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Let’s not tiptoe around the subject. If you’re globetrotting, you’re going to need the right shoes. Of course, that depends on what type of trip you’re planning to take. The best travel shoes depend on what type of trip you are taking. Read on for our guide to the best walking shoes for travel. Because if the shoe fits, you’ll be traveling in style.
19 Best Travel Shoes for Sun, Sand, Snow and Everything in Between
Are you the type of traveler who prefers a carry-on bag? Yet someone who still wants to have the right footwear for every day of travel? Like most of us, you want the holy grail: chic walking shoes that can go from European cobblestone streets during the day to swanky restaurants and dance floors at night.
Well, good luck with that. There are comfortable and versatile walking shoes that can get you through a day of sightseeing without souvenir blisters, but then there are hikes, theme parks, trips to the beach or winter snow adventures. And you need a good pair of dress shoes. So many shoes. So little time.
Luckily, the well-trodden TravelingMoms have road-tested the best shoes, from flip flops to insulated booties, and everything in between, to help. Many of these are sold on Amazon and REI. Two advantages of REI are that you can try the shoes on in-store, and the salespeople will suggest other footwear if these don’t work. But you can shop Amazon in your underwear. We don’t judge.
For your next trip, consider pairs of shoes from our list.
TravelingMom Pro Tip: You might be tempted to ‘save’ a new pair of shoes for a trip. Don’t! Remember what happened to Cheryl Strayed in Wild and make sure your shoes are comfortable and broken in before you hit the road.
The Best Travel Shoes for Sightseeing or Going to a Theme Park
Kim Orlando, founder of TravelingMom, said your packing list should include AllBirds. “My Tree Toppers go wherever I go. Ultralight, comfy, washable AND cute. A hundred bucks well spent.” I agree, and I like my AllBirds runners for flying because they slip on – and off – so easily. And you can wear them without socks, which saves on packing. (I do bring socks for the plane so I can walk shoeless, and in case I have to remove my shoes despite TSA pre-check. I don’t want to walk barefoot on a plane or at an airport!) AllBirds are easily one of our favorite shoe brands for both men and women.
AllBirds are also the best walking shoes for touring around New York City, where I live. They don’t have arch support, but I’ve always been blister-free after a day of sightseeing. And they are certainly more comfortable travel shoes than a pair of booties.
Check here to see their latest styles and deals.
TravelingMom Deb Steenhagen has a pair of FitFlops that she says are very comfortable. She said, “I like that they look like lace-up shoes while being slip-ons, so they are very easy to get on and off.” The rubber sole and flexible cushioning make them ideal for a day of walking.
They have a variety of styles from comfortable sandals & flats to dressy boots. Check them out here.
3. New Balance
FuelCore NERGIZE – The New Balance FuelCore NERGIZE, sold on Zappos, is also a sneaker disguised as a comfortable walking shoe. The memory foam insole and foam midsole make my feet sigh with delight. And with the thick rubber outsole, you barely feel the cobblestones in a historic district.
We shop for our New Balances on REI.com. They are a great place to shop for outdoor and sportswear and gear.
Best Travel Shoes for Exercise
Running shoes are great at a theme park, with plenty of arch support and cushioning for a long day of walking from attraction to attraction. You never want to wear flip-flops to a theme park because some rides require closed-toe shoes. Plus they aren’t really comfortable walking shoes, and you could walk eight miles in a day at Disney World. (Ask me how I know.)
I actually ALWAYS have my running shoes with me, but I don’t want to ruin them by walking. I have my running shoes with me for, well, running.
4. On Cloud
On Cloud running shoes are lightweight, so they pack well. And you can wear them with the slip-on speed laces. The rubber soles have carried me through marathons and on moderate hikes. One caveat: the sole can embed stones and sticks.
They come in a variety of colors. Check them out here.
5. Nike Flex
If you are not a runner, you still might want a pair of sneakers so you can use the hotel’s gym. Sneakers may not put you on the best-dressed list, but they can be the best and walking shoes. Nike Flex is an inexpensive athletic shoe that is both a comfy shoe for walking and decent for wearing at a gym.
6. New Balance
Westin Hotels let you leave your exercise shoes at home (and your workout gear, too!). You borrow a pair of New Balance athletic shoe, along with shorts, a shirt and socks. This costs $5 and you get to keep the socks. I was so impressed with the New Balance shoes I tried, I bought a pair of 480v6 sneakers.
Best Travel Shoes for Adventures
For hiking shoes, Merrell makes some great boots. I prefer a low hiking shoe because it weighs less and I find a heavier hiking boot makes me more tired. Bonus: it weighs less in your suitcase. Many of their sneakers have a removable contoured footbed which is great if you’re hoping to swap out inserts at a later time.
