The battle between Teva vs Chaco outdoor sandals is one for the ages. Both are exceptionally well designed and at the top of the adventurer game. So which one is the best? Here we are going to pit the two sandal brands against each other in categories for the ultimate Tevas vs. Chacos showdown.
We’ll be going over important aspects of the shoe such as feel and fit, quality and durability, value and design, to see where they excel and where they may fall short. So, let’s get to it. Who will be the winter? Teva vs Chaco?
Teva vs Chaco? The Ultimate Debate
Teva vs Chaco: Intended Use
One of the first things to consider before deciding between Teva and Chaco sandals is the types of activities you intend to use them. Are they going to primarily be used for travel, hanging out around town, or days at the beach? If so, Teva sandals are probably going to be a better bet.
The sandals are much lighter in weight and have velcro straps that allow you to slip them on and off with minimal effort. They are also comfortable for all-day wear without causing blisters, with incredibly soft footbeds and internal strap linings. However, they lack the arch support and anti-slip footbed that Chaco sandals boast.
Chacos were initially designed specifically for watersports, so the rigid footbed and added a strap across the big toe keep your foot from sliding around within the sandal, even in the wettest conditions. The straps make them fantastic in a variety of outdoor water sports, such as rafting and kayaking.
The thicker padding of the sole also makes them the perfect choice for a hiking sandal, because they protect your feet from feeling rocks and sticks along the trail. Teva sandals just can’t stack up in this environment and could potentially leave you with a twisted ankle if you aren’t careful.
So, overall, it would be safe to say that outdoor sports should be left to the Chacos, while leisure is best suited to Tevas. We took these to the test and went for a two-hour hike the other day. I wore my Chacos, while Cameron wore Tevas. I never slipped with my Chacos and never had blisters, while Cameron mentioned his Tevas weren’t quite as good for hiking through the woods.
Teva vs Chaco: Feel & Fit
One thing when looking at Chacos or Tevas is the feel and fit. Chaco vs Teva sizing is slightly different. While it is essential to match the right sandal to the right activity, nothing is as important as your preferred fit and feel. Chacos and Tevas have many subtle differences in this area that can make or break the choice of sandal for you.
First, Chaco sandals have a much more complex strap system. This allows them to be adjusted and readjusted to get you that “just right” fit for your foot. However, due to the thicker padding, it does take a while of adjusting and readjusting to break-in the sandal and get them to form perfectly to your feet.
The simple velcro straps on the Tevas are much easier to use, and they feel broken-in in a matter of days. However, you are less likely to get that perfect “just right” feel of the padding forming to your foot shape over time. Often Tevas can feel loose as the velcro weakens.
The next difference is in the softness of the footbed. The footbed in a Teva is extremely soft and comfortable to put on, especially after a long day on your feet. Think of stylish slippers that you can wear outside. On the other hand, Chacos are a bit more rigid to prevent slipping, so they feel more like a standard shoe than a cozy slipper. The softer footbed found in the Tevas is also significantly thinner than that found in Chaco sandals. This not only means they will wear out sooner, but also that they should not be considered for all-terrain environments.
Size is where the fit for both Chacos and Tevas are similar. Neither come in half sizes, and both tend to run fairly large instead of being true to size. That is why with Chacos it is recommended that if you do wear a half size, to go down to the next closest number. For example, if you wear a 9 ½, it would be best to try a size 9 sandal at first.
Tevas tend to run even bigger than Chacos. They also recommend that you decrease to the next size, but you may even find yourself going down a full size and a half! However, this should not be a huge deal, as long as you try on your sandals and walk around in them prior to purchase. Most outdoor outfitters will even have a rocky terrain area where you make extra sure they are the correct fit.
Teva vs Chaco: Packability
Both Chacos and Tevas are incredibly packable, with the ability to lay flat against the outside of your suitcase or backpack. This is totally different than bulky hiking boots that are likely to take up half your case.
This is why these products are so popular among backpackers and travelers. They provide a great way to change up your footwear on any given day without losing a ton of space or adding a significant amount of weight. Therefore, when it comes to packability, we would have to say that this one is a tie.
Teva vs Chaco: Design
The aesthetic design of Tevas and Chacos is noticeably different. Tevas tend to look more casual and seem to fit in at home, on the trail, or even out to dinner. They are stylish, sleek, and have a much lower profile than their Chaco counterparts.
Chacos, on the other hand, look like what they were built for – to be outside. They tend to be bigger and clunkier, with more zig-zagging colorful straps and rugged overall appearance – slightly different than the other sandals you may be used to seeing. Chaco, however, does have a fun custom print shop on their website. It’s here that you can fully customize your pair of hiking sandals. I tried this out last month and loved the fun colors and designs. Teva does not have a fully customizable option like this.
These differences are also what make Tevas slightly more versatile, not looking out of place no matter where you wear them.
Teva vs Chaco: Quality & Durability
Both Teva and Chaco are at the top of the list when you discuss the quality and durability of outdoor footwear brands. In fact, Teva was the first to enter into the outdoor sandal game! With that being said, there are a few key features that give Chaco sandals an inherent advantage regarding durability.
The first is their decision not to use velcro straps. Over time, velcro can become frayed and lose its sticking power, especially when regularly exposed to wetter environments. So, naturally, Tevas will need to be replaced more often when compared to the same amount of use of Chaco sandals.
Also, because Tevas have a softer, thinner footbed, the soles tend to wear down faster over repeated uses. While this is still likely to take a long time, it is important to consider if you are the type that wears your shoes into the ground.
