consists of enthusiastic rafters, whitewater kayakers, and anglers whose lives are inextricably linked to water. NRS director of marketing Mark Deming is delighted to be working with Chaco to promote the preservation of our “precious wild places.”
Northwest River Supplies (NRS) distinctive blue and yellow tie-down strap is another example of an iconic look.
I have another article reviewing multiple shoe options that either myself or my river guides use regularly here. This article will focus solely on Chacos!
Employee-owned and operated NRS is the world’s premier paddlesports equipment and apparel producer and distributor. For their outfitter, retail, government, camp, and educational partners, they take pride in providing industry-leading customer service. Qualified businesses and organizations receive lower rates.
Chaco creates high-quality footwear for outdoor enthusiasts. The (APMA) Podiatric Medical Association has given all Chaco footwear designs the Seal of Acceptance because of the brand’s patented LUVSEAT Footbed. The purpose of the APMA Seal is to increase awareness by distinguishing high-quality items made with comfort, health, and safety in mind. It’s perfectly simple; Chaco is totally ready for adventure.
Chaco Footwear Origins
Mark Paigen, a whitewater/fly fishing guide, loved his work, but his feet were killing him. We all know how unbelievably tiring it is to have sore feet when you’re supposed to be enjoying wild and scenic rivers.
Mark decided to do something about his aching feet and the rest, as they say, is history. For over 30 years, he’s worked with podiatrists, the American Podiatric Medical Association, foot care professionals, and footwear manufacturers in the footwear industry. In 1989, Mark founded Chaco sandals and created a game-changing sports sandal that was comfortable and durable.
NRS And Chaco Collaboration
NRS and Chaco got together to create a limited-edition collaboration sandal on a special Z/Sandal to commemorate their shared love of whitewater and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act – 50th anniversary (enacted by Congress in 1958 to preserve rivers and riverside lands throughout the country for their outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational value). The commemorative sandal is no longer available but the excellent replacement is the Chaco Men’s Z/2 Classic.
“We recognized an opportunity to highlight the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act through a cooperation with NRS,” Chaco director of marketing Josh Weichhand said. “Both Chaco and NRS were born and raised on the river, and they continue to work and play there while promoting responsible use and access to these wild places.” “For a limited time, we’ve combined two most basic pieces of river gear that define river life: Chacos and NRS Straps.”
The traditional blue NRS tie-down strap is readily recognizable by anyone who shares a passion for whitewater and the thousands of others who’ve found non-water-specific uses for them.
The Chaco collaboration sandal riffs on the original design, substituting “NRS-18” for the standard length designator to signify the current year and the legislation’s 50th anniversary. These Made in the USA sandals, like the NRS straps, are a no-frills workhorse that will get the job done and keep doing it for years to come.
Chaco also donated $10,000 to American Rivers. This environmental organization combines lobbying with fieldwork to help conserve and maintain critical river basins across the country in its 5,000 Miles of the Wild campaign.
The New Men’s Z/2 Classic Sandal
True Bliss For Your Feet
Z/2 Classic’s Chaco-patented Luvseat midsole is foot heaven! The midsole is perfectly designed, cushy, absorbs shocks beautifully, and offers comforting arch support. It’s made of polyurethane, a rubber-like polymer with tremendous stress and compression resilience. Also, it is abrasion-resistant and has long-term durability.
This midsole serves as the foundation for the upper and acts as a channel for the webbing strap unit to move through during strap adjustments. I love that you can order a wider fit if you need to.
The Footbed of the Chaco Men’s Z/2 Classic
The sandal’s non-removable footbed provides additional cushioning. Its textured surface minimizes underfoot slippage, and its slightly elevated heel borders keep the foot centered. Engineers infused the footbed with an antimicrobial application to reduce river stench. Anyone who has worn sandals for long enough (not mentioning brands) knows how badly they can smell no matter what you do to them.
The design lets your feet stay put in the footbed. I have had some nasty experiences with other types of footgear where my foot slipped inside the sandal and caused havoc. I like to know that my feet are safely held and stable.
These shoes are strappy, quite minimal, and include the heel risers and toe loop. The patterned webbing upper is composed of ultra-light polyester jacquard fabric. Its interconnected, adjustable straps act as a unit so you can adjust them for your own custom fit.
Outsole grip performance
ChacoGrip Rubber, a unique outsole launched in 2016, is currently used in standard Chacos. It has a novel tread pattern that is essentially a hybrid of the greatest qualities of previous outsole types.
Most people want the incredible grip that Vibram offers. If you still want more options, you can customize your sandals and choose the Colorado or Terreno soles; both manufactured of Vibram rubber. You’ll find Vibram soles on some limited-edition sandals, such as the National Parks homage sandal.
Chacos Luvseat footbed is in all of their footwear, and The American Podiatric Medical Association approved its ergonomic design.
Pros and Cons
- Solid construction
- A wide selection of color options
- Toe strap security
- Excellent arch support
- Stabilizing platform
- Hard-to-put-together straps
- Takes a long time to break-in
- Quite heavy
- Non-Vibram soles lack grip
Final Thoughts On The Chacos Men’s Z/2 Classic Sandals
There’s plenty to like about these marvels of design. The sandals are hard to break in, but once they are, they’re super-comfortable with fantastic arch support.
There are only two downsides for me. The new soles are not nearly as good as the original Vibrams, where you know your sandals will grip any surface.
And these sandals really hug your feet. This is just a minor downside – if you’re anywhere with lots of small stones and sand getting into your sandals, you have to take them off to rinse them. No dipping into the river and swishing your foot about to clear. It doesn’t work.
But, once you break them in, you’ll be wearing these sandals happily until they fall off your feet.