Best Shoes For Travel: Tips for Picking The Best Travel Shoes
Your flight is booked, your accommodation is sorted and now comes the ultimate task for your next travel adventure – packing your bags. Yuck. In the past, I’d always second guess what to pack. But now, after 18 years of travel I have learned a few tricks of the trade.
I have written a few packing list guides in case you need those too:
- What to Pack For Croatia
- What to Pack For Sailing Croatia
- What to Pack For A Beach Trip With Kids
- What to Wear on Long Haul or Overnight Flight
But this guide is about what shoes for travel are best. Have you been asking yourself, what are the best shoes for travel in Europe? Is there such a thing as cute walking shoes for travel? What are the most comfortable shoes for travel? How much do good shoes for traveling cost? Will good shoes for travel mean I look like a dork?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, keep reading and let’s go step-by-step to get you up to speed.
What You Need to Know About Shoes For Travel
The main thing you have to know is that that the best shoes for travel are comfortable shoes. Stylish yes, but comfortable first and foremost. Who cares how good your pumps look when you are limping along a cobblestone street in Croatia or Italy? How far do you think you can walk in those plastic ballerina style slip-ons? They are ideal for the office, but in Europe you walk and walk and walk – there is just so much to see you can’t stop yourself (even heifers like me keep on moving morning, noon and night) and so being comfortable is key.
Best Walking Shoes For Travel
Finding, buying and breaking in a comfy pair of walking shoes is one of the most important parts when packing for your vacation. Think about it, are you ever happy when your feet hurt? No. Even when you are at home, it’s not fun
Comfortable feet are happy feet. Walking shoes for travel are easy to find, you just need to look for a few things:
- Do you use orthopedics? If so, your best comfy shoes for travel will need to accommodate your slip in saviors. For years, I have had to fight to find comfortable, yet half decent looking shoes that accommodate my orthotics, and these Sperry Seacoast Canvas Sneakers have a removable footbed which makes plenty of room.
- Cotton socks. Please wear socks when you wear your sneakers. No one wants smelly, wet, itchy feet – and cotton absorbs best.
- Break them in. Dance around at home in them, wear them while you are washing up or making the bed if you do no want to scuff them outside, just be sure to break them in well before you go on vacation.
How Many Pairs of Shoes to Pack for a Trip?
Three Pairs. Honestly, take my years of advice and don’t go over that. Even two can be enough if you can choose wisely. Packing just three pairs of shoes for your vacation will seem an impossible challenge, but shoes take up way too much room in your luggage. Choose wisely.
- Walking shoes. What pair can you wear for walking to breakfast and beyond? If you get lace-up shoes, they are easier to adjust when your feet double the size after 10 hours of sightseeing. If you are a serious hiker, okay you need good quality hiking boots, and you’ll just have to suck up the fact that they weigh more than sandals and flats, so I suggest you wear them while in transit, so they don’t take up precious space in your suitcase.
- Dress shoes. If fancy dinners and the theater are on your to-do list, then you can’t wear sneakers so find a versatile pair you can wear during the day and night. Think about slip-on sandals with a small heel or something that is flat but really strappy.
- Boots. If you are going to be in a cold zone or want a waterproof shoe, a low-cut boot suits perfectly. Boots look sexy and sharp with jeans and tights and even some summery dresses, so you’ll wear them loads – so long as you get a lightweight pair in a neutral tone.
- Hmm did I say three? Okay, well also throw in a pair of rubber thongs / flip flops. You’ll need them at the beach or swimming pools and in some cheap hotel rooms. So that makes four max.
Women’s walking shoes for travel are not as easy to disguise as men’s travel shoes – those guys just wear sneakers, and they look cute, damn them. My most comfortable walking shoes for travel are sneakers, I have arthritis, so that’s my excuse and I stick to it.
Comparison Chart of The Best Travel Shoes 2016
We took a look at what travel shoes are best and compared the features & price and made this easy-to-use table to help you review and decide what shoes suit you best.
Click on any heading to sort the table accordingly.
Price Range: $= less than $50, $$ = $50-$100, $$$=$100+
|Image||Check the link for reviews||Level of All Day Comfort||Best For||Price|
|Sperry Seacoast Canvas Sneakers||Best||Walking||$$|
|Startas – Made in Croatia||Best||Walking||$$|
|ASICS Metrolyte Gem||Best||Walking||$$$|
|Toms Jutti Flats||Best||Nights & Day Trips||$|
|Reebok Neoprene Skyscape Sneakers||Best||Walking||$$|
|Merrell Rockbit Cove Hydro Shoes||Best||Hiking||$$|
|Dune London Flatform Loafer||OK||Nights & Day Trips||$$|
|Aerosoles Slip-On Loafer||OK||Nights & Day Trips||$$|
|Yara Birkenstocks||OK||Nights & Day Trips||$$|
|Atelje' Farine Double-Band Sandal||OK||Nights & Day Trips||$$|
Everyday Walking Shoes For Travel
If you want a simple, lightweight, yet fashionable pair of shoes to take with you on your travels, nothing beats a pair of Superga’s. They come in a bunch of colors; my fave are these gold ones.
