Like many travelers, when Andy and I explore new areas, we tend to do it on foot. This means I’m always looking for comfortable travel shoes to pack that will work for a variety of terrains and for a lot of different activities. Comfort is key, but being a minimalist, I won’t buy just to buy. I need the travel shoes to be long-lasting, and, if possible, have a positive social impact or an element of sustainability to them. Bonus points if they are slip-on shoes and cute enough to be worn with a variety of travel outfits. Imagine my excitement when I was approached by BucketFeet to try their most comfortable travel shoes.
What is BucketFeet?
Their website claims that they are “the most unique sneakers you’ll ever wear.” After checking them out, I’d have to agree. Every style is unique. Each one is created by a different designer, and every design tells a story. Their artists are located around the world, and they bring with them not only unique tales and talents, but also perspectives that make the designs captivating. The shoes are made in limited quantities and are guaranteed to start a conversation.
The company was started by Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein who met while volunteering in Argentina. Raaja was off to travel the world and Aaron, an artist living in Buenos Aires at the time, gave him a pair of hand-crafted canvas sneakers for his travels. The design was inspired by the streets of the city, and they definitely sparked conversation. Two years later, in 2011, they created the company.
Artists across the globe are encouraged to join the BucketFeet team. They are given upfront compensation for every design, and they earn royalties. A portion of the proceeds from every shoe sold is donated in collaboration with a number of different non-profit organizations.
Love the idea, want to be part of the process, but aren’t an artist? You can help curate their collection by voting on their website for proposed new designs. Though if you are like me, you might have a hard time picking a favorite.
Which BucketFeet travel shoe did I try?
I was sent the World Map (White) Slip On. It normally retails for about $65 (although it is on sale right now (1/30/2020) for $52). The artist who designed the travel shoe’s colorful depiction of a world map, is Meera Lee Patel. She lives in Brooklyn, NY and describes the design as “a reminder of our shared world and a call to explore.” Seemed fairly appropriate for a travel writer! And if you love the design, but fear wearing white shoes, there is a version with black canvas by the same artist.
What was my experience?
The look of these travel shoes was impressive. I love the colors and the message. They fit snugly, and I was immediately impressed with the bubble cushion insert. It feels like a little massage for the bottom of my feet. I was initially concerned that as they got dirty I would unwittingly add a new country or continent to the world map, but these comfortable travel shoes can be washed – I just have to remove the insole first.
Wary of all new shoes, I started off wearing them slowly. The first trip was just a wander around the neighborhood, the next was to down to the boat and then to a happy hour date in Culver City.
What are the positives?
- The shoes were not too big, so I didn’t have to worry about slippage, and the bubble cushion insoles were quite comfortable.
- The design is lovely, and these comfortable travel shoes are so cute that I didn’t hesitate to pair them with a casual skirt (and would add them to a casual dress, too). They easily work with jeans and shorts, as well.
- People did remark on the design, so they were, in fact, conversation starters.
- They made for great boat shoes — no slipping and the white bottoms don’t leave scuff marks. That’s a huge plus for boating season.
What are the negatives?
The downside is that the canvas fabric is quite stiff, and I did end up with blisters on my small toes on either foot during the initial wearings. At first, I wasn’t quite sure how to solve the problem because both the design and the snugness of fit didn’t leave room for adding socks. Andy actually had the answer – he suggested ped socks. They did the trick! I added low-cut, microfiber ped socks like these:
So far, so good. And they are low enough that you can’t see them. Problem solved!
I love the design of these travel shoes and the company’s philosophy appeals to me. The insoles are quite comfortable and the look works with many casual outfits which means they are likely to make the packing shortlist when I need a versatile, comfortable shoe. They are also shoes I can feel good about, given the company’s mission.
BucketFeet Travel Shoe Update
I’m happy to report that my World Map shoes from BucketFeet are still going strong! They ticked a lot of boxes for me: super comfortable, positive social impact, long-wearing and versatile. While they did go into hibernation during the winters (which are super short in Southern California), they survived the Marie Kondo KonMari culling of my closet and have supported my wellness efforts. And they still look really good! There is slight wear, but the design has held up well. Spot cleaning and the occasional wash (without the insoles) has kept them starting conversations for three years now!
Shoes were provided to me by BucketFeet for my honest initial review. The update was unpaid and done solely for the benefit of readers. All opinions are my own and that of ThoseSomedayGoals.com.