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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Chaco Tedinho Waterproof boots > Test Report by Richard Lyon

CHACO TEDINHO WATERPROOF BOOTS
Test Report by Richard Lyon

Initial Report October 30, 2012
Field Report January 13, 2013
Long Term Report March 18, 2013

Tedinho1

Personal Details and Backpacking Background

Male, 66 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.91 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Shoe size: 13 US, 46-47 Europe
Email address: montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

I've been backpacking for almost half a century, and regularly in the Rockies since 1986.  I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500 - 4000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce weight, I'm not yet a lightweight hiker and I usually choose a bit of extra weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect.  Winter adventures are often on touring or telemark skis.

INITIAL REPORT - October 30, 2012

THE PRODUCT

Tedinho2 Chaco's Tedinho Waterproof Boots are full-grain leather boots with a "waterproof membrane" to keep the wear's feet dry.  Chaco's website doesn't give any details of the material or technology used to achieve this.  Each boot is constructed of five pieces of leather: full-grain leather toe and heel pieces, a full-grain leather panel on each side, and a suede collar at the top of the heel.  The collar and heel pieces are double-sewn with very tiny, barely visible thread on the outside.  The toe piece has a single-stitched sewing to the side pieces just below the seam; there may be another stitching on the inside.  

Below the leather Chaco's proprietary LUVSEAT X03 platform sits atop its proprietary EcoTread sole. The only technical information on either of these available on Chaco's website is that the EcoTread is made with 25% recycled rubber and has a listed lug depth of 3 mm (0.12 in).  A gusseted suede tongue is sewn up to about the lowest hook for the laces, which come "military style," as shown in the photograph.  Insoles made of rubber or a rubber-like synthetic complete the package.

Chaco markets these boots for "adventure, anytime and anywhere."

DETAILS

Manufacturer: Wolverine World Wide, Inc.
Website: http://www.chaco.com
Measured weight: 23.6 oz (669 g) per boot
Color: Tarvia (a mid-brown). Also available in Black.
Related products: The Tedinho boots are available without the waterproofing, in a lower cut model (also not waterproof), and as quick-drying water boot (Tedinho Pro).  Each of these and the waterproof version are available in women's sizes.
MSRP: $150 US
Size: US 13, UK 12, Europe 46. Available in US half sizes 7-12 and whole sizes 13-15.
Country of manufacture: China

OUT OF THE BOX

Tedinho3 I should begin by saying that I have worn full-grain leather boots for more years, decades really, than I like to admit.  Much of my time in the backcountry in summer is spent doing trail maintenance work as a US Forest Service (USFS) volunteer.  The USFS requires stout, over-the-ankle boots for this work, and I have often turned to what are today considered old-fashioned heavy full-grain leather boots from two Italian bootmakers for this task. (One pair, from Alico, is reviewed on this site.) I began my backcountry skiing with similar full-grain leather telemark boots.  Before the blizzard of high-tech fabrics and the political correctness of ultralight, my preference often ran to these boots for general hiking because of their high water resistance and general sturdiness.  I remain a fan of full-grain leather footwear when support, protection, and water resistance are desired.

Coming from this background, my first impression of the Tedinho boots was that they are exceptionally lightweight, maybe half the weight of comparably sized full-grain leather boots I have worn for many years.  I verified that fact after weighing the Tedinhos.  Lighter may be better, especially since my use of the Tedinhos over the next four months should be entirely recreational, and I won't be doing hours of manual labor with heavy tools.  

A second immediately noteworthy feature, not colored by my longtime use of heavier boots, is the depth of the tread.  The EcoTread material seems sturdy enough, but the depth (which I measured at one-eighth of an inch, or 3.2 mm) is about half what I have on most other hiking boots, leather or otherwise.  This too may be for the better, as I am planning several snowshoe trips this winter, my first as a full-time Rockies denizen. Testing will tell if these skinnier treads will provide sufficient purchase when hiking in snowy or icy conditions, as I'll be doing on the dirt roads in my neighborhood on daily dog walks.

Tedinho4Tedinho5 The insoles provided with the Tedinhos are quite different from any I've seen.  My narrow feet, at the heels especially, have made me something of an expert on insoles; I'm constantly searching for aftermarket products to add arch support and keep my heels from moving laterally.  The Tedinhos' insoles are a bit thinner than what I'm used to.  Unique in my experience are how flexible they are and the tread on the underside.  One of the few pieces of technical information on the manufacturer's website is that the insoles complement the LUVSEAT platform, with the latter supplying most of the arch support.

