Kuru Footwear Kruzr Shoes for Women

Kuru Footwear Kruzr Shoes for Women | Practical Travel Gear 1

200401 Kruzr W Double Stitch copyI really wanted to love these shoes. After all, Kuru Footwear has garnered loads of rave reviews from bloggers galore. This company is not shy about giving away pairs of its hiking and walking shoes to everyone from Workout Mommy to MomTrend to The Pensive Blog (a dude, not a mom).

Loads of online testimonials  sing the shoes’ praises, with statements like, they “fit like a glove” and are the “most comfortable shoe.” The images on the Kuru Footwear website just look cool — they have that outdoorsy, sporty look I love.

Unfortunately, the Kruzr style I sampled (pictured above) just wasn’t for me. First, the square design that looked so nifty on the website did nothing for my Fred-Flinstone-like feet (read: fat with stubby toes). I just didn’t feel pretty or light in them. (Yes, even casual mountain girls like to feel like their feet look good on the trail.) Second, I found that the insole didn’t have enough soft cushion — it felt surprisingly stiff on my foot. I like a hiking shoe that provides a ton of comfy cushioning, and the Kruzr didn’t have it.

However, users who are plagued with plantar fasciitis, seem to have dimished (or eliminated) heel pain when wearing Kuru Footwear. That’s because Kuru’s midsole is orthotic, and it molds to the shape of your foot, according to the Kuru website. The KuruSole cups a wearer’s heel, which allows the heel’s fat pad to continue to cushion the bone (as opposed to many shoes that flatten the heel’s fat pad).

Other features of the Kruzr are appealing, too: I dig the nubby sole and the “soft shell” uppers that are stain and water resistant. The lacing system allows for a nice tight fit.

200104 Draft - BrntSienna-Blk SMALL_1I also like that Kuru donates a portion of its profits to various charities, and buyers can register their shoes with the charity of their choice. That’s just a cool policy. Great karma.

I’d recommend folks who have heel pain, back pain or shin splints to try Kuru Footwear. At $90 a pair (for the Kruzr) they are much cheaper than a pair of custom orthotics, that’s for sure. While this particular style isn’t for me, I’m wondering if the Draft “snow clog” (pictured right) might suit me better. I like the idea of having a fun-colored (orange!) slip-on shoe for lounging apres ski or around the campfire. They’d also make great travel shoes — easy slip-on/slip-off in the security line at the airport.

View and purchase all the styles online, or plug your zip code into the “find dealers” search.

Related posts:
Comfy Terrasoles shoes
Rugged travel shoes from Timberland

Travel Underwear from ExOfficio

exofficio underwear womenI reviewed the great travel underwear from ExOfficio a shade over two years ago at the old version of this blog, but I’m reviving the subject again because we’re giving away a set of three of them over at Perceptive Travel this month. You have to be a newsletter subscriber to get in on the monthly contest though, so go sign up right now.

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of this travel underwear. It seems like a silly concept until you try them. Why pay three times as much as you would for poly/cotton boxers, briefs, or bikini underwear from Target? Especially if you’re a guy?

Sometimes you have to try something to believe it’s for real, and that was the case with me. I got my first two pairs of these when REI was running a sale on them and I was feeling flush. Several other travelers had been raving about them and they were people I trusted. Now I get it. I’ve since used those same two pairs on 14 different trips and they’re still in great shape. Then I got two more pairs later and I’m pretty much covered in situations where I can do laundry along the way in a hurry.

They’re super-comfortable, so there’s no trade-off by taking these, but they offer so much more for travelers. They’re light and they dry quickly—two key traits when you’re trying to pack in a carry-on. You can wash them in the sink at night and usually have dry undies in the morning. If you’ve got sunlight or dry air, two hours will do it. This is underwear, so it’s worth mentioning these traits as well: odor resistant and moisture wicking. Most importantly if you’re a long-term traveler, they’re durable. I’ve known a few people who alternated a few pairs for a year straight of backpacking and they never had to go underwear shopping along the way.

exofficio underwear menMy personal preference is the Give-N-Go Boxer Briefs. These list for $25 a pop, but are frequently on sale for less than that. Magellan’s was recently running a sale with “buy 2, get 1 free.” Briefs are less, boxers range from $20 to $30 depending on the style.

The boxers come in solids or patterns, bikini briefs for men and women are in multiple colors, and you can get undershirts/tops as well from the same fabric. Colors that aren’t so popular often go on sale on the ExOfficio site: right now the spearmint color of women’s bikini briefs is being discontinued, so you can get a pair of those for only $7. A steal.

I know, it’s just underwear, right? But what part of your clothed body is more important? This is a small splurge worth making, or the one time you might want to actually ask for underwear on your gift list.

Men’s travel underwear at ExOfficio.com

Women’s travel underwear at ExOfficio.com

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Hilarious, Helpful “Pack ME” Notepad Checklist from LobotoME

lobotome1I’m a freak about making packing lists before I travel. I’ve got lists stored in my computer for my family’s annual summer trip back East, for beach vacations and for pop-up camping. But my boring columns of “things to bring” in Microsoft Word aren’t nearly as entertaining as this Pack ME notepad from the inspirational and irreverent company, LobotoME. (Any businesss named after a surgical procedure that severs nerves in the brain has got to have a sense of humor.)

