The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Chaco ZX/2 Review

This sandal has serious street cred, and it lives up to the hype.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $105 List | $61.73 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Support, style, durability
Cons:  Annoying to adjust, comfort is not uniform for all users, can't be worn with socks
Manufacturer:   Chacos
By Shey Kiester ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 3, 2017
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
75
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Stability - 20% 8
  • Traction - 20% 8
  • Adjustability - 20% 7
  • Adaptability - 10% 8
  • Style - 10% 9

Our Verdict

The Chaco ZX/2 is a good looking, high traction model with high versatility. Although many testers found this and the other two Chaco models, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 and the Chaco Z/Volv X2, to be the most comfortable in the test, others felt that they were among the most uncomfortable. The ZX/2 has a high arch and one of the firmest soles of any of the sandals tested, and we feel it is worthwhile to try these models on before purchasing, as their comfort varies so much from person to person. The double webbing straps of the ZX/2 are the defining difference between it and the Z/Cloud 2, and many of our testers felt that this was the more stylish, although less adaptable, version. If you're looking for a sandal with high performance like a Chaco but that received better comfort ratings, check out the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.

Chaco is constantly rotating their colorways and patterns. The photo above, though a different color than the one we tested, is one of the current styles.

March 2019


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Chaco ZX/2
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $61.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$105.00 at REI$65.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$58.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$63.97 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
75
100
0
88
100
0
82
100
0
82
100
0
77
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Support, style, durabilityComfortable, versatile, lightweight, fits many foot typesStable and supportive, stylish, durableGreat traction, stable, stylishComfortable, lightweight, fits many foot types
Cons Annoying to adjust, comfort is not uniform for all users, can't be worn with socksNot as cushioned as other models, can't be worn with socksAnnoying to adjust, uncomfortable for the flat-footed, heavyShort straps, difficult to adjust, can't be worn with socksAnkle strap rub, lacks support for long days
Bottom Line This sandal has serious street cred, and it lives up to the hype.The Cairn is a minimalist workhorse that can take on nearly anything.A classic sandal, it's tough to go wrong with the Z/Cloud 2, no matter what you're planning.This pared-down sandal delivers the performance wearers expect from a classic Chaco, but with less weight and bulk.A former overall favorite, the Tirra has almost everything, but an uncomfortable ankle strap knocked it from the top spot.
Rating Categories Chaco ZX/2 Bedrock Cairn Adventure Chaco Z/Cloud 2 Chaco Z/Volv X2 - Women's Teva Tirra
Comfort (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
6
Stability (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Traction (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Adjustability (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Adaptability (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
Style (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Specs Chaco ZX/2 Bedrock Cairn... Chaco Z/Cloud 2 Chaco Z/Volv X2 -... Teva Tirra
Weight (pounds) 1.59 lbs (size 9) 1.06 lbs (size 9/10) 1.44 lbs (size 9) 1.23 lbs (size 10) 1.12 lbs (size 9)
Width options Medium, Wide Medium Medium, Wide Medium Medium
Sole Material Non-marking ChacoGrip Regolith Vibram Non-marking ChacoGrip Non-marking EcoTread 25% recycled rubber compound Spider Original rubber
Upper Material Double-strapped polyester jacquard webbing Polyester and nylon webbing Polyester jacquard webbing Polyester jacquard webbing Water-ready synthetic and polyester webbing
Footbed material Women's specific LUVSEAT PU midsole 8mm Go Far midsole Women's specific LUVSEAT dual-density PU Women's specific LUVSEAT PU midsole Contoured EVA
Size tested 9 10 9 10 9
Available colors 17 different colors Copper, Black, Light Denim, River Runner, Trail Blazer, and Charcoal Trace Eclipse, Covered Eclipse, Testla Peach, Candy Gray, Jab Pine, Llama Angora, Verdure Avocado Many colors Taupe, Dark Purple, Brown, Black/Grey, Teal, and Blue

Our Analysis and Test Results

Like the Z/Volv X2, the ZX/2 is distinct from the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 in that it has two thin webbing straps instead of one. With a hard footbed and the sole with a high arch, Chaco has built a name for their sandals based on their durability and support over may miles.

