A conversation with Chaco Product Director, Brandan Hill, on Chaco’s Fall and Winter product line.

Why did Chaco decide to make closed toe shoes and boots?

We wanted to give consumers the supportive and comfortable LUVSEAT™ experience throughout the year – we believe in our LUVSEAT ‘engine’ – for great foot health and alignment – and keeping our users adventuring year-round.  But, it doesn’t always need to be a sandal experience.  Chaconians were signaling to us that Chaco sandals WERE shoes, way before we started even making shoes.  Our community was taking the sandals hiking, backpacking, wearing them with socks and into winter because the underfoot experience was more related to a shoe.  We just listened and gave them that experience (laughs) with no more awkward sock/sandal combination.

What was the design inspiration for the fall styles?

The inspiration was really about responding to the classic silhouette; being very functional with Fall and Winter feeling.  We designed very simply, very restrained and created patterns for everything you need in a pure weather solution.  Revving up design details on the woman’s line was fun while staying true to classic forms and shapes.

The team was further inspired by our core consumer’s attraction to elemental design, design that is timeless.  This footwear is going to be around for a while – we needed to make sure that the styling could mold with consumers changing sensibility.

How do the new fall styles reflect the Chaco brand DNA?

Well, let’s take the OTIS for instance; part of what makes it Chaco is the detail you DON’T see.  We have real hand sewn stitching – this creates a much more flexible shoe because no materials are turning under your foot - no fabric, glue or lasting boards.  This makes the ride a lot like our sandal because it doesn’t stiffen up the shoe – it makes it nice to move in and very comfortable – super easy walkability. 

We also created a waterproof gasket around the polyurethane (PU) footbed because you are perforating the PU when you hand sew the upper to the bottom.  We went in there and took care of all of those holes with a heat-activated film that fills them all in, sealing out the water.  I just had to do it – Chaco takes care of your foot in there.  We don’t yell and scream it or market the crap out of it, but it’s in there.  We’ve considered your end-use and designed for that, so, functionally they are just dripping Chaco (laughs), no pun intended.

What are the Chaco LUVSEAT benefits for winter?

I’ll give you a good one – polyurethane has a natural insulative property that almost all other footwear made from foam does not.  PU is used a lot in construction as insulation; there are microcells of trapped air and you can effectively heat up that air under your foot.  Because nothing is coming between you and the top of the footbed, the heat from your body gets captured and reflected back at you.  It’s got all the warmth you need in winter!

What are you dreaming up for future Chaco styles?

(Laughs).  I’m definitely a dreamer… What I’m visualizing now is what a lightweight experience from Chaco looks and feels like.  I don’t mean that we are physically heavy for our functionality, but what does the next generation of lightweight and durability look like – smartly.  I’m envisioning a capable solution for a ‘faster’ Chaco experience, for users to move a little quicker and re-ringing the bell on durability without compromise.  Stay tuned!

Thanks! Be sure to check out our lineup of boots and shoes for fall. Shop Now>



Comments (7)

By rick 1/2/2012

Brandon, Have you considered making inserts for shoes in general. I have mortons neuroma, and your sandals thus far are the only thing I can wear, with out pain, period! I can even hike, but once I put on any other foot wear, my neuroma..fires up and is very painful. I live in the North West, can't wear sandals everyday. Also since your line is pretty casual, which is great, but hard to ware with a suit :). Any thoughts, or direction I could give an foothotics maker? Thank you

By SNOWKTY 10/5/2011

Your Sandles/shoes are the only brand that relieves my Plantar Fasciitis pain. I have 3 pairs of sandles and I just ordered two pairs of boots and a pair of your slip on winter shoes....SO HAPPY I can wear Chaco in winter now!!! :D You guys ROCK!

By Brian in Broomfield 2/20/2012

Have you considered designing wading boots (for fishing) based on the Chaco platform? I am dreading wearing my old, clunky wading boots this spring/summer/fall.

By user_569818 10/3/2011

Hi! Chacos are the footwear of choice at work, but need closed toes for Warehouse duty, so we're looking forward to your boots! On another facet of business, we would love for Chaco to build a sandal and/or shoe for female half-sized feet that have developed bunions. We have a large number of customers with who want the legendary arch support of Chacos who can't find a good fit. Please help! Thanks!

By user_521391 1/2/2012

I love my toecoops but want to know why the children style get the fun colors? would love a rasberry or purple toecoop or toesheds would be so much fun for us grown- ups. and a reason to have more of them.

By user_557184 10/2/2011

Do you envision people wearing socks with these Chacos... and if so, what kinds of socks would you recommend?

By user_573014 10/9/2011

Your china made Chaco sandals are not worth their money! The quality has suffered badly since you closed your American plant in Colorado. I feel sad for the people that lost their jobs over this. I still have my American made sandals, when these were out I will buy no more!

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