Way back when I was a very young traveler in high school, I went on a trip with five pairs of shoes. It was a city trip—there were no adventures beyond the paved sidewalks, yet I felt like I needed all those shoes at the time. Flash forward to today, when I try to pack two pairs maximum (slippas don’t count, because they pack flat).


IT’s not always an easy task. Even when you don’t need sport-specific shoes for hiking, climbing, water, or winter weather, trying to strike the balance between casual and dressy makes me think more about my shoes than I’d like to. That’s why I finally bought my first pair of Sabahs—the Women’s Loose Leopard Sabah.


In the style of traditional Turkish footwear, Sabahs are made entirely by hand from high-quality cow leather, either primarily vegetable tanned or semi-vegetable tanned. The sole consists of naturally anti-microbial water buffalo leather, protected by a rubber outsole. The shoes are comfortable and flexible, and initially fit snug on your feet, stretching and molding over time to be uniquely yours.


The Sabahs I own are made with hair-on cow leather and printed with a leopard pattern. Since my travel wardrobe usually consists of black, charcoal, and khaki colors, the shoes match pretty much everything. I’ve worn them on the plane, on the street, to dinner, and to a bunch of professional conferences. Each time, they get tons of compliments. The shoes are comfortable enough to wear all day, however if you’re really going to be pounding the pavement, try wearing them for gradually longer periods beforehand to make sure your soles don’t need more cushioning for lengthy wear.


The Loose Leopard Sabahs list for $215 on the Sabah site. Want something simpler? Standard Sabah designs with single-color leather or suede come in a variety of hues and list for $195 on the Sabah site.

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