Nothing says river trip like a pair of Chaco sandals and a couple of NRS straps. Now, the two iconic brands have come together on a collaboration that celebrates their classics recognized by every paddler while benefitting an emerging advocate within the paddling community.
Chaco x NRS Sandal—A Fitting Pair
On June 8, the two companies released a limited edition Chaco x NRS collaboration of the Z/1 and Z/2 sandals, featuring the unmistakable blue straps of NRS. Better still, $10 of each sale benefits Diversify Whitewater, a nonprofit organization charging ahead with the mission to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in paddle sports through free community paddling events.
This isn’t the first time Chaco and NRS have joined forces on this sandal collab that goes together like a riverside peanut butter and granola wrap. The previous limited release hit shelves five years ago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Fans of both brands have been cheering for a reunion ever since.
“We first launched a collection with NRS in 2018 and our loyal Chaco lovers have wanted a relaunch of the iconic collaboration. We’re excited to give the ChacoNation what they’ve been asking for,” said Lauren Poole, Sr. Director of Marketing at Chaco, in a recent press release. “We’re thrilled to partner again with NRS, another iconic river brand, and support Diversify Whitewater to encourage more people to try paddle sports for the first time.”
A Noble Mission To Diversify Paddle Sports
Diversify Whitewater’s goal is direct—to get more people paddling. Their website shares that two significant barriers to the sport are cultural and material. The nonprofit organization is directly breaking down those walls by hosting free community events throughout the U.S., including river float trips and skills learning days, and providing all gear for the outings with help from sponsors.
“We are so excited to collaborate with Chaco and NRS on their limited-edition sandals, and we would like to thank both companies for their continued support of our organization,” Lily Durkee, Founder and President of Diversify Whitewater, shared in a statement.
In 2020, Durkee co-founded Diversify Whitewater with philanthropist and writer Antoinette Lee Toscano. During the Black Lives Matter movement, the duo wanted to find a way to make a meaningful impact within the outdoor community. Durkee, for one, has been a whitewater kayaker since the age of nine. While, following an intensive seven-month research project, Toscano, who left the organization in 2021, gathered conclusive evidence of the need for more diversity within the sport. Together, Diversify Whitewater set forth in the direction the organization’s name so concisely defines.
In the first year, Diversify Whitewater hosted two events in Colorado attended by 100 participants. The following year saw nine events and nearly 400 participants. Diversify Whitewater has held two of 12 events so far in 2023, hosting over 200 participants with the support of several outdoor brands, including the two river stalwarts of Chaco and NRS.
“Both organizations share our commitment to improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and are key supporters of our mission to reduce barriers to entry to paddlesports for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC),” Durkee goes on to say. “Creating a safe, inclusive, and fun experience on the water starts with having the best gear, and Chaco and NRS are both world-class.”
More on the Chaco x NRS Sandal
The Chaco x NRS sandals feature everything paddlers expect in the Z/1 and Z/2, including fully adjustable straps and a podiatrist-certified footbed. The webbing straps are made of recycled REPREVE material, and the sandals are fully repairable through Chaco’s ReChaco facility.