Is it possible for me to wax poetic about any kind of product outside the landscape of cozy footwear? Earlier in the year, while we were still braving the dredges of winter, Suicoke’s Pepper-evab moccasin became my obsession. As soon as the weather began to turn, instead of opting for a heavy-duty sneaker, or something with a color palette resembling an Aperol Spritz, I decided to diversify my wheelhouse and look for an open-toe counterpart to my growing collection of mules, clogs, and mocs.
It turns out the answer to my prayers was right under my nose. I had recently noticed a pair of slides in my parents’ apartment that didn’t quite grab my attention at first glance, but after trying them on and feeling the bottoms of my feet melt into their soles, I knew I needed Chaco’s Chillos slides.
For those who may be unfamiliar, Chaco was founded in 1989 by a Colorado rafting guide, with an ethos in-line with outdoor adventuring, and chunky, all-purpose sandals as its calling card. While both outdoor gear and general utility wear have been making a crossover into streetwear, even morphing into a fashion trend unto itself, I can confidently say Chaco is not part of this trend.
Keep in mind, this is not a knock, but rather an acknowledgment that the sandal-maker is self-aware and understands its appeal. You most likely won’t see Chaco engaging in a high-profile collaboration that might earn a write-up in Hypebeast. Instead, you’ll see the sandals littered throughout every Greek row within the higher education system of America, prominently featured in the portrait mode photos of that couple you know that hikes every weekend, and in my case, the closet of my 62-year-old father.
The trademark designs of Chaco include a robust, Vibram sole that takes about a few weeks to break in, but will be able to brave any kind of elemental challenge, and a network of crisscrossing “Z straps,” that lock the wearer’s foot into place. These designs are not particularly sexy, they are incredibly durable and serve as the bedrock for a pair of sandals that can last a decade.
The Chillos slides trade in the Vibram sole for a corrective footbed, contoured with polyurethane arch-support that floats in water and is pillowy soft to the touch. There’s no break-in period for these slides and putting them on will give you the same feeling as a pair of shoes that you’ve owned for months, and have molded to your exact foot shape.
In my opinion, the best use for these slides is immediately after a workout given how comfortable they are — if you took away the branding, I think they would be a fixture in the American youth basketball circuit, where socks and slides are essential for post-game relaxation. Maximizing the Chillos’ effect means embracing your inner shoobie (an individual that wears socks and sandals, usually to the beach), so if you are uncomfortable doing so, these slides probably aren’t for you.
Chillos also make a great gift idea for the boomer in your life, especially because at their retail price of $50 and their overall quality, they provide a good bang for your buck. But don’t take it from me, listen to my dad’s testimonial:
“Comfort is a main factor for a good pair of slides and the Chillos slides, are in my opinion, in first place. Adjustable straps allow for an enhanced fitting experience and the materials used for securing the foot make for a smooth and frictionless feel. The slide's sole is low profile yet sufficiently padded for multiple surfaces, from sand to concrete. Personally, my Chacos are perfect for the beach, in and out of the water, not to mention a great choice for the hot summer NYC days walking the pavement.”
Right now Chaco is running a sale on a majority of its Chillos styles that will end in the next couple of days. So if you’re interested, grab a pair for an enhanced poolside, campfire, or post-workout experience while you still can.
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