When we made the decision to take a year off for travel, there were 2 key essentials I knew I needed before we took off; a sturdy bag and a comfortable pair of shoes. It didn’t take long to find the right bag after a trip to REI, but the shoes required a little more research.
I am a big guy, (6ft 260lbs), so my feet, ankles, and knees take a beating. I knew from experience, the best way to ruin a trip is to bring the wrong shoe. A few years back we went to New York and I chose style over comfort. After our first day of walking around the city, I was ready to throw in the towel and throw out my shoes. I was miserable. I did not want to make the same mistake twice so I ordered the ‘world’s most comfortable shoes.’
There are 5 things to look for in the perfect travel shoe:
Let’s see how my Allbird Tree Runners held up.
Whether you’re wandering the globe or just walking your dog, Allbirds offers long-lasting comfort. These were the only shoes that I brought when visiting Singapore, Thailand and South Korea and they were perfect! The upper shoe is mesh knitted which allows your feet to breath no matter how hot it is outside. They felt like I was only wearing socks. Right out of the box the shoes come with a padded sole that supports every step while limiting the impact on your joints. Right away you notice the difference. I have worn shoes with padded soles before but the comfort has always worn out after 3-4 hours wandering. That was definitely not the case with Allbirds. While visiting both Singapore & Seoul, we spent 10+ hours a day wandering the city. My feet never hurt or grew tired. I did find the breaking point was around 14-15 hours of continuous wear, but when you have been on your feet that long nothing is comfortable.
Something random that I notice is that the heal of the shoe is wider at the bottom. At first, I thought nothing of until realized that I never rolled my ankle once on our trip. This may sound weird but I have a funny step and tend to wear the outside edges of my soles out quickly. This makes me prone to ankle injuries. After 3 countries and over 120+ miles, not a single injury. That’s impressive when I typical role my ankle at least once, just walking around the block.
I am rough on my shoes and have been known to pull our eyelets simply when tying my laces. Sometimes I am a lazy walker and will drag my feet (Don’t judge). This means in a short period of time, I can take a pair of shoes from pristine to dingy quickly. Surprisingly my Allbirds held up great, despite my torture. Since the shoes have a simple one-piece design they can stand up quite well to the everyday wear of travel. The best part is that these shoes can easily be washed, and dry in a matter of no time.
I am a cheap person and don’t like to spend money on myself. When I first heard ofAllbirds, I expected to pay a premium. If you want quality you will have to pay for it. As of this post, Allbirds will set you back $95 for either men or women, kids are $55. Since the average sneaker in America costs about $75, these shoes aren’t priced that bad. I view these as an investment, plus remember if you are going to wear them more often you will get your money’s worth.
Allbirds are great walking shoes, even though a line of their shoes are called runners. They are not meant for running but will work well for a quick jog to the bus or to reach your gate in time at the airport. They come in 3 different styles, runners, loungers, and skippers and you can choose between Wool or Tree. I bought the Tree runners because a majority of our first trips were to hotter, tropical climates and I wanted a more breathable shoe. In the latter part of the year, we will be traveling to colder climates, so I am considering investing in the Wool runners for added warmth. AllBirds do offer a variety of styles and colors and they’re the perfect go-to shoe for basic travel, but if you are planning a more action-packed adventure with hiking, will need to bring along a more specialized shoe.
When you are traveling long distances you start to become very aware of how much weight you are carrying. It’s not just your bag but you’ll notice everything from your clothes to your shoes. Thankful these are probably the lightest shoes I have ever worn. They feel like your only wearing socks and walking on clouds. The soles have a low-density foam, which means you get the support you need without the bulk. In Singapore, we got caught in a downpour and not only did my shoes dry quickly, they never got weighed down by the water.
Best Shoes I Have Ever Owned
It’s hard to find anything negative to say about Allbirds. The company itself has a great story, their products are ideal and as a certified B Corp., they are focused on sustainability. Whether you are looking for new everyday shoe or planning for your next big adventure be sure to check these shoes out. Your feet will thank you.
Interested in more travel tips? Check out Travel Tips | Ultimate Guide to Survive Long Haul Flights