The Best Travel Shoes for Women
Whenever I travel, I want to have the freedom to explore as much as possible on foot but I also don’t want to look like a backpacker! I’m definitely the kind of traveler who over-stuffs the itinerary to see as much as possible and have gotten blood blisters and tired heels from wearing stylish shoes with little support.
Over time, I’ve gradually narrowed my search for walking shoes for travel that come in breathable fabric, have arch support and are stylish enough for photos! Below is a summary of the best women’s shoes that blend comfort and style after years of traveling.
If you’ve ever wanted to be able to go from sightseeing to a nice dinner without worrying whether your shoes are “dinner room” appropriate, this travel shoes list is for you!
I generally pack 3 types of shoes when I travel:
- An easy slip on pair of flip flops / sandals (for the beach or shower)
- A pair of sneakers (for working out or all-day walking tours)
- A stylish but comfortable pair of flats or moccasins (for dinner and more casual days)
I am admittedly an over packer so… sometimes I pack multiple pairs of shoes from the 3 categories. The upside is I’ve tried and tested many different shoe brands over the years! I’ve organized my list of the best walking shoe options for travel according to the 3 categories above.
Best Travel Sandals
Toms Zoe Sandals
I wore the classic Toms canvas slip ons for my 2 week trip to Japan and they held up really well. It took about a day to break them in first but after, the soft fabric stretches to your feet. The footbed has surprisingly more support than you’d expect with a cushy interior.
The only downside is that Toms are made of cloth and they can start to smell after extended use, so they don’t last very long. I love this lightweight sneaker that’s new for Spring 2018 – its slimming with pretty suede laces and a cushioned insole for arch support. Toms also makes comfortable sandals – which has all the comfort but is a sandal shape and will let your feet breathe.
Soludos has captured the market for cute and affordable summer sandals and espadrilles. I love the classic stripe prints they have and the quirky emoji flats. These are quite comfortable but not meant for all day walking, so I save them for more leisurely days. They look equally great with a sundress or shorts!
Quality wise, they’re quite similar to Toms shoes. Every season they have new colors and fun shapes that make me want to get a new pair!
Plaka Summer Sandals
Plaka sandals are hand-made rope sandals. I love the design of the ropes and these work particularly well if you have wide or narrow feet, as the ropes are adjustable. They come with a cotton bag for storage and are super comfortable.
The rope is made of polyester while the soles are rubber. I think they’re both simple enough to wear everyday yet dressier than a basic flip flop so they’re versatile for travel! I like the black rope option but there are colorful options too. Best of all? They’re extremely affordable!
Blowfish Granola Fisherman Sandal
These sandals are incredibly comfortable. The straps hit at just the right part of the feet so that if you have narrow or wide feet or even bunions, your toes won’t feel smashed at all and can sit comfortably.
I like the criss cross detail to dress up the basic sandal and you can adjust the shoe with the buckle near the heel.
The footbed is molded for your feet as well. Perhaps the only downside is that the shoe is made of synthetic leather but they’re more affordable because of it.
Best Travel Sneakers
I absolutely love the Tubular line. They come in a whole range of colors and styles and are perfect for working out and walking around on vacation.
If you want a traditional sneaker but in a chic, modern version the Adidas Tubular is perfect. I love the light pink and neutral shades they offer and the thick white sole provides good support for a full day of sightseeing.
I also have the Adidas Superstars, their classic white 3 stripe shoe which are comfy but I think kind of wide on your feet. I got the Adidas Superstar Slip On last year for my Europe cruise. These are sleeker and easy to put on, as they are a slip on style without laces.
Cole Haan Grandpro Tennis Sneaker
I love how retro these look! They come in neutral classic colors and also a huge range of pastel colors if you want something girlier. Personally, I love the Gray Nubuck shade.
The Cole Haan sneakers are shockingly lightweight and flexible. The foot bed has tons of cushion and support which is perfect for travel! I hate shoes that slip and slide but the heel and forefoot of these have rubber pods for great traction.
Other Cole Haan options that are good for travel: stitchlite ballet flats, skimmer flat and bow ballet flat. For Spring 2018, Cole Haan has a new walking shoe that blends a sneaker with an oxford with the knit look – I’m dying to get a pair of these.
They’re supposedly light and I love how cool the black knit looks!
A similar shoe to the Cole Haan sneakers is a newly launched shoe line by Foot Petals (the company which makes cushy gel inserts for shoes). I tried Foot Petals’ cushionology shoe line and like them a lot – my in-depth review is here.
Skechers City Scene
The first time my mom called me to let me know she bought a pair of Skechers sneaker flats for our trip to Spain, I thought she was indulging in typical ‘mom fashion’.
Fast forward to our trip to Spain and my sneakers were pinching and too tight.. guess what, I ended up ‘borrowing’ her Skechers for the rest of the trip!
