Hand luggage hacks are my favourite kind of travel tips!
These two pieces of wonderful footwear have been travelling with me for years and I’ve bought at least 5 reincarnations of both.
I’ve tried lots of lots of minimalist combinations when travelling and these are the ones that always end up working the best, covering everything I need without ever hurting my feet!
Disclaimer: This is my own, honest opinion from travelling and I’m in no way affiliated with either brand.
2 Become 1?
I didn’t set out to travel with two pairs of shoes, I’ve simply ended up finding that two pairs really work for me in every situation AND both of them weigh practically nothing and take up minimal space.
One thing I will say right now is that I don’t recommend travelling with only one pair of shoes for the sake of being the most lightest weightest hobo travel expert there is. Reason being, your feet need a break from any footwear, no matter how comfortable they are, and to be in a different position with different materials around them etc. Going barefoot isn’t an option in many countries where the surfaces are too dirty, sharp, hot or cold so having two options allows you to destress your feet whenever they need it.
So without further ado, the two shoes, I genuinely think I could see out the apocalypse with (unless there’s lava, then I’m screwed, naturally).
My Ultimate Travel Shoe:
Merrell Trail Glove 4
I get so excited when I get a new pair that I have to stop myself buying a second pair immediately because I’m precious about losing or damaging them or them being discontinued or – it’s ridiculous. I’ve worn barefoot and zero-drop shoes (soles with the same forefoot and heel height) from several brands for 5 years now and these are by far my favourite. The newest version is the best yet! The toe and heel protection is much stronger, the surface grip has been improved, the arch support is sturdy without encumbering foot-to-ground feeling. I’ve recommended these to several of my ex-dancer friends are now converted too as they feel like being completely barefoot, but with a barefoot that is enhanced with super protective powers, support, flexibility and quick-drying capability!
If you normally require ankle support, I’d recommend trying a zero-drop/0mm shoe as many issues in gait causing ankle weakness can be corrected with this type of sole and you might not need ankle support at all anymore, which is what happened to me and why I use these for walking, hiking, climbing, jogging and anything else I come up with now. I used to have a separate pair Salomon GTX for hiking which are super lightweight but more and more they ended up relegated to the back of the wardrobe and even when I’m hiking in snow now I just take a pair of Sealskinz socks and my Merrells.
Sink The Pink…
Another thing I love about Merrell as a brand is that they’ve ALWAYS sold a solid black colour option in women’s ranges as well as neutrals and the more common purple and pink colours (but those also have an edge). You can wear them out and about in cities and still get all the barefoot benefits. There are so many times I’ve wanted to buy trainers I’ve seen guys recommending only to find out that in my size they only come in fluorescent pink.
I don’t want to go on safari in fluorescent clothing and, frankly, want the same colour options as guys – and they always get green! I first came across Merrell while looking for any hiking brand that wasn’t selling to women as if we were children that need to be seen from 100 miles away when we wander off a cliff. They tick that box.
A quick note on 0mm shoes for running: I used to get shin splints every time I ran and haven’t had them since I started using 0mm. At home, I run in a pair of Altra Superior 3.0’s, which have a thick, cushioned 0mm sole for impact. I can happily run in my Merrell’s while travelling without needing anything else but prefer cushioned support running on tarmac long-term at home.
Merrell’s come in half sizes as well and this style pack down to the same size as my flip flops so I don’t have to worry about weight or switching my shoes up if the bag is full (it’s always full!).
My Ultimate Travel Sandal:
Sexi Flips by Crocs
I know, they’re Crocs, and they’re awesome! Without doubt, these flip-flops are the thing I get asked about most when I travel. When I say that they’re Crocs I usually get asked the question again in case I didn’t hear properly the first time. I promise and guarantee that these are indeed Crocs.
They are super comfy, even after hours and hours of walking, they’re minimalist, feel like barefoot and are the only flip-flop design I don’t find tacky (sorry) or make my toes cling onto my footwear for dear life. They never break and they go with everything. Dear Sexi Flips: je t’aime.
Every year I buy a new pair and getting the right size is important. Last year I thought my Sexi Flip run had come to an end when my new pair slipped around every time I walked on a wet surface but when I replaced them and checked the soles, I’d done the US conversion wrong and just bought an entire size too big!
Even though they’re MUCH more secure than normal flip-flops or sandals, these aren’t going to be useful for climbing or hiking any wet surface (I lost my little toenail learning this, keep your toenails please) and I’d suggest closed toe shoes for these activities. Sexi Flips do provide much more protection than a foam sole does when walking on sharp surfaces like limestone rock or the Africanbush though and, because they’re made of hard plastic stuff (technical term), you can rinse them off and they’re clean and dry in 5 minutes flat, not stinking out your luggage all the way home. Genius!
An Ode To
Here’s a little homage to the travels I’ve done with the best travel shoes ever… in a few more years I’ll make an anniversary slideshow and take them out to dinner somewhere fancy (not too fancy though).
Frances Draskau – Founder, Photographer & Traveller at SoSheTravelled.com