Have you long yearned to join the Chaco-wearing masses, but you just can't get past that stiff, high-arched footbed? The Z/Volv X2 might be the solution you're looking for. Chaco has reduced the weight and bulk of this pared-down model and slightly decreased the footbed molding to accommodate those with lower arches. While we did verify that the Z/Volv X2 is about 15% lighter than the Z/Cloud 2 and has a lower molded arch, we weren't able to detect an appreciable difference in performance between the two models during our side-by-side testing. Both models are outstanding performers for a wide range of outdoor activities, and they both look good enough to wear around town after the adventures are over. If you want a top-performing sandal, but you can't get past that molded arch, check out our Editors' Choice, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.
Chaco Z/Volv X2 - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Great traction, stable, stylish
Cons: Short straps, difficult to adjust, can't be worn with socks
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Our Analysis and Test Results
We were excited to check out Chaco's new pared-down sandal, the Z/Volv X2. And while we weren't blown away by the difference, we are happy to report that this is one more great option in the Chaco lineup. The Z/Volv X2 is, by our measurements, about 15% lighter than the Z/Cloud 2 — not exactly a game-changer, but perhaps significant for those who strongly prioritize gear weight. The Z/Volv X2 has a less molded footbed than the classic Chaco models, so some low-arched people who have previously found Chacos uncomfortable may find that these sandals are their ticket into the Chaco club.
As is the case with all the Chaco models we tested, how comfortable you'll find the Z/Volv X2 depends on your foot type and your preferences. This model has a molded footbed, which testers with moderate-to-high arches love, and those with flat feet tend to hate. However, in the Volv, Chaco has toned down the molding and arch height compared to the other Chaco models, and this means that some people with moderately low arches who have previously found Chacos uncomfortable may find the Z/Volv X2 to be a good comfy fit. The best way to determine if these are the sandals for you is to try them on, and to know that the molding will not relax or conform to your foot — so if the arch is not comfy after a few days of general break-in, they're probably not the right model for you.
The Z/Volv X2's materials felt good against our skin and only required a day or so to feel fully broken in. The double straps of this model are slightly less comfortable than those of the single-strap models because there are more edges to rub against your foot when you put them on, especially when they're wet.
The Z/Volv X2 joins its Chaco brethren to earn high marks in this category. The sole of this model is slightly more supple than that of the Z/Cloud 2, but we weren't able to feel the difference when we wore both models simultaneously for side-by-side testing. Like all the Chacos we tested, the Z/Volv X2's sole felt stiff enough to be supportive but also supple enough to handle contours in trails and rocks. With full-coverage straps, including a toe loop, our feet were held in place, and we didn't feel like we were sloshing around in this sandal like we did in the KEEN Whisper.
This is another area of excellence for the Z/Volv X2, and for the Chaco models in general. Only our Editors' Choice winner, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure, scored as well as the Chacos here.
When wearing the two models side-by-side, we couldn't feel any difference between the Z/Volv X2 and the Z/Cloud 2. Both felt grippy and stable while heading up and downhill on trails and scree, and they performed identically during our river crossing test (so much so that we had to look down to confirm that we were wearing two different shoes…).
Like all of the Chaco models, the Z/Volv X2 has one continuous strap that flows in and out of the sandal's sole to achieve a foot-hugging fit. Note that the X2 models, like this one, actually have two parallel straps. Since they function as one and they're meant to be adjusted together, we'll refer to them as "the strap"). This is a mixed bag in terms of adjustability — on the one hand, adjusting one strap means adjusting all of them, and even after you get the hang of it, this is kind of a pain. On the other hand, you can dial each strap to fit your foot perfectly, so once you do get them all adjusted, you'll be stoked.
One downfall of the Z/Volv X2 is that the integrated strap is shorter than in other Chaco models, to the extent that our narrow-footed tester had just enough room to dial in all the straps with a bit to spare. Those with wide feet may find that there's not enough strap to comfortably fit their feet. This hasn't been an issue with other Chaco models — in fact, when we wore one model on each foot and measured the extra strap length, we found the Z/Cloud 2 to have 1.5" more extra strap than the Z/Volv X2.
This super cute, high-performing model is one of the most adaptable we tested. We would be totally happy wearing this on a multi-day backpacking trip (the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 took our Top Pick for Distance Hikers, and we'd recommend the Z/Volv X2 for the same purpose), and after a quick rinse-off, we'd be just as happy wearing it to a mountain-town bar or to get coffee with a friend. Our testers wore this model hiking, biking, to the (casual) office, with a pack, in the water…there's really no activity where we wouldn't be happy wearing the Z/Volv X2.
The one exception to this might be lounging around camp at night: this model has a toe loop, and because the double straps are integrated, it's not possible to wear socks with the Z/Volv X2. If you're looking for a sandal for that purpose, check out our Top Pick for Camp Sandals, the Xero Z-Trail.
Our testers, as well as the friends and family we surveyed, agree: this is a pretty good-looking shoe. The double straps give this model a more delicate, feminine style, even though it's just as rugged as the single-strap models. The slightly thinner sole of the Z/Volv X2 takes away some of the Chaco bulk found in the classic models.
The Z/Volv X2 comes in many colorways (we tested Diamond Pine) with bold, vibrant patterns as is the Chaco way. One tiny gripe here is that all of the colorways have a dark footbed, so if you prefer a lighter color, you're out of luck.
For outdoor pursuits, there's no area where the Z/Volv X2 won't shine. We'd recommend this sandal for backpacking trips (either as a primary shoe or as a camp sandal — just remember it won't work with socks), rafting or other water adventures, day hikes, walking to the crag, working in the yard, or casual jaunts around town.
This isn't the cheapest sandal we tested, but like its fellow Chacos, it's one of the best. This is an extremely versatile model, and it's very stylish, so as long as sandal weather lasts, you'll have an opportunity to wear it daily. Chaco's outstanding quality and durability mean that this sandal will last you many years, and Chaco's warranty covering material defects is excellent. Given the years we know you'll get out of this sandal, we think it's a fantastic value.
In the Z/Volv X2, Chaco has created a lighter, less molded version of its classic sandal. While we weren't able to detect a difference in performance between this model and the Z/Cloud 2 during our side-by-side tests, folks who are interested in shaving grams off their gear weight or who have previously found Chacos' stiff molded arches uncomfortable might want to check out the Z/Volv X2. This comfortable, high-performing model looks good and will last for many years to come.
— Joanna Trieger