An overall examination of the Tedinhos left a very favorable impression.  All stitching looks very secure, as does the attaching of the EcoTread to the LUVSEAT and the LUVSEAT to the leather uppers.  These boots are easy to put on and lace up, and the fit on my narrow feet, with the heavy socks I ordinarily wear in winter, is really good - a bit of room at the toe but snug without being confining at the heel. The Tedhinos fit nicely into the bindings on both pairs of snowshoes that I own.

The general look and feel of the Tedinhos is that I am wearing a pair of light hiking boots that just happen to be made of full-grain leather rather than fabric. Especially are they much more comfortable and flexible out of the box than any full-grain leather boots I've ever worn.  I'm hoping that will mean a minimal break-in period.  

BABY STEPS

As I do with all leather products, before first use I rubbed in my waterproofing of choice, Atsko Sno-Seal.  Then I set off on my street with my dog for his evening walk: up the hill for about three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) and back.  Our road is hardpacked dirt with imbedded gravel, and yesterday it was very muddy from melting snow and intermittent rain, but no ice. The grade is steep above my house for much of the hike - a good testing ground for traction. I didn't slip, going up or down hill, even when my 105-pound (48 kg) pal leapt (on leash) at a couple of invading whitetails on the way down.  The boots did collect some mud, which I wiped off with a damp cloth when I returned home.

THE GOOD

Light weight
Comfortable fit
Full-grain leather

CONCERN

Thin tread

FIELD REPORT - JANUARY 13, 2013

I hope it's not an illusion; my fingers remain crossed. I may have found the perfect boots for the three colder seasons in the Rockies. Read on for details.

FIELD CONDITIONS

Break-in period.  The short and sweet - there wasn't one. This was an improvement upon my hope in the Initial Report for a "minimal break-in period." At no time did I consider these boots too stiff for outdoor activity, nor did I suffer a blister or sore feet after wearing them. At the other end of the spectrum, after considerable use I haven't noticed any give in the leather, any loosening of the stitching,  or any give in the fit. Many miles in and they fit as well as out of the box.

Tedinho6 Hiking use. I enlisted a testing assistant - Babar, my very spoiled 105-pound (48 kg) Great Pyrenees, pictured at left near the Roosevelt Arch.  A daily conditioning routine for both of us includes three or four hikes with him on the unpaved roads or in the woods near my house or in local dog parks. These average 3-5 miles (5-8 km) a day, more if a dog park trip is included. Until snow and ice accumulated semi-permanently (i.e., until snowmelt in the spring) I wore the Tedinhos on all these hikes. And hikes they are. The roads around my house are steep and some involve 1000 feet (300 m) of elevation gain and loss. Off-road hikes, usually around my house, go through the woods up and down the same steep hills. Since late November there has been at least a foot (30 cm) of settled snow off-road, lately tracked up by wildlife, me, and the dog. The roads here are plowed once a storm ends, but I've experienced up to the same depth during our early snowstorms.  Plowed snow accumulates roadside and at this writing can be several feet ( 1 m) deep, and the testing assistant loves to explore these mounds.

The last week in November brought a brief warming, perhaps to 45 F (7 C) midday. Otherwise winter temperatures prevailed here. Since Delaware Day (December 7, the date my local ski are opened) I doubt it's been above freezing more than fifteen minutes, and nighttime dog walking temperatures have dipped below 0 F (-17 C) more than once.

After this semi-permafrost set in, I would occasionally substitute shearling-lined apres-ski boots for the Tedinhos, particularly in the morning when it was dark and really cold. To combat the brief warming spell's effect on the plowed and driven-on ice - something like spilling salad oil on glass - twice I added slip-on metal grips to the Tedinhos for additional traction.

Tedinho7 Snowshoe use. A few of my dog walks have been on snowshoes, and I took two short day hikes in the nearby Bangtail Mountains, and another in the Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, on snowshoes while wearing my Tedinhos. All these occasions were during the day, in sunny conditions, at temperatures from 10-45 F (-12 to 7 C), on ungroomed though occasionally animal-tracked cold smoke (our Bozeman term for the dry powder snow here). On the Bangtail and Yellowstone hikes I carried a day pack with about fifteen pounds' (7 kg) contents. The longest of these hikes was about five miles (8 km), all at altitudes in the range of 6000 feet (1850 m) with moderate ups and downs.

