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*This post was originally published in 2012 and we decided to freshen it up a bit in 2020.
I was very reluctant to get on the Toms bandwagon, especially considering the innate hipster factor, but once I bought my first pair, I was hooked. I’ve since brought them on every trip.
I usually overpack, especially when it comes to shoes, and I end up not wearing most of them (sound familiar?). This is what makes packing shoes for your RTW trip a struggle!
So why do Toms make ideal travel footwear?
1. Easy to slip on and off
There’s nothing more annoying than being stuck in line at airport security behind someone wearing combat boots or some similarly annoying shoes. They slip on and off with ease, helping you get through the airport that much faster.
The people behind you will be grateful.
Toms are also good for visiting temples or mosques where you are required to remove your shoes. You won’t spend ten minutes untying and retying your shoes while your travel companions are already at the next sight.
2. Comfortable for long-haul flights
Speaking as someone who has endured many flights over nine hours, I can say that there are no shoes that are more like bedroom slippers than Toms. (And when you are flying long-haul in economy class, you want every tip and tactic for getting comfortable flying!)
If you decide you don’t want to wear them, you can slide them into your seat pocket and put them back on when you want to get up for a stretch or bathroom break.
Depending on what color and style you get, they can be dressed up or down for any outfit, meaning you don’t have to pack as many shoes!
I’ve worn my black corduroy Toms with both pants and skirts. I’ve even seen photos of brides wearing them at their weddings.
4. Easy to pack
They collapse and take up hardly any room.
If it comes down to only two pairs of shoes in your carry-on bag, Toms should be one of them. These shoes take up less room than your guidebook (err… 2020 update – who packs a guidebook anymore?)!
Aside from Tieks, they’re the smallest shoes to pack.
5. Good for walks
I wore mine all throughout Thailand and Europe without any problems until they finally started to get holes in them in Australia. I probably could have made them last if my friends hadn’t been mocking me for how dirty they looked.
And if you don’t drag your feet as much as I do, they can last even longer. If they get too dirty, you can wash them in the sink and air dry.
7. Well-known brand
Not only are their shoes unique and easily recognizable, but each pair comes with a TOMS brand flag that you can show off in front of all those landmarks you visit. (2020 Update: They appear to no longer give out a brand flag with purchase.)
8. Supports a good cause
Their motto is “one for one.” For every $50 pair you buy, the company sends a second pair to a child in need. What could be better than helping a needy child and buying a great pair of shoes at the same time?
2020 Update: They retired their one-for-one program in 2019 and now run on a giving model as part of their Global Giving Fund. For every $3 they make, they give away $1 – which is quite a bit of giving!