Even in a world where constant air travel is nearly nonexistent, light packers and members of team Carry On Only™ know the struggle. Your go to travel bag has only so much space and a sizable chunk of it risks being taken over by mud-caked running shoes—and bailing on trails and mileage isn’t an option. Hoping to solve the issue of traveling with your running shoes is Koya, an all-new footwear brand currently crowdsourcing its first highly-packable product on Kickstarter.
The Koya Rove is a collapsible, trail-focused running shoe designed to offer cubic relief to runners on the go. The clever design folds completely flat when not in use, and securely stows in a sleek cross-body bag to keep dirt and mud away from the rest of your gear. And unlike many highly packable shoes on the market, these appear to be up to the challenge of rough trails and long runs, too.
While the concept of collapsible running shoes may immediately make you question both support and stability when actually in action, the Rove claims to be a legit running shoe. Stability comes from lateral compression wings that also help fold the shoe flat. And support from a lightweight midsole, cut-through outsole, and integrated composite rock plate.
A low profile rubber toe cap (like you’d find on an approach shoe) contributes to the shoe’s grip and gives it trail credibility. Meanwhile a flexible knit upper provides breathability and a glove-like fit while keeping the weight low and packability high. And for the sustainability angle, the Koya Rove shoe and Roam bag utilize recycled nylon, recycled PET, plant-based TPU, and sugarcane infused midsoles to mitigate the environmental cost of bringing another new product to market.
While we haven’t put these to the test, the team behind the shoes has a legit track record in the outdoor world. Founder David Bronkie co-founded the performance outdoor-focused belt brand Arcade so he knows his way around product design.
The Koya Rove is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter where a pair of Koya Rove shoes, combined with the Koya Roam Bag, runs $119 (the shoes alone can be pre-ordered with a pledge of $99). June 2021 is the goal for shipping, when we’ll hopefully be adventuring safely again—and still packing light.