These Slip-on Sneakers Are the Most Comfortable Travel Shoes

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Olukai Slip Ons
Photo: Courtesy of Olukai

Right now, I'm traveling the world for a year via Remote Year — a program that's enabling me to live in a different country each month spanning Europe, Asia, and South and Central America — and it comes with quite a bit of walking. Because being in new places encourages you to say "yes" to last-minute dinners, bar hopping, and random weekend excursions, I easily rack up at least 9,000 steps every day.

And the funny thing about it? I'm usually not even tired when it comes time to sleep, my mind brimming with all of the excitement and joy I experienced. And perhaps, too, because my shoes are just so comfortable.

Ask any globetrotter and they'll stress the importance of comfortable shoes that can tour, trek, and sprint down the stairs to catch the metro with you, pain-free. There's nothing worse, after all, than making your way up one of the many hills of Lisbon only to focus on your writhing heel instead of the sunset views. Or on a long travel day, feeling your shoes squeezing your feet when you really need to find some comfort in those upright airplane seats.

Before heading out for my year of travel, I tried many travel shoes in search of that tough-to-find balance between practicality and style. Until, that is, I discovered this pair of slip-on sneakers by Olukai, a Hawaii-inspired brand that's known for its quality footwear. Here's why I think you should consider them for your next adventure.

Mesh makes them breathable.

After you've taken enough stuffy flights or battled nearly 100-degree temperatures in Croatia with your pals, there's very little left to the imagination. They've seen you sweat (and curse) and fan yourself with anything you can get your hands on. For me, sweat isn't a big deal, but smelly feet? No thank you. The mesh upper of these shoes allows for ventilation in the heat, without trapping the stink inside. This also means they're far more flexible than similar styles, just in case your feet expand in hotter climates.

What's even better — when you're trekking through city streets, the desert, and beaches on any given day — is the lightweight mesh liners of the shoes. I can take them out, run them through the wash, and hang 'em to dry. And when I slip off my shoes, my friends still agree to sit next to me.

They're supportive for overpronators.

When I'm standing naturally, my feet tend to turn slightly inwards, sometimes making long periods of time on my feet painful if I don't have the right heel or arch support. The dual-density PU anatomical footbed of these shoes provides the extra hand (or foot?) I need to remain comfortable without putting too much pressure on my knees or hips.

The only downside: they’re heavy.

If you're really worried about weight or you're trying to achieve minimalism, you might want to select these as your flying shoes, since they do weigh a tad more than a traditional pair of ballet flats. Though it could be cumbersome when you want to stay under the restricted KGs, the reason for their heaviness is to support your feet and ankles. Even with those pounds, a sturdy sole is worth the weight for me — I didn't sign up to travel the globe to have shoes that can't go the distance, after all.

Here's where to get a pair.

You can pick up your own pair of perfect travel sneakers — in one of 20 color options — at Nordstrom (mesh styles, $80 and leather styles, $100); Zappos (mesh styles, $80 and leather styles, $100); or on Olukai's site.

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