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Are Chacos Good For Hiking? (Pros, Cons and Tips)

Are Chacos Good For Hiking? (Pros, Cons and Tips)

I have seen many fellow hikers wearing Chaco’s throughout my hiking days and have always wondered if they are worth trying out. Since they are so different from that of a traditional hiking shoe or boot, I’ve always been a bit hesitant. Is it a good idea to hike in open-toed shoes?

Chaco’s are good for hiking. They have been specifically designed for this purpose and have been approved by the American Pediatric Medical Association, making them supportive and comfortable. However, they are not for everyone, so it does depend on one’s personal preferences.

If you’re like me and have been tempted but hesitant to try out Chaco sandals on a hike, then you’ve come to the right place! Read on and learn about the benefits of hiking in Chaco’s, some potential issues, as well as a few personal tips on wearing Chaco’s!

Are Chaco’s A Good Idea For Hiking?

Chaco’s can be excellent for hiking as they offer a large amount of comfortability. They also provide a lot more support for the foot than most people believe!

Arch Support

Chaco’s can be a great idea for hiking because of the general support and comfort. The sole of a Chaco shoe has been approved by the American Pediatric Medical Association, guaranteeing ample arch support for your foot. This arch support is ideal for hiking as it makes for a very comfortable shoe.

Ankle Support

Contrary to popular belief, Chaco’s do provide some ankle support. The reason being is that ankle support comes from the heel cup of a shoe. The heel cup in a Chaco shoe is made so that it creates quite a bit of ankle support. So if you were concerned about your ankles in Chaco’s, I wouldn’t worry much as this feature in the Chaco takes care of this.

However, if you have naturally weak ankles, you may want to consider a hiking shoe or boot that would add additional support for your ankles.

Straps and Freedom!

The straps on Chaco’s are the main attraction of this type of shoe for hiking. The first reason is that these straps allow for a lot more freedom since your feet aren’t cooped up in a shoe for an entire hike.

Having straps instead of a closed shoe is great for hiking that involves water. Firstly, Chaco’s dry a lot faster than a hiking shoe or boot. Secondly, it is a great feature when crossing a body of water as you can leave your Chaco’s on and prevent any damage from rocks or debris at the bottom of the water.

A loved feature of the Chaco shoe is the adjustable straps. This is ideal for hiking as it allows you to fit the shoe perfectly to your feet. You can also adjust your straps during your hike depending on what is comfortable at the time.

The Chaco website has a great page for helping you adjust your Chaco sandals depending on the Chaco model you own. Check this out here and adjust your Chaco’s for ultimate comfort during your hike!


One of the best features of Chaco’s is the traction that this sandal has. You can guarantee that this sandal has some of the best grips around and is therefore great for hiking, especially on uneven or slippery ground!


A great additional benefit of buying a pair of Chaco’s is the amazing repair service this brand offers. This service adds to the appeal of using this shoe for hiking, as you can easily use this ReChaco service when your shoes need a little revamping after many years of hiking!

Cons Of Wearing Chaco’s When Hiking

While Chaco’s have many benefits for hiking, there are a few things this shoe does not provide. However, whether these factors bother you or not depends purely on you as a person.

Firstly, the biggest issue everyone has with Chaco’s is the debris that often gets stuck in your sandal. When hiking, you will often kick up dirt, sand, bits of sticks, and all this can get wedged between your toes or under your foot. This can be highly uncomfortable, so there is often the need to stop, unstrap the sandal and take the debris out.

Another issue is the lack of toe cover. It isn’t uncommon to stub or cut your toe when hiking in Chaco’s, as nothing is covering that area. However, the Chaco sandal is designed to have a lip on the edges, which takes most of the damage, but this does not always prevent injury.

Finally, as one expects, Chaco’s are not great in cold conditions. Without socks, Chaco’s are not a good idea if you’re planning on hiking when it’s cold. However, some Chaco lovers say that a decent pair of socks can solve this issue.

All the above is ultimately influenced by personal preference, as some hikers would not be phased by a few toe scrapes or the need to stop to pick out debris. So have a think about your personal preferences before investing in a pair of Chaco’s!

Tips for Wearing Chaco’s on a Hike

If you want to try out a pair of Chaco’s, then there are a few tips I can give you to maximize your comfort and ultimately allow you to reap the benefits of hiking in Chaco’s.

There are three necessary things to take note of when wearing Chaco’s:

  • The size of the Chaco
  • Whether the Chaco has been broken into
  • The adjustment of your Chaco straps

The first tip for wearing Chaco’s would be to ensure that the size is 100% correct. Having it slightly too big or too small will make a difference after an hour or two of hiking. Take your time when buying your Chaco’s to make sure you have the right fit.

Secondly, make sure you have broken in your Chaco’s before wearing them on a proper hike. A good idea would be to wear these around your house and on short easy walks first. Once they are broken into, you are good to go!

Lastly, please check out the adjustment guide on the website to make sure that your sandals are adjusted correctly depending on their model. An error many new Chaco wearers make is that they do not take enough time to ensure the straps are done right.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, Chaco’s can be a great sandal to hike in. However, take a good look at what you find comfortable and what features of a shoe you find valuable before diving toe first into a Chaco shoe as they aren’t for everyone!


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