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Old 10-25-2012   #1
Salt Lake City, Utah
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 11
Chaco - What should I get instead?

Well... Chaco has lost another customer.

- I'm pretty sure that I am just rehashing a story that you have all heard/ experienced yourself. Either way, I bought my first pair of chacos 7 or 8 years ago, and they worked (though the soles did eventually wear out) for 6 years. After a year of living chaco-less I decided to buy a new pair, despite hearing that their quality had gone downhill. First shipping took much longer than they said it would, and then I only wore them for 6 days before the sole came off from the shoe!
I spoke with customer service and explained that I worked as a raft guide and that I would need the replacements to come incredibly quickly. I was told that as soon as I put them in the mail I could send them a tracking number and the replacements would be sent. It still took the better part of two weeks to get them replaced. Fortunately this pair lasted an entire month before the sole delaminated.
I've called them now twice (since sending the newest ones back) and they can't seem to figure out what happened with the paperwork. Instead of getting another replacement I have asked that I get my money back.
Clearly, I am not the only one with this experience. Thoughts on what to replace them with? I really like the way that they fit, but I just can't deal with a company and product that has gone so downhill. I am looking for something, not just for the river, but also to wear around town (well, I guess the snow is falling right now so maybe I will not need them for another 6 months).

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Old 10-25-2012   #2
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,345
Buy from zappos. I had a warranty issue on a pair of 5.10's and they sent me the replacements before i had to return the first ones.

I don't wear river sandals anymore, not enough protection and they're all junk anymore. Mesh shoes.

I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 10-25-2012   #3
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 426
The Teva river shoes are pretty nice.
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Old 10-25-2012   #4
Badazws6's Avatar
The Road, Colorado
Paddling Since: '07
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 612
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I wore my first pair for about 6 years as well before the bed racked and had to replace them. My honey got me a pare of "My Chaco's" that where made in Michigan instead of the ones made over seas and have been wearing them for almost a year with zero issues. Just a thought.
Life: Live it!
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Old 10-25-2012   #5
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
The only suggestions I have that are worth mentioning are Teva and Keen.
GARNA’s mission is to foster stewardship of the resources of the greater Arkansas River region through education, volunteerism and experiences.
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Old 10-25-2012   #6
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
I have given up on river sandals also. I like the Teva Churn. Merrill's are also good.
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Old 10-25-2012   #7
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 337
Tevas. Chacos are overrated.
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Old 10-25-2012   #8
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
Did Teva start using a different rubber in there boots? Myself, and two friends,all bought their boot about 2 years ago(the one similar to the cherry bomb) and I've never seen a sole fail more spectacularly. All 3 of us had multiple holes in the bottoms of the boots. My buddies didn't even get a full season outve them. I've still got mine somehow, but I can literally stick my finger through the bottom. I have some casual shoes from them too (I don't wear much) and have noticed some of the same issues with the soles. I don't know how serious I'd consider them for my next river shoe. They look pretty, but not sure how long they'll last. I'm considering the Kokatat line.

Can't really comment on Sandals,as I am fortunate enough to still have some of the made in the USA (CO?) chaco's. Got thousands of miles on them and still look great.
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Old 10-25-2012   #9
colorado_steve's Avatar
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 283
i have a pair of the keen shoes with the rubber protection over the toes. love em, especially for scouting and walking around in camp.
Oh! I don't take it lightly! I've always got to know
There's an old lion a roarin' n the river down below
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Old 10-26-2012   #10
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
well i have been geeking out on this topic this summer, trying to get a good setup so here's my $0.10. knowing that I also gave up on chacos several years ago, my choices are for kayaking but i can use em anytime i actually work a trip. and toe protection is underrated on the river. GLW finding sandals...keen seems the obvious choice to me, although some are a bit dorky. i am not sold on sandals in general anymore. flipflops immediately post trip tho

# 1 choice....Astral Brewers look like the shizzznit.these are definitely my next pair of river shoes.supposedly for around town too,all chingon with 5.10 sticky rubber soles. they sound like the shoes you are looking for. I guess its all conjecture so far, cause idk how they'll fit in my playboat. but cant wait to get em.they're on order.
Astral Men's Brewer Watershoe at

(#2)5.10 water tennies are the confirmed business. but way pricey.... :/
Water Tennie - Five Ten

(#3)keen gorge booties are really good for cold weather; i has some.

(#4) NRS attack shoes...are pretty alright, or were 4-5 years ago....

what i wore all summer= Vibram five fingers.... not perfect but they got me through the summer, as long as the waters warmish. theyre like the grateful dead. either love em or hate em... they are truly awesome for creaky ol tele/snowboarding knees when running tho....
and not compatible with drysuits. lol.

ALSO.heres some nitty gritty for you... go to for the PRO link, apply and tell them why you are a "qualified member of the outdoor community" and they offer 50% off $600.00 worth of retail prices...on everything....! m/w/kids/flip flops/ winter boots etc.... super cool pro form.... very kind of them... Gorge booties are $45.00...!
or here:
and then there's NRS. if you're a raft guide you otter know about that one ;]

hope this will be helpful to you... all links straight from my firefox history....

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