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Hands-on Gear Review
Sanuk Yoga Chakra Review
Cons: No support, absorbs water, not durable, narrow
Bottom line: While the Yoga Chakra was an easily comfortable shoe, it struggled from some design flaws that we just couldn't overlook.
The Sanuk Yoga Chakra, with its yoga mat soles and plush fabric straps, felt more like a house slipper than a shoe you wear into the outside world. It's a soft pliable flip-flop that requires zero breaking in, but unfortunately these features meant it didn't stack up against our other tested sandals when faced with dirt, water, mud, and other such things found in the great outdoors. While we think this is a fine flip to have around for a simple walk to the coffee shop or yoga studio, if you are someone that is tough on your shoes or often involved in unpredictable summer adventures, then there are better shoes to purchase.
RELATED REVIEW: The 11 Best Flip Flop Sandals For Women
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Yoga Chakra is a cushy flip-flop best suited for simple jaunts, hanging out looking cute, and, unfortunately, not much more. While we found this shoe comfortable and plush, it didn't provide hardly any support or stability and had the severe issue of absorbing water that then took days to dry out. This is a sandal to consider for comfortable city life and wearing around the house, but not one to consider for much beyond that.
The Yoga Chakra (shown below in blue), struggled to keep up with the ten other models we tested and, ultimately, fell to the bottom.
Comfort is the one category where the Yoga Chakra was able to shine. With plush jersey-lined straps and soles made out of real yoga mats, this sandal is super cozy and feels like a pair of slippers you're allowed to wear outside. Requiring zero time to break in, the Chakra is a real treat for tired feet and casual outings. It doesn't offer much stability or support, but for pure cush factor, it's a fun and affordable choice. Keep in mind that it does run a bit narrow. If your idea of comfort is something with more structure and integrity, check out our favorite flip for comfort, the OluKai Ohana or the impressive Birkenstock Gizeh, our Editors' Choice.
Support & Stability
The footbed of the Yoga Chakra is made out of yoga mats which have been sealed around the edges. Supportive and stable aren't words that go hand-in-hand with yoga mats. This flip-flop is pillowy and cushioned, so it doesn't provide any more integrity than a slipper. On top of that, the footbed is sealed off at a downward angle which allows the foot and toes to slide off the edges. This is a flop for casual light affairs, not one that you grab for hiking or being on your feet for hours at a time. If those are qualities you need, be sure to read about our Editors' Choice, the Gizeh, which scored a perfect 10 in this category. The Vionic Tide II is also a great option for a supportive flip-flop as it has orthotics built into the sole.
Not to sound like a broken record, but this flip-flop is made from yoga mats and soft jersey-lined fabric. It's not a piece of junk, but it's also not particularly durable when you put it up against rough terrain or dirt. If you need something to wear around the house, while driving, or when going to the grocery store or a study group, this is a comfortable and affordable option that will serve you well. But for much outside of that, we would suggest looking elsewhere, as this shoe will get damaged easily and quickly. It all depends on what you plan to be doing and how hard you are on your summer shoes. If you know you need something that can handle rough and tough adventures, then look to something made from materials like rubber and polyester webbing like the Flip EcoTread or the Tide II. The Gizeh is also a great option if you want something leather and stylish, as is the OluKai Lala.
The worst performance we saw in the entirety of our flip-flop competition was when we put the Yoga Chakra in a river to see how it would handle water. This sandal was the polar opposite of water resistant; instead, it absorbed water and held onto it for days. Yes, days. Every other flip we tested was completely dry within 20 minutes like the Reef Leather Uptown and Rainbow Single Layer Premier, or at least dry within a couple of hours. The Yoga Chakra was still releasing water when we put weight on it three days later. With small amounts of water, it did okay, though even then the slick yoga mat footbed was slippery and the straps stayed damp for a long time. Needless to say, if your warm weather plans involve much more than small splashes of water, steer clear of this shoe.
The sole of the Yoga Chakra, at least when new, had fairly adequate traction, but the slick surface of the yoga mat footbed didn't, especially when wet. The straps were tight enough to help keep our foot from moving around too much, but overall we didn't feel particularly secure or protected when scrambling around on more complicated terrain. If you want a sandal meant for traction, read about our Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling, the Merrell Around Town Thong, or the impressively secure and stable Vionic Tide II. The Gizeh**, our Editors' Choice, also had excellent traction.
Sadly, even in the style department, the Yoga Chakra ended up dead last. We asked close to 20 women to rate our 11 tested flip-flops in order of most to least stylish, and this one just didn't impress. It's cute, and some women rated it higher, but overall it wasn't a crowd favorite. For some serious class and style be sure to read about our Top Pick for Stylish Adventures, the OluKai Lala or the Editors' Choice Gizeh. Our Best Buy winner, the Teva Olowahu, was also a big hit.
The name of this sandal says it best: the Yoga Chakra is best suited for light activities like walking from your car to the yoga studio. It's a comfy shoe that feels plush to have on, but it simply doesn't have the integrity or durability to withstand any hard outdoor use or long hours on your feet.
For $34 this is an affordable shoe that you can add to your wardrobe without breaking the bank. But because we don't feel it's well suited for a lot of more robust activities, you will likely have to buy another pair for days at the beach or afternoon hikes. Ultimately we think it's smarter to spend a bit extra and get a more well-rounded shoe. Or check out our Best Buy winner, the Olowahu - while it's also not a super durable or supportive sandal, it's more stylish and will only set you back $25.
Overall we were disappointed with the Yoga Chakra and feel that, outside of very casual urban use, it's really not a good fit for a lot of scenarios. The yoga mat footbed has little to no integrity and had some real problems when coupled with water. The materials and construction don't add up to a particularly durable product, though if all you want is something soft and cushioned for hanging out or running small errands, this could be a fun addition to your shoe collection.
— Penney Garrett
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