Vessi makes a lot of promises when it comes to their unique shoes. They’re marketed as your one-stop-shop for the ultimate waterproof, lightweight, packable travel shoe. But are they?
As you can probably tell, I was pretty skeptical about these Vessi sneakers. Because if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Are these shoes the all-in-one solution that every one-bag traveler needs? Well, that’s what I wanted to find out!
- Vessi makes three lines of ultralight, waterproof sneakers designed for all seasons and all terrains. Truly the “all-rounder” shoe.
- Vessi is a Vancouver-based company founded by Mikaella Go, Tony Yu, and Andy Wang.
- These shoes are made from water-based synthetic materials, modified polyurethane, and synthetic suede and leather. They’re 100% vegan.
- They’re perfect for one-bag travelers who want a multipurpose sneaker that can see them through everything from snow to sand to epic rainstorms.
- Vessis are best for urban travelers who might do some light hiking. If you’re going on a full-on trek, you definitely still need proper hiking boots with ankle support. (Personally, I prefer to hike in trail running shoes.)
- Actually waterproof (the technology is patented)
- You don’t need to wear socks with these shoes
- They’re perfect for all kinds of travel, especially if you’re sticking to urban centers
- Pleasant, muted colors
- Super comfortable
- No half sizes
- Not suitable if you have a latex allergy
- Narrow-footed people may find them too wide
- They don’t come with any care instructions
- Not machine washable
Who is Vessi?
Is your closet overflowing with shoes for every season? That might be fine when you’re at home, but finding appropriate shoes for all seasons and all weather types is one of the biggest hassles of life on the road.
Vessi founders Mikaella Go, Tony Yu, and Andy Wang recognized this problem, so they created the ultimate all-weather sneaker through a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign.
By September of 2019, they had raised a cool $1.2 million with an initial goal of only $25,000. It looks like a lot of people out there want a one-pair-fits-all travel and streetwear sneaker.
Vessi shoes come in three different styles. In this part of the review, we’ll put all three of them under the microscope.
All of these Vessis are waterproof and super comfortable. They’re all fantastic options, so it really comes down to personal taste and travel style when you’re deciding which pair is right for you.
Let’s review the ins and outs of each style so you can get a better idea of what they’re all about.
Vessi Everyday Sneaker
As the name suggests, the Vessi Everyday Sneaker
is the perfect lace-up sneaker for everyday wear. They’re the ideal sneaker for urban travel or a light hike. These sneakers have the basic features of a regular knit sneaker but they’re also 100% waterproof and non-slip.
I love the lightweight feel of a knit sneaker, but they’re a bit useless once water has started accumulating on the ground. That’s not an issue with these shoes.
The Everyday Sneakers come with extra arch support and sporty soles. These shoes will keep you comfy all day long, no matter how much time you spend on your feet. They have a fashionable but athletic aesthetic that’s also waterproof. For colors, these shoes come in four stylish but subdued colors.
The Everyday Sneaker is waterproof and should hold up to most conditions, including light snow and mud, making them a perfect choice for one-bag travelers. If you’re mostly sticking around cities and easy terrain, these are seriously one of the best travel sneakers I’ve come across.
Like the Everyday series, the Cityscape shoes
are simultaneously minimalistic and stand-out stylish. Once again, these super lightweight lace-ups are a great choice for either work or travel. They’re a comfortable everyday shoe, whether you’re bumming around the city or even just slogging the long walk to your airport gate.
These knit Vessis come in three minimalistic colors; grey, black, and white. Predictable? Maybe. Timeless? Yes. Just like the Everydays, the Cityscapes are 100% waterproof to keep you dry without that ugly water repellent look.
These shoes don’t have the same arch support and traction that the Everydays have. While they’re just as waterproof as the Everyday line, they’re just not cut out to support your foot on ice or rough terrain.
Going to a city with predictable pavement or planning on being mostly indoors? You’ll love the Cityscape.
Vessi Everyday Slip On
Do you loathe shoelaces? I get it. They’re a hassle if you’re in a hurry, or if you’re going somewhere where you constantly need to remove your shoes.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to awkwardly balance on one foot as I unlace my sneakers before entering a temple or a restaurant in Japan. The Everyday Slip On
is the ultimate solution to this problem.
If you’re sticking to streetscapes, you’ll probably love the Everyday Slip On. This sneaker style gives you all the benefits of the Everyday lace up, but you can just slip them on and off as you need. They’re also a little less bulky than the other styles, so they’ll pack more nicely.
The Slip Ons also fit like a sock around the ankle so you’ll barely notice they’re even there. They have a front and side-to-side grip that brings extra comfort and stretch. And the breathability? Outstanding.
Which Vessi Sneaker is Right for You?
Feeling overwhelmed by all the information and choices in this review? Let’s break it down in simple terms. How do you know which waterproof Vessi sneaker is right for you?
- If you’re spending a lot of time indoors or going on a relaxed trip: Cityscape
- If you’re spending more time outdoors in an unpredictable climate (think rain and snow): Everyday
- If you’re going somewhere where you’ll have to take your shoes on and off all the time (or you just hate laces): Everyday Slip-On
What You Need to Know (The Low Down)
From the waterproof fabric down to the antibacterial insoles and the Herringbone grip soles that channel water out for better traction, Vessi has literally thought of everything.
Each Vessi shoe is made with water-based synthetic materials, a modified polyurethane four-way knit and engineered suede and leather. To be honest, the exact details of the materials used are a little vague, but they are 100% vegan, including the glues that stick everything together.