Performance Comparison


The Chaco models are all top contenders in our review, so much so that the ZX/2's sibling, the Z/Cloud 2, earned our Top Pick for Distance Hikers. Beware, though, that those with low arches may find these sculpted shoes uncomfortable.

Rugged terrain and side-by-side comparisons gave testers some of their most valuable feedback on sandal performance. Both of these Chacos were very difficult to adjust.
Rugged terrain and side-by-side comparisons gave testers some of their most valuable feedback on sandal performance. Both of these Chacos were very difficult to adjust.

Comfort


As has almost always been the case, Chaco shoes have a reputation for having comfort that varies from user to user. While the sole is stiffer than any other model tested, most of our testers saw this is a huge pro. The tough sole protects from variable terrain underfoot and provides a shoe that is built to last. With that, more flat-footed testers felt frustrated by this model's high arch that will not break into a flatter foot. We recommend trying this model on before you purchase.

Chaco recently released the Z/Volv X2, which weighs less and has a less aggressively molded footbed than the classic Z/X2. If you're concerned about the molded footbed being uncomfortable, you may want to check out the Z/Volv X2 instead.

Despite some debate about whether or not the ZX/2'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. For a more universally comfortable model, try the KEEN Clearwater or the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.

Stability


The stiffness of the sole was advantageous when it came to the stability of the shoe. The footbed securely cups the outside of the heel and supports the arch (for better or for worse…). Users agreed that the toe loop (which is absent from some Chaco models) did provide more stability for the sandal, as it eliminated the possibility of your foot sliding forward. The heel-toe drop of the shoe was more significant than most of the other sandal models we tested. This spec was unimportant to some testers and unwelcomed by others. It gave the heel of the shoe a particularly clunky, insensitive feeling. For a more minimalist model, we recommend the Bedrock Ciarn.

Traction


On rocky terrain, both the traction and the stiffness of the sandal made the ZX/2 feel stable and ready for anything. Our testers reported feeling less likely to roll their ankles in this model, as the stiff footbed combined with decent rubber underfoot made for a tough product to slip around in.

The tread on the Chaco ZX/2 Yampa was average. The sole seemed too hard to be able to adequately grip on to slick surfaces.
The tread on the Chaco ZX/2 Yampa was average. The sole seemed too hard to be able to adequately grip on to slick surfaces.

Adjustability


This sandal's webbing system is composed of one continuous piece of webbing that wraps around the foot in multiple locations. In order to adjust one of the strap locations, you must do so by lengthening/shortening one of the other strap locations. This system has advantages and disadvantages. It means that micro adjustments and a hugging feeling a 100% possible, but these adjustments are not quite or without complication. This can result in an impressively long and unsatisfying cycle of adjustments. The Bedrock Cairn had a much less confusing adjustment method.

If you buy the ZX/2, save yourself some time by watching Chaco's instructional video on webbing adjustment which can be found here.

Adaptability


The ZX/2 proved to be a versatile option, although it did not match the versatility of the Z/CLoud 2. Because of this model's heavy sole, it was good for long days on the trail, but not as light as other models, like the KEEN Clearwater. When compared to its Chaco sibling, the ZX/2 lacks 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 ZX/2 is quite attractive. We actually thought it was one of the best-looking sandals in our testing selection, rivaled only by the Bedrock Cairn and the other two Chaco models. The difference between the ZX/2 and the Z/Cloud 2 is that like the Z/Volv X2, the ZX/2 has double straps instead of single. All three models have a sleek footbed and webbing that comes in a variety of flattering colors and patterns.

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

Best Applications


This shoe is good for burly use and many years of rugged travel. With that said, consider trying it on before you purchase to ensure it fits your foot well.

Value


With the burliest footbed of the models tested and straps that are ready for use of use, the Chaco's $105 price tag seems reasonable, as it is ready for many many seasons of wear.

Conclusion


The Chaco ZX/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 this model slacked on comfort for some users, it's a good choice for those with higher arches who need support.


Shey Kiester