Chaco Lowdown Flip Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Durable, great outsole traction, good arch support
Cons: Slippery footbed when wet, runs slightly small, not great for steep hikes
Our Analysis and Test Results
The durable Lowdown provides a good amount of outsole traction, making it a great option for easy warm-weather hikes. This water-resistant shoe is at home wading through slow and shallow water and the straps dry quickly.
The hard foam footbed and midsole paired with the even harder rubber outsole and stiff straps take a moment to break in. But once the break-in period is complete, these shoes are quite comfortable regardless of the terrain you're tackling. The foam footbed is firm yet flexible and the contour fits most feet like a glove, or in this case, a shoe.
Like many good things in life, the Lowdown takes a little work on the front end. This is not something we'd consider a con, but some of our testers experienced pre-break-in blisters from the hard footbed and the stiff straps. For some, this can be a deal-breaker. Something else worth noting is that the Lowdown is not offered in half sizes. Its general stiffness and lack of stretch in the straps make the sizing a little less flexible, so if you are between sizes, we strongly advise you to size up. Lastly, the foam and rubber are heavy. This is a non-issue for shorter hikes, but it may feel cumbersome on longer hikes and add too much weight for backpacking trips.
Once broken in, the hard foam, mid-sized arch, and general contour of the Lowdown offer stellar support. The thick-ish straps connect to the footbed at the arch, holding the shoe close to the feet at all times. These flip flops offer a small platform and they are very stiff, which helps protect the feet from rough terrain like sharp sticks and rocks. Overall the support is great for most terrain, but the faster you gain elevation, the harder it is to stay in the shoe since there's no back strap.
The Lowdown offers stellar traction on the loosest of terrain. The rubber on the outsole is littered with deep, sharp grooves, offering a grip like none other. This makes running around on gravel and crossing wet rocks a breeze. The textured footbed and concave heel help keep your foot in place and the straps are tight (depending on the fit you get), holding the foot close to the shoe at all times.
While the outsole traction is excellent, the internal footbed traction suffers in the presence of moisture. The footbed contour contributes heavily to comfort but only goes so far in regards to traction, making it difficult to walk up steep hills in the absence of a heel strap.
The Lowdown are great for short not-too-steep hikes, and wading through calm water. They are very versatile on moderate terrain, but as soon as the angle increases, their versatility begins to decrease. This is also a somewhat narrow shoe, so consider sizing up if you have wider feet or the strap will feel way too tight.
This sporty shoe would be way more versatile with a heel strap. It would go from a moderate terrain flip to an all-terrain sandal. The water resistance is a great perk but because the footbed becomes somewhat slippery when wet, it is less useful as a boat shoe.
The Lowdown is offered in fun bright colors as well as subdued, neutral tones. The footbed and outsole are different colors, giving this sporty flip a polished look. The straps have some texture to them and the brighter colored options have fun patterns.
While this flip flop is polished and stylish, it is still very sporty looking. They look best with activewear, but if you're going for that sporty girl look they could be paired with a casual dress for a park picnic.
These flip flops fall somewhere in the middle of our test suite, price-wise. They are durable and comfortable once broken in. As long as you don't mind giving your feet some time to get used to them, they are a great investment.
The Chaco Lowdown is a durable, comfortable shoe that is great for moderate and loose terrain. They are waterproof, so crossing rivers is no problem, as long as the water isn't rushing. Particularly steep hikes can be difficult, but generally speaking, this pair is very supportive. They are a great option for the casual adventurer but don't forget to size up or they will be considerably less comfortable.
— Hayley Thomas