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Travel shoes are one of the most important items travelers will pack for their trip. An unwise choice can be painful (literally!) and unnecessarily weigh down luggage. As full-time travelers, we carefully considered multiple factors in order to find the absolute best shoes for traveling.
What Are Traveler Shoes?
We think the best traveling shoes have 3 characteristics: Comfortable, Lightweight and Versatile. If any shoe doesn’t meet these three prerequisites, then they don’t make it onto our Packing List. That said, shoes for travel also need to be functional – in that they are practical for the activities of the traveler.
Comfortable Shoes for Travel is a Requirement
First and foremost, the best shoes for travel need to be comfortable. There is no point to packing stylish walking shoes for Europe if you are not comfortable wearing them for long days of sightseeing.
Traveling Shoes Must be Lightweight
When determining the best shoes to travel, the weight of the shoe needs to be a consideration. The lighter the better….so, unfortunately, heavy Chuck Taylor’s don’t make the cut.
The Best Shoe for Travel is Versatile
Finally, the best travel shoe is multifaceted – meaning, it can be worn for multiple occasions. For instance, the best travel shoe for walking should be able to be worn for a casual dinner. Furthermore, all shoes ideally match all outfits. (This is actually one of the top Hacks for Packing – read all of our Packing Hacks – Coming Soon!)
Best Shoes for Traveling: Our Top Picks
As full-time travelers, we each only pack 3 pairs of shoes for traveling: Walking Shoes, Casual Shoes and Flip Flops. Based on our experience, we are highlighting our choice of top travel shoes in each category for both men and women.
Best Travel Shoes: Women
Searching for the best travel shoes for women is an overwhelming task. There are hundreds of thousands – probably millions – of opinions for the best shoes for traveling women.
Best Shoes for Travel Walking
If you follow our blog (and you should!), you know that we love exploring cities on foot. We easily walk 5-plus miles a day (and have written self-guided walking tours for cities like London, Amsterdam, Sydney and Hanoi). Therefore, wearing the best travel walking shoes is imperative. Thankfully, through the years, I have been able to find several versatile, lightweight and comfortable travel shoes for walking.
In fact, since we started traveling in 2014, I have owned (and loved!) many different pairs of walking shoes for travel. I am featuring what I think are the best travel walking shoes for women – but each pair has pros and cons that individual travelers will want to consider before purchasing.
Best Travel Sneakers
A few years ago, when I was looking for a new pair of women’s walking shoes for travel, I wandered into the Cross-Training section (which is not where I tend to look for walking travel shoes). To my surprise, I found the best sneakers for travel. The New Balance FuelCore Nergize shoes ticked all of my boxes for the Best Walking Shoes for Travel.
New Balance FuelCore Nergize: Best Travel Shoes Walking
Unlike the other brightly colored shoes in the aisle, the NB FuelCore Nergize are a subdued grey that go with everything (although they are available in a variety of colors!). The style is less-sporty-more-sleek, so they look good with jeans, shorts, athletic wear and even casual dresses. Versatile – Check!
When I picked a shoe up, it was as light as a feather; I honestly could not believe how weightless it felt! This pair of shoes only weigh about 1/3 of a pound – and the entire shoe folds flat (including the flex heal!) – which makes them ideal for packing. Lightweight – Check!
The material – inside and out – is designed to hug and support your foot, making them one of the most comfortable travel shoes I’ve owned. Equally important, the sole is made of rubber (which means I won’t slip on cobblestones) and the tread grips (which means I won’t slide on hiking trails). Comfortable – Check!
There is, however, a downside to the FuelCore Nergize; they offer no protection against water. Rain, puddles and streams will trickle right in. On the other hand, they do dry extremely fast and are easy to clean as well.
One last reason that I think the New Balance FuelCore Nergize are the best women’s travel walking shoes is that they are affordable – which is a big bonus for budget conscious travelers, like us. Shop for your size now!
Not your style? The Adidas Ultraboost sneakers get good reviews by fellow travelers in the category of Best Walking Shoes for Travel: Women.
Best Stylish Walking Shoes for Travel: Women
Personally, I prefer function over style when it comes to good travel shoes. However, it is always a bonus when I find stylish travel walking shoes – which is exactly what the Columbia Dorado Boat Shoes are! These cute walking shoes have all the traits that I look for in travel shoes – plus they are cute walking shoes. While Columbia shoes are technically outdoor shoes, I find them to be both stylish and comfortable walking shoes for travel in cities, too.
Stylish Shoes for Travel: Columbia Dorado Boat Shoe
The Columbia Women’s Dorado Boat Shoe is designed with breathable mesh upper material and slip-resistant rubber sole – making it one of the best city walking shoes for comfort. They are also sufficient for casual hiking and excel in water activities, like boating. The shoes weigh just a little over half a pound, which means that are good travel shoes for packing, too.
