Designed by former attorney-turned-entrepreneur Julie Adams, Pakems shoes live up to their name in that they are packable. The winter version is basically an insulated, water-resistant, high-top slipper with a rubber sole that allows it to be worn outdoors. Adams originally intended for the shoes to be worn for après-ski and they are indeed very comfortable and well-suited to that purpose.
The shoe uppers compress flat, so Pakems fit easily in a pack. Each pair comes with a carry bag that can also be used inside a larger backpack to keep dirt on the shoes away from other items.
The stiff rubber sole provides good traction outside on snow and ice. On the downside, the stiffness prevents the shoe from being folded up lengthwise. As a result, ski-jacket pockets must be fairly large for the shoes to fit inside them.
Although après-ski may have been the inspiration for Pakems, the shoes are also perfect for travel to-and-from the slopes. They are easy at the TSA security checkpoint and comfy on a long plane ride.
Introduced in 2013, Pakems could be in the early stages of a fashion trend. Known for pampering its guests, Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado is offering free Pakems to borrow for après-ski each day this season.
On the other end of the skier spectrum, hardcore backcountry enthusiasts have found the shoes to be handy on hut trips. For example, Tony Cammarata, director of the Arapahoe Basin Ski Patrol, swears by them for his backcountry ventures.
Made by the Colorado-based company, Apres Gear, Pakems shoes are available at various retailers, the Sahalie catalog, and on the Pakems website. The high-top Pakems are $70 per pair. A low-top alternative costs $60 per pair.
Disclaimer: Pakems shoes were provided for the purposes of testing.