It's not easy to find a high-quality, stylish pair of non-leather shoes. Nor is it a cinch to find a comfortable pair of travel shoes that doesn't look orthopedic. Vegan Tieks fit the bill. They're foldable, so they easily slip into a suitcase, a purse, or even a pocket. They offer slipper-grade comfort€"perfect for the plane€"and have a solid, shock-absorbing sole. Moreover, they're as stylish as any boutique-sourced designer ballet flat. Even SmarterTravel's high-heel wearing executive editor, who tends to shy away from flats, gave them her approval. As of today, two of the four vegan colors are sold out.
Cons: No surprise here. The biggest con is the price at $165 a pair. While that's cheaper than many other kinds of Tieks, including patent-leather styles and print styles, these fabric shoes are the same price as classic solid-color leather Tieks.
However, your Tieks purchase comes with a few extra goodies that may help soften the blow to your budget: A carrying case, a packable foldable bag, and pant clips are included in the fancy blue Tieks box. The box is topped with a big fake flower on an elastic band, which makes a fabulous accessory for your child or pet's head. Plus, Tieks promises to "[plant] a tree through The Nature Conservancy for every vegan pair sold."
How It Rates:
€ Usefulness: 9/10. A travel shoe that can fold up into a compact, packable package is extremely useful for those of us who have no luggage space to spare€"which is all of us. Although CitySlips do the same thing for fewer dollars (the"Luxe" leather version sells for $58 at Neiman Marcus), they have a less substantial sole, and can't hold up to miles of walking on an active trip. Trust me. I've tried. Tieks are much hardier than CitySlips.
€ Portability: 9/10. See above. As you've probably heard by now, the shoes fold in half and can be tucked into a large pocket. They might pair well with a Scottevest.
€ Value: 6/10. A price tag of $165 means these shoes cost as much as a night's stay in a decent hotel. But shipping is included!
€ Durability: 8/10. The shoes' sneaker-like sole is ideal for travel.
€ Cool Factor: 10/10. Everything has a cost. In this case, you're paying for well-made shoes, but you're also paying for a label. Tieks, with their distinctive robin's-egg blue sole that peeks out when you walk, are a recognizable brand. Even Oprah wears them.
Final Verdict: We like Tieks. But the brand certainly hasn't cornered the market on comfy travel shoes. Some other cheaper options include Keds Skimmers and Toms; these shoes don't fold in half, though, and they haven't been approved by Oprah. Take your pick.