Chaco Outcross Evo Series Review
The Chaco Outcross Evo Collection is a line-up of great active and outdoor shoes. Go play in the woods, mountains, dessert, or your local creek or river with these versatile kicks that will handle all sorts of terrain. As long as it is outdoors and off the concrete or asphalt, you will find that these are a rugged and comfortable option.
The really cool thing about the Chaco Outcross Evo collection is that they have a pair for everyone. By everyone, I mean Man, Woman, and Child. That’s correct! My entire family is donning these super light, comfortable, and fun shoes to show that a family that hikes, bikes, camps, and canoes together ….. simply has more fun in the great outdoors. And you thought I was going to say, ‘stays together’?
This is actually my first foray into the land of Chaco. I am aware that the Chaco Nation (or Chaconians as they like to call themselves) has a faithful following, and I was super excited to put these to the test.
First Thoughts on the Chaco Outcross Evo Series
I don’t know what I had expected really? Lightweight hiking shoes, I suppose! They definitely fit into that category, but I’ve come to appreciate them for its versatility and good looks. Having had a chance to witness my family wear the Chaco Outcross Evo out in the great outdoors as well as casually has provided me with a fantastic close up look at what makes these a well designed and constructed shoe. Chaco has come up with 3 styles for Men, 4 for the Ladies, and a colorful array for the kiddos. Available for testing for my family was the Men’s Outcross Evo 2, The Women’s Outcross Evo 3, and of course the Outcross Evo kids – a good sampling of the collection.
Chaco – The Brand
I always like to take a closer look at the company whose product I am testing. Chaco really has a great story, and invite the public to aid in telling that story. People have submitted photos of them and their Chacos to create a compelling timeline.
“Born on the river in 1989” is where the story got started. Creating a quality piece of footwear that allows you to play in a variety of conditions and natural terrain. The Chaco Outcross Evo collection is in its second season and has expanded into a full line of great water and hiking kicks perfect for the entire family.
Chaco Outcross Evo Series
All the shoes in the collection are made for the outdoors with the active person in mind. That said, there are subtle differences .
The Evo 1’s in the series are truly made for the water. They are breathable and protective with ‘barefoot’ construction, and the open upper allows for quick and easy drainage as well as drying. They are really light, and tuck away nicely if you need something a bit more heavy duty.
The Evo 2’s are your hybrid or amphibian of the bunch. Their rugged outsole and double webbed upper will allow you to hike on the trails while also giving you the confidence to jump right into the river. These have an aery open top for quick drying. The best of both worlds I suppose.
The Evo 3’s can also handle some water, but are made to tackle the rugged hiking terrain to go further into the great outdoors. The mud guard and heavy duty lugs are perfect for the diverse terrain conditions you may encounter.
The technical features in each shoe are pretty consistent throughout with an instant-comfort, microfoam layer resting atop the premium polyurethane (PU) LUVSEAT footbed and nylon support shank. The Outsoles have an aggressive lug/tread pattern at 3.5mm depth. The Chaco Outcross Evo are made out of EcoTread™ which is non-marking, and consists of 25% recycled material. As Chaco puts it in their promotional video: “a Sole with a Soul.” The tread pattern has a siped design which offers great traction as well as lets water channel or move through and away preventing hydro-planing and slippage. Think of those car tire commercials. That may be a bit of a stretch as a comparison, but the same basic concept remains, and any little edge you get that prevents you from slipping and falling is well received by this guy.
The Men’s Chaco Outcross Evo 2
Mens Chaco Outcross Evo 2 are at home in the water, dirt, or mud. Its amphibious nature has proven quite useful for early season camping, hiking, and “bear hunts” with the little ones. A cabin trip always calls for a wild and adventurous (as well as quite loud) hunt for the elusive bear. We explore, climb trees, scramble over rocks, find foot prints, and collect souvenirs. Everyone was able to keep up, and stay comfortable in their Chaco Outcross Evo shoes. As it was still a bit on the chilly side, I decided not to push the stream crossing envelope as we still had a good mile back to the cabin, but scrambling along the banks was a fun and challenging exercise for all.
I, like many, enjoy playing around in the creeks and rivers because of the joy, challenge, and exploration. The Men’s Chaco Outcross Evo 2 have a woven mesh and a printed mudguard that will provide protection and coverage on the trail and in the water. The upper is really an open vented breathable system. It’s a double layered mesh with jacquard webbing. It is strong and durable enough to handle some trail obstacles, but I wouldn’t go bagging peaks in these. Neoprene collar is snug to avoid any debris to make its way into your shoe.
