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Today I got to test out a pair of Chaco Layna hiking shoes for women.  What’s that? You didn’t know Chaco made hiking shoes?  Me neither!  Better known for their hiking sandals, Chaco does, in fact, make hiking shoes and boots for men and women.

Chaco Layna Hiking Shoes

Chaco Layna Hiking Shoes

The Layna is a women’s-specific waterproof hiking shoe.  The shoes have a water resistant suede/mesh construction and a waterproof bootie as well. The footbed is a women’s-specific LUVSEAT PU footbed.  Combine that with a shank-supported EVA midsole and you have aligned support all the way through the shoe.

The soles are made of a non-marking eco-tread rubber, 25% of which is recycled materials.  The gusseted tongue of the shoe and durable rubber toecap help to protect your feet from debris and the occasional toe stub.

The tread of the shoe was one of the things I was most interested in.  The hiking around here involves lots of loose dirt with many chances for sliding around if your shoes aren’t grippy.

solesThese soles looked like they could handle a challenge, so to test their grip factor I hiked up one of the steepest hills at the Lunch Loop trail system: the Bentonite Hill.

Hiking up the Bentonite hill is a good way to test a shoe's grip.

Hiking up the Bentonite hill is a good way to test a shoe’s grip.

Hiking up this hill was no problem at all for the Chaco Laynas.  My feet didn’t feel the slightest hint of sliding in these shoes.  I even stopped halfway and took a picture.  Those shoes stuck to the hillside like glue.

upslopeSo far the shoes were comfortable, though a little warm.  That’s to be expected, though, with a waterproof shoe.  They don’t breathe as much as a non-waterproof shoe might.

Towards the top of the hill were several rock steps.  I felt surefooted moving through here with the Chacos on, and didn’t even need to grab on to any rocks for balance or support.

stairsNext, I wanted to check the shoe’s worth on a downhill section of trail.  Would they again prove to be as grippy? Would my toe bang into the front of the shoe? So I hiked down a steep, singletrack trail that was rutted and rocky.  The shoes not only didn’t slide at all, but never did I feel off balance or like I could easily twist an ankle.  This section of trail is one where a pair of trekking poles can sometimes come in handy, but today I just hiked right down it not feeling the slightest trepidation. These Chaco shoes were turning out to be pretty sweet!

As for the toe bang, I tried to make it happen.  I purposefully pushed my feet down at such an angle that it seemed toe bang would have to occur.  It never did.  Not once. Never in these shoes did I feel the slightest hint of my toes hitting the front of my shoes.

shoes_sitting

Overall these new Chaco Layna hiking shoes  have proven their worth.  They are great for hiking sketchy terrain because of the eco-tread rubber soles.  They hold your feet in place in the shoe so that toe bang isn’t an issue, and they’ll be great for crossing streams or if you get caught in a rainstorm because they’re waterproof.

The sizing seems right on.  I never order shoes without trying them on because you just can’t tell how they’re going to fit. Even though I have wide feet, I ordered my regular size (9.5) and they fit great right out of the box.

MSRP: $130

shoes_standing

Thanks to Chaco for providing the Chaco Layna Women’s Hiking Shoes for review!

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