I’m a Travel Writer, and These Are the Comfy Shoes I Bring on Every Single Trip

They are designed for boating, but they do so much more.

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Columbia Men's Tamiami PFG Boat Shoe Tout

Whenever I go on a trip, I insist on doing and seeing absolutely everything I can cram in. Naturally, this leaves my partner wondering whether we’re really on vacation at all. Maybe this isn’t the best mindset for traveling to, for example, Barbados, but it certainly fits the bill for Lisbon or Paris, and I much prefer an adventure than a day spent relaxing on the beach. 

But all of my travels have been plagued by the same issue. For years I’ve struggled to find a pair of shoes that doesn’t hold me back as I zip through cities, parading from coffee shops, boutiques, and parks to museums and restaurants. Then, I came across this pair.

The first thing I noticed about Columbia’s Men’s Tamiami PFG boat shoes is how stylish they are. While they are technically boat shoes, which might have you thinking about Sperry topsiders, their under-the-radar technology and versatile silhouettes make them the perfect travel shoe. In fact, I would describe them as a blend between an everyday walking sneaker and hiking shoe, ones that are capable of being worn to a restaurant and out on the trail. 

Columbia Men's Tamiami PFG Boat Shoe

Amazon

To buy: amazon.com, from $60 (originally $75)

Because these shoes are designed for fishing, which admittedly, I have never used them for (I get seasick easily), they are jam-packed with a unique set of features. For example, I haven’t come across a walking shoe that is supportive, water resistant, and stain-proof — these are. I didn’t believe it at first, but after hiking 5 miles on a dirty trail, I was impressed that they were still wearable to a museum later that day. 

They require no break-in period whatsoever, so if you’re going on a trip and need a pair of shoes urgently, these are a great bet. The midsoles offer plenty of cushioning and support, and because they are designed with a mesh-like fabric on the outer that hugs my foot like a sock, they are responsive to my every movement. The mesh is actually a genius addition because it makes these shoes breathable. This means that sweaty, stinky feet are eliminated from the equation Plus, they boast synthetic leather details that elevate them enough to wear them to dinner at the end of a long travel day.

Columbia Men's Tamiami PFG Boat Shoe

According to the brand, the uppers are made to resist water and moisture, meaning that if you get caught in a light rain or walk through wet city streets, you’ll stay dry and comfortable. However, they can even go underwater. It’s true, as one shopper who bought them for fishing pointed out: “I have also used them to float the river with my family and just out and about. They drain water well. Sand doesn’t flow out the small holes very easily but water exits quickly.” While I haven’t tested them completely underwater, I have worn them while being trapped in a downpour in Puerto Escondido, and can confirm, they dry better and faster than any other shoe I’ve tried. 

On top of that, they have a really nice grip, which allows me to walk up rocky hills, as well as stop myself from slipping in a damp subway station. There is no surface I haven’t been able to wear these shoes on, which is, after all, the point of travel shoes. 

Columbia Men's Tamiami PFG Boat Shoe

Travel + Leisure / Daniel Modlin

But what makes these Columbia men's shoes truly stand out from the pack is how packable they are. Because they are made with a lightweight mesh fabric, they compress almost entirely flat in my suitcase, giving me more room for clothing and other travel essentials. And thanks to their versatility, they pair well with jeans, shorts, and even chinos, which makes packing for trips so much easier. 

I never thought I’d find a shoe that truly has it all, and I definitely never expected that shoe to be designed for boating. But these Columbia travel sneakers have completely changed my traveling experience for the better. I no longer worry about which shoes I’m bringing on vacation; instead I’m laser focused on the next big challenge: securing dinner reservations. 

Columbia Men's Tamiami PFG Boat Shoe

To buy: amazon.com, from $60 (originally $75)

At the time of publishing, the price was $60.

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