Chaco Classic Leather Flip Review
Cons: Heavy, expensive, aggressive arch support may not be for everyone
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Chaco Classic Leather Flip
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|Pros||Stylish, durable, excellent arch support||Comfortable, durable, good in water||Lightweight, great for hiking||Attractive, comfortable, affordable||Bargain basement price, relatively comfortable, good in wet conditions|
|Cons||Heavy, expensive, aggressive arch support may not be for everyone||Heavy, a bit pricey||Extra straps can get in the way, pricey||Breaking in takes time, poor traction||Low arch, not suitable for hiking|
|Bottom Line||For folks who need solid arch support for long days on their feet, these flip flops deliver a solid performance||These flip flops are made for the ocean but are capable in any environment||Strap these to your feet and forget about them, these have serious staying power||After break-in, these cult classic flip flops offer excellent comfort and classic styling||These offer decent comfort and overall usability that far exceeds typical bargain basement flip flops|
|Rating Categories||Chaco Classic Leath...||Olukai Hokua||Astral Filipe||Rainbow Premier Lea...||NeedBo NDB|
|Specs||Chaco Classic Leath...||Olukai Hokua||Astral Filipe||Rainbow Premier Lea...||NeedBo NDB|
|Sole Material||Chacogrip||Gum rubber||Rubber||Non-slip rainbow bottom||Rubber|
|Footbed Material||Full-grain leather||ICEVA||EVA||Nubuck leather||EVA|
|Strap Material||Leather||Leather||Polyester webbing||Nubuck leather||EVA|
|Weight (per pair)||16.4 oz||19 oz||14 oz||13.1 oz||10.5 oz|
|Available Sizes||7 - 15||7 - 15||8-13||Small - XXXL||6.5-17|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Chaco Classic Leather Flip brings several design features from the beloved footwear brand's sandals, including the molded footbed with substantial arch support. These stylish, dare- we-say-elegant flips have a full-grain leather upper and a durable PU midsole, making them a capable choice for long walks on mellow hiking trails and mid-summer date nights.
The Classic Leather Flip features Chaco's "Luvseat" arch support shape, which claims to promote proper alignment. It's very noticeable, dramatic even, and was a polarizing feature for our testers. Those of us who are fully on board appreciate the added support, especially after long days on our feet. However, some testers hated the raised arch, saying they felt like they were standing on a tennis ball. These shoes also don't automatically have that relaxed, lived-in feel that we're used to from a simpler, likely less expensive flip flop. That being said, a day running around concrete floors in a cheap pair of flops left one of our testers feeling sore from his feet to his hips, and a day in the Classic Leather Flips had him feeling much better by the end. Remember, proper fitting footwear is always a better solution than a daily regime of NSAIDs.
The full-grain leather footbed is firm but smooth, and our testers universally prefer it over the rubber grid footbed used on many Chaco sandals. During our testing period, it never became squishy like options from Olukai or molded to our feet like flops from Rainbow. The leather strap that runs over the top of the foot feels soft and comfy right out of the box, and the nylon webbing that attaches the thong to the footbed is supple and hardly noticeable between the toes. Essentially, if your agenda has you walking from the pool to the bar and maybe to the beach, theClassic Leather might be overkill, but if you're out and about and need your dogs to air out, they're well suited to long days on your feet.
These flips offer more support than just about any other model we've tested. Again, depending on what you're looking for in a flip flop, this could be a selling point or a reason to avoid them. The arch support is aggressive — folks who have a pair of Superfeet or some other kind of additional arch support in every pair of shoes they own will likely love these.
For the uninitiated, the arch support may take some getting used to (or become loathed altogether), but after a few miles, you could find yourself appreciating the added support. They have a similar shape to all of Chaco's widely available sandals, so trying any of them on at a retailer will give you a good idea of how the Classic Leather Flip will feel. It's also worth noting that this model feels stiffer than many competitors.
These flips use Chaco's non-marking rubber compound and rely on the strategy of maximum rubber-to-ground contact for traction. This works well on flatter surfaces like pavement, slick rock, and hard-packed trails and adds a great level of security, especially in wet parking lots or on riverside rocks. They don't have deep lugs, which keep the sandals light and low profile (and better looking) but also makes them less suited for loose gravel and mud — but this terrain may be unsuitable for any sandal.
The footbeds get slightly less grippy when they get wet from water or sweat, but the high arch comes to the rescue here. If they fit your foot properly, the arch will help keep your foot in place and adds a level of protection from sliding forward or out of the sandal entirely.
The Classic Leather Flip scores well in terms of versatility. They are about as dressy as flip flops can get and are perfect for high-brow gatherings in the hot summer, provided that your feet are clean and your toenails aren't falling off (not the fault of the sandal). The techy rubber and low-profile treads are undetectable, and while this model has a lot more support than the typical flop, they don't appear bulky or overbuilt.
While these flips lean toward the formal side, they are highly capable during easy hikes and walks down to the beach or the river and equally at home on a boat. Their only limiting factor is that they're a bit heavier than the average cheapo flop, so they aren't an appropriate choice for a camp shoe during backpacking trips. This is also worth considering if you need to lighten your load for international travel.
Available in three colors (black, brown, and a very light tan), these flip flops have a lot going for them style-wise. They have a truly classic look (it's in the name!) and have a similar aesthetic to popular models like Rainbows while offering a completely different feel.
The Classic is easy to clean after a dusty hike on the trail and appears totally at home for fine outdoor dining. They're a good travel option since they offer plenty of support while you walk around enjoying the sights in foreign cities, and they'll still look great when it's time to go to dinner.
The Chaco Classic Leather Flip is priced similarly to top competitors. Essentially, they aren't cheap, but their price also respects their high quality and excellent craftsmanship. These aren't throwaways, and you certainly don't want them to float away down the river. If they fit you well and you need solid arch support to keep the plantar fasciitis at bay, they're likely worth every penny.
For Chaco fans looking to get a little dressier, these kicks are a no-brainer, as they have the fit and versatility characteristic of Chaco's sandals. For folks looking to spend less on flip flops or who need something to spend a lot of time in a backpack or suitcase, it's worth looking into lighter, less expensive options.
— Matt Bento
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