There are a lot of options available to those shopping for hiking footwear. As with all other products, the type of hiking footwear one should go with usually depends on where one intends to go hiking. For example, the practical versatility of hiking boots turns these into an ideal choice for mountainous, snowy, and cold terrains.
When it comes to summer-ready outdoor footwear, however, most people tend to go with trail runners or regular hiking shoes. But for some individuals, sandals take the top spot – and for a variety of good reasons.
Besides being extremely easy to put on and pull off, quality hiking sandals don’t get soaked when used in wet conditions. Furthermore, they are much lighter than shoes or boots, which also makes them easier to pack. However, the best thing about sandals is their open-ended design – they allow your feet to breathe and never get as stinky as boots or shoes.
If you know a thing or two about sandals, you’re probably familiar with Chaco and Teva. Both of these brands are well-known for making some of the market’s best outdoor sandals, which is precisely why they’re often compared with one another. Which one of them is a better choice? Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
- 1 Teva and Chaco: A Brief History of Brands
- 2 Teva vs Chaco: How to Choose the Best Sandals?
- 2.1 Intended Use
- 2.2 Comfort
- 2.3 Break-In Period
- 2.4 Durability & Quality
- 2.5 Are Tevas Waterproof?
- 2.6 Are Chacos Waterproof?
- 2.7 Sole & Grip
- 2.8 Are Tevas Good for Hiking?
- 2.9 Are Chacos Good for Hiking?
- 2.10 Design
- 2.11 Weight
- 2.12 Packability
- 2.13 Replacements & Warranties
- 3 What is the Best Sandal: Chaco or Teva?
Teva and Chaco: A Brief History of Brands
This world-famous brand of footwear was born in 1984, on the shores of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. View Teva prices on Amazon
As the story goes, the company’s first designs were inspired by an ingenious river guide who used two watch wristbands to strap his flip-flops and keep them from slipping off. Supposedly, this unintentional but original idea is precisely what led to some of Teva’s very first creations.
Nowadays, Teva’s engineers are the ones who always come up with new, fresh, and pioneering ideas. The company’s designs continue to evolve with each successive year, as the brand gains experience and knowledge from ever-expanding demands. In addition, the brand is an active supporter of many conservation organizations.
Established in 1989, Chaco is a well-known manufacturer of sandals whose origin story is quite similar to that of Teva. View Chaco prices on Amazon.
As it turns out, the brand was conceived when Mark Paigen, a fly fishing guide, decided to design a pair of sandals that would allow his feet to dry in the sun. After two years of making sandals in his garage as a hobby, Mark started selling them from a small shop in his hometown.
Three decades later, Chaco is a brand with an international reputation whose sandals are often referred to as “Chacos”. Their “Chaco Z” series is held in high regard by outdoor enthusiasts all over the world, although they also produce boots, shoes, flip-flops, and various accessories.
Teva vs Chaco: How to Choose the Best Sandals?
In the following paragraphs, we’ll be comparing footwear made by these two companies in a couple of different categories, such as weight, durability, comfort, and others. This should help you determine which one of these two brands suits your needs the best:
When deciding between Teva and Chaco, one of the first things you have to consider is the kind of activities you intend to use your footwear for. If you need a pair of sandals for the beach, traveling, as well as hanging around town, Tevas may be a better choice.
This is because they’re significantly lighter and come equipped with velcro straps, allowing you to slip them on and off without much effort. In addition, Tevas don’t cause blisters even when you wear them all-day long, due to their internal strap linings and exceptionally soft footbeds.
However, Tevas lack the anti-slip footbed and the arch support provided by Chaco sandals. In addition, Chacos have thicker padding on their soles and don’t slide around even in the wettest conditions. Obviously, this turns them into a better choice for hiking, kayaking, and rafting.
In summary, you won’t make a mistake by going with Chacos if you’re into hiking and outdoor sports. If you’re, however, looking for a pair of leisure sandals, Tevas may be more up your alley.
Matching the right sandal to the right activity is vital, but comfort, or the feel and fit, is even more important. Teva and Chaco sandals have a lot of subtle differences in this category, and some of these may make or break the deal for you.
First of all, sandals made by Chaco come equipped with a relatively complex strap system. As you can already guess, this allows for a great degree of adjusting and readjusting – it’s easier to find the right fit. However, the thicker padding of Chaco’s sandals means that it can take some time for them to perfectly form to your feet.
