Chaco Z/Cloud 2 - Women's Review
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Chaco Z/Cloud 2 - Women's
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|Pros||Outstanding traction, unparalleled stability, many colors and patterns, durable, robust arch support||Easy to adjust, superior traction, more stability than other minimal designs, great arch support, lighter and thinner than other Chacos||Good traction, secure without being tight, very lightweight, great for wide feet||Easy to adjust, excellent traction, robust arch support, lots of colors and patterns||Easy velcro adjustments, many color option, zero drop and flat footbed, good stability and traction, fairly lightweight|
|Cons||Adjustment process requires time and patience, bulkier and heavier than most, no half sizes||Fewer color options, no half sizes||Limited colors, can fatigue foot if not used to barefoot walking, thin sole lets debris in easily, loose fit isn't everyone's favorite||Heavier and bulkier than most, less secure than version with toe loop, no half sizes||Straps can be scratchy, not accommodating to wide feet, no arch support, no half sizes|
|Bottom Line||These tried and true adventure sandals are second to none when it comes to easily handling adventures||These adventure sandals can't be beaten, with their combination of minimal straps, maximal stability and traction, and a stylish cute vibe||If you'd prefer to walk everywhere barefoot but need a sandal to get you across pokey surfaces and into shops, this is the shoe for you||An easier to adjust adventure sandal you can even wear socks with, though its less secure without the classic Chaco toe loop||For the casual adventurer and traveler who needs an adventure ready sandal that won't break the bank|
|Rating Categories||Chaco Z/Cloud 2 - W...||Chaco Bodhi - Women's||Xero Z-Trail EV - W...||Chaco Z/1 Classic -...||Teva Original Unive...|
|Specs||Chaco Z/Cloud 2 - W...||Chaco Bodhi - Women's||Xero Z-Trail EV - W...||Chaco Z/1 Classic -...||Teva Original Unive...|
|Weight (per pair)||18.2 oz||14.1 oz||8.0 oz||19.9 oz||11.1 oz|
|Sole Material||Non-marking ChacoGrip||ChacoGrip rubber||FeelTrue rubber||ChacoGrip rubber||Rubber|
|Upper Material||Polyester jacquard webbing||Polyester jacquard webbing||Polyester||Polyester jacquard webbing||REPREVE recycled polyester webbing|
|Footbed Material||LUVSEAT PU||LUVSEAT PU||BareFoam||LUVSEAT PU||EVA|
|Midsole Material||Women's specific LUVSEAT dual-density PU||Women's specific LUVSEAT dual-density PU||TrailFoam||Women's specific LUVSEAT PU midsole||Molded EVA|
|Width Options||Medium, Wide||Medium||Medium||Medium, Wide||Medium|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Chaco Z/Cloud 2 is a fully strapped adventure sandal designed to keep up with you on even your wildest warm weather adventures. It has a sole made of non-marking ChacoGrip rubber, a LUVSEAT PU footbed, and a women's specific LUVSEAT dual-density PU midsole. The straps are made of polyester jacquard webbing, and a size 7 weighs 18.2 ounces. It comes in medium and wide widths and a staggering array of colors and patterns that change each year — and you can even upload your own image to create a customized pair.
The Z/Cloud 2 has all the right attributes to keep your feet comfortable on even the longest days — as long as you don't have flat feet or low arches. With robust arch support, these sandals have a great ergonomic shape for many people but can be too much for some. The textured footbed didn't bother our testers with sensitive feet, and we enjoy the contoured shape that hugs the feet in all the right places. The webbing straps are soft and pliable, without any scratchiness or sharp edges, and the width provides excellent support without feeling oppressive. Even when wet, the straps are still comfortable to wear.
Of course, a fair bit of the Z/Cloud 2 comfort is also tied to their adjustability (which we discuss more below). Rather than providing an out-of-the-box level of instant comfort, you have to work for it a bit. But with the right strap adjustment, this sandal is very comfortable. We tested this model with the Cloud soles, which are meant to be softer than the Classic soles. The soles are thick and less flexible than many other sandal soles we've tested, and they're also some of the heaviest footwear in this lineup. This feeling is a bit unique and can take some getting used to, but the extra stiffness and support works wonders when carrying a heavy pack or crossing particularly challenging terrain. The Z/Cloud comes in both Medium and Wide sizes. Chaco still doesn't sell these in half sizes, but we have yet to find anyone who couldn't find a whole-sized pair to fit them.