Chacos give you the ability to replace the soles as they wear down, meaning you may never have to buy another full sandal in your lifetime! Again, this really only matters if you are the type of person that wears their shoes until they fall apart. If not, the quality on both is so superb that you would be hard-pressed to pick one above the other.
Teva vs Chaco: Sole & Grip
Like all manufacturers, the sole and grip to both Chacos and Tevas have changed drastically through the years due to expanding technology and demands from their purchasers. However, both have stayed on top of their game, retaining great sole and grip throughout the years. Tevas do have a thinner sole, as we mentioned before, but that doesn’t mean they wear out quickly.
In fact, most people get years and years of use out of them with no complaint. Also, they are known for their triangular grip, which many devote Teva customers swear by.
Still, others feel that the grip and sole on Chacos sandals are much stickier and is naturally longer lasting due to thicker padding. The fact that this debate still rages shows this may be a battle on preference over performance.
Teva vs Chaco: Weight
The weight of your Chacos or Tevas sandals is probably more important than you think. This is due to a couple of reasons. First, the lighter your footwear, the faster and longer you can walk. Whether you are running through the airport, walking the streets, or in the backcountry, this is a significant advantage to have.
Heavier generally means bigger, taking up more of the precious space in your backpack or suitcase. If you’re on an overnight hiking trip you’ll want to save us much weight and space on your back as possible, and may be even be begging for lighter sandals. This is highly important for long term travelers and backpackers, where every inch and ounce matter.
Here, when comparing Teva vs Chaco we definitely have a clear winner. Tevas sandals are always going to be a lighter construction. On average, Tevas sandals weigh in at 14.6oz, where Chacos are around 21.2oz. That more than 6oz difference comes in handy more often than you would think.
Teva vs Chaco: Warranties & Replacements
When you decide on a high-quality product, you want to see the company has what it takes to back up their claims and their price tags. That is why you should take a look at the warranty policies before purchasing any travel and/or outdoor gear.
Between Teva and Chaco, Chaco definitely has the better warranty option. They offer a lifetime warranty on materials and craftsmanship. While this does not apply to normal wear and tear, it does apply to things like the soles of the sandals and any broken clasps or straps. All you have to do is send your Chacos through the ReChaco program; if they meet their warranty standards, they will repair or replace completely free of charge.
Teva, on the other hand, only offer a one-year limited warranty that covers any manufacturing defects. While it is nice that they provide some form of warranty, this doesn’t cover much, and you will be out your sandals for 1-3 weeks while they evaluate your claim. So the winner on this Teva vs Chaco debate is clearly Chaco.
Chaco vs Teva: Price
Tevas best selling hiking sandal is the Hurricane XLT2 coming in at $100. Chacos best selling outdoor sandal is the Chaco Z, which starts at $105.
These are both the base models os hiking sandals between Chaco and Teva and the prices go up from there. There are many different designs and styles with both Chaco and Teva products, but in general, I do find Chaco to be slightly higher priced than Teva.
Teva vs Chaco: Value
When we talk about the value between Teva vs Chaco, we are discussing the overall quality, longevity, and utility of any given product. This is completely different than believing that the cheapest product has the best value – it is much more personal than that. Instead, you need to first evaluate whether a given sandal has all the features you consider to be important. Then look at the longevity of that sandal in direct relation to how often you will be using it.
Both Chacos and Tevas have immense value for their own reasons. While Chacos may be more expensive, you may value them more because of their sustainable business practices, excellent warranty, or magnificent grip and arch support. Equally, you may find Tevas to be a better value because they are less expensive, extraordinarily comfortable, and easy to slip on and off without struggle, while still retaining the ability to last for years without issue. The value of each simply depends on what you find the most important when looking for your perfect outdoor sandal.
Chaco vs Teva: Which Outdoor Sandals to Choose?
So we’ve broken down the Teva vs Chaco debate. There are pros and cons to each. Which one will you go with?
- Durable and Strong
- Large enough toe base so that when you hiking and happen to trip on a tree root, it won’t affect your foot.
- Fully Adjustable straps to get the perfect fit.
- Over time these shoes mend to your foot
- Wrap around toe feature
- Will last for years
- Lifetime warranty
- Grippy sole – perfect for water crossings.
- Printshop website to customize your own fun sandals
- Heavy and bulky.
- May take a long time to break in
- Slightly higher priced than Tevas
- More stylish for everyday wear.
- Not as heavy so they are better for traveling.
- Lighter than Chacos
- Completely adjustable velcro straps
- Anti-microbial footbed to prevent odor.
- Cheaper than Chacos
- More cushioned and comfortable footbed.
- Velcro may wear faster
- Not as durable as Chacos
- Only a one year warranty is offered.
Popular Women’s Teva Sandals
Teva Hurricanes XLT2
Teva Original Universal
Popular Women’s Chaco Sandals
Chaco Z/X2 Classic
Chaco Z Volv X
Popular Men’s Teva Sandals
Popular Men’s Chaco Sandals
Chaco Z/1 Classic
Tevas or Chacos – Which Outdoor Sandal Do We Have?
The honest answer? We have both and love them for different reasons that suit our lifestyle.
Since we used to be full-time travelers and now travel six months out the year we invested in Tevas. Tevas are lighter and easier to travel with. For hiking sandals, they are also slightly more stylish than Chacos.
However, we live in the Canadian Rockies and often go on hikes and walks through the woods. This is where my Chacos come in handy. Chacos are definitely more durable and stand up better to the natural elements than Tevas. I’m also frequently crossing streams and riverbeds here in Banff and the Chacos hold up better in the water.
So it’s a tough call to pick one over the other. It’s important to find out what you want out of your outdoor sandals and go from there. Or you could always purchase both and test them both out for yourself!
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