While the Columbia shoes fit the bill as stylish walking shoes for women who travel, they are seasonal summer shoes – and are not designed for winter wear.
For travelers heading to warm destinations, however, I think these Columbia shoes are one of the best women’s walking shoes for travel! Shop for Columbia Shoes now!
Best Slip On Shoes for Travel Walking: Women
Skechers have long been hailed as comfy travel shoes – and they make my list, too! In fact, I wore Skecher Slip On travel shoes for the first three years that we were full-time travelers.
Best Travel Slip On Shoes: Skechers Breathe Easy Fortune
With Memory Foam insoles, arch support and rubber soles, Skechers are good walking shoes for travel – as you can walk for miles! The slim and lightweight travel shoes they are also easy to pack. And, because they are Slip On, they make great airport shoes!
My one hang up with Skechers travel shoes is – that while I do think they are stylish travel shoes – the style was a bit off for some of my clothing. That said, I still think they are an extremely good travel shoe! Shop Skechers Now!
Women’s Best Travel Shoes for Hiking
Hiking is one of our favorite activities – and we do it in destinations around the world! My New Balance FuelCore Nergize are sufficient for most of the hikes that we take, but at one time I did travel with Merrell hiking shoes – and I think they are the best travel hiking shoes for avid hikers.
Best Hiking Travel Shoes: Merrell Trail Glove
Specifically, I like the Women’s Merrell Trail Gloves as travel hiking shoes. They are comfortable, sturdy and well-soled – yet they only weigh about three quarters of a pound – making them one of the best lightweight hiking shoes for travel.
The one reason I do not think Merrell Trail Gloves are the all-around best shoes to travel in is that they are not versatile enough for me. That said, for outdoor adventure and hiking trips, I think they are perfect travel shoes! Shop Hiking Shoes Now!
Best Travel Sandals for Women
It can be difficult to find comfortable walking sandals for travel – as they are a type of shoe that are often not supportive enough to be worn for long days of sightseeing. In addition to all of the requirements I have for regular travel shoes, the best travel sandals for women also need to provide adequate foot support.
Best Walking Sandals for Travel: Sanuk Yoga Joy
My preferred style of sandals are flip flops – and, in my opinion, the best travel flip flops are Sanuk Women’s Yoga Joy Flip Flops. One of the most comfortable sandals for travel, the Sanuk Yoga Joy flips are made of yoga mat material that keeps feet from slipping out of the shoe. Furthermore, there is some arch support, which makes them great walking shoes for travel. Shop Sanuk Flip Flops Here!
Note: For many years I raved that the Reef Ginger Flip Flops were the best walking sandals for travel. The high arch support and fabric thong made them some of the best sandals for sightseeing. However, around 2018, they changed the sole – and the new design is super slippery on slick or wet surfaces.
Best Travel Slippers: Ballerina Slippers
There are two good reasons to pack slippers for a trip: To keep your feet warm (obviously!) and to protect your feet from any germs that are lurking on the floor of your accommodations.
The best slippers for travel need to be packable and washable – which is why I prefer to travel with Ballerina Slippers. Not only are they the best foldable travel slippers, but they can also be tossed into the washing machine when you get home. Shop slippers here!
Best Travel Shoes: Men
You would think that finding men’s shoes for travel would be easier than for women, but Kris spent ample time seeking out the best men’s walking shoes for travel.
Best Travel Shoes for Walking: Merrell Trail Glove
When Kris was looking for the most comfortable men’s walking shoes for travel, he wanted an all-around, can-wear-it-anywhere shoe. When he found the Merrell Travel Glove shoes, he was hooked. Made with quality materials, Merrell has proven to be the best men’s travel shoes for our lifestyle.
Lightweight Sneakers for Travel: Sanuk Pick Pocket Slip On
The Sanuk Pick Pocket Slip On Sneaker are fantastic men’s walking shoes for travel. Kris can wear these lightweight travel shoes for men during the day while sightseeing – and for a night out. Not only are they versatile and incredibly packable travel shoes, but he claims that they are also one of the most comfortable walking shoes for travel.
Comfy Sandals for Travel: Reef Voyage LE
Reef has long been a brand that Kris has trusted for good walking sandals for travel. Of all the styles they offer, he thinks the Reef Voyage LE shoes are the best walking flip flops for travel. Designed with travelers in mind, the shoe is constructed with arch support, waterproof leather and a cushioned footbed. Not only are the shoes functional, but they are stylish walking sandals for travel, too.
We Want To Know: What are your Best Shoes for Traveling? We would love to hear what you think about the best travel footwear – so leave a note in the comments below!
Get More Great Packing Tips! Check out What We Pack To Travel The World, Why We Love Packing Cubes, our advice on the Backpack Vs. Suitcase quandary, and Everyday Items You Should Pack for your next trip!
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