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Chaco Z/Volv X2 - Women's Review

This pared-down sandal delivers the performance wearers expect from a classic Chaco, but with less weight and bulk
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Price:  $100 List | $59.73 at REI
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Pros:  Great traction, stable, stylish
Cons:  Short straps, difficult to adjust, can't be worn with socks
Manufacturer:   Chaco
By Joanna Trieger ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 16, 2020
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81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 14
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Traction - 20% 9
  • Adjustability - 20% 7
  • Stability - 15% 9
  • Versatility - 15% 9
  • Style - 10% 8

Our Verdict

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 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 couldn't detect much of a difference in performance between the two models during 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.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

While we weren't blown away by this model's Volv footbed, 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 also 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 club.

Performance Comparison


Because it provides great traction and stability  rocky stream crossings are no problem for this amphibious model.
Because it provides great traction and stability, rocky stream crossings are no problem for this amphibious model.

Comfort


As 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 line, 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 it 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.

Comparing the Chaco Z/Volv X2 (top) with the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 (bottom). The sole of the Z/Volv X2 is thinner than that of the Z/Cloud 2  and the footbed is slightly less molded.
Comparing the Chaco Z/Volv X2 (top) with the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 (bottom). The sole of the Z/Volv X2 is thinner than that of the Z/Cloud 2, and the footbed is slightly less molded.

The materials of the Z/Volv X2 feel good against the skin and only require a day or so to feel fully broken in. Keep in mind, we found the double straps of this model to be 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.

Traction


This is another area of excellence for the Z/Volv X2, and for the Chaco models in general.

Testing the traction of the Chaco Z/Volv X2 (front foot) side-by-side with the Z/Cloud 2 (back foot). Both sandals provided great traction as we crossed these wet rocks  and weren't able to detect any difference between the two during this test.
Testing the traction of the Chaco Z/Volv X2 (front foot) side-by-side with the Z/Cloud 2 (back foot). Both sandals provided great traction as we crossed these wet rocks, and weren't able to detect any difference between the two during this test.

When wearing this model and the Z/Cloud 2 side-by-side, we can't feel any difference between them. Both feel 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…)

Comparing the outsoles of the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 (left) and the Z/Volv X2 (right). In spite of their different designs  we felt that these models delivered identical performance on all the surfaces we tested.
Comparing the outsoles of the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 (left) and the Z/Volv X2 (right). In spite of their different designs, we felt that these models delivered identical performance on all the surfaces we tested.

Adjustability


Like all of the Chaco models, the Z/Volv X2 has a 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.

The flow-through webbing common to all Chaco models. Adjust one strap  and you adjust 'em all.
The flow-through webbing common to all Chaco models. Adjust one strap, and you adjust 'em all.

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.

Stability


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 feels stiff enough to be supportive but also supple enough to handle contours in trails and rocks. With full-coverage straps, including a toe loop, the feet are held in place, and we didn't feel like we were sloshing around in this sandal in the slightest.

The sole of the Z/Volv X2 is pliable enough to contour to uneven trails  but stiff enough to provide stability for the wearer.
The sole of the Z/Volv X2 is pliable enough to contour to uneven trails, but stiff enough to provide stability for the wearer.

Versatility


This super cute, high-performing model is one of the most versatile we tested. We would be totally happy wearing this on a multi-day backpacking trip, 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 Z/Volv X2 is comfortable and stable enough to wear with a heavy pack.
The Z/Volv X2 is comfortable and stable enough to wear with a heavy pack.

The one exception to this might be lounging around camp at night: this model has a toe loop, and because the double straps are woven into each other, it's not possible to wear socks with the Z/Volv X2.
Biking around town is no problem in these models  thanks to their relatively low bulk and their sweet street style.
Biking around town is no problem in these models, thanks to their relatively low bulk and their sweet street style.

Style


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 only style test that matters: Do you like them?
The only style test that matters: Do you like them?

The Z/Volv X2 comes in many colorways 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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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