Field Test: Travel Footwear

We put our best feet forward in trying out different types of shoes for all occasions and destinations By: TravelAge West Staff
Puma Urban Mobility Flyer Fold // © 2010 Puma
Puma Urban Mobility Flyer Fold // © 2010 Puma

Wherever you or your clients travel to, you’re bound to encounter different situations and destinations that call for different types of footwear, from business-appropriate dress shoes for pounding the pavement to hiking-ready sandals for traversing different terrains. Recently, we tried on some of the latest styles and put them to the test on our travels around the world, from San Francisco and Costa Rica to St. Maarten and China. So, here’s to happy travels — and happy feet — along the way.

Airport/Casual: Urban Warrior
Puma/Urban Mobility Flyer Fold

The concept behind Puma’s Urban Mobility Flyer Fold shoes is novel: a modern, fashionable sneaker-style shoe designed specifically for traveling and functional city use. The price tag, however, I thought, was pretty steep. But after testing them out in San Francisco, I’m now a believer. The combination of leather and mesh is tailor made for long wear and breathability and, best of all, the back of the shoe has an elastic closure for easy on/easy off. This last feature came in especially handy when going through airport security. The only drawback is that the shoes aren’t made for working out, so a traveler might prefer to pack one decent-looking, multipurpose cross trainer instead. But if that’s not a factor, this is definitely a functional work of art. $150.
Kenneth Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief

Dress/Formal: Gentle on Your Soles
Gentle Souls/Rupert Fine

I’m usually not willing to sacrifice comfort for style, but I know that there are certain occasions that require me to don a pair of dress pumps. When I initially tried these Rupert Fine heels from Gentle Souls, Kenneth Cole’s comfort-oriented brand, I was skeptical. The flax-seed filled memory pillow foam in the sole was super soft, but I wasn’t convinced that these 2½-inch heels could really stand up to the test. Well, they definitely did. After wearing them at the Costa Rica Expotur conference, I was surprised: The arch support was ideal and the textured black patent went with pretty much everything in my closet. My only gripe? As with most high-heels, you can develop blisters after wearing the pumps for too long. $195.
Deanna Ting, Senior Editor

RfineGentle Souls Rupert Fine //
© 2010 Kenneth Cole


Hiking Sandals: Versatility Guaranteed
Ex Officio/Reef Runner

Ex Officio/Reef Runner// © 2010 Ex OfficioEx Officio Reef Runner// © 2010 Ex Officio

The Ex Officio Reef Runner is engineered with waterproof leather, an odor-resistant footbed, a wet-traction sole and a protective sole casing. I found it perfect for transitioning from asphalt to dry sand to wet sand and ankle-deep sea water; the closed toe actually kept out loose sand and its side vents let water flow out. The versatility of the Reef Runner proved to be a good match for St. Maarten. During my visit, I crewed on an America’s Cup yacht, ziplined through the trees and wandered the streets of Philipsburg. The only caveat? My size 11 pair was a tad tight, and this observation was backed up by a customer review on the Ex Officio website. Half-sizes aren’t available, so buying the shoes online could lead to some frustrating back-and-forth. (*Please note: Half-sizes are now currently available for purchase.) The shoe is also available for women. $80-$100. 
Mark Rogers, Contributing Editor


Athletic: Foreign Feat
Adidas/AdiStar Salvation 2

A vacation is no excuse for falling off the workout wagon, which is why I stuffed my suitcase with a pair of AdiStar Salvation 2 running shoes and plenty of protein bars on a recent trip to Taiwan and China. The lightweight shoes are designed specifically for women’s feet to provide form-fitting arch support, extra comfort in the bunion area and an adjusted heel bevel for flexibility and stability. So, whether I was jogging a couple of early-morning miles on a hotel gym treadmill in Taipei or climbing the 392 steps that lead to the top of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum in Nanjing, China, these running shoes made burn all the more bearable. $140.
Skye Mayring, Associate Editor

AdiStar Salvation 2// © 2010 Adidas AdiStar Salvation 2 // © 2010 Adidas


More Travel Footwear Reviews From the TAW Staff

Women’s Sandals: Casual Comfort

Teva Keelie Luxe // (C) 2010 TevaTeva Keelie Luxe // (C) 2010 TevaWhen I travel, I don’t leave home without my flip-flops — they are always by my side. The problem is, however, that while they are my favorite footwear choice, they aren’t always the nicest looking. However, the new Teva Keelie Luxe sandals are a must since they can do double duty as a beach thong as well as casual evening attire. Not only are the sandals comfortable with their contoured EVA midsole and suitable for walking long distances (I even wore them on a hike), the buckled leather T-strap gives these shoes an elegant look so that they can be paired seamlessly with skirts and dresses and casual wear for meetings, site inspections, casual occasions and more. $70.
Janeen Christoff, Managing Editor  


Dress/Formal: Stilettos That Stand Up to the Test  

Although I’m personally of the mind set that wearing stilettos is like asking for a broken ankle (been there, done that), I’m happy to report that there are some spindly heels that won’t leave you off balance or out of style. This Silver Belle pump from Kenneth Cole’s new 925 Technology Silver Edition collection is both seriously comfortable and seriously stylish — with a 4-inch heel, no less. The secret to its all-day, 9-to-5 appeal? A flaxseed pillow arch that literally molds itself to your feet and dual layers of Poron foam to absorb the shock from pounding the pavement. So, if you simply must pair your outfit with a sexy stiletto, I’d highly endorse this one. $160.
Deanna Ting, Senior Editor

Silver Belle // © 2010 Kenneth Cole Kenneth Cole Silver Belle //
© 2010 Kenneth Cole


Women’s Multipurpose: A Shoe for All Occasions 

Merrels: // © 2010 MerrelsMerrell Petunia // © 2010 Merrell 

I always find myself in the middle of a reoccurring dilemma whenever I pack: whether or not to bring along those cute high heels that I am only going to wear once on my entire trip and that will inevitably end up using valuable suitcase space. To get around this, I have become a big believer in the multifunctional, multipurpose shoe. For me, that means a leather Mary-Jane style shoe with a wedge that has all of the comfort and support of a rubber-heeled sneaker and the look of a casual dress shoe. The Merrell Petunia is now a new favorite of mine. The slip-on design makes it a breeze to get through airport security and the rugged traction on the sole makes it a good choice when running to make your next connection. The shoe proved comfortable when climbing the seemingly endless stairs in the Paris subways and was stylish enough to wear with a suit or a casual dress when attending a meeting or going out to dinner. An added bonus that I discovered were the interchangeable foot beds that let you swap out the liners so your shoes can stay smelling fresh. $90.
Deborah Dimond, Art Director

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