If you’ve been anywhere near the internet in recent years, you’ve probably seen ads for Tropicfeel. They profess to have created ‘The Ultimate Travel Shoe’, a bold claim to say the least. But are the shoes all they’re cracked up to be?
In this Tropicfeel Canyon review, we’ll dive into what we liked, loved, and weren’t so keen on* with our Tropicfeel Canyon shoes.
*spoiler, there wasn’t very much!
Disclosure: Tropicfeel sent the whole team samples of their Canyon, Sunset and Monsoon shoes for this review. We rigorously tested the shoes in a variety of environments including rugged mountains, smooth pavements, impossibly steep cobbled streets and vast woodland — sadly our shoes have not yet made it over to the jungles of Southeast Asia but watch this space. The review was not sent to Tropicfeel prior to being published. None of our reviews are ever edited to keep a brand happy.
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Tropicfeel: An overview
Tropicfeel was born after a group of friends went travelling to Southeast Asia in 2016. During the trip, they noticed everyone cramming multiple pairs of shoes into their backpacks. Surely there had to be a better way?
After returning from their trip, they were determined to find a solution to the backpacker shoe problem. The result, a multipurpose shoe designed to withstand the rigours of travel.
In 2018, Tropicfeel’s first shoe became the most successful shoe on Kickstarter, meeting their funding goal within one hour and raising more than two million euros before the campaign ended.
Based in Barcelona, Spain, Tropicfeel opted to become a DNVB (Digitally Native Vertical Brand — don’t worry, I had to google it too). By operating this way, Tropicfeel kept full control of the production, distribution and sales of their shoes.
This control means they’re able to operate with a focus on sustainability and ethical practices — unlike some larger shoe brands! It allows them to be light on their metaphorical toes and gives them room to grow and adapt with market trends. It also means they can invest time and money into grassroots projects and help make the world a better place.
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Tropicfeel Canyon Shoes: At a glance
What really sold me on Tropicfeel shoes is their sheer versatility. They’re comfortable athletic, yet formal looking sneakers made from technical materials. This means they’re light, airy and supportive. They can be used as aqua shoes to protect your feet while swimming or fording rivers and streams. They’re quick drying and come pre-treated with an odour resistant coating, meaning they stay fresh for longer!
But it’s not only their versatility that’s attractive for travellers. The shoes are also sustainable. Made using recycled materials, ethical manufacturing processes and a ton of carbon offsetting, the Tropicfeel Canyon shoes have a much smaller impact on the planet than shoes from other brands.
- Weight – Just under 200g per pair
- Colours – 5 colours available (Green, Grey, Blue, ‘Oat’ and Black)
- Key features – Water friendly, quick-drying, lightweight, slip on, breathable and sustainable
Tropicfeel Canyon Shoes: A deep dive
Whether you’re on a city break in Europe, chilling on a beach in Southeast Asia or undertaking an epic South American adventure, Tropicfeel’s Canyon shoes are built to be the most usable and adaptable travel shoes on the market.
What we love about the Tropicfeel Canyon:
As mentioned above, the Canyon shoes from Tropicfeel are ultra-versatile. They feature Tropicfeel’s 4 in 1 versatility:
- They can be used as aqua shoes.
- They’re as comfortable as sport shoes.
- They feature technical quick drying materials like hiking shoes.
- They’re smart enough to be worn for most occasions.
This versatility means you can replace two or three pairs of shoes in your backpack with just one pair of Tropicfeel sneakers. Not only does this reduce the weight of your travel gear but it also gives you more room in your backpack — use this as an opportunity to carry a smaller bag or pack more luxury items!
Versatility is one thing but if your shoes aren’t comfortable, you’re not going to wear them.
Thankfully, Tropicfeel shoes are as comfy as they claim!
The Canyon shoes have a dual-density EVA foam footbed. The top layer is soft and squishy, allowing your feet to sink into the shoes. This creates a comfortable base that absorbs impacts and keeps your feet planted as you walk.
The bottom layer is made of a much denser foam. It delivers excellent support while protecting your feet, ankles, knees and hips from the repetitive impact of heavy footfalls.
But comfort doesn’t end with the footbed.
The lightweight upper allows your feet to breathe, making these shoes a solid choice for hot climates. Thanks to the SlipSock ankle collar, the shoes can be slipped on and off without needing to worry about laces. It gently grips your feet as you walk, delivering a secure feeling and preventing your feet from sliding around in the shoes.
The shoes are so airy and gentle on your feet that you can even wear them without socks (if that’s your thing)!
Weight & Packability
Weighing less than 200g per pair, the Canyon shoes are around 20% of the weight of average trainers!
Tropicfeel have achieved this miraculous weight saving by using lightweight materials such as the mesh upper and EVA foam footbed. Even the elastic lacing system is lighter than standard laces!
Thanks to their ultralight design, Tropicfeel shoes are easy to pack into your travel bag. They’re flexible so can be squashed down relatively small, saving space as well as weight allowance!