Superga – These shoes make almost all ‘best shoes for travel’ lists, and we also recommend them for Croatia and to wear when sailing.
You can choose from a huge range of different colors when you go for this option, and the price range differs accordingly, going up to around $100. With a canvas outer, this is possibly not the best choice if you’re out walking in slightly muddy or wet terrain. If you’re on a simple holiday, however, or for traveling by car, plane, or train, this is a great option to go for. The breathable canvas means your feet will be cool and airy, and the outsole is made of natural rubber, for stability, comfort, and grip. A side note on the outer being made of canvas, however, they are machine washable, so this could get around that little problem.
Sperry Seacoast Canvas Sneakers – With a smaller sole than the Superga, these take a less sporty look.
A shoe that looks great does what it’s supposed to do, and doesn’t cost you the earth – this particular choice ticks all of those boxes. Expect to pay around $60-90, and these are designed almost like a classic pair of Converse, with a thick rubber sole for comfort and bounce. They have a breathable nylon canvas upper and even better they have removable footbeds which can be swapped out for orthotics. You can choose from a huge range of different colors and patterns to suit your fashion needs, and they have a lace fastening for support. The only downside to this particular pair of shoes is that they might not be ideal for walking a lot in hot conditions, as your feet may get a little hot and sweaty; for colder conditions, these are ideal.
Startas – Made in Croatia these are made with a natural canvas upper and natural gum rubber sidewall. Easy to clean and you’ll fit in with the locals who love these shoes.
This range comes in a huge number of different designs – check out the unicorn print. The cotton canvas outer is not waterproof, so do bear this in mind if you are heading somewhere particularly rainy, or if you are going to be walking in rugged or muddy terrain – despite that, they are washable. A very funky and fashionable pair of sneakers, these have a cotton EVA cushioned insole and rubber base, so they give you comfort and support where you need it. Expect to pay around $65 for these shoes, which although not as durable as some, are certainly worth considering for fashion.
Everyone has heard of Clarks, so that makes it a brand you know and can trust. This particular shoe costs around $40-85, so certainly not a pricey option, and comes in a huge range of different colors. Best described as a sneaker which doubles up as a walking shoe, if you’re wanting to get out and explore your destination, this is a good go-to option, which slip on and off with ease. The OrthoLite insole helps to keep moisture away from your feet, giving you a cool, dry feel at all times. The outsole is also made of lightweight EVA, which means different terrains are catered for with flexibility.
Lightweight Shoes For Travel
Don’t be an over packer, don’t pack too many pairs of shoes, and when you do pack shoes (and let’s face it, you WILL NEED AND WANT many pairs) think about choosing shoes that are lightweight. Lugging about your heavy bags at the start of a 6-week European vacation starts of fun, but as you collect souvenirs and move from hotel to hotel you’ll quickly be regret packing those heavy shoes (and bags, and jeans, and all of those jackets and shirts you never wore!) The best lightweight walking shoes for travel are:
Soludos’s espadrilles – endless range of colors and weigh next to nothing
Reef Women’s Sneaker – a sneaker that does not look like one
ASICS Metrolyte Gem – They look good, but most importantly they are VERY comfortable. With a breathable mesh upper, you can wear these all day every day.
Big named sporting brands can be fashionable as well as functional, and this particular shoe is ideal for walking holidays, or any break which includes varied terrain. The cushioned sole cuts down on impact on feet and joints, giving you a comfortable time while you’re traveling, and the overall appearance is fun and sporting, with a two-tone mesh pattern on the outside. Expect to pay around $85 for these, which could also double up as gym shoes.
Birkenstocks – these stylish sandals have been around for a while for a reason.
Everyone knows Birkenstock, and everyone knows that they offer quality and comfort as standard. If you are heading to a warm destination, where you are going to be doing a bit of walking, but you want your feet to be cool and comfortable, you can’t beat these sandals. Certainly not the cheapest, because you are paying for the name to a degree, the sandals have a rubber toe post and a contoured footbed, with a cork sole. Your foot will mold to the shoe, giving you complete and utter comfort (that’s that word again) while walking. The downside is that slip on shoes like this are not sometimes the best for very long walks or expeditions.
Yara Birkenstocks are good looking and practical as they tie onto your feet and give you that gladiator look – but without the rubbing.
Toms Jutti Flats – the perforated suede upper makes them airy enough for any summer adventure.
