The Chaco Z/Volv 2 is one of the most dependable sandals in our lineup, consistently finishing among the top performers in every single rating category. This model has everything Chaco lovers will appreciate: dependable construction, excellent foot security, and good traction, all in a package that's 20% lighter than Chaco's typical offerings. During our analysis, we found comfort and confidence every time we slipped these on. While the toe loop and pull-through strap system might not be for everyone, if you already love Chacos, or have been wanting to try them, this could be the right model for you! For another top performing model with a simpler adjustment system check out the Bedrock Cairn Adventure.
Chaco Z/Volv 2 Review
Cons: Adjustment can be tedious
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Z/Volv 2 earns a Notable mention as one of the top performing products in our review. Although it didn't blow us away in any one performance category, it was consistently dependable and never revealed any obvious weaknesses. The Z/Volv combines what Chaco users love into a lighter package, with the same familiar solid construction, excellent stability and security, and good traction. While some testers noted that the pull-through strap system could be a little tedious to adjust, that certainly wasn't a deal breaker and is part of what gives Chacos their quality performance.
This sandal earned solid scores for comfort, with a 'LoveSeat PU' 3-D contoured footbed with plenty of arch support, and an intricate webbing strap system that keeps your foot securely locked in place. This footbed and strap system work well together to maintain a comfortable footstrike across a wide variety of terrain and conditions. The pull-through webbing strap system allows for a snug and comfortable fit, though one user experienced some rubbing from the toe loop before the shoes were fully broken in.
While our testers thought that the footbed material could have been a little softer, like on the Teva Original Universal, we were pleased that our feet stayed comfortably locked in during wet, muddy, and sandy conditions. Compared to the similarly rated Editors' Choice Award Winner Bedrock Cairn Adventure, we thought the Z/Volv was more comfortable due to the contoured footbed. For a similar design in a cushier package, check out the Chaco Z/Cloud, the most comfortable sandal in our review.
This model ended up tied for second place with three other competitors in our traction testing, behind only the Bedrock Cairn Adventure with their Vibram MegaGrip soles. While Chaco's 'Non-marking EcoTread' soles didn't have the raw gripping power of the Vibram soles, we didn't find any situations where this really held us back. From mossy creekbeds, to dusty trails, to sandy beaches, to slimy stairways, these guys performed admirably. The Keen Newport H2 is a worthy competitor with a closed-toe design that provides excellent wet gripping power for your creek hikes.
We believe that a sandal's stability, traction, and overall comfort are interdependent with each other, and a product can't perform highly in one of these categories if there are any glaring weaknesses in another category. That's where these sandals shine. The pull-through webbing strap system keeps your foot securely planted to the contoured footbed, and the 'EcoTred' outsole keeps your foot firmly planted on the ground, which makes for a comfortable experience. Without any of these individual pieces, the overall performance of the sandal wouldn't be the same.
It's no surprise that this product also earns very high marks for stability, with the contoured footbed and intricate strap system that we've described. Our feet felt very stable and secure on rocky terrain, and on uphill, downhill, or sidehill slopes. The way the straps, footbed, and soles work together is comfortable and confidence-inspiring.
The only other model to score higher in the stability metric was the burly Chaco Z/1 Classic. A similar classic Chaco design, the Z/1 Classic has a heavier and stiffer footbed, making it the most stable sandal we've tested. If you're willing to sacrifice a little bit of overall burliness to save a little weight, the Z/Volv 2 is worth checking out.
These sandals again landed near the top of the pack of our adjustability ratings. The pull-through webbing system allows for a very customizable fit. The entire strap system is made from one interconnected piece of webbing material that is hidden within the footbed. To adjust one of the straps, you pull some slack through the footbed to tighten or loosen as needed. This system can take a little getting used to, but the Chaco website has a user-friendly tutorial to help you out.
While the pull-through strap system allows nearly unending adjustability, some of our users found it a little difficult to find and maintain the perfect fit. If you want to simply adjust one strap on the sandal, you may have to adjust them all, since you are pulling the slack from the other sections of the interconnected webbing. While this wasn't a deal breaker, it made it more difficult to get the sandals on and off quickly, or to make on-the-fly adjustments.
As you might expect by now, the Z/Volv 2 was again one of the top scorers for versatility. The overall comfort, stability, and reasonably low weight mean that there aren't many places this sandal can't go. From beach walks, to hikes, to water sports, to cruising around town, Chaco has you covered with these sandals.
Our reviewers agree that these sandals are suitable for almost any application you can think of. While there are other options out there that are lighter, or have slightly better traction, or are slightly easier to adjust, the Z/Volv 2 rates highly in every category. If you're looking for a comfortable do-it-all sandal, you should consider this model!
At the higher end of the price spectrum, with a list price of $100, these Chacos certainly aren't cheap. But with the top-notch materials and construction, and excellent all-around performance, we would expect these sandals to hold up quite well through the years, making them a solid value if you intend to use them for a while. If you're not a fan of the Chaco strap system, or you're looking for something lighter or cheaper, check out our Best Buy Award winner Teva Original Universal. If you're looking for a sturdier model that should last a long time, the Z/Volv2 is worth exploring.
The Chaco Z/Volv 2 is a dependable, sturdy workhorse of a sandal that doesn't have any major weaknesses. We were very impressed with it, as it gave a scare to the Bedrock Cairn Adventure's Editors' Choice Award, but in the end, we were more impressed by the amazing traction and the simple adjustability of the Cairns. If you're a Chaco fan looking to upgrade, you'll appreciate the 20% lower weight compared to older models. We don't think you can go wrong with this sandal!
— Nick Bruckbauer