While there is certainly no shortage of outdoor, hiking sandals out there, few of them actually feel secure and comfortable on your feet – especially when hiking, despite usually being designed for such issues. No, sandals will never offer the protection of boots or even hiking shoes – that goes without saying. But we think they should at least feel secure, and like something you can count on to protect your feet. Enter Chacos.

Chacos use a Z-strap design, which loops around the foot through the sole, letting you adjust and tighten the sandals on your feet without any kind of buckles or Velcro. Very convenient. In fact, the Chacos Z/2 Classic – the updated version of their original Unaweep – uses only 8 components in construction, for a simple shoe built to last. The polyester jacquard webbing is easy to adjust and provides a secure, tight fit, keeping the sandal close to your foot. Which, in turn, makes hiking long distances over rough terrain that much more comfortable – no flip-flopping or loose fit. There’s a toe-loop for even more control.

The Z/2 Classic features a LUVSEAT PU midsole, which is thick and padded, as well as equipped with an antimicrobial coating, preventing all kinds of odors from forming. The sole is non-marking ChacoGrip, ready for hiking and stepping in shallow water.

The one complaint we have about the Z/2 Classic, is that is really isn’t light. It weighs about 1.5 pounds for a pair, which is pretty hefty for a pair of sandals. But the reward is a thick, padded sole that provides great protection on rocky terrain. Over time, the foam will soften and form to your feet – if the strap is properly tightened – for an even comfier, snug fit.

But again, where it really counts is just how secure and stable these sandals feel on your feet. If you’re anything like us, you think sandals generally feel flimsy and unstable, but not these. They provide great grip when creek crossing, getting in and out of your canoe, or hiking all day. And the Z-Strap design is tight and firm. While they’re not as protective as the Teva Omnium, they’re our new favorites.

There are dozens of different Chacos designs you can choose from, for men and women. Choose a pair you like and trek about in breezy stability.

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