As an avid traveler, I’m always on the lookout for the best and most comfortable shoes to fly with.
I’ve talked about shoes like the Allbirds Tree Pipers that have withstood the test of time and rough terrains, as well as other shoes made for the ultimate adventurer, whether you’re going hiking, kayaking, or long walks!
One thing I’ve never thought of is packing the right dress shoes. However, it’s definitely always important to pack at least one “fancy” outfit when you’re traveling.
You just never know when you need to look your best, whether you’re heading out for a date night with your partner or an important business meeting during a work trip.
That’s why when I stumbled upon the OAKA Men’s Minimalist Dress Shoe, I immediately decided to get it and test it out. I was sold when I learned how lightweight and flexible it was, two things I needed when traveling with shoes.
That said, do these shoes live up to its popularity? Take a look at my review on the OAKA Derby Shoe!
About OAKA Shoes
OAKA, a company that dubs itself the “World’s Healthiest Dress Shoes,” operates on the mission of producing a dress shoe that features a classic design with more comfort and functionality.
Created by Michael Plater II, the OAKA dress shoe is a modern and redesigned take on the traditional dress shoe that fixes the typical issues men have when wearing dress shoes.
The OAKA takes pride in humble beginnings, with a Kickstarter page backed up by a few dozen people. Fast forward to today and OAKA shoes are now sold worldwide, with hundreds of satisfied customers who are able to walk more confidently thanks to its unique construction.
What makes these shoes healthier and more comfortable than other shoes?
Well, instead of dealing with shoes that can cause changes in gait, short tendons, and foot pain, OAKAs feature a faux heel and breathable material that result in a more flexible shoe that looks and feels great.
OAKA Dress Shoes Review
The Derby footwear by OAKA is built for active professionals, whether they are always on the go at work or traveling with the need for dress shoes throughout their trip.
Its upper is made of flyknit fibers and a faux heel, both of which contribute to its ultimate comfort and lightweight features. The use of flyknit fibers reduces production waste compared to traditional manufacturing processes, making it a suitable choice among eco-friendly consumers.
You may not use these for adventures like hiking or intense workouts, but their overall design will surely impress during events, or you can wear them while walking long distances and not feel any strain.
Here are more notable features of the OAKA shoes to check out.
As of writing, there are only two colors available, which are Ash Gray and Ink Black. Both colors are very versatile and can match most outfits, which I greatly appreciate.
I own the Ash Gray shoes and I prefer the lighter version as it shows more of the overall shoe style. However, black is also a sleek color that can convey more of an air of professionalism. Plus, everything matches black!
I’m not a huge fan of the limited color choices and am hoping to see more in the future, particularly brown and other neutral shades to suit other outfits. According to Michael, there is a brown prototype with production still dependent on how many preorders the shoe will get.
As mentioned, the uppers are made with flyknit fibers. This technology is what contributes to the OAKA shoes’ lightweight and breathable feel, perfect for hot days out.
After walking for an entire day, I noticed that my feet remained cool and dry.
Moreover, the flyknit technology is what also makes the shoe sustainable, since the flyknit fibers help reduce production waste more than traditional manufacturing processes.
The insoles are soft and provide enough cushioning without it feeling too stiff or restrictive, I was able to move around easily without straining my feet.
The outsoles are also a commendable feature, they are made to be more flexible and with a design similar to sneakers, making them easy to walk over most terrains without much discomfort.
Besides that, they are made of an anti-slip open tread, adding to the shoes’ mobility and safety. Some dress shoes can cause me to slip on wet or slippery floors, but I noticed the OAKA shoes keep me more secure no matter where I walk.
Other Features of the OAKA Derby Shoes
There are also many other notable features that I want to point out with the OAKA Derby shoes, such as:
Ease of Slipping In
Don’t you just hate the hassle of taking your shoes on or off when going through airport security? Or being in a hurry to get out the door only to deal with laces?
The OAKA Derby shoes remove the trouble thanks to their slip-on design. It also features faux laces to give the look of stylish dress shoes without having to actually lace up.
Also, if you like using your own laces to change up your shoe style, you can remove the original laces of your OAKA shoes and use your own.
OAKA features a faux heel design, a unique feature you don’t find in many traditional dress shoes, which typically have an 8-16mm height difference between the toe box and heel. The traditional heel design keeps your feet at an unnatural angle, which results in poor posture and pain as you walk for long periods.
I can confidently say that these shoes are VERY comfortable. I recently wore them while walking around the Cotswolds area and found them to be very lightweight and breathable.
