Finding a balance between comfort and fashion is key when searching for travel footwear. On a recent trip overseas I went searching for walking shoes that would be comfortable enough for a full day of exploring but chic enough to wear to a fine restaurant. It’s a pretty tall order, without a doubt!
I really hate packing extra shoes because of their consumption of valuable space. Sometimes you have no option but for a trip to Europe, you can get away with one pair. Here’s one option for an all-purpose, all-star travel shoe that I just tried.
The Basics: Before we talk about a specific shoe, here’s some basic advice for you before you choose what’s best for you and the type of travel you’ll be doing. First, once you’ve tied your shoelaces, make sure there is space between the upper edge and ankle as during extreme walking the slightest friction can cause some irritation and eventual pain that can sideline you. As a rule, shoe pads should never be used when you’re considering walking all day, as they may provide some initial comfort for causal walking, but they give your feet poor support over the long haul. The weight of the footwear is also extremely important if you intend to walk in them all day, and I mean a ten-mile or greater distance. Lightweight shoes will make your feet be less fatigued. Sports or walking shoes designed for longer walks should not have a heel that is higher than two or three centimeters, to afford you greater stability.
The Travel Palette: Next, pick your travel palette wisely. The easiest way to pack a versatile travel wardrobe and footwear is to choose a colour you can wear with multiple outfits. In the case of men it’s pretty easier – I typically choose black as the base colour including my shoes.
The Test: For our last trip I selected a pair of SKECHERS which were a pair of their black Skech-Knit Mesh, nearly one piece fabric upper in a lace up sneaker, which had little stitching and overlay accents, that made them versatile for both walking and wearing out to dinner. They featured a Gel Top Memory Foam insole and flexible lightweight outsole.
The construction of the shoe consisted of:
- Skech-Knit Mesh nearly one-piece fabric upper
- Engineered mesh with stability panels and open weave breathable panels
- Synthetic heel overlay detail
- Lace up front
- Padded collar and tongue
- Soft fabric shoe lining
- Gel Top Memory Foam cushioned comfort insole
- FlexSole lightweight shock absorbing flexible midsole
- Rubber traction outsole
- Overall weight of the pair was approximately 9 ozs.
The Verdict: Enjoying a trip depends a lot on the comfort of the shoes you’ll be wearing and walking around in for hours. During our last trip to Europe, we walked on average approximately 12-13 miles each day, over 16 days, and encountered the full range of weather, from heavy rains to very hot spells. Remarkably the Skechers made it through with flying colours. During one particular day in Amsterdam, we were caught in a torrential downpour while navigating the cobble stone streets of that beautiful city and accidently stepped off the curb, a number of times, into 3-inch deep puddles of water. Feeling somewhat doomed by this predicament, I was truly and pleasantly surprised, that once we returned to our hotel room for the night, after only a few hours to dry, they were ready to go! This in part is due to their mesh uppers construction that dries very quickly and also the Gel Top Memory Foam insole, which doesn’t absorb water. I also found that the open weave breathable panels really helped cool my feet on the really hot days. Also, some of the days we walked about 15 miles, and even though we had a pretty full day, the lightweight design of the shoes helped my feet feel ready to keep trucking on.
Are your travel shoes made for walking? If not you should consider a pair of these flexible, lightweight shoes. Mine are itching for their next journey.