- Buyer's Guide
The Best Travel Shoes for Every Type of Traveler Right Now
When it comes to travel packing, shoes often take up a lot of your precious space. So getting the most out of the ones you do pack is crucial. But what makes for a good travel shoe?
A clean and timeless design will put you in good stead to handle a variety of environments, from more formal settings to casual environments. Colorway choices are important here too. More muted colors such as black, navy, grey or tan will blend in more easily to a wider range of settings than bold, attention-grabbing colorways and designs.
With limited packing space available, it’s important that your travel shoes can adapt to a wide variety of needs and locations. Choosing footwear that can move between work and play, urban and outdoor, or from relaxed to active environments will maximize your travel freedom while keeping your packing bulk down.
Comfort is king
Comfort is a key priority to consider when picking travel footwear. Hauling luggage through airports or to your accommodation is tiring enough without adding uncomfortable shoes to the mix. And if you’re exploring your destination you don’t want sore feet detracting from the sights and new experiences. Factors such as inbuilt support, cushioning, adjustable fit, breathability and suitable seasonal warmth are all worth bearing in mind to ensure you pick shoes that meet your needs.
Pro tip? Make sure to break all of your travel shoes in before trips. When traveling, taking care of your feet is super important. And you don’t want blisters ruining your long-awaited vacation.
Obviously the lighter your footwear is, the less it will eat into your baggage allowance. But light weight is also important for on-foot comfort, helping you stay agile and move easier on the go.
Travel is tough on your gear and footwear is no exception. Good travel shoes will offer a honed balance of durability while keeping weight down. But durability will also be dictated by intended use. If you plan to venture outdoors on rough terrain, you’ll want shoes that offer more durability than ones intended more for urban environments.
Footwear technology has come a long way, allowing brands to create easily packable footwear that doesn’t sacrifice performance. Lightweight and flexible travel shoes with compact packability will make your travels easier, whether you’re looking to save space in your luggage or stash a second pair of shoes in a day bag.
Trips can vary from business-focused to adventure-focused to a mixture of business and pleasure. Not to mention changes in climate. So one shoe won’t be able to meet all your needs. But we’ve hunted down the best travel shoes for every type of traveler, and a combination of one or two of the options below will see you right. And with crossover between the categories too, you may find particular ones really stand out as just right for your needs…
The Chill Pill Transit features a Cross Platform Outsole, a multi-textured rubber outsole that tackles a variety of environments. The grippy outsole includes radiused edges and rope-resistant areas for active use. Comfort is catered for with a medium density midsole offering cushioning on the go, while stability is provided through the low stack height and full contact heel.
Lightweight and fast-drying, the Teva Arrowood Swift Sneaker is a versatile all-rounder for active or more casual use. The sneaker features an Ariaprene upper which is quick-drying, flexible, super lightweight and hypoallergenic. This is combined with a Float-Lite outsole that is durable, grippy in wet conditions, lightweight and cushioning. And with speed lace closures, you’ll be on your way in a jiffy.
The Vivobarefoot Gobi II Eco Suede is a solid option if you’re after adaptable vegan-friendly footwear. It features a durable, puncture-resistant sole and a removable cork insole, with a compact and rollable form that’s great for packing. And it comes in men’s and women’s options too.
Available in men’s and women’s sizes, the Arc’teryx Acrux SL Approach Shoe embraces outdoor and urban settings alike. The weatherproof shoe is designed to be exceptionally lightweight and breathable yet durable, with Adaptive Fit Lite technology that shapes to your foot for improved fit. The Vibram® Megagrip outsole provides grip and support in both dry and wet conditions, as well as rocky terrain and less technical flat trails.
The Koio Capri Nero offers a touch of luxury with its sleek, minimalist style and smooth and durable Vitello calf leather. The shoes are handmade in Italy and feature durable yet lightweight Margom rubber outsoles. And while the Nero colorway is highly versatile, there are plenty of other colorway options too.
Travel business shoes
The Nisolo x Huckberry Travel Derby offers an appealing mix of style, comfort, packability and light weight for business travel use. The suede uppers don’t require breaking in and are comfy from the first step, while the soft leather insole molds to your foot for improved fit. The shoe also features an XL Extralight® foam outsole to keep weight down, and a pair weighs in at less than a pound for lightweight packing and easy movement.
The Vivobarefoot Mia is made with perforated Wild Hide leather for durability and breathability. It also features a puncture-resistant outsole and a lightweight construction that won’t eat into your luggage weight limit. And with its low-key, casual-chic aesthetics it roams comfortably in a range of settings.
These shoes transition easily from work to play with stylish aesthetics and a breathable, flexible and lightweight construction. You can roll them up for easy packing, and the Wild Hide leather offers soft comfort from day one. Plus with a removable cork insole you can enjoy added or less warmth as required.
Travel shoes for women (to wear with dresses)
The smart-casual style of these shoes helps you move easily between relaxed and more formal environments. Available in two colorways, the shoe is made with a suede and woven upper and a textured German outsole. As an added benefit, for every purchase TOMS provides a pair of shoes for a child in need through their One for One® initiative.
The Shaye booties are a low-heel, stylish option that suits a range of settings. Made with a suede upper, molded rubber outsole and cushioned insole, they offer an enticing mix of comfort, durability and fashion-friendly aesthetics. Plus you’ll be helping others through TOMS’ One for One® initiative too.
The Point is a practical and aesthetically-pleasing pointed toe flat that looks equally good in work environments, social gatherings and travel settings. This lightweight and breathable shoe comes in a wide variety of colorways and includes a removable insole. Rothy’s shoes are crafted with recycled water bottles, helping prevent landfill waste. The shoes are seamlessly constructed through a 3D knitting process that offers significant waste reduction and increased durability, and assembled by hand. As an added benefit Rothy’s shoes are machine-washable in cold water for ease of care.
