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Piled up next to the front door of any outdoor lover, among well-loved running shoes, hiking boots, and Blundstones, there is very likely a Chaco sandal, too. The staple brand has been around since the 1980s when it first started producing the Classic Z/ sandal as whitewater rafting footwear, and has long since become synonymous with an "outdoor lifestyle" that's both aspirational and attainable, hardcore and casual. In recent years, the brand's lineup has grown considerably while catering to both segments—take for example the low-profile, adventure-ready Bodhi and all new, urban-minded Townes Collection.
With the Townes Collection, Chaco dresses up some of its classic silhouettes in premium leather and adding height for styles more suited for sidewalks than river beds. The new line includes the Townes ($110), the Townes Midform ($115), and the Townes Midform Slide ($115) to create a range that includes a leather Z/-inspired sandal and a chunky platform slide.
For the last few weeks I've been giving the Townes Midform a test, walking here, there, and everywhere around Field Mag's hometown of New York City. Keep reading for the verdict.
All three Townes styles feature Chaco's LUVSEAT footbed for all-day, full arch-support comfort, and come in a range of neutral tones from black to earthy olive. Full-grain leather footbeds and straps feel buttery smooth around the foot, and a signature metal buckle can be adjusted for fit. Lastly, a grippy and durable outsole made of rubber ensures a comfortable and stable trip around town.
My wear test of the Townes Midform brought us through a variety of terrain and events. As far as style goes, the sandal has become my go-to sandal to throw on with well, anything, as its monochrome colorway complements the full range of my wardrobe and the slightly thicker, interlaced straps add just a dash of boldness.
As far as wear, the LUVSEAT footbed and full-grain leather make for a very comfy, slip-on fit. Underfoot, the platform does make the shoe feel rather heavy, and this, paired with the leather, means they're not exactly off-roaders. But if you're empowered by a chunky heel for a day around town, add these to the shoe closet.
For sandal lovers everywhere, the Townes collection poses the opportunity to elevate a casual look or dress down something more formal without leaving behind the key features that put Chaco on the map decades ago. They're heavier and clunkier than your standard strappy sandal, so don't expect to take them too far on a hike—but for stomping down city streets—and looking and feeling good doing it—they're perfect.