I am the type of traveler who likes to be highly prepared for a trip, and this means packing correctly for whatever the weather might bring. I do all the “right” things, like I try to plan trips in dry season, I check weather forecasts and I plan indoor activities as backups.

But for all the times when rain is unavoidable during a trip, there are Vessi shoes: the waterproof footwear that solves the need to pack rain boots in addition to sneakers.

But do they really work? Read on, to see my experience and our travel story, about how we brought Vessi waterproof shoes on a very rainy road trip.

Vessi shoes: My and Dan’s first impressions

I took my Vessi shoes out of the box when they arrived, and though, “Huh, these look nice.”

I had chosen the Weekend Chelsea boot-sneakers in black, to be my first pair of Vessis and to test out the brand’s claim that these shoes were water-repelling, stormproof and made for wet days.

I read the notecard that came with the shoe box they were shipped in, and felt the rubber sole and sleek waterproof material. I put them on and they were exactly what I’d hoped they’d be: minimal boot-style sneakers that I’ve been missing in my life.

And on top of that, they are 100% waterproof.

Dan got the Men’s Weekend Vessi shoes in White, and those were also what he expected: white classic sneakers that had the bonus of a rainproof fabric. We were ready to take our Vessi shoes out on our next rainy summer trip (not that we had been planning for it to rain, but rain happens).

Solving the “travel shoe” conundrum

For years, I’ve had analysis paralysis when it comes to picking the shoes that go in my suitcase or backpack for a trip. I even wrote this entire guide to how to choose which shoes to take traveling in an article called the Best Travel Shoes for Women. This topic deserved its own guide!

I need shoes that look cute in photos, shoes that are highly supportive for walking in cities, shoes that I can hike in and of course, shoes that prepare me for weather.

I’ve had rain-soaked sneakers during my travels that I’ve had to leave in the sun the next day to dry for a full 24 hours before I could wear them again. It turns a trip into a pain if you have to walk around a city in flip-flops or your hiking boots.

With Vessi shoes, they look good, and they’re ready to combat any unexpected thunderstorm, downpour or slush. I now own quite a few pairs of Vessi shoes, and I’ll detail those in the rest of this Vessi experience review.

How I choose shoes for travel

I mentioned my shoe dilemma above, and it’s probably clear that I have trouble choosing shoes for when I travel. I often want flats for going out to dinner and dressing up, sturdy hiking shoes for some trails, daytime sneakers for exploring cities and maybe some sandals for hot days.

While Vessi shoes are not solving the sandal aspect (yet), they can kill a few birds with one stone. If I know I’ll be on a trip in a destination where summer rains are part of the climate, or where a mid-day rain is part of the weather expectation, having my Vessi shoes as a pair of shoes in my bag or my only pair of shoes is sufficient.

Shoes like the Weekend Sneaker look cute and casual with outfits from sweatpants to dresses, and the Stormburst Low Top is great for hiking, but also looks fine with jeans and shorts.

Choosing Vessi shoes for trip packing

I opted for the Vessi Weekend Chelsea shoes because they look good. I have tested them in outfits with dresses, jean shorts, leggings, pants and joggers. I find that they’re super easy to slide on and off, and they go with mostly anything.

What I like to avoid, in choosing which shoes I take on a trip, is ones that look bad in photos. That’s because I’ve been there. I’ve looked back on vacation photos and cringed and how my running shoes were the only shoes I had taken and how weird they looked with what I was wearing.

Vessi shoes come in current styles and are on-trend. I’d wear most of them with the outfits I have in my suitcase, from the rainproof Boardwalk slip-ons in summer, to the snow-proof Alta High Top in winter. I think my Low Top Stormbursts even look good with shorts, as a chunky white athletic sneaker style.

How did they perform?

We both took our Vessi shoes on a road trip, and it was a foggy and hazy day that turned into a rainy one. When we stepped out of our car, it was magic: it was raining all around us, but our feet stayed dry.

That is what continues to amaze me about Vessi shoes as I keep wearing them: they’ve made me more confident to step out and walk around during bad weather. While previously I would’ve darted in between puddles, I now put my best foot forward and stride through them. Vessi shoes are 100% waterproof and my feet have never gotten wet while wearing them.

In these photos taken in a rain puddle, my Weekend Sneakers have water beading up on all the waterproof material. I tried to get a photo of them with splashes, but they repel water so fast, I couldn’t even do it.

Most impressive features and functionality

Overall, the most impressive feature of Vessi shoes is that the waterproofing aspect really works.

During our travels, I’ve been able to walk around our destination, even in the rain, knowing that I don’t have to wait while I set my soaked shoes out to dry. What’s best is I don’t have to take along my giant Hunter rain boots, which would never cut it for being stuffed into a duffel or a carry-on. They’re just too big. Vessi shoes are the modern replacement.