These materials are also ultra-lightweight. Each pair weighs only 6.7 ounces!
Not only that, but the shoes are collapsible, making them the ideal shoe for travel. You can stuff into your bag when you’re not wearing them and they take up hardly any space.
Vessi Shoes are actually, definitely, 100% waterproof. I’ve literally plunged my feet into water with these babies on and they’ve stayed dry. Not one drop of water made it through any pair.
What’s more, the shoe is not too warm. They’re made with Dyma-tex, a waterproof material that is also extremely breathable. Dyma-tex material has millions of tiny holes that allow heat and moisture to escape while stopping water from getting in. No sweaty feet!
Sizing & Fit
When I got my Vessis, they were comfortable right away. Zero blisters for me! This is always a big win in my books.
These pairs run wide, so they’re best if your feet are on the wider side. I don’t have narrow feet, so I can’t really say for sure, but I suspect they might feel a bit big if you do.
Getting the right fit is hard at the best of times. As Vessi doesn’t have a physical store, it can be a bit of a gamble when you make your purchase online. Luckily, there is a sizing chart page on the website. Don’t have time? That’s okay—I’ve listed some handy tips for the right pair here.
- They don’t come in wider sizes, but the men’s range a little wider than the women’s
- These shoes fit close to the feet, so they should feel like socks
- Men ‘s sizes range from 6-13
- Women’s sizes range from 6-11
There is no half-size sneaker. If you wear a half-sized shoe, try going up to the next full size.
Wear & Feel
When it comes to wearability, I think the Vessi brand of shoe is the most comfortable out there. These shoes bring breathability and comfort to such a high level that you don’t even need to wear socks.
They’re incredibly lightweight to wear. They honestly feel like I’m wearing socks. It’s nice to have a sneaker that doesn’t feel clunky while keeping my feet dry, especially compared to other waterproof footwear. While they’re not ideal for trekking, I often like to bring a pair along to wear around the campsite if sandals aren’t an option.
The most important factors to think about when you’re looking at travel shoes are breathability and comfort. Who wants aching swamp feet? Gross. After days of testing, I can say that Vessi nails both of these factors. They’re comfortable, breathable, and dry in all conditions.
So which pair is the most comfortable? That’s a good question. They’re all pretty close. That said, the Cityscape style doesn’t come with that additional arch support. My feet are pretty flat and I like to walk long distances, so any arch support I can get is really important. At least for my feet, the Everyday style is the best option.
That said, if I wasn’t doing too much walking and wanted something I could slip on and off, I’d go for a pair of the Everyday Slip On.
These shoes are not machine washable. I’ve been able to throw pretty much every sneaker I’ve ever owned into the washing machine, but that’s not an option with these.
As they’re not machine washable, I’d advise you to avoid the lighter colors. Go for a dark color like black and you won’t have too many issues with your shoes looking dirty and they won’t change colors as they dry after rinsing or washing them.
It’s recommended that you handwash your Vessis with a water-based soap and warm water, then scrub with a soft sponge.
While the return policy changes depending on conditions and locations, here’s a quick breakdown of the returns policy:
- Free 60-day returns within North America – make sure you haven’t worn your shoes outside in this time
- You have to pay for shipping if you’re making international returns
- Sale items are non-refundable but you can get store credit if you return them in 60 days
- Change of mind or wrong size returns are eligible for refunds or store credits if returned in 60 days
- Exchanges can take between 7-10 business days within North America
- There is a 6-month warranty on defects
Vessi offers free standard shipping to:
- Canada (2-8 day delivery)
- US (2-8 day delivery)
- Australia (7-14 day delivery)
- New Zealand (7-14 day delivery)
- Japan (7-14 day delivery)
- South Korea (7-14 day delivery)
- Singapore (7-14 day delivery)
- Taiwan (7-14 day delivery)
A little limited, so let’s hope they share the love with more destinations soon.
You can expect to pay about the same price for a pair of Vessi shoes as you would for a major brand like Nike or Adidas. But there is one major economic advantage: you don’t have to buy multiple different styles of shoe for different seasons – these sneakers should get you right through the year.
Quick tip: If money’s tight, check to see if the brand is running a sale.
In this review, we took a look at what makes these sneakers so good.
Vessi has received so many rave reviews that they’ve basically hit cult status. The thing is, each pair definitely lives up to the hype. They are the best street shoes I’ve ever traveled with. It’s no wonder that these stylish but super functional sneakers are selling out and getting mile-long waitlists.
The three types of Vessi shoes all share the same design pillars; comfortable for long days of travel and dry yet breathable in all conditions. Vessi shoes are also produced with sustainability in mind, which is perfect for an environmentally conscience traveler.
Each pair of Vessi shoes look great and come at a comparable price to other major brands. While the three different styles all have the same basic features, they also have individual strengths.
If you walk long distances or you’re worried about slipping on wet pavers or ice, then the Everyday lines are going to be the best for you. The Cityscapes are also an excellent choice, but they just don’t offer the same amount of arch support or traction.
So are these the best travel shoe? I’m gonna say a big YES! I’m sold, and I’m not alone in that review. According to the brand, 80% of customers said they were buying these shoes for their primary travel sneaker. A pair of these shoes is one of the best travel gifts for literally anybody.
That said, if you’re going on a big trek, please make sure you bring some proper hiking boots or trail running shoes. (For hiking boots, Forsake
tends to be my outdoor brand of choice.) These sneakers are best suited for urban adventures, long walks along the coast, and maybe some light day hikes through the forest or desert.