Top Tip: If you’re travelling with more than one pair of shoes, we recommend leaving the Tropicfeels in your bag for flights. They help keep your pack weight down.
So the Tropicfeel Canyons are versatile, lightweight and comfortable.
That all feels a bit buzzwordy though… How do they actually hold up as shoes?
In short; very well.
They have a hard-wearing and grippy outsole. The distinct tread pattern provides reliable traction in most scenarios — although it’s not ideal for deep mud or snow, it performs well in wet or slippery conditions.
The firm heel counter keeps your foot in place while walking. It works in conjunction with the supportive footbed to create a stable base for your feet.
A small amount of toe spring and the gently bevelled heel on the Canyon shoes make walking long distances easier. They help make your gait more efficient by gently guiding your foot through the heel-toe motion for each step.
The SlipSock ankle collar and Sprint Laces make the shoes easy to get on and off, ideal if you’re visiting temples or need to remove your shoes for overnight busses. The laces don’t need to be tied. Instead, they rely on small rubber stoppers to prevent them from coming undone. These stoppers are easy to slide up and down the laces by hand but don’t move when the shoes are being worn.
The shoes are also treated with an Agion compound. It slowly releases silver ions over time, especially when wet or damp. These silver ions kill bacteria and prevent the build-up of bad odours. Tropicfeel claim the Agion treatment will last the lifetime of the shoes and while mine do still smell fresh, I can’t say how long it will actually last.
Sheree, a member of the South East Asia Backpacker team says this of her Tropicfeel Canyon shoes: “It sounds like a sales puff but in all honesty, my Tropicfeel Canyon shoes are the best trainers that I have ever owned. The mesh saves my feet from getting too sweaty on hikes and the quick tie lace function is great for lazy people like me! As I have collapsed arches on both my feet, I did find that I needed some additional support in the shoes but after replacing the Tropicfeel insole with my own raised ones, they fit like a dream. They’re an investment but a great all-rounder that can definitely handle the rigours of travel!”
Eight recycled plastic bottles go into the Canyon shoes and 70% of all the materials used are recycled. This includes 80% of the upper and 20% of the EVA foam footbed.
But how do we know this?
Because Tropicfeel are completely transparent with their entire supply chain. You can go on any product on their website and see exactly where every component has travelled from before making it to the finished article.
They only work with bluesign system partners. A bluesign system partner must ensure that manufacturing practices are not harmful to people, animals or the environment. They use less water and energy than traditional manufacturers and must ensure that harmful chemicals are removed from their manufacturing process as soon as possible. They are regularly inspected to ensure they’re following the correct procedures.
Tropicfeel also offset all their carbon emissions in order to be a carbon-neutral company — while that’s amazing and far better than doing nothing, carbon offsetting isn’t the silver bullet some want us to believe.
However, as well as offsetting their emissions, Tropicfeel actively draw attention to untold stories of unethical and environmentally destructive practices happening right under our noses. Check out their short film, Avocado Rise — it’s bound to put you off that hipster breakfast!
An amazing rewards program
At first glance, the Tropicfeel rewards program looks like any other loyalty scheme. However, when you dive into it, you quickly notice it’s a little different. While they still offer points for every dollar, pound or euro spent in their online store, they also offer big chunks of points for completing simple challenges.
Over time, your points add up and you rise through the tiers, earning better rewards with each step. Free merchandise, epic discounts, free personalised adventure itineraries and even the chance to influence Tropicfeel’s new products are just some of the rewards you can expect.
Okay, this one has nothing to do with the shoes but it’s a nice touch regardless. Tropicfeel have a series of recommended adventures on their website. The majority of these are in Europe at the moment but they’re ever-expanding.
Each journey features an itinerary with maps and instructions. The coolest thing is that they’re all available for free — not the journey itself, you’ll have to pay for that — but all the information you need for a bit of inspiration is available on the Tropicfeel website!
What we’re not so keen on with the Tropicfeel Canyon:
Don’t get me wrong, the laces are amazing. They’re quick to tighten and remain tight all day — mine have never come undone.
But people will constantly tell you your laces are undone. The first time you explain they’re a special type of futuristic lacing system is quite fun. But by the fourth or fifth time, it becomes tedious.
I want to stress, this isn’t a deal-breaker. It’s just a minor annoyance.
Not made for cold environments
The lightweight mesh and gentle tread pattern mean these shoes are not for cold, icy or snowy environments. There’s very little insulation so your feet really feel the cold!
No ankle support or protection
At the end of the day, Tropicfeel shoes are sneakers, so you wouldn’t expect much ankle support. However, when travelling you might want a pair of shoes with a little more ankle protection, especially if you’re hiking in challenging or rocky terrain.
I certainly noticed my ankles rolling a little when hiking in mountainous environments. I wouldn’t take the Tropicfeel shoes into such tricky terrain again. However, they make perfectly adequate approach shoes if there’s a gentle trail leading to the mountains. This does mean you’d need to find space to carry an extra pair of shoes though!
