CHACO FLIP, size 10
Blister’s Measured Weight per Flip: 276 grams & 281 grams
• LUVSEAT™ platform with PU formulation oriented towards out-of-box comfort
• Fixed straps anchor under mid-foot to eliminate “flop” and promote active use
• Nylon toe piece engineered for the perfect blend of durability and comfort
• EcoTread outsole features 25% recycled rubber
Days Worn (updated on 7.1.16): 1700+
The Chaco Flip has been my flip flop of choice for the past 4-5 years. Previously, when people said that some other flip flop was the best one out there, I just thought to myself, “You’re wrong.”
The durability of the Flip is off the charts. I wore my first pair for years, and they were still in great shape after about 900 days of use, with only even wearing occuring on the soles. The only reason I replaced them was because a friend’s dog (one of those that you carry around in a purse) chewed up one of the straps one day when we were out skiing pow.
By comparison, the OluKai Kia’i are showing ever-so-slight signs of stretching around some of the stitching between the footbed and the outsole, and I’ve only had those for a couple months. This isn’t a problem, but it is testament to how bomber the Chaco Flips have been—both the pair that the dog ate and their replacements. (In fact, I still have and wear the pair that the dog ate. I just can’t wear them on fancy occasions; you know, formal events that require unchewed flip flops….)
The footbed of the Chaco Flip is also very quick drying, faster than the cushy footbeds of either OluKai, and about the same as the Reef Fanning.
The Chaco Flip is much firmer than the OluKai Kia’i or the OluKai ‘Ohana. In fact, given that I’ve been in Chaco Flips for so long, and pretty much every day, the OluKais at first felt super squishy and insubstantial by comparison.
But having spent time in the OluKais now, switching back over to the Chaco Flips feels like a bit of a shock at just how firm they are.
As I mentioned above, the footbed of the OluKai Kia’i (and the ‘Ohana) feels like a foam mattress that contours to your body. Throughout a break-in period, the footbeds become a bit more firm and conform to your foot. In stark contrast, the Chaco Flips feel firm right off the bat, and there is no “squishy” feel and no real break-in period.
And that firmness is precisely why the Chaco Flip are the best in the group for hiking and scrambling over rocks. While the Kia’i and ‘Ohana might be more comfortable to walk around in, step on a rock of just the right size, and you will feel that rock up through the sole into your heel or the ball of your foot. It isn’t bad or painful, but it shows how much softer the OluKais are than the Chacos. The OluKais are on the softer, cushier end of the spectrum. The Chacos don’t make you feel like you’re being coddled by bunnies, but they smooth out rough terrain better. Two very different feels, and both have accompanying pros and cons.
Where that firmness of the Chaco Flip can become an issue, however, is if there is a problem with your knees or ankles. As I was dealing with a sore meniscus (first the right knee, then the left knee) for about 16 months, I often couldn’t wear the Flips without pain around the anterior, medial meniscus.
Of course, smart people might be quick to say that I shouldn’t be wearing any flip flop when there is an injury, and they’d basically be correct. But I was able to wear the OluKai Kia’i without experiencing pain around the knee….
So, if you aren’t dealing with a lower body issue and prefer a comfortable but firm platform, then the Chaco Flip is difficult to beat. (Update: And since my knees have been back to 100%, I find myself opting for the Chaco flip more and more. I am still extremely happy with the OluKai Kia’i, so this very much comes down to personal preference.)
Update #2: 7.1.16 – This same pair is still going strong, and — because I prefer a firmer feel — these are the flips that I have continued to wear the most. I’ve got a tiny (insignificant) amount of fraying on the strap, and it is getting to be time to re-sole these. But yep, the Chaco Flip still gets my vote for the most durable flip, and the one that will hold up best to rigorous use.
NEXT: The Newcomers — OluKai Holona and the OluKai Kupuna