It’s Chaco season and time to work on the classic Chaco tan. With so many Chaco fans out there, it’s not hard to find someone in a tan competition to see who has the best strap lines. I’ve now jumped into the fray and am well on my way to my first award-winning Chaco tan.

The Zong EcoTread® sandals have been my companions now for a few months. With the versatility of a slip-on combined with the classic Z/2 performance, the Zong EcoTread is a great sandal option for summer.

Chaco Zong EcoTread Sandal Review

About the Chaco Zong EcoTread

Built for flexibility and performance, the Zong sandals offer the performance of the Z/2 with slip-on capabilities for easy on/off. Combine that with 25% recycled outsole and BioCentric footbed (Approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association) and you’ve got support, traction and eco-friendlyness all in one. Here are a few more features

  • Slip-on design
  • BioCentric™ footbed
  • Based on Z/2 sandal
  • EcoTread outsole features 25% recycled materials
  • Available in three colors: Black, Bluesteel and Hemlock
  • MSRP: $75

Chaco Zong EcoTread Review

My previous experience with Chacos wasn’t optimal. With all my friends singing praises to the Chaco, I bought a pair of Z/1’s about 8 years ago only to return them–my flat feet didn’t appreciate them so much. Even with that history, I was more than willing to give them a second try, so I went with something a little different, but on the same tried-and-true last–the backless Zong for easy on/off.

Lacking the back strap of the rest of the Chaco sandal lineup, the Zong still provides the zig-zag strap design, but with a big-toe-wrapping twist from the Z/2. The strap locations provide just the right amount of support and the big-toe loop provides an extra measure of security–something you won’t find with the ubiquitous flip-flops everyone wears.

The BioCentric footbed of the Zongs is built anatomically to provide arch support and comfort for all-day adventures. Even with my flat feet, I’ve been able to wear them all day with minimal discomfort–which is more than I can say for most of the sandals in my closet.

After wearing these extensively, I realized now what I didn’t have the patience to realize with my previous Chacos… these sandals require a break-in period. After a couple of weeks, the footbed became contoured to my foot while becoming slightly more supple. That little extra give once broken-in provides excellent shock absorption on pavement.

I appreciated the excellent traction while hiking and on slippery riverbeds. The treads aren’t super-deep, but the rubber compound is super-grippy in all conditions.

While these sandals are great, they do have some shortcomings. For starters, it takes some time to break them in and become accustomed to the straps. Once dialed in, it maintains the right support and pressure to keep them in place. I also had trouble running in them as they always wanted to slip off my feet–my big toes have most likely doubled in strength though as I press on the footbed to keep them in place at higher paces or on steep inclines.

The only other negative I’ve got to mention is that with my flat feet, I’ve maxed out the strap adjustment and with that, I’ve got a lot of excess strap. I end up stepping on that excess strap with nearly every step, which gets annoying–there’s got to be a way to tuck the excess somewhere.

Good Zong

  • After break-in, footbed is cushy and supportive
  • Outsole provides excellent traction on streets, dirt, rocks and riverbeds
  • Grippy wet traction
  • Durable outsole made from 25% recycled materials
  • Easy slip-on

Bad Zong

  • Flat-footers will want a little more strap adjustment
  • I keep stepping on the excess strap
  • Running in them can be a challenge

Bottom Line: Chaco Zong Sandals

All the Chaco nay-sayers (likely not many out there) should rejoice in these sandals. They are comfortable and versatile while offering excellent support and traction with the convenience of a slip-on. Bring on the Chaco tan!

Buy Now: Find Chaco Sandals at REI

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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