The Canyons also offer very little protection from falling or dropped items. There’s a small protective panel over your toes but this does little against heavy objects. Even dropping your phone on your foot hurts while wearing these shoes.
No water repellent coating
Having a DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treatment would seriously help improve these shoes. Sure they’re quick drying but your feet get soaked if you walk through wet grass. This increases your risk of rubbing and blisters but even in the shorter term, having wet shoes leads to cold feet!
Being able to prevent this would make the shoes even more versatile!
Tropicfeel Shoes FAQs
How do I wash Tropicfeel shoes?
To wash your Tropicfeel shoes, follow these simple steps:
- Remove the insoles — these will need to be washed by hand in warm, soapy water.
- Wash the shoes in your machine at 30ºC. You’ll only want them on a short cycle.
- Do not bleach.
- Allow your shoes to air dry. Do not tumble dry.
How do Tropicfeel shoes fit?
Tropic feel shoes are impressively wide. Although they don’t look like they have a wide toe box, there is plenty of room for your toes to splay as you walk.
To accurately measure your feet, place a piece of paper on the floor touching a wall. Stand one foot on the paper with your heel touching the wall. Mark the end of your longest toe.
Repeat this process for both feet then measure the distance between the edge of the paper (where your heel was) and the mark from your longest toe. Use your biggest foot to determine which size shoes you need.
Tropicfeel include a sizing guide so you can convert the length of your feet into the correct shoe size. If you fall between sizes, you can go up a size for a looser fit, or down for a tighter fit.
Do Tropicfeel shoes stretch?
Yes, Tropicfeel shoes stretch a little as you break them in.
Can I remove the Tropicfeel insoles?
Yes, you can remove the Tropicfeel insoles and insert your own if required.
Other Tropicfeel Products
Tropicfeel produce more than just the Canyon sneakers. At the time of writing they have three other shoes available too:
The Sunset Sneakers have a formal skate shoe look to them, making them a great choice for casual evening wear. The back of the shoe can be flattened to make slipping them on easier. The elasticated laces still keep the shoe secure on your foot even with the back flattened.
The Jungle Sneakers are the newest addition to the Tropicfeel family. They are similar to the Canyon Sneakers, providing excellent traction with high level cushioning. However, they’re slightly looser fitting thanks to the smaller lacing system. This means they’re suited to less challenging terrain.
The Monsoon Sneakers look like casual trainers. They offer more traction than the sunset and have a little more cushioning. They’re great for long days exploring cities and can be worn with most outfits.
Dave, a member of the South East Asia Backpacker team has this to say about his Tropicfeel shoes: “I have a pair of both the Monsoons and the Canyons. The Monsoons are my “around the house” shoes. I’m fond of how airy they are and was very impressed by how quickly they dried (including the socks under them) after I submerged them by mistake. The one downside I would mention is that the rim around the heal rubs uncomfortably if I try walking too far. The Canyons have become my go-to shoe for smarter occasions. Again, your feet stay nice and cool on them and they’re very comfortable. They’re suitable for light treks, including long ones if it’s flat enough. However, I wouldn’t take on any serious hills in them.”
Tropicfeel have been on an absolute tear with new products recently. Their range of shoes has expanded from four to eight, they’ve released new backpacks and their clothing range is growing too!
The WD1-21 sneakers are very similar to the Jungle sneakers mentioned above. However, the key difference is that the WD1-21s are made from 100% waste material. That makes these the most sustainable, eco-friendly shoes Tropicfeel produce!
The Geyser Sneakers are Tropicfeel’s first weatherproof shoes. They’re available in low and mid-cut models, both of which feature a merino wool lining and waterproof membrane. The outsole is built to disperse water and offer traction no matter what the weather throws at you!
The Lava Sneakers are more reinforced than other Tropicfeel shoes. They offer more support and feature a much more defined tread pattern. These shoes are built for rugged terrain, making them excellent for more adventurous travellers.
The Dune Sneakers are built for a more urban environment. They have a classier silhouette while retaining their casual heritage. The tread pattern is much less aggressive than other Tropicfeel shoes so they aren’t as well suited to more challenging terrain.
As well as shoes, Tropicfeel sell four backpacks: The Shell, Cruiser, Nest and Hive.
Finally, you can also buy t-shirts and jumpers from Tropicfeel. Featuring humidity and UV protection, as well as odour control, these items are made from organic cotton. They weigh less than your standard clothing items, making them ideal for backpacking!
Conclusion – Is the Tropicfeel Canyon The Ultimate Travel Shoe?
While they’re not perfect (good luck producing a shoe everyone thinks is perfect), Tropicfeel’s Canyon shoes are a solid choice for travellers. They’re lightweight, super comfortable, quick-drying and durable. They can be worn across a range of environments and conditions, saving you from having to carry extra pairs of shoes everywhere you go.
These are THE BEST travel shoes I’ve ever tested.
If you’ve experienced a better travel shoe, please let us know in the comments below!
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