OAKA’s unique heel design gives the illusion of the typical dress shoe but has a flat foot posture of zero-drop shoes, making it feel as if you were walking barefoot on a soft surface.
This is what helps promote long-term foot health, as the shoes encourage more natural movement to strengthen foot muscles and reduce pain.
Walking or standing in OAKA shoes doesn’t feel cramped or painful at all. I feel like I can keep these shoes on for hours even on a busy day and it will feel as if I were just walking barefoot around my own home.
I understand the importance of finding a pair of shoes that are both lightweight and flexible, whether it’s for packing or wearing. When I first picked up the shoe, I was surprised because it felt like it weighed almost nothing!
I have trouble packing traditional dress shoes because of their weight and stiff design, which is why the OAKA Derby shoes are a lifesaver. It doesn’t take up too much weight or space in my luggage, so it lessens my packing challenges.
Even when I’m walking or standing for hours, I don’t feel like I have to drag my feet, which I sometimes do with dress shoes because of their bulky nature.
OAKA are insanely flexible & lightweight
Ease of Maintenance
I can’t vouch for the durability of the OAKA shoes just yet as I’ve only been using them for two weeks or so, though given their light and flexible features, I’m quite hopeful that they stand the test of time.
I’ll give you an update on this after walking around with it for longer periods.
That said, what I do like about the OAKA shoes is how they are fairly easy to clean. They are machine-washable, so even when faced with stains or odor, simply toss them in the washing machine, air dry them, then they’re good to go.
Fit and Sizing
The OAKA shoes were true to size though take note that they have a slightly wider toe box, so they might not suit certain feet shapes. Do note that if you are a half-size, it is recommended to size down.
Personally, the toe box was a nice benefit as my toes were able to splay out comfortably and move naturally, adding to my overall comfort.
Given the wider toe box, you might think they’ll look like clown shoes. That is not the case! Even if the toe box is slightly wider than the average dress shoe, it isn’t pronounced. Those with flat or wide feet can rejoice!
Price and Value
The OAKA Derby Shoes are $165 a pair. These aren’t the most affordable dress shoes you’ll find, but given their style and functional features, these shoes are a pretty great investment that will last you for years.
In case there were some issues with sizing or shoe damage upon package arrival, OAKA accepts returns and exchanges.
Take note that returns and exchanges are only allowed within 30 days of purchases for orders within the US, provided that the shoes are unworn and unwashed. Unfortunately, they do not accept international returns and exchanges.
At the moment, there is only one type of OAKA footwear, which is The Derby. After testing these shoes out, I’m looking forward to seeing more of OAKA in different designs but still featuring the same level of comfort and ease of putting on.
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OAKA is now redefining the way we look and wear dress shoes, and that’s a great thing!
Rather than feeling tired and needing to lift my feet after a tiring day in dress shoes, I can walk all day and come back to my home or hotel room without feeling any form of discomfort.
Not only do these shoes help with my overall comfort, I feel a bit more secure with these shoes compared to traditional dress shoes, as there is more support and stability.
Moreover, I am impressed with the way OAKA shoes look, as it has a sleek and stylish design. You won’t have a problem finding an excuse to wear these shoes, whether you’re going out to dinner after a day of touring around or heading to an important business meeting for work.
It’s easy to mix and match outfits with these shoes, as they complement business casual or athleisure clothes excellently.
Of course, there are a few cons. I can’t completely rave about how dressy these shoes are. While the OAKA shoes are stylish in their own right, they aren’t the best for very formal occasions. Although with that being said, I think the black version looks a lot smarter than the gray shoe.
These are where traditional leather dress shoes win, however, given how heavy traditional shoes are, this feels like a good compromise.
Also, a lot is still to be said about the durability, and I will update this post over time to see if these shoes can hold up to the wear and tear associated with a lot of traveling.
With all that in mind, I would give the OAKA Derby Shoes an 8.5 out of 10 because it’s not every day you can find stylish-looking shoes for men that you can take traveling!
I also give it plus points for a sustainable production process, which is what we should advocate for in today’s products.
So, if you hate having to pack clunky dress shoes or the pain associated with wearing them for hours on end, then I would recommend giving these shoes a try.
If you have already tried the OAKA Derby shoes or have yet to order them, let me know what you think and if they also pass your standards as the ultimate fancy travel shoe!
With all that in mind, I would give the OAKA Derby Shoes an 8.5 out of 10 because it's not every day you can find stylish-looking shoes for men that you can take traveling!