Skechers Walking Shoe Review: I love their flat sneaker ‘Microburst’ shoe for light walking and City Scene shoe for full-on sneakers. They’re a stylish, affordable alternative to the Adidas Ultra Boosts and quite light weight!
Skechers just came out with this new sneaker for 2018 that’s an affordable dupe for the Adidas ultra boosts!
UGG Sammy Sneaker
If I could live in UGG shoes permanently, I would. As it is, I already wear the moccasin slip ons for my commute to work and even inside the office.
My coworkers made fun of me for an entire year but come December, they admitted they ordered them for Christmas – ha!
UGG Sammy Review: For spring and summer travel, I’m a huge fan of these comfy slip on sneakers which come in leather and suede. The uppers are made from a breathable knit fabric and come in a host of fun colors. I also like UGG’s espadrilles. Essentially, UGG has expanded into sneakers, flats and slides and the entire line is made with orthopedic-friendly cushioned soles!
Best Travel Flats & Moccasins
M. Gemi Moccasins
I’m a huge fan of M. Gemi for their luxurious, Italian made shoes and accessible price points. They have a variety of moccasin shoe options each season – all of which are made from buttery soft leather and mold perfectly to your feet.
The best part is the huge range of colors they offer – everything from neutrals to pastels to fun bright colors for summer.
M.Gemi Review: The signature Felize driving moccasins are high quality, sewn by hand in Tuscany and offered in suede uppers. If you want a more low-maintenance leather, check out the Pastoso shoe which comes in soft leather. M. Gemi offers both free shipping + free returns.
Jack Rogers Loafers
For a softer, slightly cheaper option I would recommend Jack Rogers Loafers. I picked up a pair of these last fall and they’re so comfortable. Jack Rogers sizing can vary from shoe to shoe – I find that the loafers run slightly narrow but fit like a glove in my usual size 7. I have them in pink leather, although they come in a wide range of colors and also in a suede version on Nordstrom and Zappos.
In comparison to the M.Gemi, the Jack Rogers are softer while the M.Gemi are more durable. The Jack Rogers are great for casual wear and also for travel, but if you plan to walk on cobblestone / uneven streets, you may prefer a sneaker with more cushion.
The M. Gemi moccasins are more of a driving moc – with reinforced heels and grips on the bottom. They also feel stiffer and more durable. It just depends on what type of loafer you prefer!
I have a ton of Jack Rogers shoes – they make great, fun summer sandals and wedges and I would also recommend their suede scalloped flats if you want a prettier, comfortable shoe than a loafer. The flats are an affordable dupe for the classic Chloe flat and quite cushioned in the foot bed – for these I sized down half a size to a 6.5 as they run a tad large.
Clarks Ballet Pump
I love the classic look of these Clarks flats. They’re perfect for a leisurely day of sightseeing and a nice dinner out. There’s always some variation of them each season (the ones I have are light pink). Clarks is a go to for comfortable walking shoes and these ballet pumps have the same classic cushioned foot bed.
Dr Scholl’s Vienna Slip On
The uppers are made of 100% leather and the foot bed is cushioned with Memory Fit foam.
Puma Polka Dot Ballet Flat
Flats are a great must have shoe for travel but often the soles are too thin to support long walking tours or sightseeing. These puma ballet flats have extra cushioning in the foot bed for comfort so that they feel as comfortable as sneakers would.
Meanwhile, the upper portion of the flat is made of a collapsible suede material, so it bends and folds easily. The Puma flat doesn’t take up much space in the luggage and is flexible enough to maintain it’s shape without being crushed. A bonus: it comes with its own dust bag! Note: because of the elastic rim, I would recommend sizing 1/2 – 1 size up, but they do stretch a bit with wear. If you like a girly sneaker, I love the blue suede ribbon on these Puma sneakers!
The Best Travel Shoes for Women – Summary Comparison Chart
To summarize, here’s a handy chart for comfortable travel shoes that don’t break the bank and are still stylish. I’ve grouped the walking friendly shoes by type. Let me know if I’ve missed your favorite and I’ll check them out!
How to Pack Shoes for Travel
I always pack walking shoes for travel in my luggage in either a shoe dust bag or a plastic / canvas bag. Shoes are worn in puddles, dirty streets and all over the place so I never want the soles to touch my clothes! I individually wrap each pair of shoes with the tops facing each other, soles out.
I recommend picking out your shoes first (before clothes and everything else) and laying them in the very bottom of your luggage. Try to pack the shoes close to the bottom of the suitcase, near the luggage wheels. Generally I don’t mind if sneakers or flip flops get crunched in transit as I prefer my clothes to be as wrinkle free as possible.
If you have a sandwich-construction suitcase, I keep shoes on the zippered off side with my toiletries and then clothes on the other half. You can read more about my recommendations for best carry on luggage here. I also recently tested OluKai’s sandals and Foot Petal’s cushioned sneakers.
Read More in my travel packing checklist series:
Shop More of my Favorite Comfortable Travel Shoe Brands
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