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