What travel shoes to pack is always a major dilemma for the traveling fashionista. It’s so hard to find shoes that are both practical and functional while still maintaining your personal sense of style. Traveler Tara Simmons share her experience dealing with fashion vs function. Find out the pros and cons of traveling with Chacos.
by Tara Simmons
The dilemma of choosing shoes for travel may seem daunting at first, but don’t worry, you can have comfort and style without carrying a million pairs of shoes on your travels. A very controversial topic of travel shoes always seems to include the not so stylish, but sturdy sandals such as Tevas or Chacos.
A friend whom had previously traveled to Southeast Asia had highly recommended these substantial sandals to me, explaining that they were absolutely the only shoes I would need while backpacking through Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.
I was skeptical at first, only wearing flats and boots in my daily metropolitan lifestyle, but quickly began searching for the perfect pair of Chacos. There are slight variations due to the style of straps (the traditional thick, skinny straps or the updated designs for more flare) and I spent probably way too much time analyzing each style and color so that I would not regret in investing in an item I have no experience with.
I ended up going with the traditional black, so I could wear them with any color clothing, and with the thinner, double straps as to appear more feminine and stylish. I also chose a pair without the extra strap around the big toe because although they looked more fashionable, I was concerned it would create discomfort which would defeat the purpose of getting practical shoes.
I headed off on my travels and as soon as I hit the tropically humid air of Thailand, I was extremely thankful to have these sandals in hand. They have truly proven their strength and durability throughout this trip.
They’ve allowed my toes to breathe while trekking through the streets as well as off the beaten path for day hikes. They are very secure on your feet with easily adjustable straps, and their thick rubber soles provide great arch support so you never have to worry about your feet and can instead focus on the beauty and the travel experiences that surround you, something I had issues with before when not packing practically.
Sandals are an absolute must in tropical climates. Trapping your feet in sneakers is hot, sweaty, and produces lots of dirty socks which are totally unnecessary.
Excellent for hikes and long days of walking, but as for lounging, beaching, and heading out into the nightlife, my Chacos were one of the last things I wanted strapped to my feet. This was due to the fact that after wearing them around sightseeing all day, I didn’t want to stick my feet right back into the dirt and sweat collected earlier.
They are also a bit heavy and bulky, although with great soles, they do not go well with flirty skirts and dresses for the nights if you don’t want to feel like just a “practical” traveler.
And lastly, when going to the beach or showering in those lovely hostel bathrooms, something that is easily slipped on and off like a pair of flip flops dries quickly and is a much better option.
As much I highly recommend these shoes as a practical part of your travel wardrobe, a pair of fun, simple flip flops is absolutely required. They will barely take up space or weight in your pack. Feeling prepared as well as comfortable when you are on the road can really make or break your daily activities. As much as I love my Chacos, a pair of flip flops is definitely recommended. Three is the magic number for travel shoes.
Thanks Tara for sharing your experience with your travel shoes! For more travel shoe stories to help you decide if you can find your own balance between function and fashion, check out Fashionable Travel Shoes and Nothing Gets Between Me and My Crocs. Please check out iPANEMA’s hybrid sandals for a bit of style and function in flip flops.
Tara is a native Californian and newbie world traveler, having just backpacked through Europe and continuing on throughout Southeast Asia. Enthusiast of all things organic; she also loves to read, write, and bake in her spare time and currently keeps her own travel blog Traveling Days.