Everyday use. I regularly wear the Tedinhos to town, meaning Bozeman. I live about a twenty-minute drive to the east of Bozeman, and try to bundle my appointments and chores that require the drive there.  This occurs at least twice a week. Like many residents in areas in which mud, dust, and grime from outdoor activities may mean additional floor- and carpet-cleaning chores, I have house shoes to complement outdoor footwear. When I'm ready to drive to town I'll lace up the Tedinhos for the trip, errands, occasional dog walk, and general walkabout. The streets and sidewalks in Bozeman, while paved, are not unlike my driveway and neighborhood roads - a mixture of blue ice with the occasional slick patch. Because it's stayed cold and all the dog parks snow-covered, I have not had many encounters with mud.

Overall I would estimate at least 150 miles (240 km) on the Tedinhos since my Initial Report, mostly on snow or ice. All use has been with midweight to heavyweight wool or wool-blend socks. I have narrow feet and tend to wear heavy socks to compensate.

PERFORMANCE

Tedinho8 Grip. Outstanding performance on the slippery and icy roads around my home quickly dispelled the reservations noted in my Initial Report about the slender tread on the Tedhinos. The EcoTread has held its (and my, and Babar's) own quite as well as thicker and deeper treads on other boots. What I have dubbed the Whitetail Test provided proof far more convincing than anything I can conceive on trail to demonstrate the EcoTread's ability to hold on ice. Though a senior citizen Babar remains constantly alert to threats to the homestead, especially the evil deer that frequent our neighborhood regularly. When he sees one - this seems to happen almost exclusively when we are headed downhill - he tugs and strains at the leash. Let me at 'em, let me at 'em! Not once has his sudden charge caused even the smallest skid. The EcoTread has performed similarly well on the slopes of one local dog run, shown at left (not fenced, so a leash is required), whose surfaces have been made icy-slick by the local sledders and tobogganers.

Weather Resistance. I give the Tedinhos even higher grades in this category. Off-road hiking has meant trudging through snow well above the level of the Tedinhos' cuffs, often at the wrong end of a leash with an independent-minded dog bent on sniffing out our resident fox, an errant deer or moose, or a two-legged friend.  Several times on the snowshoe hikes I stepped into a knee-deep snowdrift. These boots have been regularly immersed in snow. While snow has filtered over the top of the boots, at no time has any water penetrated the leather or stitching of the boots.

Breathability.  More high marks. Despite wearing heavy socks not once have I felt sweaty feet while wearing the Tedinhos. No doubt the wintry outdoor temperatures account for some of this, but the Tedinhos have performed even better than my high tech plastic ski boots in this regard. This has been much appreciated on the snowshoe hikes, where uphill treks on steeper slopes in other footgear have often left my feet damp inside my boots. Not with the Tedinhos.

Durability. The top marks are conveyed here - these boots look almost like new. True, walking almost entirely on snow spared exposure to mud, dust, rocks, sludge, and grime, but the Tedinhos faced water every day I wore them and trees and bushes on some of the bushwhacks. While it might have been ice or snow at the time of exposure, any accumulated stuff melted quickly when I returned home or swapped the boots for driving shoes upon return to the trailhead. The Tedinhos have no stains, minimal scuffing, and no loss of color after more than three months' regular use. I re-treated them once with Sno-Seal, not because the boots needed it but because I had brush, cloth, and waterproofing product out for other leather items. I did not follow this up with shoe polish, as I normally do, as I thought the Tedinhos didn't need it. The laces show no deterioration. Bravo!

Fit. Just right for my narrow feet. These boots not only feel great on my feet, I haven't had a hot spot, much less a blister, when wearing them. I haven't even needed to substitute a custom orthotic or the included footbed, as I usually must.  Once or twice I wore the Tedinhos hiking with thin ski socks without incident, so I give the credit to the boots and their lasts for this.

Appearance. I'm a vain guy, but part of my adjustment to life in the mountains, well outside the fast lane, has been less attention to destination protocol in my wardrobe. (And in ten months I haven't found a fashion-conscious person in Montana.) In consequence I have sometimes neglected to pack city-specific garments on business trips. On the most recent trip, I forgot to bring suit-matching footwear. During cocktail hour at the bar of the Harvard Club of New York City (a bastion of old-fashioned stuffiness, to put it mildly) a lady actually complimented me on my "shoes." Need I say more?