If you like your shoes to fit like slippers and look a little like them too, this is your ideal travel shoe. A big name brand you can trust, but not that expensive considering, this shoe is fashionable and comes in a large range of different colors. You could say they are almost like a ballet pump, however, a little sportier, with a lacey cutout section across the foot which adds a feminine taste. These shoes are ideal for city breaks when you want to look fashionable and on-point, but you need comfort when sightseeing too.
Naot Women’s Dorith Gladiator Sandal – This strappy gladiator style sandal has an arch support, so it’s really comfy. They also have an adjustable hook-and-loop strap at the ankle so if your feet swell these are a top choice.
If you want to look ultra-fashionable while boarding the plane, check out this glam choice. Certainly not the cheapest item we have discussed, at around $80-140, you can choose many different colors, such as mainstream black or Grecian gold. Made of leather, you get quality here as well as comfort, with a padded insole and arch support, with a slight platform of around 0.75”. This is a fantastic choice for city breaks or beach holidays, or simply for getting from A to B in style – one point to remember, however, look out for the slightly dodgy tan lines if you’re wearing them out in the sun!
A big name and big designer came together to create this ever-popular choice of sneaker. The downside of this is that you will certainly pay for it, and these shoes retail at around $240. You can choose from black or white, with contrast laces, and the design is sporty and modern. Of course, you can double these shoes up with the gym or running, as well as your travel needs. If you’re looking for a sporty walking shoe, this is the ideal option, especially for those who are label conscious.
Stylish Walking Shoes For Travel
When your shoes rub or pinch, you’re not a happy camper, but heck I want to look cute too – don’t you? I am not some A-list celeb that everyone is glaring at, but I want to strut the streets of Dubrovnik and pretend I am one of those famous Game of Thrones actors in an excellent looking pair of walking shoes, that just so happen to be good for travel too.
Dressy walking shoes for travel, kind of exist, they won’t be as comfortable as a sneaker, but who cares they look good. Try these:
Atelje’ Farine Double-Band Sandal– these look and feel good. Plus they have an adjustable back strap with buckle, so you can let them in and out if your feet swell.
Sporty sandals are fantastic for walking in hot conditions, and backpackers may find these ideal. You can choose from red, white, or blue, and they are around the $50-195 mark, depending on size and color choice. You can be sure of durability as the outer is made of leather, and the 1” heel and 0.75” platform gives you a slight raise, which means your calves are supported well. Closing by Velcro means you can get them on and off quickly, and they are an open foot in style, so no worries with hot and sweaty feet!
ACORN Women’s Prima High Ankle Gladiator Sandal – These are made with 100% leather upper, with a premium firm core comfort footbed for long-lasting comfort. Add too that the adjustable buckle strap for extra fit and comfort.
Best Shoes For Traveling in Europe
Don’t fret, Europe is not any different to Australia or America, don’t let anyone tell you that we dress that much different here – really I promise. That said, you’re not going to the mall where the walking surface is smooth and flat. Europe has so many more cobblestone streets and the fact is you’ll be walking crooked paths, up and down stairs to museums and churches and whatever else. So you best purchase for shoes for traveling Europe are ones like these:
Aerosoles Slip-On Loafer – 360 degrees of comfort, flexible bottoms, memory foam insoles, and a suede lining.
This particular loafer-style shoe is available in a huge range of colors and patterns, and at around $30-100, they are a very affordable addition to your travel wardrobe. These shoes are made of fabric outer, so not waterproof. Though they can be washed. The bottom part of the shoe is espadrille style, which is synonymous with beach breaks, however, the inside is made of memory foam, so you know your feet are going to be ultra-comfortable as you are walking around your destination. Very fashionable, and again, comfortable, you could wear these shoes for most types of break, other than through terrain which is going to cause a major amount of mess.
Clarks Reid Solana Sandal – full grain leather, with a flexible rubber sole
Geox Flats – Well made from real leather Geox are worth those few extra dollars.
Ballet flats are so versatile, and this particular choice could even be worn as a pair of work shoes, as well as a travel accompaniment too! Again, ideal for city breaks which require a lot of walking, these leather shoes look the part while providing comfort and support for your feet too. At around $120, you do get what you pay for -quality. You can pick from a range of classic colors, such as various shades of black and gray. The rubber sole means no sweaty feet to worry about, and the perforated section is also waterproof and breathable.
Delman Marla Gladiator Sandal – leather, multi-strap, with just a hint of a heel.
Eric Michael Women’s Lexi – These Eric Michael Leather shoes are made in the USA. The small heel means they are comfortable, yet stylish.
