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If you know me at all, you’ll also know the last time I slipped on a pair of heels was for a wedding in May. I actually like wearing them, but I definitely don’t work in an environment that needs them and they bother my knees when I’m running a lot. Wedges, maybe, on a good day.
Obviously I don’t travel with heels if I don’t wear that at home. I’m into comfort (+ a bit of style), not high fashion. And being taller in generally, I never feel the need to make myself “taller” for any particular reason. Plus, being able to walk with ease on all terrains is pretty high on my list. Props to those of you that can toddle around in high boots at Machu Picchu and pumps in Italy, but that is not me.
So while I have no expertise in heels, I have a ton of flats. There are a ton of “travel flats” on the market, and a lot of flats that work just fine for travel but aren’t “travel flats” per se. For those of you shopping for new flats or wondering if that price is really worth it, here’s how three of my frequently worn pairs shape up.
I paid for all of these (over the course of a few years, I swear); none were provided as compensation.
Side by Side Comparison
Side by side, you’ll see how similar the soles are of all of these shoes. They all have additional padding/traction on heel and ball of foot, as well as a break in the middle over the arch. None of them are slick on wet services, all have leather under the rubber.
The insoles of the Tieks, on the far left, are stitched into the sole so there is no movement at all. But on the Tory’s in the middle, you can essentially remove in the insole. The Tory’s are also pretty wide (I don’t have narrow feet, but these do gap when you walk much more than the Tieks). The Cole Haan’s (black) are essentially a blend of the other two–slightly wider than the Tieks and insole firmly attached. All have leather insoles, so not great options for truly wet walking.
So what about packability?
In terms of weight, the Tory’s are definitely the lightest, followed by the Tieks. But in terms of space, the Tieks take the cake, big time. They fold into each other very neatly. I know the Tory’s are advertised as travel shoes than bend like this, but I’d be shocked if bending them like this and packing for 5 times doesn’t crack the leather or cause more gapping in the shoe–considering how much the sides stick out above. The Cole Haans don’t fold as well as the Tieks, but feel like they’d hold up to whatever you put them through. I love Tory Burch shoes, but they sacrificed weight for durability on this particular style.
What else do I like/dislike about each of these shoes?
Cole Haan (Avery Ballet)
Pros: Can get a great deal on these, super duper cushioning. Feel really durable.
Cons: Take a bit more space than Tieks. Run just a bit wide.
Tieks (Classics, Burgundy)
Pros: So many colors! Crazy comfortable, once worn in. Bendable = packable.
Cons: Cha-ching! Do take some time to break in and stretch out (ouch for the first few days).
Tory Burch (Minnie Travel Ballet Flat, Embossed Leather)
Pros: A bit dressier. Super lightweight.
Cons: Also expensive, feel less durable than either the Cole Haan or Tieks. Much less cushioning.
For comfort, durability, packability, and style, go with the Tieks. Yes, I got suckered in to the Tieks phenomenon. Though I feel like a lot of bloggers get them for free. It took me a long time to buy a pair, after months of staring at their website, but I now own a pair. Well, maybe two pairs…. I can tell you I would sure like them a lot more if they were free, but I like them quite a bit even though they weren’t. So far, they’ve held up well.
If you are looking for something less expensive, the Cole Haans are definitely the way to go. They feel really durable, fit well, and are super comfortable. Probably the most well cushioned of the bunch.
I have a number of Tory Burch flats, and all feel more durable than these–while they may not make your carry-on overweight, I don’t wear them as much because I worry about their well-being. And it’s a shoe, for goodness sake, I shouldn’t have to worry.
Do you have a favorite pair of travel flats?