Originally they were for grandpas on vacation, then mountain men and hippies, then they hit the high schoolers. Take a walk through the East halls and one might notice a curious trend expanding its way through the school’s footwear. These colorful, strappy and sturdy sandals are stylish and relatable. From the trendsetters, to the prepsters, Chacos are being mixed into the outfits of many.
Athletic sandals were once relegated to the sale racks, but recently they’ve been selling out like crazy, especially to young people.
However, Chacos aren’t just the brand that reigns supreme, they are a culture. Students lay out in the sun in an attempt to brandish the famed sandals straps onto their feet. Wearers take on the Chaco Challenge, wearing the shoes 365 days a year. Chacos-wearers see them as a way of life. They ooze style and adventure, spontaneity and know-how, which begs the question, who wouldn’t want these sandals?
The Originator: Hayden Wylie
Senior Hayden Wylie is a self-described outdoorsman. He hikes, mountain bikes and is Chaco-obsessed, to the extreme. Wylie says students credit him with bringing the Chaco-sphere to East, buying his midway through his sophomore year.
“It was between a pair of Birkenstocks and a pair of Chacos, at the end of sophomore year at the warehouse sale at Footprints in Lawrence,” Wylie said.
But for Wylie, Chacos are a family affair, his mom owning seven pairs herself. He even customized his own on the Chaco website creating a pair that perfectly fits his personality.
Wylie appreciates the durability of the shoes.
“They’ve been through Spain, Turkey and Africa, and I wore them everyday there, and they just hold up so entirely well,” Wylie said.
Wylie is even embarking on the “Chaco Challenge,” in an attempt to wear them every day this year. When asked about winter, his reply is simple,
“Chacos with socks, Sock-o’s,” Wylie said.
The Prepster: Mitchell Tyler
“I just heard they were really comfortable and pretty stylish, and I can wear them with anything,” Tyler said.
Tyler didn’t buy them just for style, the outdoor aspects were appealing as well.
“They’re really the best of both worlds,” Tyler said.
Men’s Chacos come in two different styles, a strap over the big toe, and one without. Tyler ordered his online and decided to go with a toe strap.
“It’s a lot more stability, they feel weird without a toe strap,” Mitchell said.
The Summer Camp Kids: Becca Zeiger and Corinne Stratton
Sophomore Becca Zeiger and Corinne Stratton are camp kids. Camp is effectively where form and function meet. Populated by young people, of course things are stylish, but having to traverse to places both wet and dry, functional shoes are vital.
“I feel like they’re a really comfortable sandal but they’re cuter than just wearing flip flops, and they’re also a lot better built so they won’t fall apart,” Zeiger said, “I could work ropes course and belay people wearing Chacos.”
Stratton said that she’s happy Chacos aren’t only for the outdoorsy types anymore. She also thinks it’s good that there are so many different colors and styles so each person can express themselves.
“They’re perfect for me,” Stratton said.
Zeiger and Stratton both expressed their love for the Chaco tanlines criss-crossing their feet.
“I just feel like it looks really really cool,” Zeiger said, “You can separate the die hards from the people who just wear Chacos.”