Posts Tagged travel shoes
We’re liable to like any pair of travel shoes that has “wildly versatile” in its marketing description. Coming from Ecco, we’re liable to believe it too. After a string of thumbs’ up from me on past models I’ve tried, I had a pretty secure feeling these Terra Cruise Speed shoes would be winners.
After all, I’ve raved about other Eccos in the past and I’m still wearing the Biom Grip ones regularly after trying my best to pound them into submission over the past year and three months. They’ve got at least 200 miles on them at this point, on sidewalks in a half dozen countries.
The Danish shoes from this company aren’t cheap: a pair of Terra Cruise Speed ones will set you back $140 at list price, even though these are made in Thailand. They look and feel well-made though and I don’t worry that two months down the line they’ll compress to nothing and leave me with sore feet. With all the traveling I do (which always involves walking) and living in almost completely pedestrian-focused Guanajuato (even more walking), I need shoes that are going to hold up for the long term.
These are more than functional though, with a look that’s got a bit of Euro style, but not to the point of being dainty and impractical. They fit like a glove on top, partly thanks to the stretchy lace system, which I really dig. Slippery shoelaces are my biggest pet peeve with footwear companies and the system here is pretty much “set it and forget it.” Great for the security line at the airport. You can even slip these on and off without sitting down and messing with them—very handy if you’re headed to Japan or Korea.
Your feet will breathe well in these too, so you won’t clear the room when you take off your shoes. These are some of the most breatheable ones I’ve worn that aren’t meant for the water. All the moisture evaporates right out. No need to overheat first like you do with many membrane ones. The downside is they’re not waterproof, so don’t buy these planning for them to be your everyday kicks in Seattle or London.
Otherwise, there’s nice padding around the ankle, a tongue that stays in place, and a sole with some grippy traction. In short, good all-around shoes for urban travel and light adventure. The “speed” part of the name is because these are a tad lighter and more flexible than the regular Terra Cruise shoes, which sometimes have “sport” in the name. Yeah I know, it’s not real clear, but this company likes to design whole lines around one word or phrase, so pick carefully.
You can get the Terra Cruise Speed shoes in European and American stores, direct from Ecco USA, or online from Amazon. Also, Zappos carries the other Terra Cruise models, so they should have this one in by spring.
In my quest for the perfect apres ski boot and all-round, packable outdoor travel shoe, I gave Pakems a trial run. This brand new product designed by a single mom is marketed as a lightweight, compressible shoe designed for use after a ski day. Pakems come in two styles (for both men and women): a high top for winter use and a low top for summer. Both are made from water-resistant ripstop fabric with an insulated, DWR-coated upper, and EVA midsole, and a rubber outsole. Both tighten with a very simple single-pull lace system.
The shoes are undeniably simple, but that’s the point. They’re meant to get you from Point A to Point B in comfort, after changing out of your technical footwear (ski boots in winter, hiking boots in summer). The sole is quite flat, and you don’t get a terribly secure fit, which for me means I won’t be walking in them too far. However, they’re comfortable, and after a day of exercise, they’re certainly a relief to slip on.
How small do they pack down? My size 8 Pakems measure about 10 inches long by 2.5 inches wide by 2 inches thick. They weigh about 13 ounces (a size 10 weighs 15). They come with a small compression bag, but I ditched that pretty quickly in favor of simply squishing my Pakems down into my backpack or bag. If you do use the compression bag, it comes with a strap designed to attach to a backpack or even your waist…I found this overkill, but the strap does also work as a ski boot carrying device when you’re wearing your Pakems, which I’ll admit is pretty nifty.
In most cases, I have room in my ski boot bag for a standard pair of snow boots to change into, but for the days I don’t want to (or cannot) secure a ski locker and opt to carry a small backpack all day, the Pakems fit nicely. They’re also nice to keep in the car to slip your feet into for the drive home (from winter sport days or summer hikes). I’d also bring mine along for river rafting days in the early summer or late fall, when my feet get cold after being wet.
My Pakems are comfortable, but not very breathable…again, these are not designed for long-term wear or long distances. They’ll easily get you from the ski lodge to the parking lot or village, and look decent on your feet while grabbing that apres ski drink, but aren’t meant to go the distance. The low top version is ideal for backpackers who like to bring an extra pair of comfortable shoes for evenings around the campfire; I now favor them over my sandals for this purpose, as they keep my feet dry and clean in addition to giving them a much-needed hug after a day of hiking. Think of them as slippers for the backcountry.
The only difference between the high top version and the low top version: the high top covers to just above the ankle, whereas the low top is cut below. You’ll want the high top for winter wear. At the time of my review, Pakems came in only black, but they have now come out with a variety of fun patterns and colors. Pick up a pair at the Pakems website for $70 (high top) or $60 (low top) or Amazon for as low as $47 for the high top. They’re also available at Moosejaw.com.
