Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gear Review: Rugged/Stylish Sandals

What cramps a savvy packing style that revolves around never checking luggage? In my opinion, shoes are one of the chief culprits that force travelers into lugging around and checking large bags. Not me, though. I usually wear one pair of shoes and pack another in my carry-on. Most women especially are adverse to wearing fewer than three pairs of shoes per trip. I've found the solution, at least as far as non-winter travel is concerned: Chacos.

This company makes a variety of different sandals (and now shoes) that are sturdy, comfortable, good looking versatile. Recently they sent me the ZX2/Yampa Sandal to test.



These were my only outdoor shoe on my recent one-week trip to the Azores where I went bicycling, light hiking, and kayaking as well as doing plenty of walking on cobbled lanes in the towns and villages, and along sandy stretches of beaches. The Vibram sole with lugs performed well under all circumstances but one: moss- or algae-coated rocks. But I've found that only my ultra sticky-soled 5-10 hiking boots are the only ones that kept me from slipping under these circumstances.

These sandals are stylish when worn with a dress or skirt but are also plenty rugged for all my adventures on this trip. (I like the versatility of the black straps but other models come in a variety of patterns and bold colors.) Most importantly, they were oh-so comfortable, especially along my arch which ordinarily would be fatigued after a long day of nothing but walking. And, while I know many people find a toe loop uncomfortable, I loved the security it provided.

A negative about Chacos is they take a bit of tweaking to get the straps to fit. And, perhaps I'm a bit challenged because the accompanying directions illustrating how to loosen and tighten the straps only made things more confusing. Furthermore, it seems the main tightening strap (along the buckle side) is way to long for my feet. No worries, though. I simply had my talented shoemaker cut and resew the strap. So these negatives were easily taken care of with the slight expense for the alteration.

When I head to Southeast Asia for a month of travel, I'll be bringing along one of my Chacos as well. And, despite the fact that I'll be away for a month, I won't be checking luggage.

12 comments:

Sheryl said...

A month and no checked luggage?? That's more impressive than these shoes :) Although, truly, the shoes do look nice and versatile.

Alexandra said...

I really like the look and am looking to buy new sandals for travel. What are they made of?

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Sheryl, Yeah, I guess not checking luggage is more of a story. But I never check luggage, even when I've been on the road 6+ weeks. I've got it down to a science.

Jeanine Barone said...

HI Alexandra, The midsole is made of polyurethane, the sole is Vibram and the straps are polyester.

Living Large said...

I need a really nice comfy pair of sandals for travel this summer. I'll have to look into these.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Living Large, I have to say that these sandals are unbelievably comfortable. And Chaco has sandals without the toe loop if you don't find that to your liking.

Roxanne said...

I have SUCH an aversion to something between my toes. It really limits my options for sandals, but these do look cute / comfy. I was pretty proud when I did 4 days in NYC with 1 small carry-on, but I'm confident that I could not go far-far-far away with just one suitcase. You're the master!

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Roxanne, You're not alone. So many people don't like anything between their toes. But they also have lots of other styles that have the same sturdiness and cuteness factor. And thanks for the compliment. Really appreciate it.

Jane Louise Boursaw said...

I have a pair of Chacos and agree it takes a bit of strap-tweaking to get the fit right. But I do love them. Glad to hear they work for a variety of activities.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Jane, yes, the strap-tweaking seems a prerequisite with these sandals. But I adore them now that I got the straps all settled in.

Rooksana Hossenally said...

I confirm that after having seen these shoes in action, I WANT SOME TOO. They look great and work really well as hiking/adventure type shoes. We no longer have to boast the frumpy velcro strap-on sandals that make us look like stereotypical nerdy German tourists - hurrah!

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Rooksana, for sure. Sandals should be functional and fashionable, too.