When you travel, you experience the world through the soles of your feet. Whether you’re digging your toes into the sandy beaches of Bali or scaling the Swiss Alps on a glistening winter’s day, your feet are your most essential mode of transportation. According to Protalus, insoles exist to transform your life through alignment starting at your feet and ending with the comfort and support to take on any challenge, which is why shoe insoles should be a must-have on your packing list, always.
But when you pack for an adventure, your feet often get neglected. Why? Because there’s just not enough space in your bag for hiking boots, sandals, sneakers, water shoes, and a pair for the dance club. Instead, you end up taking one pair to use for every occasion, and more often than not, the pair you choose doesn’t cover all the bases. This can leave you with achy feet or painful blisters. And if you’re a serious traveler, getting taken off your feet is akin to losing one of your 5 senses.
So how do you avoid achy feet while getting the most out of your trip?
You need to find a pair of travel shoes that does it all. They exist—you just have to look carefully. For example, the all-terrain waterproof shoes by Loom Footwear were made to take travelers anywhere (and they cost less than the average pair of sneakers).
There are five main features that your travel shoes need to have to keep you comfortable in any location and situation. Tick the following boxes, and you’ll be good to go.
I. Comfy and flexible
It’s a little obvious to say that your travel shoes should be comfortable. But what does comfort mean when you’re traveling? As it turns out, what you need for comfort on the go is a lot different than what you want in a pair of comfy lounging slippers for home.
First and foremost, you need to find a pair of flexible shoes. They should be made with a pliable material that stretches from side to side and front to back. This will ensure that your shoes move with your feet and adapt to your stride. Thick, heavy shoes are not good for travel. Heavy-duty footwear is made to protect your feet—not for walking long distances. You don’t want to develop pain and blisters just a few hours into your trip! Plus, you have to wear thick socks with them, so they get super hot.
Speaking of heat, a comfortable travel sneaker also needs to be breathable. With every step you take, your feet are going to generate heat, and if that heat doesn’t have anywhere to go, you’ll feel sweaty, itchy, and uncomfortable. You may also get foot fungus (and your shoes will smell so bad you’ll get kicked out of your hostel!). Look for shoes made with Merino wool. This fine wool insulates your feet to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Plus, it wicks moisture so your feet won’t get sweaty (and stinky).
Keeping light on your feet is an absolute essential when traveling. The weight of your shoe is directly correlated to its comfort. Many popular shoes (made for style) have heavy, rubber soles and quite a bit of heft to them. While this might be fine for sitting in class or work, when you’re traveling, it will slow you down and cause foot pain.
The good news is that it’s easy to find lightweight shoes. Most sneakers and running shoes are pretty light, and there are plenty of natural, durable materials you can choose from that won’t weigh you down as much as rubber and leather (see the list in section IV).
If you need a comparison, stop in a shoe store the next time you’re shopping and compare the weight of your current shoes to some of the lighter options. Try them on and you’re guaranteed to notice an immediate night-and-day difference.
Wet shoes are bad. Wet socks are even worse. But when you’re traveling, getting wet is part of the fun. Whether you’re at the pool, in a monsoon downpour, or at a wild foam party, your feet are going to get wet.
If you have the wrong shoes, you could be dealing with damp feet for days. This is dangerous for your feet as damp footwear is the perfect place for mold and bacteria to grow. This can lead to painful rashes and athlete’s foot, and it will make you much more likely to slip and fall. Apart from all of that, it just feels miserable.
This is why waterproof shoes are a must. If the travel shoes you love aren’t waterproof, you can buy a can of waterproofing spray, which is pretty effective. But we recommend getting a pair of 100% waterproof shoes like Loom. These sneakers are so waterproof that you can even swim in them without getting your feet wet. This makes them especially great for hikers and outdoor adventurers.
Wearing your shoes for one day of traveling puts the same strain on them as wearing them for weeks at the office. This is why it’s recommended to buy a new pair of durable travel shoes before you leave, especially if you’re doing a backpacking or hiking trip.
A durable pair of travel shoes should maintain their arch support, traction, and waterproofing as well as resist tearing for at least 1 year. It can be difficult to find durable, all-terrain footwear that’s also lightweight, but some materials pass the test. Look for shoes made with these materials:
- Merino wool
- High-density foam
- Densely knit fabric
- Pliable mesh
- Rubber (sole)
To find out if your current pair of shoes is ready for your adventure, answer the questions on the following checklist:
- Are there any small tears or loose sections where the sole meets the upper part of the shoe?
- Is the sole smooth (has the traction worn down)?
- Are the eyes for the laces torn or stretched?
- Is the interior of the shoe worn down and faded?
- Has the insert lost its contouring?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your shoes are not fit to start a new trip. Give them a proper salute, thank them for their service, and get yourself a new pair of durable travel footwear.
V. Animal cruelty free
No matter how eco-conscious we try to be, travel puts a lot of strain on the environment. One way to counter that is to buy cruelty-free travel gear. You probably already have a reusable water bottle and toiletry bottles, some solar-powered camping gear, and organic sunscreen.
But getting a pair of eco-friendly shoes is one of the best ways to make a positive change in the world.
There are plenty of shoes that are made with natural, vegan materials, and you won’t have to sacrifice any comfort or versatility to go with a cruelty-free option. It just might take a bit longer to find the right pair. But, if you can keep the world a little cleaner and avoid animal cruelty, the time spent is worth it.
Going cruelty-free is also good for the environment. Just one pair of regular sneakers creates 30 lbs of carbon emissions, and the footwear manufacturing process releases tons of harmful chemicals into nature. This destruction is not at all necessary. There are better, cleaner ways to make great travel shoes.
So, please do your research when you’re buying travel shoes and find a pair that is made responsibly and sustainably.
One Shoe, One World
Are you ready to see the world one step at a time? Not without the right shoes, you’re not! Getting a pair of travel shoes is the best thing you can do to prepare for your adventure. The right pair of sneakers will keep you safe, comfortable, energized, and ready for anything.
There are plenty of great travel shoes out there, but we love Loom Footwear in particular. These vegan travel shoes are made with excellent materials like Merino wool, a 100% waterproof knit upper, and a podiatrist-designed sole. Loom are insulated for comfort in any climate and they’re stretchy and snug for all-terrain versatility.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Loom Footwear are available now for a special price of 60% percent off retail (that’s $150 in savings—just in time for travel season to begin!). Head to loomfootwear.com now to learn more about these groundbreaking vegan travel shoes and grab a pair before the sale ends.