Flip flops for the pool and beach: check. Summery heels for a nice dinner out: check. Comfortable walking sandals for day trips and treks: check. Sneakers for running the beach and climbing the nature trails: check. Too many shoes for one suitcase: CHECK!
This summer, I’m crossing a few off my list, courtesy of my new summer find: Teva’s Sunkosi land and water shoe ($100 at www.teva.com). My discovery actually began last summer, when my family set off to take a nature walk among the crab-filled tide pools of Cape Cod Bay. The night before, our guide suggested that we all wear Tevas. Having no clue what she meant, I asked if flip-flops were okay. Nope, she said, no open toes. Cut to last month, when my same nature-loving family hiked the St. Kitts rainforest. Knowing I’d be swimming in its natural waterfalls, I considered the ease of on-and-off flip flops but remembered my last trek in the St. Lucian rainforest as being very hike-like, so I opted for sneakers. They served their purpose but it wasn’t much fun scaling the jungle’s abundant wet spots.
When I got home, I promptly googled “Teva” and found the answer to my woes: a rugged land-water shoe. A few weeks of testing later, my report is a giant thumbs-up. Not only do these shoes do double duty as beach shoes (breezy air holes make them good contenders for walking over hot sand without fuss) and sneakers (their sport-shaping and support do just fine at a hotel gym), but they’re the ideal foot covering for an eco-vacation. Use them to scale all types of terrain, from hiking trails to rocky beaches. Wear them on a bicycle, a jogging track and even a sidewalk peppered with souvenir shops. And don’t worry about mud, dirt or wet sand: You can rinse them with a hose or a beach shower (while they’re still on your feet!) and they’ll be dry in time for tomorrow’s outing. Want even better news? They come in kid sizes too. These days, instead of overpacking, I pack smart for each of us. For me, one pair of sexy summer sandals plus my handy-dandy Sunkosis. For my son, a singular pair of kicks – Teva Dozers ($40 at www.teva.com) – for pool to playground. (Side note to mama: These holey shoes are not well-suited for the wood-chip variety as pieces often get lodged in its cracks and crevices.)