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Author Topic: Why are Chacos so popular?  (Read 19949 times)

Offline Tyler

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Why are Chacos so popular?
« on: January 26, 2014, 12:04:18 PM »
I personally have never owned a pair, but I've seen many blogs where the volunteer has said they are bringing Chaco sandals or that they are super popular among PCVs.

For those who have them, are they mainly a fad or are they great to have in a lot of PC regions?
-Tyler, FPCV, Costa Rica

Offline worldofinflation

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 01:04:59 PM »
PCV's get a 40% discount on Chaco sandals (you must apply for a Prodeal Account)

They are also incredibly comfortable


Offline jlmanzak

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 04:55:01 PM »
Teva's and Keen's also give a PC discount. I'm a Keen fan personally, I think it's just that having a good pair of comfortable quality sandals is a good thing. At least that's my assumption pre service.

Offline Branden Ryan

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2014, 02:36:27 PM »
Chacos are great! Buy a pair a few months in advance (if you are) before you go to break them in. Cool strap color options, comfortable, great durability, and you'll appreciate it if you're somewhere hot and don't ever want to wear real shoes! I've worn real shoes in country less than five or so times - a few while doing internship teaching during PST, at Swearing-In, and for a few days while hiking (though, at camp, the Chacos went right on!). I definitely recommend Chacos, or at least some long-lasting sandal!
Branden Ryan
PCV, Tanzania, 2013-2015

Offline koji

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 01:15:06 AM »
I think the thing about a good pair of sandals is having something comfy to wear that you will not have to replace for two years. Cheap sandals tend to break within 6 months. Chacos, Teva, or Keens can last a lifetime. (My tevas are going on year 8 now... I never cared much for chacos).

Also, in Buglaria they were rather strict at times about business casual. Sometimes volunteers could get away with dressed up durable sandals, like chacos, but we definitely could not get away with regular flip flops or cheap-looking sport sandals. (At PC events/seminars/trainings... it varied from site to site - I lived in yoga clothes because I taught dance at my site, and my hosts were very accepting of my outdoorsey side).

I think a lot of people assume that PC is going to be a lot of working outside, rough and rural conditions in hot places- which chacos are great for. But more and more PC involves working in offices and schools which have stricter dress codes so you might not get as much wear out of them.

Offline shawn

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 11:27:31 AM »
Chacos is the unofficial sandal sponsor of PCVs (over Keen or Teva) because they CHOSE to be. While they are great sandals, Chacos saw an opportunity and took it. They got in on the ground floor by offering an insane discount to PCVs, and now they are so ingrained that Keen and Teva could GIVE away shoes for years to PCVs and not unseat them as the sole (get it, sole???) sponsor of PCVs' feet.
PCVL - Rwanda 2010-2013
NPCA Serving Volunteer Advisory Council

Offline sjbirkhead

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 10:27:58 AM »
I had two pair of chacos while I was in Africa.  Chacos have more support  (good arch) than most sandals and they wear well and will last you even past the two years.  I was in a small village and it was hot so I wore them almost everyday.  Tivas and Keens are also good brands.  It will probably depend on which brand fits you the best.  I would not recommend taking a cheap pair of sandals. 

Offline wreloise

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2014, 07:15:15 AM »
What about living in the mountains of Lesotho?   Is it okay to have the foot expose in walking up and down slopes?
Eloise-Born to Serve

Offline sjbirkhead

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2014, 10:11:18 AM »
I know people who run in their Chacos!  But, walking paths in the mountains might be tricky.  Keen has a sandal which has  protection for the toes.  I have had those and used them for kayaking.  I had a pair in Africa but they were a little uncomfortable because sand would get inside of them.  They might be better for you on those mountain trails. 

Offline Amelia.Plant

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 03:06:50 AM »
It is tough because you don't know exactly what your work environment is going to look like.  Everyone at my clinic looked a lot nicer than I did and I wished I had brought nicer clothes and shoes.  That being said, Chacos are useful because they are kind of a "one shoe fits all" thing.  You can wear them hiking, when it is hot, wear socks with them when it is cold, etc.  I just got the plain black ones which matched with many things but weren't the most business casual kind of footwear.  I am happy I brought them, though.  I agree with the above poster, who said that sand got in between my foot and the Chaco's.  That happened all the time and I had to stop and clean them out.

So basically: there are pros and cons to Chaco's specifically.  However, getting a comfortable sandal (or two or three!) that you can walk long distances in is essential!
Amelia
RPCV, Botswana 2011-2013

Offline Branden Ryan

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 06:33:44 AM »
In addition to my above post, recently, my Chacos started delaminating (the soles started coming off). It might have been a bad batch of glue, but I contacted Chacos customer service, and they're shipping me a free replacement pair to country (via my parents since Chacos doesn't ship outside the US).

So, for great customer service and awesome support, I, again, recommend Chacos!
Branden Ryan
PCV, Tanzania, 2013-2015

Meredith

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2014, 03:33:23 AM »
I was somewhat skeptical about chacos before I went, but I LIVED in them.  Once they were broken in, and my feet had adjusted to them, they were super comfortable. Great arch support, not too hot (I hate having hot feet). They held up really well, my leather flats died after a month in the african mud, but these made it for the full two years. They have really great traction, so they were great for the slippery african mud. Additionally they were really easy to clean, I could just dump them in my laundry tub after I washed my clothes and scrub them a bit, I could even the toughest african mud out of them (sensing a theme here?).

As far as how appropriate they are.... it depends a LOT on your country. During our "what is okay to wear session" in training, they said that they were okay for work for the ladies, but not cool for the guys. They were definitely more casual that what my colleagues and students wore most of the time (they were pretty strictly black, well-shined leather shoes kind of people).

The short of it? If you are a sandals person, definitely worth at least trying on a pair, probably worth buying a pair.

Meredith
Kenya 11-13

Offline sashen

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Re: Why are Chacos so popular?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2015, 05:07:24 PM »
You may want to check out an alternative to Chacos that's up to 70% lighter, rolls up to fit in your pocket and, even with the discount, less expensive... namely Xero Shoes (especially the new Z-Trek).

Just posted a discount at http://peacecorpswiki.org/Volunteer_discounts#Shoes