Fashion meets fun and function in new fall boots from Chaco.
It can be quite the dilemma dressing for the outdoors. You want something rugged but don’t always want to look like you’re hiking Mt. Everest. Outdoor clothing and gear can be a little hardcore looking and products rarely fill the niche of comfy, casual but sturdy (usually you can only choose two out of three).
I was pretty excited to find that Chaco had come up with just that, finding a soft spot between all three in the Jaeger for men and Barbary boots for women. A collection of great colors for each, these boots mean business and fun. My girlfriend and I took them for a spin on a recent stay at a coastal cabin and found they kept giving when we thought they were done.
Jaeger – Darth Earth
A mid-height boot with water resistant leather, the Jaeger took me off guard. I wasn’t expecting it to be so comfy and so breathable.
I’ve got a thing against shoes that claim to keep out water. Usually they tend to get clammy very quickly for me. An hour in and I can’t wait to take the shoes off. The Jaeger didn’t seem to do any of that.
-UPDATE, March 7, 2016-
I wanted to add that these shoes did great tramping through light snow and rain. From hiking for an hour on compacted snow, to a torrential rain deluge that soaked the tops but kept my feet dry, I’m impressed!
What it did do was keep my toes very warm while providing a great feeling footbed. It felt like I was trampsing through a spongy forest floor the whole time I had them on. I haven’t worn them for super extended periods of time –over 12 hours– but throughout the work day, doing a bit of manual labor, or just walking around, my feet never felt like I was pounding the pavement.
With durability in mind, I was glad I ran them through a bit of yard work. Chopping wood, the shoes were nice and sturdy, offering a stable sole. Even an accidental light hit from an ax only yielded a tiny scuff at the tip of the shoe. Phew, glad I wore these.
On that note, everything fit together nicely. I’m confident these shoes will hold up for a while. Tight stitching and durable materials… everything feels like the quality you’re paying for. Great details like a heavy metal top tie, removable insole, and thick-tread platform bring everything together.
The beneficial crux of it all is the good looks meeting actual function. I’ve worn them to the office on field days and through hikes in the woods. They hold up equally well in urban and more outdoorsy environments, clearly my favorite part.
Barbary – Topaz
The Barbary is odd in that it’s an unusually good looking shoe for one that holds its own in the outdoors.
I took a little while longer to warm up to them, but once I did they were amply comfortable and a definite go-to for Fall weather, and looks. While they might not be for the most hardcore outings, the Barbary boots were perfect for romping around on day trips and other adventures.
With my favorite pair of socks tucked underneath, I never had to worry about my feet being cold. Wool lined, with full grain leather details, I was always toasty. I loved the way this combo looked and felt; subtle purple seems and smooth tan wool textures filled out the shoes in both comfort and looks.
The fun part is the fold-able sides. Toss them down for looks and warmer weather, bring ’em up when the temperatures start to drop.
I feel like this pair is for anyone who wants to up their fashion game, while staying sturdy and warm in the outdoors. They had a decent amount of support, but not enough for a fully fledged hike up the mountain, which is alright. Once I broke them in, the Barbary boots did everything I wanted them to: look good and feel good.
It seems Chaco aims to impress. They somehow managed to put together looks, rugged function and comfort into a stylish shoe package for nippy weather. While a slight amount more for show, the Men’s Jaeger and Women’s Barbary still triumph over similar forays that attempt to do all three
At $140 and $150 accordingly, they aren’t out of the price range for something you would expect to pack this much fashion with as much actual usefulness into a pair, regardless of brand. The fact that Chaco backs up all of their shoes with a lifetime warranty and it’s pretty clear they’re an awesome deal for anyone who needs a bit of balance in the shoe world.
Disclosure: I received these products from Chaco for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own, truthful, and awesome.