Posts Tagged shoes
Urban footwear favorites Cushe have put out a good shoe for sidewalk surfing that won’t let your feet overheat: the Shumakers Mark.
The average estimate on how much your feet sweat per day is four to eight ounces (up to 240 ml). Your feet have more sweat glands than most other parts of your body, so when they’re pressed into something that doesn’t breathe, well, imagine pouring a few ounces of water into each of your shoes. Every day.
Most of us like the look of leather though, so I’ve found these Shumakers Mark shoes from Cushe to be a good compromise. They don’t just have a couple eyelets on the side to let some air in or out. Instead there are dozens of diamond-shaped holes on each side to let hot air and moisture out. There’s still a lining inside though, making them comfy enough to wear without socks, a la the photo here on an island near Cartagena last week.
The upper is stitched to a good EVA midsole and a grippy blue rubber sole that spells out words. I wore these a lot during a week-long trip of normal tourist activities and have taken two long multi-mile hikes with them at home. Like most Cushe shoes they’re more Euro-cool than Ameri-clunky, yet they still form to the foot well and provide ample support. They’re a good all-around travel shoe that won’t take up much space in your bag.
The lace-up version of these only come in gray, though it’s more of a blueish gray than what you see in the photo at the top. A bit shinier too.
See more reviews of Cushe travel shoes.
I may have found the most comfortable shoes ever. On top of that, they’re super-light and durable.
As Jill and I walked around the floor of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market last month, a trade show where 1 out of 10 exhibitors seems to be selling footwear, it was easy to get jaded and feel like we’d seen it all. Maybe we had, but I had to admit I didn’t feel it all until I stepped into these Ooofos clogs and took a walk on the soft side.
Yes, I’ve walked around in Crocs, I’ve tried plenty of shoes with memory foam midsoles, and I love my Sanuk Beer Cozy flip-flops, but they were nothing like these Oofos shoes. I couldn’t wait to pop these on for my walk down the stairs to a glass of wine fireside at Washington School House Hotel in Park City. That’s one way they’re being marketed, as “recovery shoes,” but they’re also ideal for anyone who is tired of sore feet.
After trying these out, I’ve worn nothing but these around the house since I got back home.
“Those shoes are kind of ugly,” said my 12-year-old daughter when she saw me padding around the living room with these clogs on.
“Put them on and see how they feel,” I said. “They’re really squishy.”
“Can I have them?” she asked after walking to her bedroom and back.
“No, they’re mine, so back off.”
Therein lies the one negative of these though. You’re not going to put these Ooofos on because they’re fashionable and you want to look cool. But if you go for the slides they’re less clunky than the clogs I’ve been wearing and if you go for the thongs, nobody will be the wiser. You could wear those all day, looking like you’re in normal flip-flops, but feeling like you’ve got something better than a yoga pad under your feet.
So what’s the secret to the comfort? You’re not going to get them to display the secret formula, but it’s basically better foam through chemistry. After wearing them a month, I believe this claim though: “Test results show OOfoam is 37% more impact absorbing than any existing EVA, the most common material found in footwear.”
The bottom line is, these are ideal travel shoes, especially if you need something to change into after skiing or hiking. They weigh next to nothing, you can throw them in a washing machine when they get dirty (or just hose them off), they don’t compress and lose volume when you wear them, and they won’t cost you much. They’re made from one single piece of molded plastic foam, so there’s no seam to give out and no way to blow out your flip-flop.
The Oofos list for $40 to $50 depending on style, available in multiple colors as sandals/flip-flops, slides, and clogs.
More practical than dressy shoes but less clunky than athletic shoes, the Biom Grip 1.1 urban sneakers will keep you from sticking out like a white-shoe yankee in Paris or Madrid.
I mentioned in a review last week that it’s hard to go wrong with the trail runners rack at a shoe store if you are looking for an easy decision on travel shoes. But if most of your time will be in cities, especially European cities where they’re more obsessed about fashion, you might want your go-to shoes to be urban sneakers instead. Ecco, being a European company, has plenty of those for you to choose from and these Biom Grip ones are some of the most popular.
I still use the Ecco Tahoe pair I reviewed in 2011 and they’re one of my favorite walking shoes. These Biom Grip ones are a little more narrow, which only probably matters if you’re flat-footed like me, but they sure look great with a pair of jeans or casual slacks. (On Amazon they’re classified as “fashion sneakers.) As you would guess by the name though, these are not thin-soled shoes for padding around a carpeted office. The grip part refers to the urethane tread on the bottom. It’s hefty enough to keep you confidently upright on snow or ice. The midsole and insole are thick enough too to give you some real comfort if you’re spending the whole day shopping or sightseeing.
