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January 2018 Issue
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Chaco Z Cloud



Our Rating:

At a glance

Plusses: Supportive, comfortable and good value.
Minuses: Heavier than other models.

Features: Named for the single zigzag strap that crosses the foot and passes through the midsole, the Z Cloud is a comfortable secure fitting sandal.

It has a high profile and a stiff dual-density polyurethane midsole which helps prevent twisting and provides decent protection from protrusions like stones. It’s this which makes the sandal so hefty – and durable.

The outsole has 3.5mm lugs, absorbs trail impact well and has enough flex to ensure mud is shed and the sole remains grippy on all track surfaces.

Fit: The sandals come in full sizing only. I’m normally an 8.5, so needed a size 9, which was marginally too big for me.

Comfort: Even when pulled tighter than necessary, the straps felt soft and comfortable. They hold the foot so securely, hot spots and foot movement were not an issue. 

In use: I wore these on steep muddy tracks, gravel paths and while carrying my 18kg daughter in a child carrier. They offered excellent support and comfort and proved grippy on every terrain type. The webbing strap holds the foot perfectly, though it is fiddly and takes time to adjust on first wearing. Once tightened, my feet felt rock solid, with very little – if any – movement. This had the benefit of ensuring trail debris could not become lodged beneath my foot. 

Value: A well-made and comfortable sandal, the price reflects its relative simplicity. As with the Teva, most competitors’ sandals tend to have toe bumpers and protective uppers which are more expensive. 

Verdict: Its high profile makes the Z Cloud look cumbersome, but it is supremely comfortable and agile. It is a heavy sandal – 854g (m), 594g (w) – but holds the foot securely enough for it to be used on easy through to demanding trails. Some might prefer a sandal that offers more foot protection, but other than that, this lacks for nothing and is hard to fault.