Interview, Tour

Hey Chaco Nation, we would like to introduce you to James—our in-house Chaco Fit Guru. James manages customer service for Chaco and is basically our Eddie Vedder – really what kind of band would we be without him?  We recently took the opportunity to ask James a few questions and offer him a chance to share his wisdom with the world.

James nabs a Steelhead on a typical Michgan spring day.

James reels in a Steelhead on a typical Michigan spring day.

Hi James! How long have you been with us at Chaco and how long have you been wearing Chacos? 

I’ve worked at Chaco since 2010. Prior to Chaco, I was a manager and buyer for a Specialty Outdoor retailer for close to 10 years.

I’ve been wearing Chacos for 16 years! The retailer I worked for was a Chaco dealer; I quickly converted to Chacos and never looked back.

You get to talk to the #ChacoNation everyday, what are the three most common questions you get?

  1. My dog ate my Chacos, can they be repaired?
  2. My dog ate my Chacos, is this covered under warranty?*
  3. My straps no longer move, what can I do?

*Dog chewing is not covered under warranty.

Do you have advice for breaking in a fresh pair of Chacos?

First, watch our fit tutorial to assure your straps are adjusted properly. Everything starts from having the proper fit. Next, wear your new sandals a few hours a day over a week or two. This is especially import if you’re purchasing your Chacos for a trip. Be sure you have them in time for a two to three week break-in period.

Everyone’s feet are unique, what’s the best way to fit a new pair of Chacos or refit an old pair of Chacos after you’ve washed them?

The video tutorials out there are a really valuable resource. Watch our fit tutorial or hop on YouTube and search “How to fit Chacos”. If you’re still having problems (or prefer an in-person experience) stop by a local Chaco retailer and have a sales associate walk you through the proper fitting technique.

Speaking of washing, how often should you wash and floss your Chacos?

Generally, I suggest at least once per season. But also be aware that any time they are used in salt water you should rinse them in fresh water and it’s super important to floss following any sandy environment

Do you have any special tricks for getting the footbed really clean?

Start by soaking your Chacos overnight in a 50/50 solution of water/scent-free fabric softener. This will allow you to floss the straps and work the gunk out of the webbing channels.

Next mix up some water and baking soda get a stiff nylon brush and scrub the footbed.

After a good scrubbing, throw them in the washing machine on a cold/gentle setting with jeans or towels, then allowed to air dry.

What should you do if you get a blister?

Blisters are usually caused by one of three things: heat, friction and moisture

The key here is prevention, the faster you treat blisters the better off you’ll be. Prevention is a two-step process:

  1. Fit – Be sure your Chacos are fit correctly. Misfit footwear is the number one cause of blisters.
  2. Treatment – As soon as you feel a hot spot, stop what you’re doing, clean and dry your feet, apply some antibiotic ointment, and cover the area.

Some Chaco webbings (straps) feel different than other Chaco webbings. Why is that? 

In the footwear and apparel industries, we refer to this as the “hand”. This is the feel of a fabric and can be influenced by things like material, thread count, and weave. When it comes to our webbing the biggest influence on this tends to be the weave. Due to the variations in patterns designs, some of the patterns tend to be stiffer than the others.

What tips or suggestions would you have for someone who wears a half size? When would you go up a size, when would you go down a size?

We recommend that everyone buy their first pair in person, at a retailer. It’s the best way to insure a proper fit and proper sizing. If for some reason this isn’t possible, I generally suggest that folks who wear a half sizes to go up in size

When would you recommend a Z/2 & ZX/2 or a Z/1 & ZX/1 style?

For the most part it’s really personal preference. Z/2 & ZX/2 provide a bit more stability in moving water and on the trail, but Z/1 & ZX/1 offer faster on and off and a faster transition from Chaco season to Socko season. ZX/1 & ZX/2 strapping offers the ultimate in micro adjustment for those looking to dial in the exactly customized fit.

My one specific recommendation is for those with high arches or insteps. For all of you, I strongly recommend Z/1 & ZX/1 styles. We find that many folks with high arches or insteps suffer “toe tightening” in Z/2 and ZX/2 styles, making the Z/1 styles a better choice.

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