Chaco Z/Volv 2 Review
Cons: Adjustment can be tedious
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Z/Volv 2 earns a Notable mention in our review as one of the top-performing products. Although it doesn't stand out in any one rating metric, it provides consistent dependability with no obvious weaknesses. The Z/Volv combines everything that Chaco users love into a lighter package, with the same familiar solid construction, excellent stability and security, and good traction. While some testers note that the pull-through strap system can be a little tedious to adjust, this certainly isn't a deal-breaker and is part of what gives Chacos their unique fit and quality performance.
The Z/Volv 2 earns solid scores for comfort, with a 'LoveSeat PU' 3-D contoured footbed with plenty of arch support, and an intricate webbing strap system that keeps the foot securely locked in place. This footbed and strap system work well together to maintain a comfortable footstrike across a wide variety of terrain and conditions. The pull-through webbing strap system allows for a snug and comfortable fit, though one tester experienced some rubbing from the toe loop before the shoes were fully broken in.
While the firm footbed material isn't quite as comfortable as some other models with cushier footbeds, we were pleased that our feet stayed comfortably locked in and well-planted through wet, muddy, and sandy conditions.
The Z/Volv 2 scores well in the traction rating metric. While Chacos "non-marking EcoTread" soles don't have the raw gripping power of the Vibram outsoles on some competitor models, we didn't find any situations where this really held us back. From mossy creekbeds to dusty trails, or sandy beaches to slimy stairways, these guys performed admirably.
We believe that a sandal's stability, traction, and overall comfort are inter-dependent with each other, and that a product can't perform highly in one of these categories if there are any glaring weaknesses in another. That's where these sandals shine. The pull-through webbing strap system keeps the foot securely planted to the contoured footbed, and the EcoTred outsole keeps the foot firmly planted on the ground, which makes for a comfortable experience. Without any of these individual pieces, the overall performance of the sandal wouldn't be the same.
It's no surprise that this product also earns very high marks for stability, with its contoured footbed and intricate, supportive strap system. Our feet felt very stable and secure on rocky terrain, and on uphill, downhill, or sidehill slopes. The way the straps, footbed, and soles work together is comfortable and confidence-inspiring.
The Z/Volv 2 again lands near the top of the pack of our adjustability ratings with the pull-through webbing system that allows for a very customizable fit. The entire strap system is made from one interconnected piece of webbing material that is hidden within the footbed. To adjust one of the straps, you pull some slack through the footbed to tighten or loosen as needed. This system can take a little getting used to, but the Chaco website has a user-friendly tutorial to help you out.
While the pull-through strap system allows nearly unending adjustability, some of our users found it a little difficult to find and maintain the perfect fit. If you want to simply adjust one strap on the sandal, you may have to adjust them all, since you are pulling the slack from the other sections of the interconnected webbing. While this isn't a deal-breaker, it makes it more difficult to get the sandals on and off quickly or to make on-the-fly adjustments.
As you might expect by now, the Z/Volv 2 is again one of the top scorers for versatility. The overall comfort, stability, and reasonably low weight mean that there aren't many places this sandal can't go. From beach walks, to hikes, to water sports, to cruising around town, Chaco has you covered with these sandals.
At the higher end of the price spectrum, these Chacos certainly aren't cheap. But with top-notch materials and construction and excellent all-around performance, we would expect them to hold up quite well through the years, making them a solid value if you intend to use them for a while.
The Chaco Z/Volv 2 is a dependable, sturdy workhorse of a sandal that doesn't have any major weaknesses, and performs highly in nearly every rating metric. If you're a Chaco fan looking to upgrade, you'll appreciate the 20% lower weight compared to older models. We don't think you can go wrong with this sandal.
— Nick Bruckbauer