Chaco Fantasia sandals.

Despite their popularity amongst the various young outdoor enthusiast communities that I’ve been a part of, I hadn’t ever been the biggest fan of Chacos. They always seemed clunky and heavy, and I don’t like heavy shoes.

But I also had never discovered a pair of sandals that really impressed me, and so, I decided to take a gamble. My Keens were too worn to be used for another summer, and I needed a new pair of river shoes. I borrowed a friends pair of Chacos for a river trip in June, and, despite the mild blisters they gave me at first, I found myself sort of loving them.

So I bought a pair. I chose the lighter-weight, slimmer-profile Fantasia model, and so far, they’ve done me well.

The Fantasias feature a thinner, lighter sole, but are still plenty rugged. I have gone hiking in them several times, and they do just fine on the rocks and in slippery conditions. The double straps seem to be more comfortable than the single-strap sandals I had borrowed for the river trip, and I haven’t experienced any blisters yet from my Fantasias.

The only issue I have encountered is that the heel strap, which is not adjustable, is a little too big. Mostly, it’s not a big deal, except for when trying to hike over rugged terrain or when the sandals and/or my feet are wet and my feet are wanting to slide around. However, tightening the other straps all the way alleviates the issue enough that I barely notice. The shoes in general do seem to run big, so if you buy a pair, go for a size smaller than usual.

The double strap and thinner sole also give the sandals a more feminine look — which means they can double as a comfy dress-up option or just about anything else.

Overall, I give these sandals a big thumbs-up!

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MSRP: $100, http://www.chacos.com

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