Chaco Barefoot Z Preview

In a move that will surely elicit derision from those claiming that the minimalist footwear movement is dead, Chaco is releasing a new sandal that bucks the recent trend toward more maximal footwear:

Chaco Barefoot Z

Chaco claims that the Barefoot Z sandal is the lightest, most minimal sport sandal ever created. Here’s what the brand has to say about the new shoe:

“We stripped away all the clutter and went back to the basics—way back—with our new Barefoot Z sandal,” says Gary Banik, Chaco’s lead product developer. “Our hyper-minimal silhouette is so low-profile, you won’t even realize they’re on your feet.”

“The Barefoot Z, to me, represents the culmination of a quarter-century of Chacos’ research and development of the ultimate sport sandal,” notes Chaco Ambassador, Brendan Leonard. “I’ve worn mine for hiking, trail running, bouldering, and even a few pitches of ice climbing. Really, if you want to go truly light and fast in the mountains, I don’t know why you’d wear anything else. Including clothing.”

The Barefoot Z features a new Paleolithic design with a GroundTouch footbed that has been millions of years in the making. Jacquard webbing wraps across the foot and finishes in a toe loop for total forefoot control. The minimalist outsole design will leave feet calloused, creating luggy knots of hardened skin for a tread that can take on any trail.

And here are the specs:

Product details:


• Polyester jacquard webbing upper, with toe loop, wraps around the foot for the ultimate customized fit

• Adjustable and durable webbing heel risers

• Custom injection molded ladder lock for a secure hold


• Earthy GroundTouch footbed with slip resistant footprint pattern design


• Non-marking ultra-minimalist design with calloused skin for tread

• Weightless outsole for versatility

Quite a gamble by Chaco!

Chaco Barefoot Z Sole

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.


  1. Oh, and April Fool’s!

  2. This is the first April Fools that I’ve actually fallen for this year – nice work ;)

    I was inclined to believe it, because I have previously attempted to run in Dance Paws, and this reminded me of them! (in case you’re curious, they were terrible to run in. It was during my brief barefoot phase, I am now back to wearing lightweight trainers!)

  3. Great review. I particularly like the aggressive tread pattern with the 5 lugs at the front of the shoe, and the upper looks to be very waterproof to me.

  4. Well done. You fooled me. I was wondering about bblisters from the “outsole” though.

  5. You had me totally fooled. Even as a complete Chaco devotee I was really struggling with why anyone would be interested in these.

    I should have known I was being punked when I got to the part about “The minimalist outsole design will leave feet calloused, creating luggy knots of hardened skin for a tread that can take on any trail.”

    Totally hilarious! Great April Fools day post. Love your regular reviews too! :)

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