LobotoME, a Colorado-based brand, promises to deliver “goods to keep ME sane,” and the line of notepads includes not only Pack ME, but also Feed ME (for meal planning), Help ME (for hubby’s honey-do’s), Sit ME (to leave for house/pet sitters) and Fit ME (to track exercise and healthy eating). The pre-printed 5.5 x 8.5-inch pads (with classy brown headers and pastel accents) come with 50 sheets, and they are printed on white recycled paper (made in the USA).

The Pack ME sheets include checklists for all your “to do” items before you leave (call kennel, turn down heat, forward phone), as well as important reminders for “the people in charge” (bring cell phone charger, insurance cards, hostess gifts, travel alarm). A separate section for “the lil’ people not in charge” includes lists of the kid stuff: snacks, diapers, bibs, plastic bags, toys, DVD player. Finally, the largest section has three columns, where each family member can check off they’ve packed their clothing, toiletries, swim stuff and outdoor clothing/gear.

If I had to change anything about the notepad, I’d make four columns for family members (two grownups, two kids, I think, is typical), but I suppose I could just put checkmarks next to the name of each item I’m supposed to pack, or split one column into two (or larger families can split all three columns to make six).

But it’s hard to find much fault in a product that includes “Breathe…” as one of the things to do before heading out on a trip.

Other LobotoME products include 9×12-inch “Sanity-Inducing Weekly Planners” that retail for $20. The organizational notepads are $10 each and sold on the LobotoME website.


Lucy Activewear: Comfortable, Stylish Travel Clothes for Women

Are you a PracticalTravelGear.com reader who Tweets? That is, you’re active on the social-networking site Twitter? I sure am (follow me at @karasw), and earlier this month, one of the travel folks I follow on Twitter wrote: “If you love comfortable, flattering active/travel clothes… I love Lucy. Check em’ out at @lucyactivewear.”

Of course, I’m always on the lookout for comfy travel clothes that don’t make me look frumpy, so I clicked to learn more. While the bulk of the Lucy collection is for yoga, running and indoor-gym enthusiasts, new items include “tops” and “bottoms” that are indeed ideal for plane and car travel, as well as day hikes and outdoor sightseeing excursions.

Check out these Lucy items that I’ve been wearing around town lately. (I can’t wait to pack them for my next trip to Vail & Beaver Creek, Colorado, where the sporty, casual designs are perfect for the sporty, casual mountain towns.)

lucyhillsideHillside Capris

These just-below-the-knee capris just might be the ultimate pair of travel pants (for warm weather, anyway). They are constructed with trademarked “Lucy Flex” fabric (96% nylon/4% spandex), which means the pants stretch without losing their shape. Besides the super comfort factor, the material dries quickly; no cotton means they won’t wrinkle either (so great for long sitting-in-a-plane-or-car days).

Style-wise, these pants are sporty enough to wear to yoga class, on the river or on a hiking trail. There are three subtle belt loops as well as a cinch-tie waist; so you could go either way:  pull the cinch tie out if you always wear pants with a belt, or just use the tie with out a belt. Either way, you look put together.

According to the Lucy size guide, the Hillside Capris have an “active fit,” and on me, that means they aren’t too body hugging (that’s the Lucy “sleek fit”) nor too blousy (the “relaxed fit”). These Hillside Capris are just right! Retail for $58.

Solaris Crop

These cropped pants are longer than the Hillside Capri, and they’re made of 96% cotton, so you’re dealing with more wrinkle potential. Still, I love the look and feel of the Solaris Crop. This is another “active fit,” so there’s plenty of room to move around — comfortably, with the 4% spandex.

The marketing copy on the Lucy websites suggest hiking in them on a breezy summer day; but frankly, I think the lightweight pants are too stylish to bring on the mountains. These pants, to me, are more appropriate for a casual day spent window shopping and dining at sidewalk cafes.

The Solaris Crop comes with a matching wide belt that ties in the front, and has two little cinch ties on the bottom of each pant leg. Low button-top side pockets give them a cargo feel. Retails for $68.

lucysoleilhoodieSoleil Hoodie

I thought I looked so cute in this top until my husband told me my chest looked droopy in it. Okaaaaaay. This could be due to the gathering and ruching details in the front and the sides. And it runs big; I’m 5’9″ and it’s long on me, so petite gals, beware. My other complaint: the interfacing at the generous V-neck opening is too narrow — after washing, it flips up. I have to iron it down to keep it from popping out; and this is not a good thing for a busy mom who only pulls out the ironing board perhaps once a month.

That all said, the jersey cotton (with a touch of spandex) is incredibly soft and cozy. I’ll throw it over a tank top (see below) and shorts or use it as a beach cover-up this summer. Retails for $58.

lucytrainingtankTraining Tank

I like tank tops with coverage and the Training Tank has it. Simple and classy, it’s another versatile piece that can be worn while running or working out, or pair it with capris (see above) for a casual day look. Once again, the fabric is top-notch: this is made of trademarked “Lucy Tech” material, a combination of cotton, poylyester and elastene that wicks away moisture. And once again, this item of Lucy Activewear is incredibly comfortable. Retails for $28.

Check out the entire “Explore” collection designed for travel and adventures in the outdoors on the Lucy website.

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