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Deciding which shoes to pack for a trip can be stressful. Each pair you choose has to earn its keep in terms of versatility and comfort (suitcase real estate is valuable!). And the shoes you actually wear for travel? They need to be winners: great for walking miles within the airport (then later around some beautiful locale) and breathable so they don't make your feet sweat on the plane. Even better if they can pair with a summer dress for casual outings when you reach your destination.
Having made the wrong choice time and again, we asked someone who knows how to pack light and right — flight attendant Gemma Brazier, who's logged more than 20 years in the biz — for travel-shoe advice.
"When I travel, it's essential for me to have a versatile pair of sneakers that I can mix and match with various outfits and that are also super comfortable when I'm out exploring," says Brazier, who has traveled to Brazil, Kenya, China, Australia and beyond. She pointed us to a pair of sleek cushioned leather sneakers by Veja: "I love these Veja Esplar Sneakers because they look so stylish and go with everything."
Veja Esplar Sneaker
The Esplar sneakers are made from top-quality leather (from Uruguay) with suede details and a rubber sole. Cushioned inside, they feel great on the foot. They're coated with water-repellant oils to protect against light rain.
"Packing light can often be a challenge," Brazier acknowledges, indicating the value of items that do double and triple duty. "These are perfect to wear with dresses or jeans."
The brand is radically transparent about its production process, revealing its costs for raw materials, and sharing info on workplace standards in its Brazilian-based factories.
Veja Esplar Sneaker
The shoes are a hit with reviewers.
"...Took less than a week to break in and have become my most comfortable shoes," shares one Nordstrom shopper. "They go with pretty much all of my work clothes so I wear them every day now and get compliments on them all the time. I take my dogs for runs in them too."
Shared another: "Very nice and stylish pair! I brought it as a gift for my daughter who is a healthcare worker. She said that it’s very comfortable for her, and especially great for when she works her 12-hour shifts."
Veja also makes canvas sneakers, which are lightweight and perfect for summer.
Veja Nova Sneaker
And this sporty pair with irresistible beige and pink details just won our hearts.
Veja V-10 Sneaker
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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