Chaco Fathom Flip review
At the 2012 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Chaco showed off their new NearGround Collection. Getting in line with minimalist design, these new sandals feature a much thinner, sleeker and lighter weight sole that is far less structured than the burly, hike-worthy soles we know and love from Chaco. While at the Chaco booth, I picked up a fair of the new Fathom flips, and got to experience NearGround for myself.
On first impression, the NearGround design is clearly lighter, making these new flips feel more relaxed. But this minimalist approach does not mean that there is no support. There is still plenty of full foot support that feels great, especially under my high arches. One surprising thing about the Fathom is that despite having a thin sole, the cushioning underfoot is more squishy than older Chaco models.
I wore the Fathom in the yard, around the house, and running errands around town on hot days and found them to be very comfortable to wear. However, after a few hours, especially while walking a fair distance (like taking the dogs on their neighborhood walk) the strap between the big and middle toe would chafe. I feel like there’s too much webbing here, especially when new. But after wearing them for a few weeks, the straps sort of “broke in” and felt much better, though I still can’t wear them all day long without some discomfort.
Despite the straps, I found the soles and footbed to be divine. The NearGround is more cushy than Chaco’s predecessors, and therefore more comfortable. NearGround will be available in other Chaco sandals and shoes, and I think will be more desirable to the Chaco uninitiated or those who haven’t liked to wear Chacos in the past.
The new Chaco NearGround line, including the Fathom Flips, will be in stores Spring, 2013.
For more information, visit Chaco at www.chacos.com