Hands-on Gear Review

Chaco Z/Cloud 2 Review

Price:  $110 List | $81.73 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Support, style, durability
Cons:  Annoying to adjust, comfort is not uniform for all users
Bottom line:  A classic sandal, it's tough to go wrong with the Z/Cloud 2, no matter what you're planning.
Editors' Rating:   
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Sole Material:  Non-marking ChacoGrip
Upper Material:  Polyester jacquard webbing
Footbed material:  Women's specific LUVSEAT dual-density PU
Manufacturer:   Chaco

Our Verdict

The Chaco Z/Cloud 2 was a favorite among our testers for its durability, stability, and adjustability. This model has a large following who swear by it for everything from thru-hiking to running errands to river trips. However, if you have a flat foot, the Chaco's high arch design might not be the right choice for you. Because this model did not have uniform high comfort across our tester line-up, it did not win an award. If you're' looking for a model with more comfort for a wider range of users, consider checking out the Editors' Choice-winning Bedrock Cairn or our Top Pick, the KEEN Clearwater.

Color Updates
The photo above illustrates one of Chaco's 2018 patterns for the Z/Cloud 2.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Sandals for Women Review


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Shey Kiester

Last Updated:
Saturday
June 3, 2017

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The Z/Cloud 2 is a classic Chaco with somewhat of a cult following. This shoe has traveled with many an avid outdoor wanderer for years and years, and its durability was among the highest in our test.

Performance Comparison


Beach time.
Beach time.

Comfort


As has almost always been the case, Chaco shoes have a reputation for having comfort that varies from user to user. The sole is stiff - stiffer than just about anything we've tested. That said, we found this to be a big benefit. The stiffness protects your feet from sharp substrates and makes it very durable. With that, more flat-footed tester felt frustrated by this model's high arch that will not break into a flatter foot. Despite some debate about whether or not the Chaco Z/Cloud's sole was optimal for a broad enough swath of users, our tester unanimously declared the Chaco's strap system as one of the most comfortable in the test.

Stability


The stiff sole makes this sandal stable. The footbed grabs and cups your heel and gives your arch support. The toe loop (no included on some Chaco's) gave more stability. It mostly keeps your foot from being able to slide forward. This sandal has a significant heel-toe drop. Some of our testers saw this as a negative and many didn't. The heel does feel a little clunky. More minimalist models include the Teva Verra and the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.

A Chaco sole vs the Bedrock sole.
A Chaco sole vs the Bedrock sole.

Traction


On rocky terrain, both the traction and the stiffness of the sandal made the feel stable and ready for anything. We felt less likely to roll an ankle. The stiff footbed, mated with sturdy rubber, gives great traction. The Cairn comes with the trustworthiness of a Vibram sole.

Adjustability


One continuous piece of webbing makes up the sandal's strap system, and this piece wraps around the foot in multiple locations. In order to adjust one of the strap locations, you must lengthen/shorten one of the other strap locations. This has pros and cons. It means that micro adjustments and a hugging feeling are 100% possible, but these adjustments are not without complication. We found adjustments could take many attempts to get just right. For a more intuitive system that is just as comprehensive, we recommend the Bedrock Cairn.

If you buy the Z/Cloud 2, save yourself time and watch Chaco's instructional video on webbing adjustment which can be found here.

Adaptability


The Z/Cloud 2 was a versatile model, exceeding the versatility of the Z/X2. Because of this model's heavy sole, it was good for long days on the trail, but not as light as other shoes, like the KEEN Clearwater. When compared to its Chaco cousin, the Z/Cloud 2 has the ability to be worn with socks. (With the Z/Cloud 2, users can simply step on the toe strap while wearing socks, but the double strap of this model takes away that possibility.) However, despite the sock dilemma, the ZX/2 does bring slightly more fashion than the Z/Cloud 2.

Style


The Z/Cloud 2 is attractive and sleek. We actually thought it was one of the best-looking sandals in our testing selection, rivaled only by the Bedrock Cairn Adventure and the Chaco Z/X2. The difference between the ZX/2 and the Z/Cloud 2 is that the ZX/2 has double straps instead of single. Both feature a sleek black footbed and a cornucopia of flattering webbing colors and patterns.

The two Chaco models side by side.
The two Chaco models side by side.

Best Applications


This is for the rugged traveler or someone who just likes a sandal that will last.

Value


With the burliest footbed of the models tested and straps that are ready for use of use, the Chaco's $110 price tag seems reasonable, as it is ready for many many seasons of wear.

Conclusion


The Chaco Z/Cloud 2 is ready for action, whether you're hiking to the crag, strapping in for a long hike, or hitting the local frisbee golf course. While some testers found it uncomfortable, users with higher arches who need support loved it.
Shey Kiester

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 8, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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 (5.0)

100% of 1 reviewers recommend it
 
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (2)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Jun 8, 2017 - 07:16pm
JohnK · Chicago
I got my first pair of Chacos last summer and was bummed about the endless fiddling that I needed to do on the straps. One foot kept tightening around my toe; straps rubbed on the other foot — that kind of thing. But over the course of the summer, after many adjustments, the straps started to lock into place AND the soles started to soften in a good way.
Putting them on this spring was delightful. They're beautifully broken-in; the straps are locked into the right place. The first time I wore them was on a 3-mile walk and I had no rubbing and no blisters. I LOVE these sandals. It takes time to get them right for your foot, but once you do, they're amazing.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.


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