Choosing the right travel shoes is essential to avoid discomfort or pain while travelling, and with so many different options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. According to podiatrist Dr Christina Rowe-Bauer, fit and comfort should be top priorities when selecting travel shoes. This means buying new shoes well in advance of any planned trips and allowing time to break them in. It’s also essential to take factors such as arch support, durability and sustainability into consideration, as well as looking for styles that suit different activities, climates and occasions.
Dr Rowe-Bauer recommends that travellers generally only need three pairs of shoes for most trips: a beach or warm weather shoe (such as Birkenstocks or Oofos sandals), a sneaker (such as Hokas or Brooks) and a dress shoe (such as J.Crew’s women’s sizes). While style is important, arch support is the most critical aspect of a good walking shoe, says Dr Rowe-Bauer. A sturdy, non-flexible shoe with good arch support that is long and wide enough for the foot is the ideal choice.
Several shoe brands are good options for travellers, including Allbirds and Clarks (which has nearly 200 years of shoemaking experience), while Dr Scholl’s Insane Loafers offer maximum style and comfort. Blundstone has more than 150 years’ experience making “no-nonsense footwear” that is long-lasting, waterproof and versatile, while Teva’s Anaya Bootie is an optimal option for journeys through cities. For those who plan to spend the day sightseeing, sneakers with ample cushioning, such as Merrell’s design, are an excellent choice. For summertime travels, Keen Elle Backstrap Sandals are lightweight and stretchy but still offer arch support, while Tieks classic ballet flats are sleek and stylish but may not provide as much arch support as other options.
One footwear option that is versatile for most occasions is the Hylo Light, according to Travel + Leisure. These shoes are suitable for workouts, running, and general walking and sightseeing. Made from all renewable or recyclable materials, they are breathable, super lightweight and easily machine-washable. Allbirds’ Men’s Piper Mids, which are also made from sustainable, soft ZQ Merino wool and come in a stylish, mid-high-top design, provide the perfect balance of ankle support and style for those who prefer to wear sneakers while travelling.