Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In Search of the Perfect Summer Sandal: Chaco Flip Out EcoTread

There is a reason that Chaco Footwear has an entire page dedicated to "Chaconians" - the people who love and trust their Chacos above all other flips and sandals.  Since 1989 the company has held themselves to a standard of fit and quality which has won them legions of dedicated fans. 

Each pair of Chaco® flip flops and sandals addresses the dynamics of your stride with what they call ADDSTRIDE, a combination of footbed contour for pure alignment to the body and to the adventure, function specific materials and outsole geometries designed to enhance the walking motion.  In non-technical terms, better fit means better footwear. 

With this heritage of technological innovation and quality footwear, it goes without saying that the Gumption Crew was thrilled with an opportunity to review the Chaco Flip Out EcoTread as part of our "Search for the Perfect Summer Sandal" series.

On Performance Factor…
We can't define this flip any better than Chaco does on their own site.  The Womens Flip Out Ecotread is "a pure balance between function and simplicity".

Enjoying the Flip Out Ecotread at 7000 ft
This flip has a single piece of soft polyester webbing, water-proof leather toe posts and a floral patterned microfiber footbed. With the ADDSTRIDE footbed technology the Flip Out Ecotread helps maintain arch support and body alignment.  That's good news for you as it ensures a supported, comfortable stride in any activity whether cruising the beach or around base of a waterfall as our Gumption Crew did at 7000 ft in the El Dorado National Forest.

The Non-marking EcoTread™ outsole is simple but effective in design providing enough sticky traction for basic everyday wear.  The other design feature we enjoyed was grooved channels on the outsole which, on wet surfaces, help move water away from the shoe thereby ensuring even more secure traction.  A definite benefit for those outdoor enthusiasts who insist on wearing their flips even in the rain or the mom on the go standing poolside watching her kids at swim lessons. 

The design/performance feature that our Gumption Crew truly fell in "luv" with was the Chaco LUVSEAT™.  In broad brush terms the LUVSEAT™ is the curvature of a Chaco footbed.  More specifically the LUVSEAT™ footbed ensures a supported, comfortable stride in any activity, and as a result, has been awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). 

It is at this point we provide a shameless plug of this incredible video describing the benefits of the LUVSEAT™ technology.  Trust us, it's a must watch.   
On Style Factor...
Our Flip Out EcoTreads were the stylish purple floral patterned flips pictured.  With water-proof leather toe posts and floral patterned microfiber footbed, these flips are not only comfortable, but they stand out in a crowded world of plain black flips.  While the body lines of the flip were designed to enhance comfort and long term wearability, they make for a sleek and aesthetically pleasing sandal.  They are also available in other colors including a blue/green color Chaco has appropriately named "fresh". 

For those passionate not only about style, but sustainable style you will be pleased to know that the outsole contains 25% recycled content.  And one day, many moons from now if you actually wear down your sandal or that durable outsole, fear not my friend for you can actually ReChaco it!

Room For Improvement?
Throughout the review period the straps on our Flip Out EcoTreads were steady.  Even after use in wet environments they didn't shrink up or stretch out.  For our crew this was both a negative and positive.  It's always a benefit knowing your straps won't change dramatically over the life of your sandal. However the straps might prove to be problematic for ladies with a higher instep.  Additionally our crew found the straps to be a little on the narrow side which took a little adjustment time.  

Closing Thoughts...
The Flip Out EcoTread is a perfect fit to the Chaco tradition of high caliber sandals built to last.  If you're a Chaconion, or even a Chaconian wanna-be then the Chaco Flip Out EcoTread is a dependable flip perfect for your more casual adventures.  They will keep you comfy and more importantly, well supported.  Add in the ability to ReChaco your flips, rest assured the Flip Out EcoTread will be an enduring part of your wardrobe for many summers to come.

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