How To Choose The Best Travel Shoes

how to choose the best shoes for travel

You’re heading off on a travel adventure? How exciting! Whether you are staying close to home, traveling domestically or adventuring further abroad you are going to need to select some very trustworthy shoes to accompany you. No doubt you will have all sorts of fun and interesting plans and sights to see so it is integral that your shoes are comfortable and supportive. Uncomfortable shoes, aching feet or blisters can stop you in your tracks, don’t take the chance and ensure you put some proper thought into your travel shoe selection.

Travel shoes are very important for two main reasons a) You will have limited space and multipurpose shoes, when selected cleverly can replace 2-4 other shoes in your precious luggage space. And b) Likely you will be walking a whole lot more than you are used to and possibly in temperatures you different from your home climate, quality travel shoes will be much more comfortable, keep your feet at optimum temperature, reduce fatigue and minimise risks of injury or blisters.

Activities like exploring a new city, shopping, wandering around a museum, strolling along the waterfront or walking to a beautiful viewpoint or waterfall are common, often daily ventures when you are traveling. All these adventures mean you could easily walk 5-15kms a day without really thinking about it. Most likely this is a heck of a lot more than you are used to walking at home so you can see why the correct travel footwear becomes incredibly important to an enjoyable holiday or trip.
packing shoes for travel

Depending on the type of trip you will most likely need to pack shoes that fit into the below categories:

  1. Multipurpose walking shoes (Must have!)
  2. Stylish shoes; dress shoes, boots or wedges (Optional)
  3. Sandals / thongs for summery locations visiting the beach or wearing in the shower (Can be omitted in cold locations)
  4. Hiking shoes (only if you are planning on going on longer multiple day expeditions)

Experienced travellers will have narrowed their shoes down to a fine art, selecting just 1-3 pairs max that are able to meet all their needs. Of the categories above the ‘Multipurpose walking shoes’ are certainly the most important, if you are aiming to travel with just one pair of shoes these are the ones that can’t be missed. You want to be able to go from exploring the city to visiting a museum to going out to dinner without worrying about changing your shoes. This is a tough ask, so we have gathered a few of our top picks for men’s and women’s ‘Multipurpose walking shoes’ that will be able to handle the heavy footwork with comfort and ease whilst still looking stylish and respectable in photos and out to dinner at the local restaurants. It is important to keep the colour neutral so that they will go with as many different outfits as possible and also that they are easy to clean, the selections below have been chosen with this in mind.

best travel shoes

Top picks for multipurpose walking shoes for women: 

For a more active shoe that will be suitable for light running and fitness as well as plenty of walking the Vionic Flex Sierra Lace Up or the Ecco Exceed Lace are the best options. 

A comfortable yet lighter walking shoe that is super easy to slip to tired feet can be found in the Merrel Zoe Sojourn Knit or the Merrel Barrado Luxe

For a casual everyday shoe with a more modern take that is still able to stand up to striding throughout city streets the Ecco Soft 8 or Ecco Sense are great choices.

Best womens travel shoes

Top picks for multipurpose walking shoes for men: 

For the ultimate all round shoe that will work well in the gym, for light fitness use, as well as exploring, the Orthaheel Empire or the Kroten Travel Walker are the best options. 

If you are after a lighter walking shoe the Merrel Parkway Emboss Lace is a great choice and the Ecco Luca Slip On has the added ease of being a slip on. 

The more modern casual everyday shoe options Colin 2.0 and Ecco Soft 7 Mens Lace are good choices that can also handle a lot of roaming with comfort and durability.

best mens travel shoes

More helpful travel shoe tips!

Occasionally even in the best shoes your feet may get sore, swollen or prone to blisters, the following tips will help provide that bit of extra comfort and foot care to keep you on your feet.

  • Prioritise orthopedic footwear! Whether they are custom orthotics from your podiatrist, orthopedic inserts or even shoes with built in quality footbeds. You will certainly notice a huge difference when having scientific support under your soles to cushion the heel and ball of the foot, provide arch support and correct any foot, knee or gait instabilities. (Sole Integrity specialises in orthopedic footwear so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions)
  • Blister Bandages and vaseline, keep these items with you they can be a lifesaver if your feet begin to rub or blister.
  • Good Quality Socks; socks are more important than you think! Thick woollen socks will keep your feet warm and cosy in colder climates and soft cotton or bamboo socks will wick away sweat and keep you feet fresher in hotter places.
  • Baking Soda or specialised foot powder can be great for reducing sweat, rubbing and odor, simply sprinkle a little in your shoes before and after wearing. 
  • Keep toenails trimmed to reduce pressure and pain or ingrown toenails.
  • Take shoe cleaner and waterproof your shoes before taking them to maximise stain and water protection.
  • Break in your shoes! This is very important, when you have selected your shoes for your trip, make sure that you spend plenty of time wearing them in, including wearing them with any orthopedic inserts you plan to use and even the same socks you will be taking. This will ensure that the shoes, socks and orthotics work well together and are moulded properly to your foot. This way you won’t have any nasty surprises of the blister kind!

Happy Travels!