Camping & Hiking Tips

How To Adjust Your Chacos In 8 Easy Steps

By Julie McClain​

You have heard about them. You have seen them. From the comfy sole to the recycled rubber grip bottom, you just had to have a pair. You finally broke down and decided to buy a pair of Chaco Sandals and now that you have them, they just don’t seem to fit right.

It can be confusing, but I promise that by the end of this article you will have a working knowledge of Chaco Sandals and you will know how to adjust your Chacos. Next time you wear them hiking you should see a big improvement. I would suggest that you wear them a little bit first to break them in and get your feet used to them if you normally don’t wear sandals.

Chaco makes 2 different types of sandals. One has a toe strap and one does not. Tightening the strap on each works pretty much the same way, but there are a couple of differences, so I will explain them separately.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Chaco Sandal Adjustments
Sandal Adjustments Diagram. Via

The Sandal Without A Toe Strap

We will start with the one without the toe strap. That is the set on the top of the above diagram. Loosening is on the left, tightening is on the right. 

I will detail each picture for you to follow.


  • Step 1: In order to achieve the best fit, before we tighten the sandal the first time let’s make sure it is completely loose. Take your sandal and undo the buckle (labeled 1 in the diagram). Pull it all the way up to create as much slack as possible.
  • Step 2: From the outside, grasp the middle strap and pull up, or towards the inside, until there is plenty of excess strap available (labeled 2 in the diagram). Don’t pull it out so far that the back is too tight.
  • Step 3: Now pull the front outside strap up until there is enough room for your foot to easily fit in the straps (labeled 3 in the diagram). Go ahead and put your foot through the straps. It should be very loose on your foot. If not pull on the tight strap to loosen it.

Now that your sandal is loose, we are going to start tightening the straps.


  • Step 1: Working from the inside, pull the front strap up until the strap that crosses the top of your foot, from instep to just behind your toes, until it is snug (labeled 1 in the diagram). You should be able to get a finger under the strap across your foot.
  • Step 2: Move back to the middle inside strap (labeled 2 in the diagram). Gently pull it up until the whole front of the sandal is snug. Again you should be able to get a finger under both front straps, but they should not be loose.
  • Step 3: Grasp the strap that goes through the buckle and pull down (labeled 3 in the diagram). This will finish the process and your Chaco should now fit just right. If not, you may need to go through the tightening process again. Next time you remove it, the sandal should stay close enough to your current adjustment that you will only need to slightly tighten the front straps the next time.

Repeat the steps for the other sandal now. Then walk around and make sure everything feels good. Again I suggest walking around in them a few times and getting used to them before taking that long hike.

Remember, if the straps are too tight, they will not be comfortable, and if they are too loose, they will chafe your feet. It may take a bit of practice, but you will get them adjusted correctly.

Chaco’s website now has a nice tutorial that can walk you through these steps. It has a step by step illustration of this procedure or you can watch their video below:

The Sandal With A Toe Strap

That is really all there is to adjusting the sandal without a toe strap. Now let’s take a look at the sandal with a toe strap. It is the lower pair on the diagram above. Again, the one on the left is for loosening and the one the right shows the straps and direction to pull for tightening.


  • Step 1: In order to achieve the proper fit, let’s loosen the straps. Start by pulling the buckle (labeled 1 in the diagram) all the way up so the strap is loose.
  • Step 2: Now grasp the middle strap from the outside and pull it up so that there is slack in it (labeled 2 in the diagram). Be careful not to leave some play in the strap that goes behind your foot.
  • Step 3: Take the strap that will go around you big toe from the center of the front of the sandal and pull up (labeled 3 in the diagram). Don’t pull too far. You just need to pull it up about an inch.
  • Step 4: Pull the front outside strap until there is plenty of room for your foot (labeled 4 in the diagram). Now that the straps are loose, go ahead and place your foot in it and we will move on to tightening your Chaco.


  • Step 1: Working from the inside, pull the toe strap up until the strap going across your foot is snug but not too tight (labeled 1 in the diagram). You should be able to get you finger under that strap.
  • Step 2: Next, pull the front inside strap up until the strap around your toe is gripping your toe (labeled 2 in the diagram). Again, you should still be able to get your finger under the straps. If not then go through the loosening steps again.
  • Step 3: Now, grasp the back inside strap and pull up until every strap is adjusted to the same tension (labeled 3 in the diagram). You will still want to be able to get a finger under the straps. Be very careful not to overtighten them.
  • Step 4: Lastly, just pull down on the strap that goes through the buckle (labeled 4 in the diagram). You should have a nice snug fit all the way around. Proper adjustment can be made with the instructions above. Just find the corresponding strap and pull or loosen it.

Repeat the steps for the other sandal now. Walk around and make some necessary fine tuning adjustments. Honestly, you will barely know they are there when they are adjusted properly. That is really all there is to it. With a little practice, you will be able to adjust them in seconds.

Chaco’s website has a nice tutorial that can walk you through these steps too. The illustrations are great and show exactly which straps to pull.

I also located this great video put out by them. It is definitely worth watching:

All done!

I hope that you enjoyed this article. I am confident that by following the above instructions now you can confidently say that you know how to adjust your Chacos.

I would like for everyone to get the full enjoyment out of their Chacos, just like I do. They really are nice and very comfortable when adjusted properly. 

If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave them below as I would love to see your feedback.


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