Chacos, either way
I have a pair of chacos that have the toe loop and that were given to me via the owner when they were in Paonia. I cant speak for the new ones that may or not be made in China, but the ones I have rock. they have only just now finally lost their sole bottoms, which I plan on getting them to resole.
Now for the toe loop, hey you guys and gals can RUN THEM EITHER WAY if you have a pair that has the toe loop. I have hiked in some stupid narly terrain in these that I should not have been in with sandals, but still oved the stability. Yes they are not has solid as a "real shoe" or hiking boot, but surprisingly close to a decent trail shoe in laterial support IF YOU USE the toe strap. I have found that this is even more true when your feet are sweating and are on uneven side to side terrain. Your toe is the strongest digit on the foot, go figure. If you anchor that, then you will have more support.
However I usually dont wear the toe strap now for the most part if I am just doing easy hiking or walking. Because you dont need it. However when the going gets tough, it comes in handy big time. I have tested it time and time again because I had this same thing running thru my head as well. Bottom line for me at least, toe straps are nice option to have. When you dont want it, simply fold it down and you stand on it. You will get used to that in about 5 mins. Great shoe! Great option! My next pair will without a doubt have a toe strap for those times when I need it.