This is certainly going to be highly opinionated, probably controversial, but isn't that the purpose of a blog? So first of all, the best shoes for travel are the ones that make you most comfortable. If you like to fly in sandals, do it. All laced up and ready to go? Sure, why not? I've done both, but nowadays, with all the additional security, I think I've found the perfect shoe for traveling (especially on an airplane). Ready to find out what they are?
While I love my Havianas sandals (six pair), my feet just get too cold on a plane. So sandals don't work. Yeah, I could probably just loose lace some shoes or use my ultra-comfy laceless Sketchers too. However, that lacks versatility and style. The winner for me is... OluKai! My experiences with these are still very fresh having just got back from Thailand, but I've been using them for a while before this trip.
Why are they the best? Well, I've got two pair and I love them both. Instead of rambling on though, I came up with 5 reasons why I believe they're the best.
- Ease of use - My opinion of shoes? Why do we still need laces? It's the 21st century and we are still tying our shoes. I have to think there are better ways. I guess I'm still waiting for Back to the Future to be true. Since we don't have that future, Olukai has some other options. Some are just a solid piece, while others embrace a lace style for a more sophisticated design, but they're all slide-on. This means wearing socks and shoes is not a hassle when going through security. And who wants to go barefoot through that area? They also have a wide range of sandals (flip-flop style) and even some boots. I haven't had the opportunity to try the boots however, so I can't comment on those.
- Comfort - These Hawaiian designed shoes and sandals, have a special "wet sand" feel. The intention is that when you put them on, it feels like you're standing in wet sand the way it just molds to your feet. They do feel great. From heel to toe they nestle right against you. Every time I put these shoes on, I just feel good. They make me smile. TIP: If you're moving around enough, I think they feel great. However, for a little extra added comfort if you're going to be doing a little more standing, it's not a bad idea to get some inserts. I found some Dr. Scholl's with little massaging bumps that make these shoes purely magical.
- Style - The styling is very artistic and intricate. Whether I've seen them in person or looked through the website, I'm amazed at even the smallest details. All the products seem to be very well thought out. As the website says, "The details honor island culture with authentic artwork." The flexibility, fit, and details all back this up. The color choices are much more neutral based, with strong color accents. The looks range from casual to professional. You'll find them with laces, buckles and the smallest details of metal
- Versatility - The sandals... are very comfy sandals. Most are thong style with a few slides. But the shoes? They're convertible, meaning I can wear them as shoes and look very presentable due to the great styling options given. Or I can fold down the back of the shoe (yes, they're meant to fold down, designed for it even) and slide them on like slippers. This is phenomenal when going through security or being on a plane overnight. Being able to slip in and out and then wear them normally again makes them a huge time saver. These are also going to be great at the ocean, beach town, on a cruise and just every day wear. They were perfect in a place like Thailand.
- Quality - I believe in the old adage "You get what you pay for". In these shoes and sandals, I have been amazed at the quality and durability. The choice of materials is great. The stitching quality superb, even artistic. The outersoles are made of recycled rubber and the uppers are made from quality leather or quick-drying synthetic materials for that ocean life. I have used one pair for almost 2 years and have seen no major signs of wear. Other shoes I've had of a slip-on nature have degraded and become floppy.
Also, OluKai is a quality company as far as a brand is concerned. OluKai footwear are from Hawaii and designed with the spirit of aloha. What does that mean? They care not just about their product, but about the embodiment of life. Aloha doesn't mean just "hi"and "goodbye". It's something much deeper. They promote conservation and users who understand you don't have to be on an island to have the spirit of aloha flowing from you. It's about the life you choose to live every day. For me, it's the same way that I approach my life. Challenge yourself often. See the adventure in the small things. Make an impact in other's lives. We make this world from how we see it. They even have a vegan line of footwear. I'm sure there are plenty of others, but that's a first for me I've seen of active promotion. I definitely recommend reading through some of their Island Hopper stories.