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Hands-on Gear Review
Chaco Flip EcoTread - Women's Review
Cons: Textured footbed can cause discomfort, heavy, not super stable
Bottom line: The Flip EcoTread is a colorful and durable flip flop that has good traction and excellent water resistance.
This flip-flop is one of the best you can choose if you plan to get dirty or wet regularly. It's highly water resistant, extremely durable, and super easy to clean. Chaco has built a reputation for being one of the best brands for navigating rugged terrain and water, and the Flip EcoTread is no exception. While obviously not as secure as a version with a heel strap, this flip is still a solid choice with decent enough traction for an active and unpredictable lifestyle. And with a ton of color and pattern options available, the fun factor is definitely high!
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
If a great spring and summer are synonymous with water and dirt for you, then the Chaco Flip EcoTread is a smart and fun flip-flop to consider. Highly durable and water resistant with decent traction, this sandal has a reputation for ruggedness and longevity for a reason. It's easy to clean, easy to wear, and hard not to love.
The Flip EcoTread (in blue below) is a well-constructed flip-flop that found itself finishing right in the middle of our very competitive group.
The Flip EcoTread is by no means a plush or pillowy sandal. Its compact rubber sole is nicely shaped but doesn't provide much cushion, and the textured footbed can be uncomfortable when brand new or if you're not used to it. The polyester jacquard straps seem to have a lot of variability from pair to pair as far as tension and texture (this is the number one discrepancy noted in online reviews and when talking to other Chaco owners). Additionally, the straps have been mounted into the top of the footbed making the available area near the arch noticeably more narrow - a non-issue for some people and very aggravating for others. We had no problems with our tested pair, finding them flexible and supple and overall quite pleasant. Our straps were soft right from the get-go, and because they were a bit loose, we had no chaffing issues.
If you want a more plush and cushy sandal, be sure to read about the OluKai Ohana, our favorite shoe for comfort. We also loved the expensive materials and superior fit of our Editor's Choice, the Birkenstock Gizeh, as well as the friendly simplicity of the Rainbow Single Layer Premier.
Support & Stability
The Flip EcoTread offered decent support and stability, but it wasn't the best. The straps were loose enough to allow quite a bit of sideways movement, and the footbed thins at the front, leaving the toes a bit more exposed. The classic Chaco shape and feel will appeal to some people and just not be enough for others, so it's good to try it on if you're unsure. For superior support, be sure to read about the Birkenstock Gizeh, our Editor's Choice, though it's a much more urban style. For ruggedness and excellent support together, check out both the Vionic Tide II and the Merrell Around Town.
The Flip EcoTread was one of the most durable models in our entire review. It's a well-conceived design with rubber compound soles and polyester webbing, materials known for their longevity. Despite the rigorous tests we put this shoe through, its appearance remained brand new the entire time. We found this same level of good design and durability with the Vionic Tide II, an impressive sandal with thicker soles than the EcoTread. The Ohana is also a great shoe to consider if you want something built to last, as is our Editor's Choice, the Gizeh.
Water resistance is another category in which the EcoTread excelled. The nonporous EVA footbed dried within minutes no matter how soaked, and while the straps took a bit longer, they too were still dry in just over a half hour. The Tide II was also great for water resistance, once again performing almost identically to the EcoTread. The OluKai Lala, despite its wide leather straps, actually dried even faster, the footbed in 4 minutes and the straps in 25 minutes. The Reef Leather Uptown and Rainbow Single Layer Premier had more absorbent footbeds, but both dried after a complete dousing, straps and all, in just 20 minutes.
The EcoTread has fairly decent traction, particularly when on dry terrain. Chaco's and dry rock go together like peanut butter and jelly. Wet slick terrain can be difficult for all shoes, but the relatively smooth sole of the EcoTread felt a bit more slippy than some of our other models. Additionally, the waffle-pattern texture on the footbed is very slick when wet, though it does dry quickly. All in all this flip is decent, but if you're going to be hiking and scrambling a lot, we recommend getting a version with a back strap or checking out our Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling, the Merrell Around Town Thong. The Tide II also provided surprisingly impressive traction and stability for a relatively minimal sandal.
The Flip EcoTread ended up in the lower middle half of the group in our style polls. It's got a sporty enough look that it doesn't appeal to everyone, yet also has a strong fan base and a bit of a cult following. The number of strap patterns and colors available from Chaco also means that you can customize your look, anything from all black to lighter and brighter like our tested model.
For a classier and dressier look, be sure to take a look at our Top Pick for Stylish Adventures, the OluKai Lala and our Editor's Choice, the Birkenstock Gizeh. Our Best Buy award winner, the Teva Olowahu was also a style favorite.
This flip-flop is a great choice if you think you'll get wet or muddy frequently. It's super water resistant, and cleaning is as easy as hosing it off or wearing it straight into the shower. While we recommend considering a Chaco model with a heel strap for long serious hikes or technical river activities, the Flip EcoTread is a solid piece of footwear well suited to a variety of outdoor activities yet also cute enough to dress up for a casual night out.
The EcoTread retails for $65, putting it right about in the middle of our tested models. It's not an inconsequential amount of money, but it's also not outrageous, especially considering the high-quality durable shoe you will receive.
We found the Flip EcoTread to be a solidly designed sandal that easily stood up to our months of testing. We did have a few issues crop up, such as lack of support in some scenarios, traction insecurities when the shoe was wet, and a textured footbed that caused discomfort for some. But overall we feel that this is a durable and fun flip-flop that you won't have to worry about falling apart or damaging. It can take some use and abuse and is a fun and capable shoe to consider adding to your summer footwear arsenal.
— Penney Garrett
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