The following was submitted by Nikki Cooley, a Navajo River Guide & Cultural Interpreter on the San Juan and Colorado Rivers

Having been a river guide on the Colorado and San Juan Rivers since 1999, I have gone through many pairs of sandals until I bought a pair of black Z/1® Chaco® sandals. Having a high arch on both of my feet, it was hard for me to find comfortable sandals capable of withstanding a variet y of environments on and off the river. Working as a motor and oar guide, my job (like any other river guide) involves a lot of movement; on and off the boat, back and forth across the wet and dry boat, up and down canyon walls, back and forth across camp and lots of wading through creeks, pools and swimming. I am still amazed at how well my sandals held up especially since my “office” contains a lot of gritty, hot sand, slippery granite, razor sharp limestone and coarse sandstone, and not to mention my constantly wet feet. 

My Chacos are not just used for river trips and hiking but I wear them ALL the time. I grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and walked the pinion-juniper lands cape herding sheep and goats, and riding horses. In the past 10 years of guiding and splitting my time between the Rez, Flagstaff and the rivers, I have always worn my sandals. It is probably against all rules of horseback riding, but I found that riding horses with my Chaco sandals was just as comfortable especially during hot weather. I don’t recommend it to everyone, but being an experienced rider, I was happy to find out I could wear my sandals anywhere. 

So whether I am on the river, riding horses, or wearing a cute dress, my Chacos are always on my feet. From wet and slippery boats to the dry and hot sandy beaches, to the cool weather of Flagstaff – you are sure to see me wearing sandals come rain, snow or sunshine. 

Comments (3)

By 3/26/2011

Cool story. I hope mine hold up just as well. I orderd them recently and will be getting them in a few days.

By fullerfam5 3/23/2011

I enjoyed reading your story about your experience with being a guide, wearing your Chacos for all your adventures. I love the Southwest and have family roots there. Lots of memories of growing up... Gallup, New Mexico, driving through Needles, the beautiful Gila National Forest, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque... I can see how you might successfully ride horse wearing Chaco sandals! The soles are so thick and supportive! Now I live in the Midwest, Chacos are perfect here too for all the Lakes, streams, hiking, kayaking or canoeing. A camper's perfect shoe! Thanks for sharing! Lori; fellow chaconian

By Amy Sayers 4/4/2011

This lady is amazing! Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Chaco and Nikki's program, I will get to experience wearing my Chacos on the great San Juan in May. Keep up the great work Nikki---even MORE Chaco adventures are coming your way. You are a true Chaconian, through and through. ~Amy

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