Hands-on Gear Review

Chaco Mega Z/Cloud Review

This sandal is a comfort-oriented revamp of the original Chaco. We are fond of the upgrades.
By: Rob Woodworth ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 15, 2018
Price:  $115 List  |  $74.99 at Amazon - 35% Off
Pros:  Super comfortable, lots of support, dependable performance
Cons:  Straps can slip out of place
Manufacturer:   Chaco
81
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 10
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Traction - 25% 8
  • Stability - 20% 8
  • Adjustability - 15% 7
  • Versatility - 15% 8
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Our Verdict

The Chaco Mega Z/Cloud is a refreshing new offering from the manufacturer now synonymous with rugged, outdoorsy sandals. Sporting wider webbing and a softer footbed than the classic Chaco, it is apparent that this model was aimed towards correcting some of the comfort qualms typically uttered by naysayers. It is burly and stable enough to handle heavy packs on the trail but yet offers a cushy insole that requires virtually no break-in period to attain sublime comfort. While there are sportier sandals out there, our testers agree that the Mega Z/Cloud offers practically the same performance as other Chacos with some welcome materials upgrades.

Flat-footed individuals may not find this model to be the most comfortable, as is par for the course with Chacos. But if you're already a fan of the #ChacoNation, we believe that you'll find a friend in this shoe. If you're a minimalist with low arches, you should look to the other end of the spectrum and try theminimalist Xero Z-Trail.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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We're well aware that people have mixed opinions of Chacos. This review was performed from an objective standpoint and our aim was to compare the Mega Z/Cloud with the competitors in its field and not just other Chacos.

Performance Comparison


Offering reliable comfort and performance  the Mega Z/Cloud is a great choice for adventuring and relaxing alike.
Offering reliable comfort and performance, the Mega Z/Cloud is a great choice for adventuring and relaxing alike.

Traction


While it wasn't our top-performer in this category, our testers were consistently impressed by the Mega Z/Cloud's ability to hold a confident grip on the terrain it was covering. A stiff sole and proprietary grippy rubber tread give this sandal a competitive edge over many of the sandals we reviewed. Mossy logs and steep Sierra granite were no match for the trail bite provided by the Mega Z/Cloud. Similarly, our testers found this model to provide great traction and grip in less demanding activities like cruising around town on a bike or longboard.

Even though Chaco's don't offer quite the same traction as some of the Vibram-soled sandals in this review, the patented ChacoGrip rubber is worthy of praise. Sticky in some spots and firm in others, the tread pattern of the Mega Z/Cloud is designed to maintain traction on variable terrain or when the conditions are expected to be challenging. If you're not willing to compromise traction and also looking for a lighter sandal, we'd recommend the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.

While the footbed material on Cloud models is softer  the Mega Z/Cloud still employs the same ChacoGrip rubber found on classic Chaco models.
While the footbed material on Cloud models is softer, the Mega Z/Cloud still employs the same ChacoGrip rubber found on classic Chaco models.

Comfort


This is an outrageously comfortable sandal. The reason it doesn't receive a perfect ten in this metric is due to the fact that some of our flat-footed testers aren't crazy about the firm and supportive arches found on the Mega Z/Cloud. However, pretty much every other attribute made this sandal one of the most comfortable option in this lineup. The extra-wide webbing is more supportive, pliable, and ultimately more comfortable than the webbing found on traditional Chacos. Coupled with a cushier footbed that forms to the foot, the Mega Z/Cloud is an all-star performer in the realm of comfort.

The softer footbed and wider webbing of the Mega Z make it one of the most comfortable shoes in this review; whether you be out on the trail or lounging back at the campsite.
The softer footbed and wider webbing of the Mega Z make it one of the most comfortable shoes in this review; whether you be out on the trail or lounging back at the campsite.

Stability


As we've come to expect from Chaco, the Mega Z/Cloud features an extra-burly sole material that is both rugged and supportive. While some folks are not fond of the extra weight, we found that this stiff sole is preferred to a flimsy one because it is instrumental in providing a solid foundation to romp around in.

Even on loose  dusty hillsides  the Mega Z/Cloud is able to dig in and hold your footing thanks to a burly sole and secure straps.
Even on loose, dusty hillsides, the Mega Z/Cloud is able to dig in and hold your footing thanks to a burly sole and secure straps.

Solid and confident foot placement is much easier when you don't have to worry about landing your foot in the most ideal position. The thickness of the Mega Z/Cloud allowed our testers to cruise across loose sluff and perch on sharp rocks without batting an eye. Even in rough conditions, this sandal has enough stability to cover serious ground. With stiffness similar to many hiking boots, you may even forget that you're wearing a sandal.

Adjustability


As is the case with other Chacos, the Mega/Z Cloud features a continuous piece of webbing that weaves in and out of the sole material to secure the sandal to your foot. Without a familiarity of how Chacos are meant to be adjusted, this style may prove to be tricky at first. However, most of our testers are fond of how snug the straps can become.

For the most part  we were fond of the extra wide straps of the Mega Z/Cloud. However  when compared to the Z/1 Classic  we found ourselves fiddling with the straps more on the Mega.
For the most part, we were fond of the extra wide straps of the Mega Z/Cloud. However, when compared to the Z/1 Classic, we found ourselves fiddling with the straps more on the Mega.

Compared to other Chacos, the smooth webbing of the Mega Z/Cloud was easier to slide in and out of the sole for adjusting. While this was desirable at first, we began to notice that the webbing was also more likely to slide out of place, and required a bit more adjusting while on the trail. For this reason alone, we did not score the Mega Z/Cloud as high as the Z/1 Classic or Z/1 Cloud when it came to the metric of adjustability.

Versatility


Similar to its Chaco brethren, the Mega Z/Cloud offers a respectable amount of adaptability and crossover when it comes to multi-sport adventuring. Even though it is geared a bit more towards comfort than performance, we were always confident when trekking around in it. Supreme comfort mixed with sport-tuned stability and a grippy sole make this sandal a great choice for those wanting a do-it-all sandal that they can wear all day. Furthermore, the stylish patterns and metal buckle of the Mega Z/Cloud make it an attractive option for casual use as well.

Best Applications


The Mega Z/Cloud is a comfortable multi-purpose sandal that offers a greater amount of cushion compared to similar models. We feel that it is best suited for long hikes on light to moderate trails. Not because it isn't capable of doing more, but simply because it is one of the most comfortable sandals out there.

The Mega Z/Cloud has wider webbing  a metal buckle  and a softer footbed; all of which provide excellent comfort and classic Chaco dependability.
The Mega Z/Cloud has wider webbing, a metal buckle, and a softer footbed; all of which provide excellent comfort and classic Chaco dependability.

Value


Slightly more expensive than the other Chaco models, we don't really feel that the Mega Z/Cloud performs any better for the price tag. However, the durability and longevity of this sandal are undeniable. This pair will likely provide years of happy feet.

Conclusion


Ultimately, we are very fond of the Chaco Mega Z/Cloud. While it wasn't as sporty as some other models, it is a trail capable and outstandingly comfortable sandal--a very difficult balance to strike. Anyone who already owns Chacos will likely be wooed by the Mega/Z Cloud, though we'd also recommend it to folks who haven't yet drank the Kool-Aid.

No matter where we found ourselves in these sandals  our feet remained comfortable and supported.
No matter where we found ourselves in these sandals, our feet remained comfortable and supported.

Rob Woodworth

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Most recent review: August 15, 2018
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