What makes the perfect travel shoe? It depends on the trip — a week in Bali is far different than a tour of Iceland, after all. Generally, we tend to stick to a pair of stylish (read: no neon green) running shoes we can find, or a pair of low-key hiking shoes. Sanuk has an entirely different vision in mind, though, as exhibited in its travel-focused Chiba Journey LX.
Unlike hiking boots or running shoes, the Chiba Journey LX employs neither sturdy leather nor a stretchy 3D knit in its construction. Instead, Sanuk made it primarily of rubber; its outsole is rubber, its laceless exterior is a rubber shell (that resists punctures) and its foot-hugging neoprene collar is, yep, rubber. What’s more, none of this rubber is synthetic; it’s made of a plant-based material called Yulex.
Patagonia has been using Yulex neoprene in its surf wetsuits as a more sustainable alternative to synthetic rubber since 2016. Not only did switching to the stuff reduce the company’s ecological impact, but also it improved the quality of the suits. This is the first time we’ve seen Yulex rubber in a shoe, but by the looks of it, the Chiba Journey LX is ready to tromp around just about anywhere.