Chaco: A love story that began in 2001…

Going for a new tan line. My first pair of chacos over my Teva tan. Circa May 2001.

I like to think the story of how I became a Chaco Ambassador dates back to just past the turn of the century. The year was 2001. Y2K had proved a fluke–my computer still worked as it should.  The stock market hadn’t crashed.  Aliens hadn’t landed.  And I was more than a little disappointed. It was also my last semester of College.  My future, empty, and vast as a future without Y2K catastrophes, awaited.

I was planning a move to a little desert town in south-central Utah by the name of Escalante. I had landed a job on a research crew studying the native bee population in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. I knew the job involved a lot of hiking, backpacking, and observing in extremely hot weather, in a country replete with sand.  So I  purchased a brand new pair of Tevas (my sandal of choice since the late 80’s) to celebrate the occasion.

I packed up my ’85 Corolla with all my belongs.  My hope chest, a 20-gallon blue cooler, sat in the back, nestled between my trusty sleeping bag, a bag of clothes, and a water jug. I set my sparklingly clean new shoes on top of the car, under the kayak mounted on my homemade 2X4 roof rack. I ran into the house to bid adieu to my roommates. And I hit the road!

Somewhere around mile 14 something else hit the road. I saw a foreign object fly off the roof of my car and land smack dab in the middle of the highway.

Yep. It was a Teva.  Of course, it was only one of them. The other shoe was nowhere in sight. I drove back and forth several times trying to find its mate, but to no avail.  After hours of angst and guilt at the loss of my new shoes, I gave up.  Knowing there was nowhere to buy sandals in Escalante, I stopped at a local gear shop to buy another pair.

Believe me when I say that I entered the store intent on buying a new pair of Tevas to my replace my recently lost beauties.  Believe me when I say I was shocked to emerge with some fancy new shoes called ‘Chacos‘.  I didn’t even know how to say it (then again I never knew how to pronounce “Teva” either).

I’d heard of these so-called Chaco’s before.  But resistant to change as I am, I swore I’d never own a pair.  My uncle was one of the first Teva sales reps in the U.S.  My entire family of eight owned a pair (if not two).  We loved those sandals; Teva’s were a family thing.  In the same way that voting for the opposite political party from your father is something never to be spoken of, owning a pair of these new-fangled foot-apparel, was, well, borderline sacrilegious.

I guess I’m a sucker for a cute salesmen with a foot-tan.

In this case that turned out to be a good thing. My life was forever changed. Never have I loved a sandal so much as I did (and do) my Chacos. To this day they comprise 50% of my footwear.

And what does this new Ambassadorship mean for the blog? Well, I’m sure you’ll notice the upgrade in my kid’s footwear.  You’ll probably also likely see a giveaway or two.  There’ll be occasional updates on Chaco happenings. And in addition to my regularly scheduled posts here, I’ll be writing monthly articles on their blog.

And I’ll be one happy blogger, living my life as usual in some pretty awesome sandals.

Thank you Chaco, for my foot tan, for tagging along on my adventures these last 11 years, for allowing me the chance to work with y’all, and for making amazing sandals.

16 Comments so far

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  1. Oh how I love my Chacos. I was even married in them (church and everything… :)) Congrats on an incredible opportunity for you!

    • That’s awesome Amelia! Way to go against the tradition of white pumps.

    • Amelia – Haaha, way to go. Did you get a custom made pair? White perhaps? My husband actually wore chacos as well, he even re-webbed them himself for the occasion. For some reason I ended up wearing a pair of reef flip flops… Blasphemous!

      • I didn’t even know about the custom ones then! :) Or I might have gone that route :) But, now every time I wear mine I think of our wedding! yea! :)

  2. Yay for Chacos! I love my zigzag tan lines and I too got married in them. :)

    • Kristal – Thanks right! Now that I’m remembering those pictures you had a pretty great wedding. I need to tell Liv about that, I think she’s thinking of something with a similar feel for her wedding party in the fall…

  3. Daktari

    You guys converted me. I converted my mother. She converted her boyfriend. It’s a lineage of which we can be proud.

  4. KC Collins Hummel

    OK, guys, before I jump headlong out of my Earth shoes and into Chacos I need to know it there is any sort of arch support in them. Plantar fascitis (which I obviously can’t spell) has made my days of wearing flat flipflops a thing of the past.

    • Joe

      KC, Chacos do have good arch support, in fact they designed their foot bed with the help of foot specialists. There is a lot of good info on their footbed here:
      I highly recommend Chacos, they have been my summer shoe of choice for 15 years.

      • KC Collins Hummel

        Thanks, Joe. Good to know. Wish I’d known about them before we went to FL two weeks ago. Gonna give em a try.

  5. That is so cool and I am happy on many levels to see this. I think it is smart for more companies to embrace the idea of ambassadors to promote their brand instead of only pro or other marketing channels. You will be great for them! Also glad to see them sticking to their roots. I live near their old headquarters here in CO. A lot of people lost their jobs when they sold to Merrell a few years ago. It was sad see such as great company leave CO!

  6. Cristina

    I have a question, do you have to break Chaco’s in? I hate new shoes because I hate blisters. I’ve been thinking about getting some but I once saw a girl with destroyed feet after wearing her bran new ones on an 11 mile hike. If you do have to break them in, how long does it take? What’s the best way to do that? I guess I had more than one question…

    • Hey Cristina, I guess I can only speak from personal experience but one thing that impressed me with my first pair of Chaco’s was how quick the break-in time was. I felt like with my Tevas I had to break them in just about every year. My Chacos only had to be broken in once, the first week or two I owned them, and it was pretty mild just a little rubbing from the webbing and it took my feet a few days to get use to the foot bed. Don’t think they have rubbed me the wrong way since. If you get a pair I’d suggest wearing them around on a daily basis before you take them out on a hike, but I think you’ll be pleased!

  7. Rachel

    I love my Chacos too! My husband and I bought our first pair in 2008 – this is the 4th summer we have worn them and they are still good as new! And we wear ours constantly, so I find this really amazing. best shoes ever.

  8. Chanel

    Hey Lindsey! Just came across your blog yesterday in my Chaco research process. I bought my first pair today, and I’m already thrilled! I was really glad to see your comment about breaking them in for a week or so; I can already tell it’s going to take a bit to adjust to the footbed, and I’m really not used to strappy shoes anyway. But I have a lot of outdoorsy friends who rave about how amazing their Chacos are for the hikes and rivers, so I had to jump on the bandwagon! If you have any other insight for a first-timer, I’d so appreciate it. Thanks :]


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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