Packing appropriate clothing is crucial for any trip, but many people fail to realize the importance of choosing the right shoes. Read our insider tips for choosing the best travel shoes for women that are fashionable, lightweight and comfortable — for every type of traveler!
The Best Travel Shoes For Women
Best Travel Shoes for Outdoor Explorers
Unless you’re embarking on an extreme hiking or mountain climbing challenge, you’ll probably want to skip packing traditional hiking boots. I’ve found a great alternative to bulky hiking shoes for trips where I know I’ll be hiking, but also have limited luggage space.
These lightweight hiking shoes are perfect for even the most intense outdoor adventures and I usually end up wearing them on the plane to save space.
For a more lightweight option that will condense down in your suitcase easily, these Cross Trainers are comfortable and provide ample support for most hiking and outdoor activities.
For those outdoor trips that involve snow and ice, I find Sorrel boots extremely comfortable and they keep my feet warm no matter how cold it is outside.
Best Travel Shoes for Lively Party-Goers
Some people revel in the daylight, and others really let loose at night; for those of you who choose to spend your vacations sleeping in and enjoying the local nightlife, choosing shoes appropriate for dress codes (but that also won’t kill your feet) can be a challenge.
My solution? A convertible day-to-night shoe, that can easily be dressed up or dressed down depending on the atmosphere. I typically choose block heel sandals or mules, preferably with a rubber sole for shock absorption. Keep the stilettos at home!
Best Travel Shoes for Budget Travelers
Budget travelers will own up to cram-packing a single carry-on, just to avoid a checked baggage fee. I’ve found that when I have limited suitcase space, bringing one pair of all-in-one shoes will suffice for an entire trip.
Choose a pair that you can wear all day and night, to any activity (within reason), and with any outfit. With this, I’d recommend short/no heels but nothing overly casual; I’ve found ankle booties like these go with any outfit in any season. Soft suede and rubber sole are very forgiving on your feet, while a simple style and neutral color make them easy to pair with jeans, skirts, or even leggings!
I also have numerous pairs of inexpensive elastic sandals that in recent years have become my favorite because while they may be cheap in price, the thick elastic lasts forever and makes for super comfy traveling shoes.
Best Travel Shoes for Laid-Back Beach-Goers
Let’s be real — no one wears name brand shoes to the beach. Even in the most glamorous destinations, you can be sure there won’t be a wedge-heel in sight. Though you may be tempted to buy that cheap rubber flip-flop in every color, I’d recommend choosing a durable leather or fabric sandal.
Rainbows might be the most recognizable and reputable leather flip-flop around (breaking them in before your trip is recommended), but other alternatives like Teva are typically just as durable and a bit more affordable. If you’re looking for a dressier option for nights out, a nice sandal with a platform sole can give the illusion of a heel but they’re as comfortable as a flat shoe!
Best Travel Shoes for Cultural Enthusiasts
The history buffs and cultural enthusiasts among us will know that classy, comfortable, and conservative footwear is a must for museums, mosques, and historical or religious sites. Stick with inconspicuous and simple footwear to stay on the safe side, foregoing inappropriate shoes for certain venues (this can go both ways, being too casual or too flashy).
Best Travel Shoes for Photographers
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a self-proclaimed Instagram protege, odds are you’re likely to go out of your way — or even off the beaten path — to capture the perfect photo! You don’t necessarily need to tout rugged athletic shoes everywhere you go, but choosing well-made sneakers that can handle a little dirt or water is important.
Tried and true Converse are sure to get you by no matter where your location, but my new absolute favorite shoe for traveling are Keen’s Elsa sneaker. They have great arch support, are extremely comfortable and easy to care for. Plus, they look cute with literally any outfit!