Waterless-dyed straps, midsoles made with soybean oil, and construction that can be repaired again and again — Chaco wants the Playa Pro to be ‘the last flip-flops you’ll ever buy.’
I hopped out of our panga fishing boat and splashed onto aqua-tinted white sand. Slide-stepping through the high-tide water, I clambered ashore and immediately began exploring Isla Espíritu Santo’s cavernous, orange rock formations.
And from water to sand to volcanic stone, I traversed it all in a single pair of flip-flops. Launched this month, Chaco’s Playa Pro “three-point sandal” marks a stark contrast from the flimsy, disposable options that dominate the category. Made to be durable, versatile, and — most notably — re-soleable, the Playa Pro carries the rough-and-tumble Chaco ethos into the world of flip-flops.
So I took them for a first look test around the Gulf of California’s white sand beaches and rocky island trails to see if they held up.
In short: For those who embrace flip-flop life, this is may be the most durable product to date. The Playa Pro wears like a Chaco — sturdy and substantial — with far more purchase and capability than other high-end sandals thanks to an aggressive tread pattern.
What’s more, Chaco will resole the flip-flops when they wear out. The only prepurchase considerations will be the break-in period and cost ($70-95 depending on style). With more durable materials, these flip-flops feel a little less forgiving at first than less expensive options.
Chaco Playa Pro Flip-Flops
Chaco launched the Playa Pro this month in both men’s and women’s options. Additionally, both come in three styles: Loop, Leather, and Web. Each carries the ReChaco warranty but differs in strap material and design.
The entry option Web, which retails for $70, has a standard three-point construction and a strap made from waterless-dyed poly webbing. The Leather costs $90 and also has three-point construction, but it uses a saline-treated, full-grain-leather strap. Finally, the Loop runs $95 and uses the same leather but in a toe-loop design that hooks the big toe.
The entire Playa Pro collection uses the “e.dye” waterless technique for the straps and a “bio-based” polyurethane midsole comprising 22 percent soybean oil. Most importantly, all Playa Pro flip-flops can be resoled and repaired by Chaco. The brand offers the same ReChaco service options it covers for its Z/Sandals. That includes both resoling and strap replacement.
Chaco Playa Pro Review
My first impression of the Playa Pro was how sharp it looks. Anyone who’s worn REEF or Rainbow sandals will put the Playa Pro in the same category. And that’s fair; long-lasting flip-flops are few and far between. With the Playa Pro, Chaco enters that relatively exclusive club.
But the Playa Pro also sets itself apart from that group. Whereas all three use strong materials and promote all-day comfort, the Playa Pro looks and feels more adventure-worthy.
Thick lugs grace the ChacoGrip Plus rubber compound on the sole. I wouldn’t rely on it hurrying down steep, muddy terrain, but it performed fine for light hikes and mellow rock scrambles.
The limiting factor for most pursuits will be the wearer’s comfort in flip-flops in varied terrain. While I enjoyed the versatility these sandals offered over similar options, I wouldn’t turn to them as my main all-terrain shoe.
But for travel and vacation in tropical climates, the Playa Pro could whittle your shoe quiver to two — and possibly just one.
One note: Although the Playa Pro was comfortable out of the box, it didn’t break in during our testing period. Options like Rainbow sandals famously get better as they wear. The Playa Pro’s PU midsole probably won’t curve into the foot the way full leather does. But it offered both cushion and protection from rocky terrain while providing plenty of comfort.
Chaco ‘Forever’ Flip-Flops
I expect Chaco’s Playa Pro flip-flops to outlast most, if not all, other flip-flops. The waterless dying and bio-based synthetics improve standard manufacturing techniques. But the real selling point is that these are re-soleable. Where other brands’ warranties last just as long as the sole, the Playa Pro can rejuvenate with a quick warranty claim.
The sticking point here is the price. Up front, the Playa Pro will set you back more than the leading competitors. And while Chaco’s warranty program is solid, it also isn’t free. Resoling runs about $40, but that’s still cheaper — and less wasteful — than buying a whole new pair.
Given the Playa Pro’s adventure-ready styling and construction, as well as longevity, it feels like a winner. Find the Playa Pro for men and women online now.