Best Shoes for Travel
With the whole travel and work thing, we tried to keep the emphasis on travel. Yes, we both clocked hours to keep cash coming. But, we made sure to actually get out and see the places where we lived overseas. A huge part of seeing these new spots is walking - ideal way to experience a new city! Without comfortable shoes, though, you can pretty quickly crush your feet. In that vein, Chipp found that the best shoes for travel are the Saucony Men’s Jazz Original.
Why Trust Our Travel Shoes Recommendation?
During our first year living and working overseas, we spent significant amounts of time in six different countries. Whenever we found ourselves in a new city, we walked. A lot. There’s just no better way to experience a place. (Here are a few of our favorite strolls! Istanbul Part 1, Istanbul Part 2, Cape Town, Zagreb).
First, set a destination (e.g. a restaurant you want to try, a museum, a historic site, etc.). Second, study a map of the city to get a general sense of your route. Third, go out and start wandering in the direction of your destination. More often than not, we’d find dozens of “nook and cranny” neighborhoods along the way, spots we never would’ve found with a direct-to-destination taxi.
But, all that exploring can wreak havoc on your feet, especially if - like Chipp - you’re super soft and have feet inclined towards blistering (Marine Corps clearly never toughened him up…). In Istanbul, our first stop, we covered 10ish miles every day, trying to soak up as much of that incredible - and huge! - city as possible. Without comfortable travel shoes, Chipp still probably would’ve made those walks, but he’d have complained a whole lot more!
Bottom line, we logged a ton of miles strolling through new cities, and Chipp put his Sauconys through the wringer. Due to this experience, he’s confident making the bold claim about them being the best shoes for travel.
Why We Love the Saucony Men’s Jazz Original
Comfort for long city walks or hikes: When it comes to walking, one footwear trait takes priority over all others - comfort! The Jazz Original’s thick sole and padded tongue couldn’t be more comfortable. From the first step to the 10th mile, they feel great on your feet. And, with the rigid texture on the soles, these shoes work just as well hiking through the mountains as strolling through a new city.
Durability to withstand miles and miles exploring new places: Comfort also needs to be balanced with durability. If comfortable shoes fall apart after a month, they don’t do you much good. Chipp’s Sauconys more than stood the test of time during a year on the road logging countless city and trail miles.
Moderate “dressiness” minimizes your packing list: Okay, we all have a little vanity. Even the most comfortable and durable shoes need to look somewhat good. Chipp’s certainly no style expert (far from it!), but these Sauconys have a dressy enough look that, after wearing them walking through the city all day, you can throw on some jeans and a collared shirt and wear them to dinner. Would they work with a tux at the opera? Probably not… But, they get the job done during the day and night, which saves room in your pack - no need to bring an extra pair of more formal shoes!
Quick-dry uppers and removable insoles for wet days and water adventures: Back to the practical nature of traveling with these shoes, they dry quickly! The quick-dry uppers and removable insoles let you jam a little newspaper into soaked shoes, and the next morning, dry as new! If you wear these shoes on a particularly rainy day or to protect your feet in the water, you can count on them being dry enough to wear the next morning.
Here’s a full list of the specs for the Men’s Jazz Original - our favorite shoes for travel! - published by Saucony:
Lace-up front with a padded collar and tongue
Nylon/suede upper for long wear
Padded tongue, collar, and footbed provides superior shock absorption, fit, and extra comfort
Textile lining and cushioning, removable insole
Shock-absorbing striped EVA midsole
Durable rubber traction outsole
Story from the Road
Oddly enough, this is a story about what happens when you travel with the wrong shoes. Indirectly, this footwear disaster reiterated the importance of finding reliable ones!
A year before wrapping up his time in the Marines, Chipp went over to Bahrain for some boondoggle or another - large US military presence there. If you’re not familiar with Bahrain, it’s a tiny island in the Persian Gulf just off the coast of Saudi Arabia (actually connected to the Kingdom by a long causeway). Weather-wise, it’s basically a million degrees there in the summer.
Due to base housing limitations, Chipp stayed at a hotel out in town. Each morning, he’d make the couple mile walk to base along the just-starting-to-bake concrete. Each afternoon, he’d reverse the walk, now on concrete that seemed more like molten lava than anything else.
In retrospect, Chipp should’ve brought solid shoes on this trip. Instead, he wore some flimsy, knock-off sneakers of some sort (pretty sure they were a Groupon purchase). Huge mistake! By the second afternoon, the soles had melted into flat slabs, losing any semblance of their initial rugged texture. By the end of the week, the front of the left sole had detached from the shoe itself, creating a flapping absurdity at the toe.
Never again! So yeah, a few years later when we headed out on our adventures, Chipp bought some reliable shoes for the travels.
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