These Shoes Are Made For Walkin...

"Fashionista sneakerheads who need hired sherpas to cart along color-coordinated wardrobes, be advised" 

Story & Media: Ben Rubin

For any kind of long-term trip, shoes can make or break an adventure.  Most days you'll probably be on your feet - rain or shine - tramping through urban jungles, sandy beaches, muddy wilderness, and who knows what else.  Fashionista sneakerheads who need hired sherpas to cart along color-coordinated wardrobes, be advised: you want to be wearing as many shoes as you're carrying, so aim for an all-in-one pair of kicks that can take a beating.

Finding the right adventure footwear becomes even more tricky if you ride a skateboard; it'll chew holes in your shoes every chance it gets - a nice invitation for perennially wet toes and trench foot if you're trekking through cloudy weather.  Here are some tips for the adventure-bound, with skateboard in tow or not.
  • It Takes Two

    As hard as I tried, I couldn't find a single pair of footwear that covered all the bases, so I ended up with two pairs - daily sneakers I can skate in, and some hike-friendly sandals I can take up mountains or in hostel showers if I wanna keep the athletes foot at bay.  It's good to have a spare. 
  • Style Takes a Backseat
    Your crispy new sneaks will go from fresh to mush pretty quick when you're wearing them everyday - trust me.  I lean towards black - hides dirt and is an easy color to find patches for.
  • Cobbling with Glue and Patches
    If I tossed my shoes each time I got a hole I'd be buying shoes every month.  Shoe Goo is nice, but most all-purpose adhesives are flexible enough to work.  I picked up some Uhu universal glue in Helsinki and I'm still using it 5 months later, along with some suede patches I scooped up from a friend.  If you ask around, most cities have old school shoe cobblers or leather shops where you can pick up scraps.  If all else fails, use duct tape - that should be in your bag already anyways! 
    Other Stuff I Look For:
  • Rubber Toe Caps
    Even with my own harrowing history with my toes aside, i'm a big fan of shell toes, or any shoe with a rubber toe cap. They won't lose their shape after an accidental dip in a puddle, and as a plus for the skateboard pushers they won't explode after a session of flip tricks.
  • Mid Tops 
    You can always cut them down later if you need to, but there's been a handful of times I was happy to have the extra support. Not something you can always find though, so this one if optional for me.
  • Leather 
    Getting full grain leather (or some hippie friendly alternative that is equally as thick and water resistant) is a big plus.  I began my trip with a pair of shoes that met all my requirements but was made of canvas and they self-destructed in a month.  Lesson learned.