Like many people, I like to travel light. I am constantly looking for ways to condense my pack or find multi-purpose gear. My quest to constantly lighten my load led me to Tropicfeel and their all-terrain sneakers. Shoes that can multipurpose as hiking shoes, street shoes, AND water shoes?! It sounded too good to be true.
I had to give them a try. So, I purchased a pair of the Tropicfeel Jungle shoes and took them to the most all-terrain place I know: the Big Island of Hawaii. Rocks, ocean, trails, and asphalt. The island has it all.
What are the Tropicfeel Jungle sneakers?
As I mentioned above, the Jungle shoes are part of Tropicfeel’s all-terrain sneaker line. The shoes are marketed to be water friendly, quick dry, superior comfort, and packable.
The shoe uppers are made from 80% recycled polyester and the outsole is made from 20% recycled EVA foam. The lightweight materials are machine washable, though it’s recommended to hand-wash the insole.
Tropicfeel as a company is very eco-friendly. The packaging didn’t have any plastic and Tropicfeel encourages their customers to reuse the shoe boxes rather than throw them away. After all, it’s better to reuse than recycle.
As for the Jungle sneakers themselves, they are sustainably made with recycled plastic bottles and 20% recycled EVA. I really appreciate a company that doesn’t just preach the sustainability message, but also lives it.
I brought the shoes to the Big Island of Hawaii, spending most of my time on the wet-and-rainy windward (eastern) side of the island. The shoes would need to contend with drying in a hot and humid environment, wading through volcano-rock-strewn water, hiking through the wet rainforest and the loosely-packed trails of Volcanoes National Park, and strolling in downtown Hilo.
There were several points on my trip where I wanted to switch between my sandals and my Jungles. I brought my small Madera waterproof backpack on those excursions. The flexible shoe uppers squished down to fit perfectly in the pack while still leaving room to easily access my layers (rain layers are VERY important), lunch, and water.
These shoes are VERY comfortable. It took about a week to break them in. The shoe eyelets are made from a durable plastic. This is perfect for when you’re jumping into the water, but is a bit stiff out of the box. I’d recommend wearing the shoes around with a pair of socks for about a week before taking them out on your expedition.
As luck would have it, I badly sprained my ankle about two weeks before my shoes arrived. Frankly, these shoes were a godsend! My foot was all swollen and couldn’t fit into most shoes comfortably. The elastic laces, soft uppers, and easy adjustability meant that my Jungle sneakers were the only pair of sneakers I could wear for about a month!
Foot injuries aside, the shoes are very comfortable to wear for all-day adventures. The EVA foam provides good impact cushion, even when clambering around rocks and walking on hard surfaces. They are equally comfortable with or without socks.
As one would expect from water-friendly shoes, these sneakers have excellent breathability. They are very comfortable in warm climates. However, they would be a bit chilly (for me) in from about 45 degrees F (about 7 degrees C) and below. That said, keep in mind that I run cold.
These shoes are absolutely designed to dry quickly and not retain water. The upper is woven into a fine mesh, and the recycled polyester doesn’t soak up water. The insoles are designed with rows of small holes. These holes not only help the insoles shed water, but increases the surface area and breathability of the insoles to optimize drying.
In hot and humid Hilo, the shoes dried surprisingly well. There were only two times they were damp the next morning. The first was when I forgot to remove the insoles. The second was when a big storm rolled through and humidity spiked. While the shoes were damp in the morning, they weren’t unwearable and finished drying within the first two hours of my activities that day.
Performance in the Water
This was one of the most important categories for me. My old, beloved water shoes had finally seen their last adventure, so I really needed a new pair to take over.
I tested these shoes while wading with a sandy bottom, across rocks, and while swimming.
These shoes performed wonderfully in sandy bottom. Some of the areas I waded through was a mix of sand and loose dirt. When wading through, I sunk down into the muck. Despite the sticky situation, I didn’t loose my shoes.
Due to the meshy upper, fine sand would build up a bit inside the shoe. But it was easy to shake out the majority while outside and the rest shook out easily the next day when it was dry.
My biggest concern when putting the shoes to the test on rocks is how they would handle transitioning from water to rocks. All too often, soles get slippery when wet, which can be dangerous on rocks. At the time of this trip, I had to be doubly careful because of my injured ankle.
The Jungle sneakers performed like a champ! I was able to scramble from bodies of water and across the rocks. Wet plant matter was still slippery and dangerous on rocks, but that’s true across the board.
Many of the rocks I was climbing on were sharp, volcanic granite from old lave flows. The durable sole on the sneakers was more than able to sharp terrain. The EVA outsole provided excellent cushion on the rocks.
My swimming capabilities since I got my Jungle sneakers has been hampered by my ankle injury. However, I did have the opportunity to do a bit of swimming. The sneakers, as expected, do add a bit of drag, but they were far easier to navigate while wearing them in the water than I thought.
I was able to do some simple strokes, floating, and treading water. While I think I would prefer to do it barefoot, they are easier to swim with than other water shoes. I’d put them just below swimming in diving booties.
Performance on the Trail
I took these shoes on several hikes with different terrain, including loose dirt, packed dirt, grass, and boardwalks. Across the board, the shoes were adequately grippy and stable. The EVA foam provided good cushion across the terrain.
I would classify this shoe as a casual all-terrain. Due to the highly-ventilated nature of the insole, the shoe does not have the support you would expect from a pair of running shoes or light hiking shoes. These shoes are perfect for easy trails where you don’t have to carry a heavy load. It’s definitely a pair of shoes I’d slip into my pack on a backpacking trip as my water shoe/ camp shoe.
Performance in the City
I’ve been extensively wearing these shoes around town and to the office (I work in a somewhat casual office). They are comfortable to wear all day and my feet don’t get sore from walking on concrete all day. The EVA outsole does an excellent job in providing cushion while still being light weight.
I absolutely love these shoes. They are exactly what I wanted in a multi-purpose water shoe. Between the durability and quick-dry nature of the shoes, it’s the perfect addition to my travel bag and every day life.
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