Mountain towns have a de facto uniform, and Chacos are its footwear. With their thick, treaded rubber soles and colorful, adjustable webbing, the sandals are ideally suited to the multisport lifestyle. They offer traction and protection in water, support on short hikes, comfort for long days, and style enough to get away with in a (mountain-town) bar. But Chacos have never been exactly office material.
That changed recently. This year, Chaco launched two leather styles: the Wayfarer sandal, which hit shelves in March, and the Cataluna family of boots, which came out in August. Both the sandals and the mid-ankle Catalunas are easily the most fashionable shoes Chaco has ever made. And over the past month, they’ve earned a regular place in my weekday wardrobe.
Wayfarer Sandal ($130)
Rather than create a new sandal, Chaco decided simply to recreate one of its classic models, the Z/Sandal. The Wayfarer features the wide, crisscrossed straps the company is best known for and its trademark Luvseat midsole, which is made of molded polyurethane and EVA foam to provide arch support and cushion. The only difference is that the whole exterior is leather, from the straps to the footbed. The resulting shoes have slim, simple looks that go with pretty much everything in my closet and feel supportive yet not clunky.
Cataluna Mid Boot ($180)
Night-out style meets all-day comfort and all-weather durability in these ankle-high boots. The leather, chunky heel, and clean silhouette go well with jeans and dresses. But sleek aesthetics can be deceiving: the Cataluna mids are not the kind of nice-looking boots you’ll need to hide away when the snow falls and the streets are covered in slush, thanks to the waterproof upper and lugged TPU outsole. With the removable EVA-foam footbed insert for added cushion, these heels make me feel a little like a superwoman on long meeting- and errand-filled days when I want to look professional but don’t want to be limping by lunchtime.