There’s no denying that travel and comfort do not have to be unfashionable, but there does come a time when you need to think about how much your feet are going to hurt when you’re walking a lot. This particular choice is probably best saved for travel breaks that don’t require an enormous amount of walking, so again, city breaks which are compact in nature, or evenings on holiday. Hugely fashionable, there’s no denying that fact, this particular choice has an elasticated ankle strap, which adjusts to your custom fitting – if you suffer from ankle swelling on flights or when walking, however, perhaps these aren’t for you. The footbed is lightly padded, for comfort when walking, and you can choose from different colors.
Totally Practical Shoes For Travel
Chaco Women’s ZX3 Yampa Sandal – An outdoor sandal featuring intertwined webbing straps with toe ring and adjustable buckle. Comes in loads of colors.
Jambu Women’s Tidal Terra Marine Water Shoe – These cute, stylish and oh so comfortable hybrid shoes are perfect for all types of terrain.
Jambu Women’s Spin Ballet Flat – The ultimate hybrid pair of shoes.
Another fashionable yet comfortable pair of sporty ballet pumps, this particular choice, comes in around $80-105. The flexible, cushioned sole is ideal for walking, and again, beach breaks and city breaks are perfect settings for this shoe. Made to breathe, so they are ideal for warmer conditions, these shoes certainly give you much more support than a pair of flip flops every would, and area ideal for longer walks in warm conditions. Choose from gray or hot pink as a color, they slip on for ease. You could certainly get away with wearing these shoes for air travel too, as they mold to your changing foot shape at altitude.
Waterproof Walking Shoes For Travel
It rains on holidays. Sorry, but even in summer it can pour for days on end here in Croatia, and while it may be cool to skip using the blow dryer and let your hair go curly for a few days it is not fun to have soggy wet feet. Just because in rains you can’t stop sightseeing, you just paid an enormous fortune to be in Europe traversing the globe like a boss – so think ahead and pack just one pair of the best waterproof shoes for travel you can find. My recommendation would be:
Reebok Neoprene Skyscape Sneakers – so easy to dry.
Fun, colorful travel wear is ideal when you go for this particular sneaker. Priced at between $80-120, you can choose from a huge variety of colors, and they are mixed colors in each, so they are certainly a funky and bright option to go for. Regarding the technical side, however, these shoes are lightweight and offer fantastic protection for walking and running, cutting down the chance of injury. If you’re heading off on an active holiday, perhaps walking, rambling, or with varied terrain, these shoes are ideal. The added bonus of reflective strips means walking at night-time is made safer too.
Tod’s loafers – leather moccasins with studded sole for extra grip
Lucky Women’s BASEL Boot – low cut, small heel and perfect to wear with jeans and dresses
Sam Edelman Women’s Petty Ankle Boot Sam Edelman Women’s Petty Ankle Boot
If you like your travel shoes to double up as a serious fashion statement, this is the shoe for you! Ranging from around $60-180, you can choose from various colors and patterns, and these shoes could certainly double up as going out boots or work boots too. Almost like a cowboy boot in design, the outer is made of suede with a synthetic sole, and a small heel of around 1.5”. The boots zip up at the side, and they are extremely comfortable, with a youthful look. If you like to travel in style and fashion, while not giving yourself painful feet at the same time, these are for you. Also, perfect for colder destinations.
Arche Boots – Made in France, these boots will last you a lifetime
Women’s Hiking Shoes
Note: I am not a hiker, so for this I asked a few of my hiker pals, to get these handy suggestions for you. They all laughed at me when I asked for recommendations for the most stylish pair of hiking boots. How rude.
Anyway, it seems you want to find a pair of hiking shoes that are first and foremost lightweight and then that are waterproof – followed lastly by fashionable.
Both the Keen Utility & Keen Arroyo options ranked very well for comfort, but they are not something you can wear with a cute outfit out for a meal that’s for sure.
If you like your feet to be able to breathe freely while you travel, this particular shoe is perfect for you; you could describe it like a sandal/walking shoe as it is open cut, which gives you full air circulation around your feet. On top of this, there is a “stability shank” which offers comfort on long walks, and these shoes are designed specifically for the ergonomics of women’s feet, so you know they will fit you properly. Particularly suitable for long walks over varied terrain, these shoes are waterproof, and they are quick to slip on and off, with an elastic draw cord for fastening.
Merrell Rockbit Cove Hydro Shoes get a big thumbs up from my friends with larger feet (think size 11!).
Ultimately the best shoes for traveling are ones that you can wear all day, every day because you really won’t change them too many times. So don’t scrimp and save, buy a quality pair even if the price seems to sting at first thought.
For More Travel Tips check out:
- The Best Travel Wallets.
- What to wear on a long haul flight.
- The Best travel packing cubes.
- The Best Travel Flat Irons.
- The Best Travel Pants for women.
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