The midfoot is molded and constructed for the bare foot. It molds and forms to your foot, and going sans socks is definitely the way to go in these. Chaco has placed a podiatrist certified LUVSEAT™ PU footbed in there, so you know the support will be there even when you push the limits.
The outsole has a bit of an environmental conscience by using 25% recycled rubber compound. It is rugged, and has certainly stood up to the test thus far. If you do happen to venture out of the great outdoors to turn these back into the everyday around the house type kicks, these soles are non-marking, so none of those black streaks on your hardwood floors. The lugs and treads are designed for traction no matter if you are on water or land. And that can be important as I have found out a few times when trying to cross a slick boulder stream crossing with my hard core hiking boots.
From a fit perspective, I wore my Chaco Outcross Evo’s for a day at work and around the house to just get a feel for fit as well as wear them in a bit. Initially they felt a bit snug on the top of the foot where the stretch material is located. I played around with the lacing a bit, and I also think with time, the shoe molded better to my foot. After those first few days, they have been quite comfortable. I was a bit concerned at first because I had heard so many rave reviews from people about their comfort, but not to worry.
Women’s Outcross Evo 3
The Women’s Chaco Outcross Evo 3 is definitely more of a trail workhorse. While still retaining the features of the 1 and 2, they have a bit more trail reinforcements and are also quite happy in wet trail conditions. These would also be a perfect canoe/kayak shoe where some hiking or canoe ferrying is required, or simply an all-around hiking shoe.
The shoe definitely packs a bigger punch. It does not have the open webbing of the previous versions for drainage or breathability. It does still breath a good amount to avoid sweaty feet. The complete coverage provides adequate protection as well as ankle support. The stronger and thicker upper strapping along with the toe guard will allow you to handle whatever the trail throws your way.
I have now worn these on a trip, hiking, playing around in a local stream with my little ones, and to an early season barbeque. They look great with jeans, hiking pants, or shorts.
Chaco Outcross Evo Kids
This is a really fun and exciting line for the kids. These shoes aren’t just for hiking or water play. They have been the go-to shoe for a wide variety of activities. The Chaco Outcross Evo Kids are comfortable, durable, stylish, and allows them to go 100 miles an hour as they play from sun up to sun down.
I have been setting some real deadlines for my 2 and 5 year old to write up a nice report to help me complete this review. Apparently, they haven’t quite mastered the English language just yet, so I will have to do a thorough interview to get their deepest thoughts on the matter.
- “Do you guys like your shoes?”
- “What do you like about them?”
- “They’re pretty”
- “Ok, are they comfortable?”
- “What do you like to do in your shoes?”
- “I like to run up the hill, climb rocks, oh and scooter”
Well, there you have it; an in-depth and analytic interview with deep probing question to get to the heart of the matter. I suppose I will have to fill in the blanks just a little bit. Plain and simple, they are wearing their Chaco Outcross Evo for kids all the time. Yes, we have gone hiking in them, and we’ve played in the creeks. More so, they wear them to school, to the playground, and for every day running around. I have not heard them complain about blisters or rubbing, and the great thing is that they are able to put them on all by themselves and tighten the easy pull lacing system.
If you have kids, you know where I am going with this. My little ones have worn their Chaco Outcross Evo for Kids a lot, and they did so without socks in most cases. Their go anywhere, do everything attitude had them working up a nice sweat in some warmer spring temperatures. Their sweaty stinky feet combined with the rubber material did create for quite an odiferous disposition. This is not something I realized until we were driving back from the mountains. The sun was beating down, and our worn down bodies were finally at rest. The stinky feet syndrome was alive and well. When I got back into the car after filling up with gas, it hit me. That said, they do wash quite easily, and are very airy. Hence, this is not a hang up or negative for me, but I did want to prepare you.
Final Thoughts on The Chaco Outcross Evo
The Chaco Outcross Evo series came out in 2014, and because of its popularity has been expanded and improved to give us a unique and versatile shoe that is great for the entire family. Chaco created a line with fun colors, styles galore, and a technological edge. This allows for play in water, traversing the rocks, hiking the trails all the while being able to handle to rain and mud that Mother Nature likes to dish out. My family has had a lot of fun in these trail hikers, and we are now drinking the Chaconian juice that so many seem to be sipping (and sharing on Chaco’s website).
For more information and purchase please visit: www.chacos.com
The Chaco Outcross Evo retail for:
Men’s and Women’s 1 and 2: $110
Men’s and Women’s 3: $115
Outcross Kids: $55 – in 8 exciting and vibrant colors
And they make an Evo MJ: $100