Can You Hike In Chacos? (An Unbiased Guide)

can you hike in chacos

Hiking boots are a common go-to for most hikers, but they’re not the only option out there. In fact, some people prefer to hike in sandals – and yes, that includes Chacos. Chacos are a type of sandal that has become popular in recent years, thanks to their comfort and versatility. They’re often seen as casual footwear, but they can actually be used for more strenuous activities, such as hiking. But can you hike in Chacos?

Short answer: Yes, you can hike in Chacos. They provide enough support and stability for short and long hikes. Chacos are also long-lasting, comfy, and have outstanding traction. Lastly, Chacos are certified by the American Pediatric Medical Association and have orthopedic footbeds to keep your feet in good shape when hiking.

With that being said, there are still some disadvantages to hiking in Chacos vs. traditional hiking footwear, such as hiking boots or trail runners, so we’ll get into it all.

Advantages of Hiking in Chacos

As discussed, there are several advantages to hiking in Chacos sandals, including:

  • They offer good support and stability
  • Chacos are long-lasting and durable
  • They are comfortable to wear
  • They have excellent traction
  • They are certified by the American Pediatric Medical Association.
  • Orthopedic footbeds help keep your feet in good shape

Disadvantages of Hiking in Chacos

There are also some disadvantages to hiking in Chacos, such as:

  • They are not as breathable as other types of hiking footwear.
  • They offer less protection from the elements than boots or trail runners.
  • Your feet are more vulnerable to injury if you take a fall.
  • You may get dirt and debris caught in the straps.

How Long Can You Hike In Chacos?

Many individuals swear by Chacos on their thru-hikes. Others can’t make it further than a few miles without chafing becoming an issue. How long you can hike in Chacos will depend on a few factors, such as:

  • The type of terrain you’re hiking on: For a level or moderate terrain, you can probably hike long distances without any issues. However, if you’re hiking on more rugged or unstable terrain, your Chacos may not provide enough support and stability, which could lead to injury.
  • The weather conditions: If it’s hot out, your feet will sweat more in boots than in an open-toed sandal such as Chacos. However, in cold weather, your feet will be more susceptible to frostbite in Chacos than they would be in closed-toe footwear.
  • Your personal preference: Some people simply prefer the feel of boots or trail runners over sandals. If you’re not comfortable in Chacos, you won’t be able to hike as far.
  • How long you’ve been wearing them: If you just got a new pair of Chacos, it’s going to take some time to break them in. Wear them around the house for a few days before taking them on a hike.
  • If you have any foot issues: If you have diabetes, bunions, or other foot problems, you may want to avoid hiking in Chacos. Consult with a doctor before hitting the trail

Is It Safe to Hike In Chacos?

The safety of hiking in Chacos depends on the trail you want to hike and the type of Chacos you use. Generally, before stepping out to hike in a Chacos, you should learn how to wear them beforehand. 

Below are some useful tips for hiking successfully with a Chacos:

Break Them in

The Chacos, like other hiking footwear, must be broken in before going on a hike. Breaking in here entails acclimating your feet to the footwear. You can do this by running, sprinting, or even walking around in them. These activities will give you an idea of what your Chacos will be like on the hike.

Foot Cream

Chacos expose your feet to the air, allowing them to dry faster than shoes would. If you don’t want to hike in socks, a foot cream is the next best thing to keep your feet from drying out. Moisture is essential for keeping your feet from cracking.


I get the most people wear open-toed sandals, well, for the open-toed part. But if you still want to wear socks with your Chacos, that’s okay too!

On a hike, a sock serves several purposes, including preventing blisters and debris. Socks also provide an extra layer of protection between your feet and the straps. They also help keep your feet from sweating as much.

Stick to Well-maintained trails

While the idea of well-maintained trails differs from person to person, here are some questions you need to ask yourself if you intend on hiking a particular trail with your Chacos:

  • How gravelly or rocky is the trail?
  • Is there poison ivy or other plants that could irritate your skin?
  • Are there any river crossings?
  • Is the trail well-shaded, or will you be in direct sunlight for most of the hike?

All these factors will affect how comfortable you are on the hike and how much you’ll enjoy it (especially if you aren’t used to wearing Chacos yet for hiking.)

Does Chacos Have Ankle Support?

The Chacos is a sturdy shoe that provides excellent heel support. Chacos sandals do not cover your ankles like trail runners or hiking boots, but they do provide ankle support. Your ankle will be fully supported if the heel is supported.

An argument can be made based on the angle of ankle rolls. However, they also occur when wearing standard hiking boots. However, breaking in your Chacos strengthens your heel and ankle, which may help prevent ankle rolls in the long run.

Can You Wear Chacos In Water?

Chacos and water are like peanut butter and jelly—they just go together. Whether you’re fording a river or just want to keep your feet cool, Chacos are an excellent choice.

As a matter of fact, Chacos were originally invented by a white water river rafting guide named Mark Paigen. He was looking for a shoe that he could wear in the water and on land.

So yes, you can wear Chacos in water. Its design features a waterproof footbed. This footbed is also non-slip, making walking in water not too different from doing the same on land. The non-slip feature offers you stability, making sure you do not slip. 

Another feature that makes walking in water with the Chacos easy is its quick-drying polyester strap. This feature ensures the sandals dry in a short time after going through water. 

Which Chacos Are Best For Hiking And Water?

There are several Chacos sandals available in the market, but what are the best Chacos for hiking? My vote goes to the original Chacos Z1.

The Chacos Z1 was the first Chacos sandal to be designed specifically for water activities. It features a quick-drying polyester webbing that is comfortable and durable. The footbed is also non-slip and has excellent drainage, making it ideal for wet conditions. The Chacos Z1 is also surprisingly lightweight, making it a good choice for long hikes.

View Chacoz Z1.

If you’re looking for a Chacos sandal that is specifically designed for hiking, then go for the Chacos ZX. It has a more aggressive tread and higher arch support than the Chacos Z1. The Chacos ZX is also slightly heavier, making it a bit more durable.

View Chacos ZX.


If you’re looking for a versatile and comfortable hiking shoe option, Chacos may be the perfect choice for you. With so many different styles and colors to choose from, there’s sure to be a pair of Chacos that will fit your needs.

Have you ever hiked in Chacos? What did you think?

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