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Love. True, unconditional, blissful LOVE!
This is how I feel about my first pair of Chacos. I got these 11 years ago when I was first starting out as a raft guide. We’ve been through a lot together. Logged hundreds of river trips, hiked numerous mountains (even a good portion of Mt Kilimanjaro), visited 3 continents, and created some pretty epic Chaco tan lines.
Not only do I have tons of great memories while wearing these, but they are practically molded to my feet. Yes, the tread is worn and they’re showing their age, but they fit like a glove. Even after owning several other pairs of Chacos, none of them have come even close to the comfort these have offered. I was heartbroken when they started to fray. It got so bad that I was afraid to adjust them, fearing that at any second the strap would snap.
How to fix broken Chacos
Yes, Chaco will reweb your sandals for about $40, but in my head that’s about half the cost of a pair on sale so not quite worth it.
Luckily, my brother is the ultimate MacGyver and showed me how to reweb my own Chacos.
Here’s what you need to reweb your own Chacos:
3 yards of webbing – Either tubular webbing (used for climbing) or thick webbing from a specialty fabric store
Thread and sewing machine
Seam ripper and/or xacto knife
Step one: Cut the old webbing off at the buckle. Sew it onto your new webbing. Make sure you sew it on tight since this is how you will feed your new piece through. I used a small zig-zag stitch.
Start pulling your webbing through the sandals. If your Chacos are old, this will be tricky and a pair of vice-grips will be your best friend.
Keep pulling. Try not to get to distracted/grossed out by all the gunk that was stuck inside your webbing.
Once you have pulled all of your webbing through, use your seam ripper or xacto knife and unpick the stitching where the old webbing was sewn in. Be very careful not to cut the black webbing where it attaches to your sandal base.
Sew your new webbing into that area. This needs to be tight so it’s a good idea to go over it several times.
Try on your Chaco to determine how long you want your straps. Cut it to the desired length, heat seal the end (burn with a match until it melts to prevent fraying) and sew it back onto the buckle.
Now pat yourself on the back. You’re halfway done!
Now it’s time to work on the backs. First, unpick the old webbing like you did on the front side. Take the old webbing and use it as a guide to measure your new piece. It’s very important that you angle the new piece like the old one was so that it will fit your heel correctly and not just slide off.
Sew your new pieces on.
Admire your new work and enjoy the fact that this only cost you $5!
This post was originally published in 2013, but content has been updated several times since then.