The Hiking Sandals You Need For Your Next Adventure
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Before moving to Maui in 2007, I didn't hike often and certainly didn't own any appropriate outdoor shoes. After about a month on the island, we planned a full day trip to Hana complete with a hike to Waimoku Falls in the Haleakala National Park and Ryan realized he needed to remedy my footwear issue. I bought my first pair of Chacos the day before our trip. Little did I know, I'd be wearing them a lot more than a few times a year.
The next day we set off on the long and winding road to Hana. If you've ever been to Hana then you know how crazy curvy this road is. Despite it taking several hours to reach the end (yes hours); it is so worth it. Make a day of it and stop at the farm stands, try some homemade banana bread, and enjoy a pit stop at one of the lookouts or one beaches along the way.
Some of my favorite stops before Hana:
Garden of Eden Arboretum
Pro tip: Don't be that asshole speeding around everyone trying to go slow and take in the view. RELAX. You'll get there. The views are some of the best views you'll ever see so take advantage. AND if a local is trying to get around you, let them pass.
Once we arrived in the National Park we headed up the trail. We hiked for hours (4 miles roundtrip), taking our time, skirting around behemoth banyan trees, looking out over waterfalls, and gliding through the bamboo forest until we reached the top. The 400 foot Waimoku Falls greeted us with a rush of cool air; I sat beneath the falls for a little bit letting the mist wash over me before we made our way back down. I saw quite a few pairs of broken flip flops and soggy running shoes on this hike and I was thankful my Chacos helped me avoid both of those scenarios.
I'm not gonna lie. Breaking in these sandals can be challenging, but keep wearing them. The webbing will give and the footbed will swaddle your aching feet and help you keep going, even when you think you can't. Since that first hike my Chacos have hiked the crater on Mount Kilauea, meandered through the Muir Woods, explored the riverwalk in Chicago, The Great Taste of the Midwest, hiking the rolling hills in Indiana, carried me all over St. Simons Island and a few others in between.
My tired soles have started to peel off again; I guess that's the sign of a busy summer and a well loved pair of shoes. I'm packing them up as I type to be sent for repairs so they'll be ready to hit the trail again next spring. I lie, I will probably rock them around the house this winter with socks on too. If you have a pair of Chacos that are in need of repair (soles or straps) click here.
I know I've added at least 10 people to the Chaco Nation and I'm sure there will be more. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just want some comfortable shoes to walk around the farmers market in, I really believe everyone needs a pair of these sandals.
Side note: Chaco has a new boot collection that I haven't tried out. Clearly, I have some shopping to do.