Sandals. I haven’t worn sandals in decades. Until last summer. AJ would let me borrow his flip-flops to belay in while we were climbing outdoors at various locations around the region. I finally got my own pair of flip-flops to wear at the gym while we were at Spire Climbing Center one day toward the end of the summer. I wore them mainly to use the facilities because I didn’t want to go barefoot and pick up some odd fungal infection. Feet, feet, everywhere! I never understood the “Chaco tan” jokes until I asked Emily about it while we were bouldering with Taylor and his girlfriend at the time. I still laugh when I think of the expression on her face when she said, “Chacos – everybody has a pair. You don’t have any Chacos?” No, I didn’t have any Chacos, and I had never even heard of Chacos before I heard the jokes about the distinctive tan lines that they leave on people’s feet. Once Emily pointed out that both she and Taylor had Chaco sandals on, I understood the jokes. After that, I noticed that Michelle had a pair, and McKenzie had a pair, and Dillon had a pair…everybody seemed to have a pair of Chacos. It was strange. I didn’t like sandals, though, so I didn’t think much of it.
At the end of the climbing season, I found myself wanting a pair of flip-flops for around the house. I tried wearing my gym flip-flops around, but they weren’t very comfortable and I stumbled around in them a lot. Best leave them to the gym, I thought, so I decided to see if there were such a thing as Chaco flip-flops. To find out if this critter existed, I looked online and found myself at http://www.backcountry.com, where, to my surprise, the Chaco flip-flop turned up, and on sale, at that! I didn’t know what size flip-flop I wore, though. AJ’s were monstrous on me, and I wanted a pair that fit without exposing my toes to breakage by hanging over the ends, but still afforded some degree of fit. I looked at their size chart, and thank goodness, they had an EU to US size comparison chart! I wear a size 40 (M) EU street shoe, and that translated into a size 7 (M) US Chaco flip-flop. I winced as I clicked the purchase icon on the screen to order them, sure that it was a mistake. When I got them, I was pleasantly surprised at how heavy-duty they were. They were comfortable, too, and I would purposely take my boots off early in the evening so that I could wear my new flip-flops around the house. I know. It sounds like I found something “normal” to do. I guess I did. I wore them around the house all fall, all winter, and now, so far, in the spring. They’ve come in particularly handy when I don’t want a pair of shoes on the bed while watching Squiggle Bug and can slip them off and on quickly and without any fuss when I need to. Over the winter, though, I found that there were times when it would’ve been helpful to have a pair of sandals that could be worn with socks because my feet were cold. I ignored this observation until I decided I was tired of my feet being cold in February and decided to look around the internet for some, you guessed it, Chacos. I looked and looked, but didn’t find any that I could afford. I looked until 08 April 2018, when I found the perfect pair of Chacos in the perfect color, on sale at http://www.backcountry.com, and promptly ordered the only size they had – my size! I waited impatiently for them to show up and then, when they did, I tore into the box like a wild animal!!! The straps were too tight at the forefoot, or so I thought, and I was incredibly disappointed. I couldn’t believe it! The flip-flops had fit so well! I laid them aside in the box and procrastinated requesting a return authorization number for two weeks. I loved the color. The size should’ve fit. I just couldn’t believe that they didn’t fit!
Today, I read a review about a pair of Chacos on the website right after I requested my RMA number and it mentioned that the reviewer loved the adjustable strap system that was integrated into the soles of Chaco sandals. I hadn’t thought of pulling on the straps to see if they adjusted that way. Of course, not ever having owned a pair of Chaco sandals, how would I know? With little hope, I took my Chacos out of the box and tugged on a strap. It moved! I tugged on it some more and it fed through some more! The straps were completely adjustable!!! I adjusted the straps so that they would be looser around my forefoot, which is very wide, and tried on the right sandal. It fit!!! I now officially have a pair of Chacos that fit!!! I’m wearing them right now and they’re perfect!!! I love them!!! I never thought I would love a sandal… They may never get worn outside (I haven’t decided yet), but that’s okay. They’re perfect for me right now at this moment and I’m happy. I’ll leave it at that for now!