It's in this arena that the Z/Cloud 2 sandals are outstanding. They have large lugs on the bottoms of their soles, made of non-marking ChacoGrip rubber. During our testing and over the past decade-plus of professional wear, we remain impressed with all the places this sole gives us traction — whether inside wet inflatable rafts and along wet docking or scrambling up and down gravely hillsides and over slippery boulders. When faced with challenging terrain, we trust no pair of sandals more than a sturdy pair of Chacos.
While Chaco isn't the only manufacturer making adventure sandals with excellent tread, they still stand apart for the exceptional additional traction in the footbed. The close-knit diamond pattern helps to give your bare foot something to grip while you walk. It also provides traction for sweaty and wet feet, aided by the impressive strap system.
This is another area where Chaco knocks it out of the park. The zig-zagging straps of the Z/Cloud 2 crisscross the feet and provide a great foundation. Some folks hate the feel of the toe loop (which is what the "2" in the name denotes), but it's hard to overstate just how much stability this toe loop adds to the sandal. Believe us; we've directly compared these to the Chaco Z/1 Classic (effectively the same sandal, but without the toe loop), and the difference is indisputable. By anchoring your big toe against the footbed, the Z/Cloud 2 provides exceptional stability.
Subtly, the shape of the footbed contributes quite a bit to stability. On each side of the heel, the anchor point of the straps is connected to a section of the footbed that rises above the rest. This effectively creates two small "walls" — one on each side of your heel — that help lock your foot in place and prevent it from sliding inside the sandal. The rest of the footbed is also contoured, curving down at the ball of the foot and up into the arch. Assuming your foot is shaped this way (and you don't have flat feet), these topographical differences add even more security, allowing you to firmly attach these sandals to your feet without slippage, even with wet feet up a steep hill.
The adjustment system of these sandals is comprehensive. If this is your first time having a pair of Chaco sandals, they can be a little strange and confusing at first. The multiple straps running across the feet and toes are one single continuous strap running through the footbed. This means that to adjust these sandals, you pull on one strap and watch another section of the strap get shorter. This allows the sandal to be adjustable in almost every way — only the heel strap is fixed. Whatever your foot shape, you can adjust the strap system until it feels just right.
This process can be challenging. Even for the veteran Chaco wearers on our team, a new pair of Z/Cloud 2 takes some trial and error. It's not a simple process that you should expect to do once and forget. It can take weeks to figure out the exact right combination of loose here and tight there that gives you the stability you crave and the comfort you need. But if you're willing to commit to the process, the rewards are great.
There's practically no limit to the types of activities we will wear the Z/Cloud 2 for. Over the years, we've worn this sandal on backpacking trips and 25+ mile day hikes, guiding rafting excursions and swimming rapids, scrambling over boulders, and crossing swift streams. They're built for hardcore adventuring and have the versatile features and impressive durability needed to keep up.
The "Chaco style" has become its own thing, which some people love and some aren't fans of. If you love their functionality, it's practically guaranteed that you can find a pair of Z/Cloud 2 in a color you like. Not only are these sandals offered in an astonishing array of colors and patterns that change each year, but you can also customize your pair by selecting your own webbing colors — or even uploading a photo to be printed directly onto the straps. No matter what color combos or intricate patterns you choose, the Z/Cloud 2 will bring an "adventure chic" vibe to your wardrobe.
Should You Buy the Chaco Z/Cloud 2?
If you want a pair of sandals that can stay put on your feet, keep you upright when crossing challenging surfaces, provide comfort on even the longest days, and last through years of intense and frequent adventuring, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 are those sandals. They're comfortable for lowkey and urban explorers as well — in fact, the only people we don't recommend these for are those with flat feet or very low arches.
What Other Sandals Should You Consider?
For the hardiest and most rugged adventure sandals around, the Z/Cloud 2 is our top pick. If you want an adventure sandal with a little more minimalist fit, feel, and weight, the Chaco Bodhi is another exceptional option. For a truly minimalist option, the Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro II offers great traction with fewer straps. If you only need an adventure sandal sometimes and need to stick to a more modest budget, consider the Teva Original. But when you need a sandal that can keep up with you through almost anything, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 has you covered.
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