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Frequently Asked Questions about Chaco Sandals

Rock/Creekers wear Chacos, as do many of our customers …which means we field quite a few questions about them! To answer some of the most common ones, we’ve put together this FAQ to help you choose the right pair for you and/or take care of the ones you already have. ~Jeff [Last updated: Feb. 12, 2015]


Q: What’s the difference between the Chaco Z/1 and Z/2? What about the ZX/2?

A: Basically, ignore the “Z” here. Z/1 means no toe loop, and Z/2 means toe loop. The choice between the latter and the former mostly boils down to personal preference; some love the additional security from the toe strap, especially for hiking or boating, and some hate the feeling of a strap around the big toe. Both are made with a single strap threaded through the sandal. Try them both to see which you prefer.

A few women’s sandals also have an X, like the ZX/1 and ZX/2. The X means that, instead of a single wide piece of webbing, there are two narrower straps. Many women prefer the way this looks and feels; in fact, the Women’s ZX/2 Yampa is our most popular sandal!


Q: What do “Unaweep” and “Yampa” mean in the name of my Chacos?

A: You mean you’re confused why there are nonsense words in the middle of your sandal name? Well, not nonsense words — the Yampa River and Unaweep Canyon are both in Colorado — but we don’t blame you. These names designate the different types of Vibram soles available for the “Z” series Chaco sandals.

Unaweep is Chaco’s classic performance sandal tread, with aggressive traction like a hiking shoe. The lugs are deep, and these will last the longest. If you’re planning to do a lot of hiking, this sole is your best bet. Men tend to prefer this style.

Conversely, the opposite is often preferred by women! The Yampa sole is lower-profile and lighter, and on some models it comes in a bright color that matches the sandal webbing. Because of their popularity, many women’s Chacos have more available colors in their Yampa iteration.


Q: What happened to the Zong X/Sleet? That was my favorite!

A: This one is pretty interesting. The Chaco Zong X was one of Chaco’s best-sellers, and then they changed the name to the Chaco Sleet in 2013… and now they’ve changed it back. So, yes: the Zong X sandal is here to stay. We’re not sure why they changed the name, or why they changed it back, but it doesn’t matter — it’s the same classic sandal, essentially a backless ZX/2.

Anyway, in keeping with the naming conventions above, the “X” in the old name tells us that the Zong X is a skinny-strap version of the popular Zong. Love it! One difference is the EcoTread outsole, used in Chaco flips and some lightweight styles, which is a low-profile outsole that uses 25% recycled rubber.


Q: How do I clean my Chacos? They smell funny. How often should I do it?

A: We are asked this so often, we actually wrote a separate article with some short-and-sweet video content. Click through to read our tips on how to wash Chaco sandals.


Q: I heard that Chacos are certified for proper foot support. Is this true?

A: Yep! The APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) awarded Chaco with a “seal of acceptance” for their arch support, stability and shock absorption characteristics. If you’d like to read more, check out this article about the recommended Chaco sandals for proper foot health

  • Barbara Fleming

    I appreciate knowing he difference between the Yampa and Unaweep outsoles, but you only show one sandal on this blog and do not indicate which outsole it is. If I had to guess, i would say it’s the Yampa, but it would be nice to see both. Also, is the Unaweep always black? Thanks very much.

  • Stephanie Striefel

    The soles of my Chacos are wearing thin. Can they be resoled?

    • It depends on the style, but as long as it’s one of the “Z” styles then the answer is definitely yes. If you call our customer service number, they can put you in touch with our warranty dept and we can get that process started for you if you like.

  • Stephanie Fisher

    Do the Sleets have the same arch support as the previously named Zong X?

    • Yep! They’re basically the same sandal, with a slightly different footbed design. The Sleet replaced the Zong X.

  • Pauline Rogers Nash

    What is the difference between Chaco Women’s ZX2 Yampa W Sandal and ZX2 Yampa Sandal

    • Hi Pauline! The “W” actually means wide. Seems like it would be a good idea just to spell out “wide,” right?! Let us know if you need anything else.

  • That’s always fun when your kids end up liking something you already figured out was cool!

    I would imagine they are probably 4+ years old if it doesn’t say Chaco on the side of the midsole. We often recommend sending a photo of the de-lamination to Chaco’s customer service to see what they recommend. They may be able to repair it for you!

  • Nichole DePaolo

    Hey there. I am trying to find the definitive answer of the difference between the z/cloud versus the z/volv. It seems that the cloud is lighter than the classic, and the volv is maybe even light than the cloud with a new grip design and eco-rubber. Is this correct? Am I missing any of the major differences?


    • Hi Nichole! Basically, Chaco created the z/volv for those who felt like the traditional Chaco “luv seat” was too supportive for their comfort. Z/volv feels more like a Teva sandal than a traditional Chaco, but still has some of the signature supportive features of Chaco. The z/cloud is the same midsole as traditional Chacos, but it has a soft layer on top. So: z/volv is the lightest weight/duty/support, good for those with sensitive feet and z/cloud is for those who would like the the traditional Chaco look/feel, but prefer a softer top under foot. Hope that helps!

  • Whitney Jo Murphy

    What’s the difference between the classic and the cloud? Which is more popular?

  • Caroleen Hodge

    I have just discovered that Chacos have footbeds that are different in firmness! Some are very firm, others medium, and the ones I like best are almost spongy. Does each style have a name? How do I know, from a catalog or online, if a shoe has the softer, spongier footbed?

  • Madeleine Coleman

    I need a chaco that I can swim in lakes and go on hikes in this summer. What would you reccomend?