As a serial over-packer, I’ve made a concerted effort to stick to the one-shoe strategy when packing, but I always find myself throwing away that pair (or two) “just in case. where” for peace of mind, especially when the forecast calls for rainy weather. After lugging around bulky, weather-resistant shoes on my recent travels, I’ve found a pair that really makes me want to travel light: the Vessi Weekend Sneaker.
I first noticed Vessi on social media, where I was intrigued by videos of its wearers walking through puddles and dipping their toes into lakes, keeping their feet dry. How shoes that appeared to be made of fabric wicked away water to the point that the wearers’ socks didn’t get wet? It just didn’t seem possible that these Converse-meets-Allbirds style shoes could do the trick. So of course I had to try them for myself.
When my Weekend Sneaker – the sleekest (and some would say the least sporty) in the Vessi line – arrived, I became even more skeptical. The breathable knit material was so light and malleable that I doubted they could survive a drizzle, let alone a downpour. On top of that, the triangular patterned soles felt too light to provide true treading.
I was quickly proven wrong when I started pounding the pavement in New York in late winter. Compared to normal seasonal shoes that were either suffocating or so structured they hurt my feet, the Vessi sneakers survived all conditions like a pro. They were breathable but kept my feet warm, and both soft and comfortable while protecting my feet from any moisture.
Soon I had them on the road, treading the rough surface of Rome’s cobbled streets during a particularly rainy period, no less. The sole structure was surprisingly strong enough to slide easily over those rocks, and even when the surface got slippery, every step was solid and safe. It turns out that the triangle design is designed to be non-slip.
A few weeks later, I put them through a different kind of test on a bike tour from Portland to San Francisco when heavy downpours hit. Already a shaky and nervous biker, I imagined my feet would be soaked, but when I took my shoes off I was completely dry. Vessi has developed a Dyma-Tex diaper material that’s both breathable and waterproof – and it does the job using polyurethane, a moldable plastic that’s safer than what’s used in most others. waterproof products containing potentially harmful chemicals.
Along with its magical waterproof powers, the Vessi Weekend Sneaker has a versatile silhouette that makes it suitable for many occasions. I paired them with a casual shirt and leggings for a day of walking 22,000 steps in London, a dress and tights for the Broadway and West End shows, and shorts and a t-shirt for exploring the caves and Bermuda sand. On a trip to Capri, I wore the sneaker on a day that included boat jumps to the Blue Grotto, swimming in the Mediterranean, chairlifting Anacapri, and light hiking – in each of these cases, shoes were the perfect companion.
In addition to all its versatility, the Asian-Canadian-owned company, founded in 2018, is dedicated to sustainability, using all vegan materials and monitoring its manufacturing process by reducing its water consumption, its energy consumption and materials.