Teva sandals, on the other hand, come with Velcro straps, and using these requires minimal effort. Furthermore, the break-in period rarely lasts more than just a couple of days. Unfortunately, the already-mentioned Velcros typically weaken over time, which may cause your Tevas to feel loose.
The difference in the softness of the footbed should also be mentioned. As we already said, Tevas have softer footbeds. While this does make them more comfortable, it also means that they’re not that suitable for all-terrain environments. Chacos, on the other hand, feel more rigid and come with thicker footbeds that won’t wear out anytime soon.
Do Chacos Run True to Size?
Neither Chacos nor Tevas can be bought in half-size – they just don’t make them as such. For Chacos, it’s recommended that those wearing a half size should go for the next closest number. So, for example, if you’re wearing an 8 ½, you’re better off trying a size 8 sandal first.
Do Tevas Run True to Size?
A Teva-made sandal, on the other hand, will run even bigger than the one made by Chaco. For that matter, those who are normally a half-size will definitely want to go down a size, and maybe even more than that. It’s nothing too complicated – just make sure to try on your sandals before buying them.
Do Chacos Give You Blisters?
When comparing Tevas or Chacos, a lot of potential buyers bump into online testimonials that mark Chacos as sandals that are notorious for giving you blisters.
While it’s true that Tevas feel slightly more comfortable, both of these sandal brands can give you blisters depending on the conditions. When you’re traversing rugged terrain for miles on end, blisters are almost unavoidable. Socks can be of great help in such situations – wearing them together with your sandals can and will mitigate blistering to a degree.
Like we already said, it doesn’t take too long to break in a new pair of Teva sandals. Breaking in the Chacos, on the other hand, takes a bit longer. This is because they use rubber that’s both firmer and thicker than the one used by Teva.
If you’re planning to use your new sandals only a day or two after buying them, this can be a big deal. Breaking in a new pair of sandals on the trail is not something you’ll remember fondly.
So, if you’re gearing up for a big outdoor adventure this week, we’d advise you to pick Tevas. While not as suitable for aggressive hiking as Chacos, Tevas won’t take long to fit and feel as they should.
Durability & Quality
When it comes to outdoor footwear brands that produce durable, quality sandals, both Chaco and Teva are at the top of the list. In fact, Teva was the very first company to offer outdoor sandals. However, there are still some important features that make Chacos a better choice if you’re looking for a pair of durable hiking sandals.
First of all, Chaco sandals do not use Velcro straps. This is because Velcros typically lose their sticking power over time, particularly when they’re exposed to rough terrain and weather. Therefore, Chacos don’t have to be replaced as often when compared to Teva sandals.
Furthermore, Tevas come with thinner, softer footbeds, which means that their soles typically wear down faster. On the other hand, Chacos have thicker padding and their soles can even be replaced when (and if) they wear down. In most cases, this means that you’ll have to buy a pair of Chacos only once in your lifetime.
Of course, this only really matters if you’re planning to wear your sandals until they fall apart. If not, know that both brands offer durable outdoor footwear and that you won’t make a mistake by going with either one of them.
Are Tevas Waterproof?
Yes, they are. The company’s website states that all of their footwear is waterproof. So, don’t be afraid to put on your Tevas and wade through shallow streams while wearing them – they’ll be totally fine.
Are Chacos Waterproof?
Unlike Teva, Chaco doesn’t specifically say that all of their outdoor footwear is waterproof. However, our experience tells us that yes, Chaco sandals are waterproof. Their straps may absorb some water, but they usually dry out very quickly.
What About Sandals that Look Like Chacos but are Cheaper?
There are a lot of Chaco knock-offs and lookalikes on the market. While these are certainly usable, opting for them isn’t such a good idea – none of them offer the comfort or durability of the real Chacos. By going with the originals, you will be paying for brand quality and support.
Sole & Grip
Due to the expanding customer demands and ever-evolving technology, the soles and the grip of both Tevas and Chacos have changed drastically in the last couple of decades. However, both brands are giving their best to stay on top of the game – comparing Chaco vs Teva in this category is challenging.
Still, Teva sandals tend to have thinner soles, as we already mentioned. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they wear out quickly – a lot of outdoor enthusiasts get years of use out of them.
On the other hand, Chacos are typically stickier than Tevas and also have thicker padding. Not only does this make them more durable, but also more suitable for serious backpacking.
