Playa Pro vs. Flip EcoTread
Chaco replaced the EcoTread with the Playa Pro, which has deeper lugs and a more aggressive tread pattern, and uses a sustainable waterless dyeing process on the webbing. The new flip flop is $5 more than the previous version, retailing for $70. Compare the two below, with the Playa Pro shown first.
For now, you can probably find the Flip EcoTread at a discount. The review from here on tells our experience wearing that sandal.
Hands-On Review of the Flip EcoTread
If a fun spring and summer are synonymous with water and dirt for you, then the 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.
This flip-flop is at home out in nature on rugged terrain.
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.
While not plush or cushioned, the Flip EcoTread is an adequately comfortable sandal.
Support & Stability
The Flip EcoTread offers decent support and stability, but it isn't the best. The straps are 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 not be enough for others, so it's good to try it on if you're unsure.
The Flip EcoTread is a well made flip flop, but the design does allow for more sideways movement than some other more supportive models.
The EcoTread is 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.
Both the Vionic Tide II and the Chaco Flip EcoTread are great sandals to choose for durability and longevity.
Water resistance is another category in which the EcoTread excels. The nonporous EVA footbed dries within minutes no matter how soaked, and the straps take about a half hour.
To assess how well our tested flips were able to handle some serious water, every pair got a chilly river bath on a hot day. Here we see some of the contenders with the Chaco Flip EcoTread - an easy top performer for this metric - on the far right.
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 feels 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.
When on dry rock the EcoTread is fantastic for traction, but when the shoe gets wet it can temporarily feel quite insecure.
The Flip ends up in the middle half of the group for style. 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.
Sporty and fun, the Flip EcoTread has a well established look that's available in tons of fun colors and patterns.
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 or a hybrid model like the Astral Rosa 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 is moderately priced and lands about in the middle of our test group. It's not an inconsequential amount of money, but it's also not outrageous, especially considering the high-quality, durable shoe you will receive. This flip will last you for many, many years.
The Flip EcoTread is 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 this is a durable and fun sandal that you won't have to worry about falling apart or damaging. It can take some abuse and is a fun and capable shoe to consider adding to your summer footwear arsenal.
The Flip EcoTread isn't plush or cushy, but it's a durable and waterproof shoe well suited to an active and unpredictable lifestyle.