History of the Brand Chaco

History of the Brand Chaco

A History of the Brand Chaco

The animal kingdom isn't only about "survival of the fittest" — being able to quickly adapt to new challenges matters a great deal, too, and the gecko is undoubtedly among the most adaptable species around. For instance, these nocturnal lizards can escape from predators by essentially ejecting their tails, only for them to regrow later. Some geckos can blend into multiple environments to avoid being seen and run amazingly quickly, even while they're entirely upside down and using their unique anatomy to stick to tree branches.

Thinking about all those incredible features, it's no surprise that when rafting and fly fishing guide Mark Paigen decided to make the ultimate sandal for outdoor activities a reality, he chose the gecko as their symbol. The sandals he envisioned would be highly durable, provide rafters and other outdoor enthusiasts with solid and comfortable support, and effortlessly dry in the sun. Paigen didn't like the fact that his guide job left his feet "wrinkled as raisins," and everyone else who'd prefer dry feet can thank him for that.

Though supported by an amazingly complex design process, Chaco sandals look simple. That's because Paigen's focus was on anatomical strap placement, using a continuous pull-through strap without velcro. That means that Chaco sandals have only a few but high-quality components created to support your feet in all the right places without painful friction. Virtually indestructible and sticky rubber outsoles that share a lot in common with a gecko's feet tie it all together. And while Paigen himself shared that the "aggressive arch support" which Chaco sandals are now famous for was essentially a "happy mistake"- it means you'll find superb stability and support as you go rafting or take a leisurely walk by the river.

The brand that became iconic for its Z/ sandal series (which, funnily enough, ended up with its name when Paigen's best friend told him his first sandals were "zee one" in a faux French accent) is now over three decades old. The project started with a rafting guide tracing a client's feet on a simple piece of paper. It later morphed into a singular person workshop; then graduated to an industrial operation that allows all people from countless parts of the world to enjoy the comfort, support, and reliability of these unique sandals.

Originally named "Gecko," the brand's success never caused the sandals to compromise its values. The brand name later became Chaco  in honor of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. As a brand that makes sandals uniquely adapted for life on the river, it not only donates huge amounts of money toward causes that protect rivers but also ensures that Chaco sandals are sustainable. The brand isn't your ordinary disposable retail product — the Chaco's Michigan factory can and will replace or repair all parts of your already much-loved and much-used Chaco sandals, from the straps to the outsoles.

Like the gecko that represents the brand so well, Chaco sandals are resilient and adaptable. They'll feel so comfortable and supportive that you'll hardly recognize them there. And just like the gecko, they blend into their environment — your feet.

Previous Post Next Post

  • Store Employees
Comments 1
  • Talmage Trujillo
    Talmage Trujillo

    Thank you for sharing this interesting history. I found a pair of original geckos in a thrift store last week. They are in mental condition. Never worn. I thought they were a Chaco knock off until I read your story.

Leave a comment
Your Name:*
Email Address:*
Message: *

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

* Required Fields


Sold Out