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The Methodical Strangulation of My Big Toe

Kathy Fawcett has a pain in her Chaco's sandal

By Kathy Fawcett

When you’re 5’10", you’re pretty far from your feet.

I hardly notice mine, they’re so far down there, except to note how much they look like my dad’s feet. My three older brothers used to torment me when I was growing up by telling me that I was adopted. (They never said that I was "loved, wanted and chosen," they just wanted me to cry.) I never took them seriously, because no one could deny that the arches of my feet are carbon copies of dad’s.

I’m noticing my feet much more now because of my new shoes.

My husband is loving these Chaco’s brand sandals in the summer. They’re lighter than the Teva’s we’ve been wearing for a dozen years, and the adjustable straps make them very customized. Last summer I watched Steve making small adjustments with the Roman Sandal-like criss-crossed Chaco straps every day. They’re very hard to pull through the rubber soles, so, for the most part, they hold their shape.

This year they’ve improved the designs. The straps are more colorful, and are easier to adjust. So I bought a pair in Holland, Mich., for about $90. That’s a lot of money for sandals, but I’ve come to appreciate how a well-made pair of shoes can make a big difference in your day.

Here’s the rub, literally. The new design of their easier-to-adjust straps is faulty. I can have a perfect fit for about 40 seconds, and then as I walk… the straps tighten, eventually strangling my big toe until I want to scream. Now I have to stop often and readjust my expensive Chaco’s.

The choice I face: Wear them and complain every day? I’m not above this. Or, contact the company about their design flaw. I don’t know if I have the receipt, I don’t know if I even want to return them. (Holland is about three hours away from the Detroit area.) I guess what I want to do is write the customer service folks at Chaco Co. and see what their response is. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I’ll tell you that my husband has a hilarious shoe story – the punch line being this, from the salesperson: "Sir, no one ever died from wearing Birkenstocks."

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  1. The SAME thing is happening to my toes! I got my Z2′s with the thin double straps at REI. I’ve worn them for two days and I’m afraid my big toe is going to get cut off! I’m going back to REI today to see if they’ve got any suggestions. If not, these sandals may be going back.

    Posted by: Cate Sullivan | May 25, 2007
  2. I’m having the same problem. It fits fine at first then after about 10 steps it starts to tighten. I’m going to have to take them back. I’m not spening two years traveling around the world with a big toe getting stragled.

    Posted by: Daniel | August 29, 2008
  3. I am having the same problem! I thought I had just started with them too tight, but after adjusting them I noticed it again. It definitely gets painful! This is unacceptable for a brand new pair $90 pair of sandals IMO.

    Posted by: Brandy | April 29, 2015
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Sunday, February 25, 2018