Chaco sandals are a staple for many men and women who live and play in the Colorado mountains. I’ve never been a fan of the toe-loop, strappy, sporty shoes (see left). First, I’m weird about having my big toe in its own little compartment; it needs to be free. Second, the traditional Chaco sandal style is just too hippie-like for me. I know there are ardent fans of this style — with or without toe loop — who love that the waterproof sandals that can be worn on the river, along the hiking trail and even “dressed up” a bit when paired with casual skirts. (These diehards are called Chaconians!) Still, they’re not me.
However, Chaco does make a whole bunch of other summer shoes that are much more my style — including the Derby “flips.” These flip flops may not be built for adventuring outdoors as much as the strappy Chacos, but they still have some important features that make them not only comfortable, but rugged.
The proprietary LUVSEAT footbed — developed in partnership with a podiatrist — is contoured to support the foot. It helps prevent feet from overpronating (rolling inward), while heel risers help keep the foot stable. All this adds up to a secure fit. Plus, the nubuck footbed is soft on the soles; truly, these are comfortable shoes.
Adding to the comfort is the full-grain leather upper with pigskin lining. And the outer sole has EcoTread rubber, which offers good traction.
I suppose if I had one change for these sandals it would be to the strip of leather between my big and second toe — remember, I’m picky when it comes to the toes! It’s a bit thick for my liking; I really need a thin and flexible strap there. (That said, if it were thinner or more flimsy, the sandals likely wouldn’t fit so securely.)
In all, I appreciate the slim look of these flip flops. They are casual and solid enough for long walks in shorts and a tank top, but I’ve also paired them with summery dresses, too — so they’re certainly versatile for warm-weather travel.
The Chaco Derby comes in three neutral colors (light brown, chocolate brown and black) and retails for $80.
Chaco provided me with a pair of Derby sandals for purposes of editorial review.