Teva vs Chaco: Which Hiking Sandal Is Best For You?

Teva vs. Chaco is a classic debate, and the battle for the best outdoor sandal is tough. Both brands have a loyal following and have protected millions of feet across countless miles on the trail. We love outdoor sandals as they’re a great way to allow your feet to breathe.

Sandals have a definite place on the trail, from excellent airflow to lighter footwear and easy water crossings! They’re a welcome relief for thru-hikers feet after a long day on the trail. However, Teva and Chaco dominate the industry, so which do you choose?

We’ll review important aspects of each sandal brand, such as feel and fit, quality and durability, value and design, to see where they excel and may fall short. Who will be the winner, Teva or Chaco?


Teva vs. Chaco The Hiking Sandal Debate


Chaco Overview

tevas vs chacos

Chaco Pros

  • Excellent Durability
  • Large Platform For Foot Protection
  • Straps Make Adjustment Easy And Comfortable
  • Secure Straps Over Foot
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Grippy Sole – Wonderful Water

Chaco Cons

  • Heavier Weight
  • Staps Can Be Uncomfortable For Odd Shaped Feet Due To Toe Straps
  • Bulky
  • Higher Price

Teva Overview

tevas vs chacos

Teva Pros

  • Wide Range Of Colorways
  • Lightweight
  • Velcro Straps Are Easy To Adjust
  • Anti-Microbial Footbed
  • Excellent Value
  • Terrific Sole With Excellent Grip

Teva Cons

  • Velcro Straps Are Rigid And Uncomfortable
  • Not Secure As Chaco

Teva vs Chaco: Intended Use

Teva Vs Chaco

One of the first things to consider before deciding between Teva and Chaco sandals is the activities you intend to use. Are they primarily 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 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 for outdoor water sports, such as rafting and kayaking. 

Teva Vs Chaco

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 can’t stack up in this environment and 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.

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Teva vs Chaco: Feel & Fit

Teva Vs Chaco

One thing when looking at Chacos or Tevas is the feel and fit. Chaco vs. Teva sizing is slightly different. While matching the right sandal to the suitable activity is essential, nothing is necessary as your preferred fit and feel. Chacos and Tevas have many subtle differences in this area that can make or break sandal choices for you.

First, Chaco sandals have a much more complex strap system. It allows them to be adjusted and readjusted to get you that “just right” fit for your foot. However, the thicker padding takes some adjusting and readjusting to break in the sandal and get them to form ideally to your feet.

Teva Vs Chaco

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 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 exceptionally 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 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. It means they will wear out sooner and are not great for all-terrain environments. 

Size is where the fit for both Chacos and Tevas is similar. Neither comes in half sizes, and both tend to run large instead of being true to size. With Chacos, you should go down to the following closest number if you wear a half size. For example, if you wear a 9 ½, it would be best to try a size nine 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 go down a full size and a half! It shouldn’t be a huge deal if you try on your sandals and walk around in them before purchasing.

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Teva vs. Chaco: Packability

Teva Vs Chaco

Both styles of sandals are easy to pack and can lay flat against the outside of a suitcase or backpack. It is different from bulky hiking boots that consume a lot of space. 

It 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, we would have to say that this one is a tie to packability. 

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Teva vs Chaco: Design

Teva Vs Chaco

The aesthetic design of Tevas and Chacos is noticeably different. Tevas tend to look more casual and fit in at home, on the trail, or even at 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 a 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 also make Tevas slightly more versatile, not looking out of place no matter where you wear them.

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Teva vs. Chaco: Quality & Durability 

Teva Vs Chaco

Both Teva and Chaco are at the top of the list when you discuss the quality and durability of outdoor footwear brands. Teva was the first to enter the outdoor sandal game! A few key features 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 essential to consider if you are the type that wears your shoes into the ground.

Chacos allows you to replace the soles as they wear down, meaning you may never have to buy another entire sandal in your lifetime! This only matters if you are the type of person who 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.

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Teva vs Chaco: Sole & Grip

Teva Vs Chaco

Both have changed drastically 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.

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 are naturally longer lasting due to thicker padding. This debate still rages, which may be a battle of preference over performance.

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Teva vs. Chaco: Weight

Galapagos Cruises

The weight of your Chacos or Tevas sandals is probably more important than you think. It is due to a couple of reasons. First, the lighter your footwear, the faster and longer you can walk. It is a significant advantage, whether you are running through the airport, walking the streets, or backcountry.

Heavier generally means bigger, taking up more precious space in your backpack or suitcase. If you’re on an overnight hiking trip, you’ll want to save as much weight and space on your back as possible. It is essential for long-term travelers and backpackers, where every inch and ounce matters. 

Here, when comparing Teva vs. Chaco, we have a clear winner. Tevas sandals are always going to be a lighter construction. On average, Tevas sandals weigh in at 14.6oz, whereas Chacos are around 21.2oz. That more than 6oz difference comes in handy more often than you think. 

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Teva vs. Chaco: Warranties & Replacements

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When you decide on a high-quality product, you want to see if the company has what it takes to back up its claims and price tags. It would be best to look at the warranty policies before purchasing any travel and outdoor gear.

