Long-term Chaco Z/Cloud Review

Chaco Z/Cloud Review: Outsole Up-Close

Overall Score:8.6

The Chaco Z/Cloud are an excellent pair of do-it-all sandals that strike a thoughtful balance between performance, durability, and comfort. Over the past 2.5 years of use, these sandals have become my go-to choice for everyday wear and are arguably one of the best adventure sandals available. 

Durability: 9.0
Functionality: 8.5
Performance: 9.0
Aesthetics: 8.0
Value: 8.5

Outsole: ChacoGrip 

Footbed: LUVSEAT PU

Webbing: Polyester 

Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0 mm

Fit: True to size

Manufacturing Country: USA

Warranty: Product lifetime

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Length of Test: 2.5 Years

Acquisition: we purchased the Chaco Z/Cloud sandals with our own cash. 

Countries: Thailand

Climate(s): Tropical Savanna

Weather: Hot and Humid + Light and Heavy Rain

The Z/Cloud is designed for:

  • Hiking and everyday use.

The Z/Cloud isn’t designed for:

  • Urban fashionistas.

Table of Contents

Durablity

Chaco Build Quality

Construction: the Chaco Z/Cloud sandals are made with a thick layer of cushioned foam and a proprietary ChacoGrip rubber outsole that are glued together to form an ultra-durable shoe. Even the polyester jacquard webbing and plastic hardware that were selected, prioritize durability and comfort above all else.

After using these sandals in a variety of conditions (from the Thai jungle to urban city streets), the only damage that has occurred is purely cosmetic. Unfortunately, the color is starting to fade in both the ChacoGrip outsole and LUVSEAT PU footbed. Otherwise, the stitching and grip on each sandal is still in solid condition.  

If I had to guess, these sandals still have a couple years of life left in them, but due to the color fading, I’ll only use them as hiking and camp shoes from now on. 

Functionality

Main Feature Set

Traction: I’ve climbed waterfalls and have even hiked during Thailand’s monsoon season with the Chaco Z-Cloud sandals. On muddy and slippery trails, these sandals performed admirably as the 3mm lugs on the ChacoGrip outsole keep you feeling suction-cupped to the ground. 

During urban use however, the outsoles don’t perform as well on wet concrete. The sandals are by no means slippery, but you’ll have to be more discerning with each step you take. Alternatively, when the concrete is dry, you’ll be able to run in these sandals without any concern for slipping.

It’s also worth noting that in wet conditions, the PU footbed doesn’t become slippery (at all) because it doesn’t absorb water and dries incredibly quickly. 

Fit: the Chaco Z/Cloud’s suction-cup-like traction is supplemented by a comfortable yet snug one-pull adjustment system that moves with your feet but keeps them properly stationed.

For additional foot stability, the sandals have a sculpted heel design that helps control over pronation and provides some arch support to counter-act discomfort from plantar fasciitis.

Performance

Chaco's Practical Utility

Comfort: the Chaco Z/Cloud sandals were built for comfort as the cushioned footbed feels like a cloud underneath your feet (the name sort of gives this away). At first glance they might seem clunky, but don’t let the rigid build fool you – they’re sturdy while being simultaneously comfy.

After 2.5 years of use, I’ve never experienced any rubbing, chafing, or hot spots with the Chaco Z/Cloud sandals. Both the smooth webbing and plush PU footbed ooze long-lasting comfort.

Just be aware that Chacos are quite heavy – actually, ridiculously heavy when compared to minimalistic sandals like the Xero Shoes Z/Trail. The heft of these sandals are 100% noticeable when wearing them and that might be an issue for some, but for most its likely a non-issue.  

Aesthetics

Design Elements

While the Chaco Z/Cloud sandals were designed for a crossover appeal thanks to their overall minimalistic design, they still have more of an outdoorsy vibe to them. 

Aesthetically, the Z/Cloud look best in the great outdoors but can still be used in urban environments without anyone looking at you weird. Given their overall versatility, they’re a great choice for travel sandals so you won’t have to lug around multiple pairs with you on a trip. 

As for colorways, you can buy the Z/Cloud in all-black or in multi-color combinations.

Value

Primary Alternatives

For some, it might be hard to justify the expense of a pricey sandal, but with Chaco… you get what you pay for which is: superb durability and thoughtful design that’ll last for years of use.

If you’re interested in the Chaco Z/Cloud sandals but want a different strap design, we highly recommend checking out the Z/Cloud 2 – it’s the same sandal, but it comes with a toe loop.

Did you know that… when you purchase something through one of our links, we earn a small fee. However, you still pay the exact same amount. It’s a win-win that helps us produce new content.  

Sandals Outsole Drop Stack Height Toe Strap Weight
Chaco Z/Cloud ChacoGrip Rubber 0 mm N/A Over 410 g
Chaco Z/Cloud 2 ChacoGrip Rubber 0 mm N/A Cross 410 g
Chaco Z/1 Classic ChacoGrip Rubber 0 mm N/A Over 420 g
Xero Shoes Z-Trail FeelTrue Rubber 0 mm 10 mm Over 153 g
Xero Shoes Naboso FeelTrue Rubber 0 mm 10 mm Over 153 g
8.6/10 Rating

Our Overall Verdict

The Chaco Z/Cloud sandals are exceptionally durable and comfortable, plus they perform well in a wide variety of environments – even slippery conditions. For hiking and general day-to-day use. the Z/Coud sandals are hard to beat unless you’re looking for more of a “barefoot” experience.

Overall, I consider the Z/Cloud to be one of the best do-it-all adventure sandals available. I highly recommend them to anyone that’s interested in a versatile pair of footwear that can take a beating while still looking good in action.  

  • Comfortable for all day use, which makes them ideal for travel in warm environments.
  • Exceptionally durable – these sandals will endure years of hard / frequent use.
  • Z/Clouds are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).
  • Longer-lasting color dyes for the ChacoGrip outsole and LUVSEAT PU footbed need to be used.

Yes, just be sure to give the footbed time to completely dry out after use – at least a couple hours of direct sunlight

Longevity

Usage Timeline

Excellent

Initial Usage

Comfortable out-of-the-box and didn’t require much break-in time.

Excellent

Fine

2.5 Years of Usage

The Chaco Z/Cloud sandals are still in decent shape, but the colors are starting to wear out.

Fine

Retired

3.5 Years of Usage

After several years of use, the sandals have finally broken down. The straps broke and the sole was already worn out. They lasted longer than anticipated and we’ve already bought another pair.

Retired
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Alan & May

Welcome to North of Known! We’re Alan and May, a married couple who have embraced digital nomadism while calling Bangkok, Thailand, our current home base. Over the past 7 years, our shared passion for exploration and adventure has fueled our journey across the globe. Join us as we continue to embark on our nomadic adventures, sharing our insights, discoveries, and travel tales along the way.

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