As you can see in the top photo, these have ample pinholes in the side to let your feet breathe a little, but bumper protection over the front to protect your toes from obstacles. I wouldn’t go hiking in these, but if you end up having to walk up a rocky trail with these to get to an overlook, you’ll be ready.
They list for $150, which is a bit higher than much of what we usually cover—the company is Danish after all. But they’re often discounted online and based on my experience and what I”ve heard from many others, this is a well-made brand you can expect to last. The company controls its own tanneries and factories, not just farming the work out to places cranking out shoes for 20 different brands. That costs more, but a lot of people who love shoes, especially in Europe, swear by Ecco.
Get more information about this version at the Ecco USA site, but you may find more of a size and color section at Amazon or Altrec. There are three colors (gray, black, brown), but the gray one I’ve been trying is suede, while the black one looks more like straight leather in the photos. There is also a women’s version that looks pretty much the same and the Biom line has shoes for golf, walking, and hiking. If you don’t know your European size, go down a 1/2 size for the U.S. one—these generally run a bit long.
Take it from someone who has been traveling for two decades now: If you want a no-brainer choice for a good multi-purpose travel shoe, it’s hard to go wrong with trail runners.
In some ways shoes like this Velocity 2.0 from Vasque were travel shoes before there was anything marketed as such a thing. Like an “off label” prescription when a drug is used for something else entirely, shoes meant for cross country runners have always shown up in a lot of suitcases and dangling from backpacks.
It’s easy to see why, especially with a 2.0 version like this using the latest materials. These are light and compressible like travel sneakers/trainers, have the comfort of a good long-distance running shoe, and have the tread to enable plenty of light hiking. You can pound the pavement or navigate cobblestones, then hit the mountains for a trek. If you’re staying at a hotel with a fitness center, these won’t look out of place if you wear them down to the gym to work out on the treadmill or elliptical.
If done some long walks on dirt trails, sidewalk pounding, and a few trips to the local gym with these and have been quite happy with the comfort level and stability. They feel as good as running shoes, but have serious tread and a “bumper guard” on the front to offer protection. They breathe well when my feet get hot and though I went for the regular version, there’s a waterproof one with Gore-Tex if you’ll be in wet conditions a lot. Expect to pay $15-$20 more for that upgrade. Be advised those only come in bright yellow though—not so good if you’re trying to avoid standing out more than usual when traveling.
The construction is all man-made materials, including a thermoplastic urethane shank and reflective bits to help you be seen at night. A little real leather might help the looks, but you can be sure these are going to hold up for the long haul.
This is the third pair of Vasque shoes I’ve tried now and my only gripe has involved the width. In general, Vasques are sized for people with normal or narrow feet. These trail runners have more give built into them though and this Velocity pair I tried wasn’t constricting at all.
For all-around, comfortable shoes to pound the streets with on vacation, these Ahnu Kirkham ones for men are a solid choice built to last.
Ahnu is not the best-known brand around, but when you’re in the market for some new travel shoes, Ahnu.com would be a good place to start. Women have raved about the “travel shoes that don’t look like travel shoes” we’ve reviewed here and a pair I reviewed two years ago were one of my favorites when I lived in the staircase town of Guanajuato, Mexico for a year.
Plenty of brands tout their comfort, but this brand seems to consistently deliver and this Kirkham shoe is no exception. It’s got a much thicker (and probably more costly) insole than 90% of the other shoes I check out regularly and that makes a big difference. This is the one place—besides the laces—where companies seem to cut corners the most. The middle section is a good two-layer molded EVA midsole, with the bottom being a shock-absorbing part with a heel stabilizer and the upper layer containing memory foam. On the bottom, rubber tread meets the road.
Other signs of quality are the stitched on toe and heel guards and good padding on the tongue and the collar around the ankle. The part of the shoe extending down from the tongue is suede, while the rest is quality leather. Available in smokey brown or charcoal, these look good enough to wear to a conference or tech business meeting, but can go straight to bar-hopping after a day on the trade show floor. Or they’ll work for days of museums and sightseeing without causing your feet to rebel.
Like the other Ahnu models we’ve tried, all-day comfort is the key attribute to remember. These are quality, well-made shoes that are comfortable from the get-go but will serve you well through years of use in multiple situations. They’re average in terms of weight, so these aren’t featherlight shoes you pack because of they’re space-savers, but they’re not so heavy they need to be the ones you wear on the plane to save on weight.
See more travel shoes reviews from Practical Travel Gear.