Most Vessi styles, in my experience, are also pretty lightweight. The Weekend Chelsea, for both of us, has been a lightweight shoe that is packable. I can nest the two shoes into each other, and they don’t take up a ton of space in my suitcase. (For the Stormburst or the Alta High Top, if you have a hiking trip or a snowy trip, you may want to wear them rather than pack them.)

Other features:

  • The Weekend Sneakers are flat “court shoes” that have the superpower of repelling water.
  • My Stormburst Low Tops are easy to slide my feet in and out of, with the ankle collar, unlike traditional hiking boots. I listed this Vessi shoe in the best workout products for travel, for hiking.
  • My Alta High Tops have great traction on the bottom to avoid slipping on ice and snow.
  • The Weekend Chelseas are lightweight and breathable, so I can even wear them in muggy and humid warm weather.

Honest opinion on comfort

I’m going to be transparent here: I have flat feet. My right foot is flatter than my left, so I often get discomfort and slight pain if I’m walking too long without sufficient instep support.

The Weekend Chelsea shoes are good as rain boots. I wouldn’t wear them to walk 8 miles around a new city in Europe or anything like that. I would probably get a foot ache, and I learned this the hard way once by wearing thin shoes in Dublin.

What I will say is that if you don’t have flat feet, you will probably do fine in any pair of Vessis. But, if you have pronation or need arch support like I do, I can recommend my recent finding of the Stormburst Low Top shoe, which was recommended to me as the Vessi shoe with the most arch support and structure.

It’s true: I went hiking in them and felt pretty fine (but I’ll note that they are a little bottom-heavy because the sole is strong and supportive, and the knit fabric on the top is lightweight).

Experience with Vessi size and fit

In recent years, my feet seem to have sprouted up a half size. When I buy sneakers, I often get a 6.5. Here is where I have some notes to give you, because Vessi shoes only come in full sizes — no half sizes.

So, here is how sizing went for me. I ordered a Women’s 7 the for my first Vessi shoes (the Weekend Chelsea). They were gigantic. I wondered if they were supposed to run that big. I went through Vessi’s exchange process to get a size 6, and those are the Vessi shoes I wear at least twice a week.

For the Stormburst shoe, I got the 6, and they run a dab big. So does the Alta High Top. Sizing down would’ve meant they’d be too small, though. For the Weekend Sneaker, they fit perfectly in a 6! I would say that for both me and Dan, the Weekend Sneaker runs the smallest of what we’ve tried.

So I think without the half sizes, you may have to try two sizes to determine which has the fit that you prefer.

Do I recommend them?

Vessi shoes are the first ones I reach for when I pack for a trip that has even the smallest chance of rain.

As a favorite experience with Vessi shoes, I like how the Weekend Chelsea shoes can double as a “relaxed boot” to wear out to dinner or to a bar, if paired with nice jeans or a dress. They’re kind of like pull-on casual boots that live a few different lives. And of course, they’re waterproof.

Dan has gotten into wearing his Weekend Chelsea shoes all the time, too. He also has them in black. We’ve started a Vessi collection: I wear the Stormburst High Top sneakers for hiking or for when I want stability, and I have the Alta High Tops for winter and snowy trips.

Whenever anyone compliments my Vessi shoes I say, “Thank you, and also — they’re rainproof.” I can do a cool trick of dumping water on them to show how the waterproofing works.

In conclusion, Vessi shoes have allowed me to pack all those weather “what if”s during trip packing into a pair of shoes that’ll keep my feet protected, come rain or come shine.

A few more things to check out

I tested out the Vessi rain jacket and the Vessi Shoreline Belt Bag to give them a go and see if the waterproofing on these items was worth the hype.

I wore both during an extreme downpour, and I’m glad to say that they withstood the heavy rains, leaving me dry inside. Plus, the Vessi Overcast Jacket is lined with fleece, so it’s the first cool-weather rain jacket I’ve ever owned. It has come in handy for cooler trips, to take with me.

Helpful Tip

My one criticism of this jacket is that it runs a bit big. I like to think I am a true-to-size XS, but this jacket in size XS is long in the arms and big in the torso. Keep this in mind when you’re ordering, that you may need to order two and choose the better fit between both.

Are Vessi shoes worth it?

If you are looking for waterproof shoes for travel that are the lightest-weight on the market, a pair of Vessi shoes is the way to go. I list them as one of the best travel products for backpacking trips, because you never know which type of weather you’ll come across on those types of long trips!

Rain boots come at the same price (or more), and they won’t fit in your suitcase or backpack for travel. They also probably wouldn’t be the smartest item to pack if you have limited space or if you plan to be walking around a lot because they tend to be so heavy.

Waterproof shoes are pretty cool to have, and they’re one of my favorite travel finds.

Vessi has generously provided all the shoes mentioned in this review and has sponsored the theme of this piece; however, all photos, opinions, thoughts and experiences are my own.

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