Running in Chacos – 6 Important Things To Consider

Chacos are a great option for outdoor activities like hiking and swimming. They’re comfortable and durable, but are they suitable for running?

You shouldn’t run in Chacos because they do not provide the key components central to running shoes. The upper of the shoe is not enclosed, posing a serious safety hazard when running. Additionally, heel drop and cushioning are individual to every runner; Chacos offer no variety in either of these categories.

In this article, we’ll cover if it’s okay to run in Chacos, whether or not Chacos are considered running shoes, and what activities Chacos are ideal for.

Is it okay to run in Chacos?

Over the last few decades, Chacos have surged in popularity! They are a fan favorite for outdoor activity which raises the question: is it okay to run in Chacos?

No, Chacos should not be run in. Chacos are designed primarily for walking and hiking, both lower intensity activities than running.

Running shoes are designed with ergonomic efficiency in mind; they should reduce the amount of energy expended when running. Chacos are not designed with this key focus.

Chacos are also not adequate for running safely. Chacos are sandals with an open upper, whereas running shoes need to have a closed upper to protect the foot.

Lastly, Chacos are cushioned but only offer a high heel drop. Running form is individual and different foot strikes must be accommodated in running shoes.

Rather than running in Chacos, I recommend finding a local running store in your area to perform a proper evaluation. They will analyze your stride and find a shoe that has the necessary heel drop and provides the proper support.

Are Chacos considered running shoes?

Running shoes must meet certain criteria. They must have an ergonomically efficient design, provide safety and proper support, and should be built to last through wear and tear. Do Chacos meet all these criteria?

Chacos are not considered running shoes because they do not meet these criteria. While they are made of high-quality, durable material, they are not appropriate in terms of safety and ergonomics.

Let’s take a closer look at each criterion specifically.

Ergonomics and Design

The goal of a good running shoe is to provide the best return for the amount of energy expended.

Chacos do not provide this return.

Ergonomics is important because a slight change in the design of the shoe can result in a monumental decrease in running efficiency. According to this study on the physiological and ergonomic factors in running shoe designs, running performance is maximized by “sufficient traction, minimal weight, and maximum cushioning.”

Chacos are not lightweight; in fact, they are bulky sandals, weighing in at an absurd 2 pounds. They do have sufficient traction and cushioning for low-impact activities, but not for running.

Because of these factors, Chacos are not ergonomically efficient and do not meet the criteria for running shoe design.

comparison of the outsoles on Chaco Classic, Chaco Paonia, and the Asics Gel Kayano 29
The solid textured outsole of the Chaco compared to a traditional running shoe’s mix of foam and rubber.


Running shoes must provide safety for the runner’s feet.

Chacos’ open upper leaves the foot exposed, consequently resulting in an unsafe shoe for running. The straps pose a serious risk for irritation as well; they are likely to rub and create blisters on your feet and your heels.

Chacos provide traction that will last for years. The sandals are designed with a 3.5mm to 4.5mm lug depth for hiking through tough terrain.

However, this also means their traction is not designed with running in mind. While the traction is good for hiking and walking, Chacos do not provide sufficient traction for running in the rain. This is an important factor in running shoes that can’t be overlooked.


Cushioning is one of the most important aspects of a good running shoe. The cushioning must support the runner’s foot as they run.

Chacos are well cushioned but are not specifically designed to cushion runners.

Although they are cushioned, their midsoles do not compensate for different running styles. Different running shoes specifically cater to those who pronate or supinate in order to neutralize the foot strike and reduce the risk of injury; Chacos can’t provide that stability.

So, while Chacos are comfortable for everyday wear, their support and cushioning are better left alone for running.

Heel Drop

Heel drop in running shoes is crucial to preventing injury. Heel drop is the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot.

Chacos provide only one heel drop, rendering them useless for many runners.

Different heel drops are best suited for different strides. According to Gear Institute, running shoes range from 0mm drop up to 16mm drop. Higher drops are better for runners with heel strike, whereas lower drops are better for runners with midfoot strike.

The issue with Chacos is that they only provide a high heel drop. Runners are better off purchasing specialized running shoes that are designed specifically for their heel drop in order to prevent injury.


The materials used in running shoes are important in determining whether or not they are a good fit.

Despite lacking in other categories, Chacos does use high-quality materials that are fit for running.

The straps on Chacos sandals are made from polyester jacquard, a heavy-weight fabric that can endure the toughest of hikes.

The midsoles on Chacos sandals are created from polyurethane compounds. According to a report on polyurethane-foam midsoles, the compound is durable and provides a cushion that won’t compress over time. In fact, the midsoles are podiatrist certified!

The outsoles on Chacos sandals are made up of “ChacoGrip” rubber, a patented rubber ensuring traction and sustainability.


The last criterion important in a good running shoe is durability. It’s crucial that running shoes can withstand the wear and tear of constant running.

As a result of using high-quality materials, Chacos are durable sandals that can withstand wear and tear.

Not only are they built with durable materials, but Chacos also offers lifetime warranties and the ability to send sandals in for repairs rather than replacing them.

What kind of activities do Chacos handle best?

Although Chacos are not good for running, they are awesome for other activities!

Chacos are great for hiking, walking, and even swimming.

Chacos were originally designed for hiking. With tread designed for the outdoors, they provide necessary traction and durability for hiking tough trails.

Chacos are also good for walking. Because their midsoles are made of polyurethane, they are resistant to compression and good for everyday wear.

Similar Posts