Are Tevas Good for Hiking?
Yes, they are – but not as much as Chacos. Tevas are a better choice if you’re not an avid hiker and only need a pair of outdoor sandals that you’re going to use for camping, walking, short hiking, and everyday casual activities. Tevas are budget-friendly, comfortable, and super lightweight.
Are Chacos Good for Hiking?
Yes, absolutely. Models from the Chaco Z series, for example, are stronger and tougher than most Tevas, offer better arch support, and also feature safer buckles instead of Velcro straps. If you need a pair of durable hiking sandals that can conquer all lumpy and uneven terrains, you won’t make a mistake by going with Chacos.
When comparing Tevas vs Chacos in terms of design, one can easily find a couple of notable differences.
As we already mentioned, Tevas are more suitable for leisure than actual backpacking. As such, they tend to look more casual, stylish, and sleek. You can wear these on the trail, but also at home and around the town.
Chacos, on the other hand, sport a rugged overall appearance – they’re clunkier, bigger, and often sport zig-zagging, colorful straps. However, an important thing to mention here is that Chaco, unlike Teva, offers customers a chance to fully customize their pair of sandals on the company’s website.
The weight of outdoor footwear is a far more important consideration than most people tend to think. The lighter your sandals, shoes, or boots are, the faster and longer you can walk. This can be a significant advantage whether you’re traversing rough terrain or just walking the streets of your city.
Heavier sandals are almost always bigger, which means that they take more space in one’s backpack. This is of crucial importance for long-term backpackers and travelers, who want to save as much space and weight on their backs as possible. Sometimes, even a single ounce or inch can make a lot of difference.
Comparing these sandal brands in terms of weight is an easy task – Teva sandals for hiking will always have a lighter construction. On average, a Teva hiking sandal will weigh 6 to 7 ounces less than a Chaco sandal. For example, Teva Hurricane XLT2 weighs only 10 ounces per sandal, which is super lightweight.
Due to this difference, hiking in Teva sandals won’t tire your feet as much as hiking in Chacos.
Both Tevas and Chacos are very packable, allowing you to lay them flat inside your backpack. It’s one of those things that makes this type of footwear very practical – hiking shoes and boots are much bulkier and can easily take up half of your backpack.
That is precisely why these products enjoy such popularity with backpackers who want to move fast and light. They offer a quick and easy way to change up your footwear whenever you want without adding a lot of additional weight or taking too much space.
While Tevas do weigh less (with the already-mentioned Teva Hurricane XLT2 being a great example), both of these brands offer sandals that are far more packable than any hiking shoes or boots.
Replacements & Warranties
When you decide to get yourself a pair of premium sandals, you want to see some assurance of quality. In other words, you want to see that the brand you’ve decided to go with can back up their price tags and claims. For that matter, checking warranty policies before buying outdoor gear is vitally important.
Between Chacos vs Tevas, the former ones come accompanied with better warranty deals – it’s as simple as that. The company offers a lifetime warranty on both craftsmanship and the materials.
While this doesn’t apply to everyday wear and tear, it does apply to things like a malfunctioning strap system (Chaco’s “adjustable straps”), broken clasps, or damaged soles. In such situations, all that the buyers need to do is to take advantage of the so-called “ReChaco” program – send your faulty Chacos, and the company will replace or repair them free of charge. Pretty neat, wouldn’t you say?
A Teva-made sandal, on the other hand, will usually be accompanied by a one-year limited warranty. While it’s nice that Teva provides its customers with some sort of warranty, Chaco is a clear winner in this category.
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What is the Best Sandal: Chaco or Teva?
Both Tevas and Chacos provide a fantastic value for the money for their own reasons.
While they may be more expensive, outdoor sandals made by Chaco feature a better grip and arch support than Tevas. These well-designed, sturdy, and durable sandals were made to be used for the more demanding hiking adventures, as well as for water sports such as kayaking and rafting. In addition, you may value Chaco more because of their excellent warranty deals and sustainable business practices.
Tevas, on the other hand, are extremely comfortable, take less time to break in, and also don’t cost as much as Chacos. As casual outdoor sandals, they are exceptionally easy to slip on and off and can be used both on the trail and around town. For those who aren’t that serious about hiking, these multi-use sandals are a much better choice.
In summary, the value of each of these brands depends on which features your perfect outdoor sandal needs to have.
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.