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

The battle between Teva vs. Chaco outdoor sandals is tough. Both are exceptionally well designed and at the top of the adventurer game. So which one is the best? Here we will 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 winner Teva or Chaco?

The Hiking Sandal Debate Teva vs 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 types of activities you intend to use. 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. 

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.

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 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 sandal choices 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.

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 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 means they will wear out sooner and that they should not be considered 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 fairly large instead of being true to size. With Chacos, it is recommended that if you do wear a half size, 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 before purchase. Most outdoor outfitters will even have a rocky terrain area where you make sure they are the correct fit. 

Teva vs Chaco: Packability

Teva Vs Chaco

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, we would have to say that this one is a tie when it comes to packability. 

Teva vs Chaco: Design

Teva Vs Chaco

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 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.

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. 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

Teva Vs Chaco

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 are 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

Galapagos Cruises

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 as much weight and space on your back as possible and maybe even be begging for lighter sandals. This is highly important for long-term travelers and backpackers, where every inch and ounce matters. 

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

Galapagos Packing List

When you decide on a high-quality product, you want to see the company has what it takes to back up its claims and its price tags. That is why you should look at the warranty policies before purchasing any travel and/or outdoor gear.

Between Teva and Chaco, Chaco definitely has the better warranty option. Chaco warranty offers 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 them completely free of charge. Chaco Repairs are great too!

Teva, on the other hand, only offers 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 of 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. So when you’re considering Chacos vs. Tevas, price doesn’t really matter.

These are both the base models of hiking sandals between Chaco and Teva, and the prices go up from there. There are many different designs and styles with Chaco and Teva products, but in general, I find Chaco to be slightly higher priced than Teva.

Teva vs Chaco: Value

Galapagos Packing List

When we talk about the value between Teva vs. Chaco, we discuss 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 first to evaluate whether a given sandal has all the features you consider to be important. 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 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 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?

Chaco Z:2 Sandal

Chaco Pros:

  • 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

Chaco Cons:

  • Heavy and bulky.
  • May take a long time to break in
  • Slightly higher priced than Tevas
Tevas vs Chacos Hurricane

Teva Pros:

  • 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.

Teva Cons:

  • 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
Teva Original Universal

Teva Verras

Teva Tirras
Teva Tirras

Popular Women’s Chaco Sandals

Chaco Z/X2 Classic
Chaco Z/X2 Classic

Chaco Z/1

Chaco Z Volv X
Teva vs Chaco

Popular Men’s Teva Sandals

Teva Hurricane

Teva Universal
Teva Universal

Teva Terra
Teva Terra

Popular Men’s Chaco Sandals

Chaco Z/1 Classic
Best Travel Sandals Men's Chaco Z Sandals

Chaco Z/2
Chaco z:2

Tevas vs Chacos – 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 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!

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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