If you're in the market for a pair of summer-ready shoes, your go-to options are likely a pair of flip flops, classic white sneakers, loafers, or even a pair of mules. For many, the top of that list is a pair of sandals. The sandal kingdom has many subjects, but perhaps the most versatile is a pair of hiking sandals.
Sometimes called adventure sandals, these trail-ready summer shoes usually feature some kind of open-toe design with adjustable straps for the upper and barely anything else, save for a chunky sole that can take on the elements. They're lightweight but durable, breathable and waterproof. Basically, they're the perfect summer shoe.
Two of the most popular styles to date are Chaco's Z/1 sandals and Teva's Hurricane XLT2. They're both weird, but, like, in a stylish way. And they're often the two worth considering in the space that's increasingly gotten more attention from the fashion world. More and more, people are flocking to Chaco and Teva, not for their trail prowess, but for their style. Socks and sandals makes no sense for a sandal that's made to anticipate rivers and streams. They're popular with the gorpcore aesthetic, hippie types and, of course, Japanese trendsetters, which has elicited a number of collaborations for both brands.
So now you're here, pondering a potential purchase. But which one should you get? We compare the two, side by side.
Teva Hurricane XLT2
Strap: These straps use recycled plastic yarns which are woven into a quick-drying webbing and secure using hook-and-loop closures (aka Velcro). They wrap around the ankle and span the side of the foot before attaching to another set of straps that go over the forefoot. A nice touch is the injection-molded pieces at the end of the straps which make them easy to grip and adjust the tension.
Footbed: The footbed is smooth and not as grippy as the Chaco's, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. And the contour of the footbed feels comfortable for someone like me who has flatter feet.
Sole: The Hurricane's outsole uses its trademarked Durabrasion Rubber, which offers mostly horizontal tread which grips well.
Chaco Z/1 Classic
Strap: The strap is a polyester jacquard webbing that feels dense, but light. Interestingly, the strap is one single, continuous piece that wraps around the foot and is laced through the shoe's midsole.
Footbed: The footbed uses Chaco's LUVSEAT technology which is a dense polyurethane foam that is firm and has more resiliency compared to the Tevas. It's more contoured than Teva as well, making them great for people with normal to higher arches.
Sole: The Z/1s use a rubber compound lug sole that feels pretty comparable to the Hurricanes in terms of grip. However, the tread, like the footbed is more contoured and follows the natural motion of the step.
Which One Should You Buy?
Teva's are great if you're looking for something lighter, overall. That goes for weight, silhouette and price. The EVA foam sheds some of the sandal's weight and the less-pronounced footbed makes it more comfortable for those with normal or flatter arches -- something worth considering if you're actually taking these to task.
The price difference between Teva and Chaco is not insignificant, either. The Chacos cost 50 percent more than a pair of Tevas. So if you're looking for something that has a (very) similar look the Chaco at a lower price point, these are for you.
If you're looking for a sandal with some chunk and upgraded materials, step into the Chacos. The Z/1 Classics are a touch heftier and a step up in price compared to the Hurricane XLT2. The PU foam feels more substantial and if your feet have higher arches, you'll like the support of the Chacos more. Though the strap adjustment is a little fiddly, the single, continuous webbing and wrap-around design feels more ergonomic. Plus, there are no annoying velcro straps.
The Z/1s also come in a wider range of color options, including customizable versions, over the Hurricanes. And it's very worth mentioning that they come in wide widths, too. So if you're looking for a pair to match your 'fit and the fit of your feet more precisely, you might be better off with Chaco.
Chacos are also built for the long haul. The jump in price also means you get access to Chaco's resole program. Yes, you can have your Chaco sandals resoled. Bet you thought it was just Goodyear-welted boots.