I wear flip-flops all spring and summer long, from spring break beach trips to end-of-August road trips. I know it’s well and truly summer by the ‘V’ shaped tan marks on the tops of my feet. But since my warm weather travel itinerary includes river rafting, hiking, rock scrambling, and extensive walking, typical flip-flops don’t always get the job done.
Made by the founder of Teva, Sazzi ‘toe-motion’ performance sandals bridge the gap between flip-flop comfort and active lifestyle support. Sazzi is not the first shoe brand to implement a toe-specific footbed, but as far as I’ve seen, they’re the first to do so in a flip-flop. This is great news for people like me, who adore flip-flops but need the support of a performance sandal.
Sazzi Decimal‘s four toe posts connect your feet directly to the footbed, adding stability as you’re running, jumping, or dipping your feet into a current. With four straps between four toes, instead of one between my big toe and second toe, I’ve found I can enjoy warm weather activities without fear of my sandals falling off my feet, sliding to one side, or tripping me up. Even without having to clench my foot, there is very little movement. The stability is aided by the one wide V-strap with a stitched organic cotton seam that fits over the top of the foot. Trust me, flip-flop lovers will really, really like this design.
I also like that all Sazzis are made of 100% recycled material with a closed-cell construction that resists moisture and bacteria build up. They go from water to dirt to pavement without a problem, and don’t smell when you toss them into the hot car at the end of a long day. They feature a zero drop heel design to help you walk comfortably when touring cities or walking long distances.
The women’s Decimal comes in black, blue/tan, or pink/tan in sizes 5-11, and the men’s version comes in gray/olive, gray/black, or blue/green in size 7-13. Either version is $79 on the Sazzi site, or the same price (with an additional women’s color option of brown) on Amazon. Don’t wait; the traditional sandal-style Sazzi Digit has already sold out.
Named after the Ethiopian capital city Addis Ababa, this Oliberte Adibo boot hits close to home for me since I head to that city quite often for work. My favorite feature of this new shoe is that it doubles as both a casual and business-use shoe, which makes my packing experience much easier.
The soft sole is able to endure long city touristy walks, but is not that informal to be considered a leisure shoe if worn to a business meeting. This low chukka boot is handcrafted in Africa from premium, hand-picked leather, and lined in soft, breathable, moldable goat leather for a personalized feel. A removable OrthoLite has the soft cushioning and moisture management keeps constant use impressive (which for me is important since I am often hitting the pavement exploring hotels for work).
It is important to spray the surface of the shoe with a leather stain repellant as it appears that, like other shoe fabrics, water or liquids could leave their mark. The lace-up shoes look very professional although they do add a few extra minutes to my routine when passing through airport security.
This design makes it easy to walk about town, and it continues to look professional whether being worn with jeans or khakis. It has a rubber-slip resistance that makes it even more easily usable, and the company’s community-focused ethos is commendable. Oliberte supports workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa by creating respectable jobs for people helping to develop a thriving middle class. Also, from the sale of each pair of shoes, a portion of the proceeds goes to support environmental efforts around the world.
This comfortable shoe not only looks good, but it makes you feel good for helping others too. The price tag of nearly $150 is comparable to other similar boots; it is available on Oliberte’s website and comes in a variety of colors and styles. Amazon fans will also find it for sale in similar styles and price points and it’s also available at Planet Shoes.
We review a lot of shoes for travelers who will be walking a lot. Or hiking. Or doing something where their feet will constantly be getting wet. But sometimes you just want to go on a lazy vacation and not do a whole lot, right? If you want some flat-packing shoes to pad around in at a beach resort or you’re just going from cars to hotel rooms, check out these Patagonia Advocate Lace smooth leather shoes.
A few years back I reviewed the Advocate Weave shoes from Patagonia, which apparently didn’t do very well and quickly disappeared. I’m with the wisdom of the crowds on this one as I like these lace ones a lot better. The big orange “1% for the Planet” pull tab was pulled from this design and these just feel more comfortable.
They fit like bedroom slippers though, without much padding or support besides the insole. There’s a wafer-thin midsole and an almost flat sole apart from a bit of tread. They’re crazy comfortable to wear around your house or a hotel, but you’re not going to want to walk to the other side of town in them. Think of them as the casual equivalent of barefoot running shoes.
The uppers are nice leather on these Advocate Lace ones though, which made them good looking enough to wear out for the evening. The equivalent of a woman’s packable flats. Although there are laces, they’re meant to be left knotted at the ends and you just slip these on and off like loafers.
This being a Patagonia product, many of the synthetic materials are partially made from recycled waste and though the big ad is gone, the company does still give 1% for the Planet.
The Patagonia Advocate Lace shoes come in brown or black, in full sizes only, and weigh just 6.5 ounces. They list for $90, which seems steep for made-in-China shoes without a lot of raw materials, so check prices at the following direct links to find them on sale: Amazon, Moosejaw, or Planet Shoes.