This review photo shows the Chaco Torrent Pro Water shoes next to a river.

Chaco Torrent Pro Water Shoes Review

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The Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes were co-developed with professional whitewater athletes to create a cross-training water shoe. The Torrent Pro is designed to get in and out of the water, over and over.

To get us a closer look, Chaco sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. After testing and reviewing the Chaco Torrent Pro, this is what we learned:

Chaco Torrent Pro Review

After testing and using the Chaco Torrent Pro this spring and summer, the Torrent Pro is my new favorite water shoe. It just barely edges out the Columbia Drainmaker IV, which still leads our guide to the best water shoes, but for me personally, I’m a hardcore fan of the Chaco Torrent Pro.

This gear testing and review photo shows the men's Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes next to a river in Idaho.
Why buy them? The Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes excel for those getting in and out of the water all day long.

Why do I appreciate the Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes?

First, the Chaco Torrent Pro is a relatively lightweight but nimble water shoe that delivers full-foot protection. It has a real sole, a great toe guard, and full-coverage mesh. The ankle fits fairly snug to keep most sand and debris out.

At first glance and upon an initial test, I had two concerns: 1) I was worried that the draw stop lacing system might not snug up enough for swimming in rapids, and 2) I was worried that the lack of an insole would wear out my feet over time.

I should not have been worried.

The draw stop lacing do a great job of snugging your foot to the shoe, and when you need to kick and swim in turbulent water, the Torrent Pro stays put.

This photo shows a closeup of the Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes.
The Chaco fit-and-finish is excellent overall. The mesh upper and toe-cap holes squish out excess water with each step while midsole holes quickly drain water.

As for the lack of a dedicated, removable insole, I quickly forgot about it while out on the water. In fact, on one camping trip, my go-to all-day shoe was the Chaco Torrent Pro. I wore them on uneven, rocky terrain in and out of the water while fly fishing and swimming, and my feet never got tired.

This is important because I’m a large guy and I like to wear well-cushioned Hoka One One shoes on most days. Don’t get me wrong: The Chaco Torrent Pros are not cushy, but they provided me with enough support to run around in and out of the water on slick rocks and uneven ground and enjoy doing it.

The Details

For the upper, Chaco uses a knitted polyester fabric with synthetic overlaps for added structure and toe protection. When I first considered the looks of the Chaco water shoes in photos, I must admit, I thought they looked a bit goofy. That’s not true in real life, though. The Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes — like the Engel HD30 Cooler — look mediocre in photos . . . but great in person. I don’t know why this is, but it happens sometimes with high-performing gear.

Speaking of performance, the Torrent Pro’s drain water fast, but the dry time is about average for any full-coverage water shoe. Still, that’s not really the point — you choose the Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes because you want to get in and out of the water all day long.

This photo shows a closeup of the rubber sole on the Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes.
The sole provides a stable base. If you look closely, you can see some of the wavy siping, which creates additional traction when you’re standing in them on slick surfaces.

For the sole, Chaco uses a non-marking “ChacoGrip Plus” rubber compound. On slick river rocks, it gave surprisingly good traction, but it will slip over a slime covered rock (which is true for every rubber compound I’ve ever tested). That’s where the toe protection comes in: Even if you slip a bit, when you slide into another rounded bowling-ball river rock, your toes are protected.

Shop the Chaco Torrent Pro from Moosejaw and get FREE shipping on orders over $50!

How’s the Swim?

This photo shows the top view of the men's Chaco Torrent Pro water shoes.
Top view. Note the toe-cap drain holes, which helps speed draining.

Water shoes won’t improve your ability swim — the best water shoes just don’t hamper your abilities too much. I could swim in the Chaco Torrent Pros better than I expected given its full-coverage shoe-like properties.

To put this in perspective, I’d rather swim in Chacos than the aforementioned Columbia Drainmaker IVs. Still, if swimming vs playing is your thing, you probably want to error more toward an aqua sock style water shoe like the NRS Arroyo Wetshoe.

For walking on rocky shoes, beaches and swimming, I like the Chacos.

The Verdict

The Chaco Torrent Pro is an excellent full-coverage water shoe. Chaco designed the shoes for active water play, particularly if you’re scrambling around river banks and getting into and out of water — or into and out of whitewater kayaks, inflatable kayaks, and rafts. Even though it’s designed for serious activity, I also found the Chacos to be excellent on more leisurely hikes to the beach. Like most every comfortable water shoe, sand can get inside, but the Torrent Pros shed most sand due to the relatively snug ankle. I’m a fan. Very highly recommended.

Get the Gear:

Check shipping/pricing: Backcountry.comCampSaver | Moosejaw | Zappos

Check shipping/pricing: | CampSaver | Moosejaw | Zappos

Chaco Torrent Pro Water Shoes
Fast water drainage
Nimble overall design
Great traction on slick surfaces
No real cons

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In addition to Man Makes Fire buying gear for reviews and guides, gear manufacturers occasionally ship review units to Man Makes Fire. If we like it, we spend some quality time with the gear and review it, noting if it was provided to Man Makes Fire. After the review, we return it, give it away, or work on longer-term review follow-ups when applicable to reader interest.

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