But if you require ankle stability, you might want a higher hiking boot. Make sure whatever you choose is waterproof. When we hiked in Patagonia, I wore the Merrell Siren Edge Q2. This is a comfortable shoe for all-day hiking. And it has great traction.
Shop all Merrell shoes here.
If space is really an issue, and you need both hiking boots AND running shoes (remember, I can’t travel without running shoes), consider a trail running shoe. This is a hybrid of a running shoe and a hiking boot. It has traction for uneven terrain but is light enough for running. It wouldn’t be appropriate for climbing the Swiss Alps, but for a beginning hiker, it works well. The Salomon Speedcross 5 GTX Trail-Running shoe is my choice. Get the best price on these shoes here.
When you are going hiking in warmer climates, you need a very supportive sandal. TravelingMom Jennifer S. Mitchell said her feet “get hot and blister easily in warmer temperatures. Flip flops don’t cut it for long days or uneven terrain. I love my Teva Tirra’s. Unlike some other Teva sandals, they have a neoprene underlayer which helps eliminate strap friction.” The sandals also have great arch support. Check out this bright colorful pair that we’re excited about!
TravelingMom Breeze Leonard said she also has pair of these and wore them all over Costa Rica. She added, “Most sandals won’t hold up on tough terrain, but these do!”
Best Beach Shoes
10. Olukai Sandals
TravelingMom Keri Bartok Baugh recommends Olukai sandals, which she said “are stylish and last!” The compression-molded EVA midsole lets you take long walks on the beach with no foot pain and no cutting your feet on sharp seashells. The water-resistant Ohana Sandal looks nice enough to go from the beach to dinner.
All my daughters own Birkenstock Arizona sandals. Birkenstocks conform to your feet so they grow more comfortable as you wear them. Although I usually like leather uppers, the synthetic leather uppers on these are super comfortable – and vegan. They are not the most stylish shoes, but they may be the comfiest shoes.
- Anatomically shaped BIRKENSTOCK footbed made from EVA
Best Travel Shoes for Winter
Breeze Leonard said for her winter trips, Sorels are her favorite boots. “One pair lasts forever and they keep my feet warm!” Plus they are named Joan of Arctic – can’t beat that!
TravelingMom Tip: Winter boots will eat up a lot of space in your suitcase but you probably don’t want to wear them on the plane. Be sure to pair these boots with good wool socks.
My waterproof UGG Adirondack ankle boots got me through many northeastern winters and the polar vortex last year, but they bit the dust this year. Still, 15 or so years is a good run–that’s durability at it’s finest. If you’re looking for a shoe worth the investment, UGGs high-quality options never disappoint.
- Premium leather uppers with 17MM wool lining and insoles
Best Driving Shoes – From Car to Dinner
Driving shoes like Tod’s, with a pebbled sole, are not only for a road trip. They look great with skinny jeans or capris. I bought suede Italian loafers in Italy that always travel with me, except when I’m in rainy locations like Seattle or England. Perhaps I need another trip to Italy to get these loafers in smooth leather.
Toms are also comfy for a long day of driving. And they can sub in for a beach shoe if you don’t have room for both. Toms are inexpensive enough that you won’t feel bad ruining them in water. The canvas uppers do dry quickly. We love this pair!
Tieks are stylish ballet flats that TravelingMom Nasreen Stump loves. She said she packed “multiple colors for cruises that took me from excursions in shorts to dresses at dinner.” Not only do they look great, but they pack small. A great solution for a casual to dress up shoes with lots of color options. Tieks master versatility and comfort!
Best Walking Shoes for Travel for Kids
We couldn’t leave out the kids! A kid with blisters on their little feet can almost ruin a vacation. Here are a few of our TravelingMom’s favorite pairs for all types of travel.
17. Sorel boots
TravelingMom Breeze Leonard and her daughters don’t need winter boots at home in Texas, but she said, “My kids all own a pair of these Sorel boots for winter travel. They are durable and I never have to hear the kids complain that their feet are cold.”
Chaco makes great rubber-soled sandals that my kids lived in, perfect for everything from a water park to hiking in the Andes. The antimicrobial treatment really helped when they went to camp and their shoes were damp for eight weeks. And I loved the adjustable straps, which gave you a little more time with the shoes when their feet were still growing.
Adidas makes a water shoe for children that looks like a sneaker, with a rubber outsole, but is both waterproof and quick drying. The Adidas Terrex Voyager A RDY CF Water Shoes have easy hook and loop laces so kids can get their shoes on and off quickly.
TravelingMom Pro Tip: Aways always always have kids try on shoes before a trip, particularly if they are out of season shoes: winter boots but you live in Florida, sandals when you are heading south from cold weather. Kids grow out of shoes quickly and you don’t want to bring shoes (or clothes!) that no longer fit.
A few other honorable mentions are Clarks, Keen, ECCO, Skechers and Cole Haan.