Chacos on the Fly: Chaco’s ‘Fit for Adventure’ Bus Tour

Whether your sandals need a refresh or you just want a new pair, the Chaco bus tour offers a one-of-a-kind brand experience in your neighborhood.

It’s not everyday you see a group of humans jamming a sandal together in less than 10 minutes. But if the Chaco bus is in town, you should take it upon yourself to check it out.

Chaco “Fit for Adventure” Tour been rolling since March. And in the process, the unreasonably and effortlessly gang of Dirtbag sandal cobblers repaired and built an average of 45 sandals a day.

The tour recently stopped in Bozeman, Montana, where I had the chance to dig with the cobblers and check out the bus behind the scenes. Also, I walked out with a brand new pair of custom Z1s on my feet. I can’t be mad about this.

Chaco “Fit for Adventure” Bus Tour Review

Determine your shoes

The panels help manufacturers find color combinations for their new shoes; (photo/Nicole Qualtieri)

In Bozeman, the Chaco bus parked near one of my favorite cafes, Treeline Cafe. (Backpackers, check out their payments. Insane.) Setup is pretty easy. You check in with the front desk people, ask about repairs or new Chacos, they get you the right forms and you’re on your way.

For me, no repair was necessary. I decided to make a pair of classic Z1s. Large panels filled with strap and buckle options helped me define what I wanted.

The primary colors with a bit of a pattern looked weird, so I went all out on my new Z1s.

On the Chaco cobbler’s bus

chaco bus tour
No shoes, no shirt, full service at the Chaco bus; (photo/Nicole Qualtieri)

Getting on the bus was like being at a mini maker’s party with a bunch of dream boats, girls and guys. Old school hip hop pumped on the bus. A general caffeinated buzz of teamwork to make dreams work made me miss the days when my job was simple and straightforward.

As time passed, I envied that feeling that when the time is up, the job is truly done.

And for this team, it was fun to see everyone take their position in stride. Most of these makers have been on the road since March, and at this point they average a sandal in less than 10 minutes. I asked if they ever timed a sandal for speed.

Their file? Four minutes, 56 seconds.

My sandals went from start to finish in average time. They moved through the cutting station and into a world of breakstitch machines who tagged this thread in all the right places.

Hand them over

chaco bus tour
Shoemaker Jeremy chains up a Chaco Z1 before packing it; (photo/Nicole Qualtieri)

Once the sandals were put together, they were tossed into a self-proclaimed Dirtbag – i.e. a bag with “I’m a Dirtbag” engraved on the canvas. Really, it couldn’t be easier or more efficient.

Within an hour I had a brand new, custom pair of Chaco Z1s on my feet. As I watched the team work, customers came and went, picking up stationary Chacos and new sandals and slides. Most would hang around and watch the well-oiled effort.

Things to Know: Chaco ‘Fit for Adventure’ Tour

Chaco Bus Tour
Filling out forms on the Chaco bus tour; (photo/Nicole Qualtieri)

The bus, while cool and funky, is a bit of an enigma.

Go to Chaco Bus Tour Page and you’ll likely be redirected to adding your email address to be on a list that will let you know if the bus ends near you. This is because the tour seems to have no agenda, although I know the bus is heading to Chicago next week.

After that? No idea. It’s a bit strange, but it’s also a bit whimsical.

The other thing to know is that if the bus is approaching you, the daily cap for new and old sandals is around 45. And this team hit that level almost every day they’re on tour. So you want to arrive early, order early, and hope for the best.

Repairs usually take priority, so that’s something to note as well. However, if you want a new pair, the bus offers Z1s and Chillos for men and women.

The crew also offers to have sandals shipped to you from the factory. And if you need a repair they can’t do, they’ll refer you to the ReChaco program.

Final Thoughts: Chaco Bus Tour

chaco bus tour
(Photo/Nicole Qualtieri)

It’s funny. Really, I love seeing how things are done and I love being able to add a personal touch to the mix.

I ordered custom Chacos from the website. I wear the Ramble Puffs in the cold Montana months (which is most of them). I have a whole range of the brand. But, it’s hard not to relate to my latest addition to the sandal party.

So I say this. Sign up for this email and cross your fingers that the bus tour stops near you.

If so, it’s worth spending some time with the Chaco Cobblers roadie team and putting some refreshed or new shoes on your toes.

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