Between Teva and Chaco, Chaco has the better warranty option. Chaco warranty offers a lifetime warranty on materials and craftsmanship. It does not apply to normal wear and tear, nor does it apply to the sandals’ soles and any broken clasps or straps. You have to send your Chacos through the ReChaco program; if they meet their warranty standards, they will repair or replace them completely free of charge. Chaco Repairs are excellent too!

On the other hand, Teva only offers a one-year limited warranty that covers any manufacturing defects. While it is nice that they provide some form of guarantee, this doesn’t cover much, and you will be out of your sandals for 1-3 weeks while they evaluate your claim. So the winner of this Teva vs. Chaco debate is Chaco.

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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. So when you’re considering Chacos vs. Tevas, price doesn’t matter.

These are the base models of hiking sandals, and prices go up. There are many different designs and styles with Chaco and Teva products, but I generally find Chaco slightly higher priced than Teva.

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Teva vs Chaco: Value

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When we talk about the value between Teva vs. Chaco, we discuss the overall quality, longevity, and utility of any given product. It is entirely different than believing that the cheapest product has the best value – it is much more personal than that. Instead, it would be best to evaluate whether a given sandal has all the essential features you consider. Then look at the longevity of that sandal directly related to how often you will be using it.

Both Chacos and Tevas have immense value for their 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 depends on what you find the most important when looking for your perfect outdoor sandal. 

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Teva Hurricane XLT2

tevas vs chacos

Price: $75 | Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz. | Material:

Pros

  • Excellent Value
  • Super Comfortable
  • Arch Support
  • Excellent Design
  • Reliable
  • Capable Hiking Sandal

Cons

  • Velcro Strap Design
  • Not As Secure As Chaco

The Hurricane XLT2 is a far more competent hiking sandal than the original Teva sandal. This sandal feels ready to tackle any trail as it is well-cushioned underfoot and has a reliable grip. It features a far more capable outsole and a tread pattern that does a decent good at protection underfoot. It’s a great hiking sandal that is well built and offers a lot of value as it’s $30 less than the similar Chaco Z/Cloud.

We like the Chaco Z/Cloud strap layout more because it uses buckles instead of Teva’s velcro. The velcro design makes the straps more rigid and uncomfortable. Chaco sandals also feature a midsole strap for a more secure feeling on challenging terrain. However, you can’t beat the value and comfort of the Hurricane XLT2.

We’re nitpicking here because the XLT2 is a fantastic sandal that’s an easy choice for most. It’s a beloved hiking sandal, and the sandals come in some fun colorway options to make a statement.

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Chaco Z/Cloud

tevas vs chacos

Price: $110 | Weight: 1 lb.  14oz. | Material: Dual-density Polyurethane, Rubber

Pros

  • Solid Construction
  • Super Comfortable
  • Comfortable Straps
  • Arch Support

Cons

  • Straps Uncomfortable For Odd-Shaped Feet
  • Bulky

When it comes to comfort wrapped up as a trail sandal, the Chaco Z/Cloud has everything you need. Chaco’s ‘Luvseat Footbed’ provides an incredibly soft cushion layer that keeps your feet happy all day long. /it is complemented by additional padding in the Z/Cloud and excellent arch support to make a top-notch hiking sandal.

The sole also features an antimicrobial application that will prevent odor and keep your feet feeling fresh all day long. The tread on the sandals is reliable and grips wet surfaces and rough terrain with ease. It’s a rugged hiking sandal that feels adept on the trail, although it is bulky.

The Z/Cloud is a little heavy, especially for sandals, as there are full hiking shoes that weigh less. If you want a pair of sandals for backcountry adventures, there are lighter options. It is just one of three in Chaco’s Z series and provides the cushiest sole. If you want more support and stability, the Chaco Z/1 Original is a great choice; however, we prefer the comfort of the Z/Cloud.

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Teva Original Universal Hiking Sandals

Teva Original Universal Best Travel Sandals

Price: $55 | Weight: 13.5 oz. | Material: EVA, Rubber

Pros

  • Super Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Classic Look
  • Secure Fit
  • Reliable

Cons

  • Lacks Arch Support
  • Durability
  • Adjustability

Teva is well-loved for a good reason, and their classic strap sandal is one of their best to this day. They’re super comfortable, versatile, and don’t look half bad for a pair of hiking sandals. A simple strap setup and smaller footbed make them minimal in all the right ways.

The original design came from the eighties and earned Teva’s loyal following. Patterned straps are lightweight and comfortable and keep the sandals secure on your foot. When it comes to underfoot, EVA provides a comfy ride, while the rubber sole provides enough traction and protection to use on easy hikes and water sports.

They’re affordable and lightweight because they feature thinner soles and less durable outsoles. If you want a more robust hiking sandal for a full-day hike, you’ll want to spend more for a better outsole. They make for great sandals in camp to let your feet breathe. Style is also minimal enough to look nice for errands around town.

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Which Outdoor Sandal Do We Have?

Teva Vs Chaco

So Chacos or Tevas? 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 of the year, we invested in Tevas. Tevas are lighter and easier to travel. 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. It’s here where my Chacos come in handy. Chacos are 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 essential 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!

About Natasha

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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