WHAT I LIKE

The fit. It's just about perfect for me.
Waterproofing
The soles' grip. Once a concern, now definitely an attribute.
Light weight

PROBLEMS

Only one - If I forget to tie a double knot the laces work loose very quickly. Once in awhile I can blame that on a sloppy knot, when I don't take the necessary care to ensure the loop at the top of the tongue hasn't been enmeshed in the knot, but that's not the main cause as I lose a single knot early on even when the loop hasn't interfered. Maybe because of the shoes or laces, more likely because of my narrow ankles. Whatever the cause it means a double knot even for a short walk.

LONG TERM REPORT - March 18, 2013

FIELD CONDITIONS

I've continued to give the Tedinho boots almost a daily workout on my dog walk hikes. Unless a trip to town was on the daily calendar, my testing assistant and I trekked 2-5 miles (5-8 km) on the hills around my home. (A trip to Bozeman means a walk around town or a trip to one of this dog-friendly town's dog parks in lieu of one of the home walk.) As I drive to town several times per week I'd estimate all dog walks  in the Tedinhos during the past two months to total 80-120 miles (125-190 km). All this walking has been on snow or ice; on-road local hikes have either been on plow-packed ice or settled or new snow up to a foot (30 cm) in depth. Off-road has included accumulated snow up to at least three feet (1 m). Temperatures have ranged from 0-32 F (-17 to 0 C) until the past two weeks, when daytime highs have reached 45 F (7 C). Conditions have included everything from bluebird sunny days to white-out blizzards, usually partly cloudy or snow flurries. During the past three weeks I've worn the Tedinhos mostly with my Iccetrekker Diamond Grip cleats to get some purchase in the snowmelt atop the ice.

I've worn the Tedinhos on three hikes on snowshoes to various Forest Service cabins around Bozeman, each 2-5 miles (3-8 km) from the trailhead. All of these were on relatively flat trails under partly cloudy skies with occasional snow, temperatures a bit warmer than in the hills at home but usually below freezing. I carried a pack load of 25-30 pounds (11-14 kg) to and from our destination. After settling in to our cabin our group took short day hikes on snowshoes in the surrounding area, and I wore the Tedinhos on these as well.

Altogether I estimate 250-300 walking miles (400-480 km) during the testing period. Most of the time I have worn a single pair of midweight wool socks, though once in a while I have substituted heavier hiking socks.

PERFORMANCE

Tedinho8Appearance. The Tedinhos no longer look like new; they have begun to show signs of wear from my frequent use of them. (Compare this photo with the one at the beginning of this Test Report.) There are some minor scuffs, but the only really noticeable marks have come from frequent use with the Icetrekkers, whose hard rubber has stained the boots' leather. With a solvent and elbow grease I've been able to remove some of the smudges, but it's a losing battle if I'm to wear the boots every day. So I'm going to wait until the snow has melted and the cleats have been put up for the summer, for some serious clean-up work. I do note that none of the surface changes has affected performance in any way.

Weather Resistance. These boots have remained completely waterproof despite daily exposure to snow, ice, slush, and puddles, and have accomplished this without refreshing the Sno-Seal since December. I've experienced no leaks even at the stitching.

Durability has been nothing short of remarkable. This morning I experienced the same near-perfect fit as when I took the Tedinhos out of the box five months ago - no stretching, no loose stitching, even the laces show no fraying. The soles don't appear to have grown thinner from wear, and still grip as well as ever on the days that I haven't used my cleats. All the maintenance I've done is wipe off the mud after a hike.

Fit. In this category the Tedinhos truly are as good as new. Once I've double-knotted the Tedinhos my feet fit comfortably and don't slip around. I haven't developed a single hot spot, much less a blister, even when snowshoeing with a pack. (The double knot has been required, as the laces work loose within one hundred yards/meters if I forget this precaution.) These are without a doubt the most comfortable leather boots I've ever worn. I'm looking forward to summer hiking wear to see how well they breathe in warmer weather.

RATING

A very high overall rating for the Tedinhos! After two more months my Likes and Problems remain the same as in my Field Report. The lacing issue I am willing to attribute to my skinny ankles, partly because I've had the same problem with other shoes and boots and partly because I like just about everything else about these boots. I'm especially impressed by how well they have held up after five months of almost daily use. The great fit is as much luck as anything else; some footwear simply fit my feet better than others because the manufacturer uses a last that complements by narrow ankles and high arches. But the durability reflects a solid choice of components and first-rate workmanship. Should I ever wear this pair out I'll quickly buy another.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

My Test Report ends here. My sincere thanks to Wolverine World Wide, Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these boots.


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Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

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