If you prefer a rounded toe, the Rothy’s Loafer is a good option for day-to-night versatility. Like The Point above, it offers multiple benefits including lightweight and breathable construction, a seamless 3D knit upper, removable insole, and multiple colorway options. Plus it’s machine-washable in cold water too.
Light hiking / backpacking
The Scarpa Crux offers a sleek, lightweight design for approach, hiking and general outdoor use. The water-resistant suede upper is complemented by a Vibram® outsole featuring a Megagrip compound for secure grip in dry and wet conditions alike. Plus it comes in women’s and men’s sizes.
The Merrell Chameleon 7 Stretch combines lightweight construction with a comfortable fit featuring a Kinetic Fit™ Base removable contoured insole and Merrell Air Cushion in the heel for stability and shock absorption. The shoe comes in men’s and women’s sizes and offers an elastic cord and lock lacing system to easily secure it. Made with a Nubuck leather and mesh upper, it also provides a stretch collar to easily put on or remove the shoe.
The Primus Trail FG offers a lightweight and breathable mesh upper made with recycled PET bottles. The Firm Ground sole keeps you secure on trails and rocky ground, while the thermal insole is removable to adjust to different seasons. Available in men’s and women’s options, the shoe also includes a quick-lacing system for added convenience.
The versatile Primus Trek moves easily between urban and outdoor environments, with a water-resistant leather and neoprene construction and Firm Ground sole with chevron lugs for traction. Available in men’s and women’s sizes, the shoe includes a neoprene ankle sock for secure flexibility and a removable thermal insole.
Designed with flexibility and comfort in mind for ascents and descents in a range of terrains, the Mountain Trainer GTX features an ergonomic dual-density midsole and a Vibram Wrapping Thread Combi sole for support. The footwear offers a good balance of light weight and durability, with a suede and fabric upper and a breathable GORE-TEX Extended Comfort lining.
The Tracker FG, in men’s and women’s options, is a durable, lightweight and fully waterproof leather hiking boot. The boot includes a Firm Ground sole to tackle rocky and rough terrain, along with a sealed interior membrane and hydrophobic leather proofing. The removable thermal insole also helps you adapt to multiple seasons.
The Spannos helps keep you cool on the go with its durable and breathable one-piece digitally knit upper. The memory foam sock-liner helps relieve pressure, while the compression molded Skylite™ EVA outsole offers rubber traction pods for secure movement. All in a clean design that suits a range of settings.
The Chill Pill combines athletic styling with comfort and breathability. It features a lightweight construction with breathable mesh, a wide forefoot to allow the foot to expand on the strike, and rubber inlays for grip in both wet and dry conditions. The shoe also provides a minimal heel drop and low stack height.
If you’re after an amphibious shoe that’s at home on land or in the water, look to the Vivobarefoot Ultra 3. The lightweight shoe features a breathable, non-absorbent and quick-draining hexagon upper. The shoe comes in women’s and men’s sizes and includes a sticky rubber hex grip outsole for flexibility, comfort and traction in wet and dry conditions alike.
Urban-friendly aesthetics and lightweight construction come together in the Native Mercury Liteknit, which offers an elasticized and super-light LiteKnit upper. The shoe also offers an elasticized collar for easy on-and-off convenience, along with a rubber toe and heel inserts for grip and stability. The superfoam perforated insole helps keep you cool on the go, while the EVA midsole and outsole absorb shock for added comfort.
Crafted with a quick-drying and comfortable knitted upper and footbed, these sandals keep you cool on the move in a range of urban and outdoor environments. The Terra-Float Travel Knit Sandal comes in men’s and women’s options, with a FloatLite™ outsole that is durable yet lightweight. The sandal features a hook-and-loop closure for an adjustable fit, as well as an antimicrobial treatment to keep odors at bay.
The Boulder Boot combines classic style with a lightweight, durable and packable build for versatile travel use. The boot features wind- and water-resistant 1200D nylon uppers with leather detailing, along with a flexible LemsRubber air-injected rubber outsole that can be folded for compact storage in a bag. Additionally, a cotton lining and removable insole provide added comfort.
The Arrowood Lux Waterproof combines style and function with a durable full-grain waterproof leather upper, FloatLite™ midsole for comfortable cushioning, and FloatLite™ outsole for lightweight durability. The footwear comes in men’s and women’s sizes and is an adaptable option for urban and outdoor use.
Rugged, handsome and lightweight, Danner’s Mountain 600 EnduroWeave boot offers a durable woven textile upper and a breathable mesh liner. The removable Ortholite memory foam footbed provides enhanced cushioning and support, and is complemented by a Vibram Fuga outsole with Megagrip compound for wet and dry traction.
The Tramline 917 offers an attractive mix of good looks, durability and comfort, with a full-grain leather upper and waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX liner. The boot also provides a removable Ortholite footbed and Vibram® SPE midsole for cushioning and support, while the Vibram® 917 outsole features XS Trek rubber for added grip in wet environments.
As mentioned above, the Tracker FG comes in men’s and women’s options and is a durable, lightweight and fully waterproof leather hiking boot. The boot includes a Firm Ground sole to tackle rocky and rough terrain, along with a sealed interior membrane and hydrophobic leather proofing. The removable thermal insole also helps you adapt to multiple seasons.
Running / workout
The Prio is a versatile running and fitness shoe available in women’s and men’s options. It features a natural fit that allows the toes to spread, as well as a zero-drop design. The flexible build allows freedom of movement along with compact packability. The Prio comes with removable insoles as well as adjustable and reflective heel and instep straps for added security on the go.
The Kanna combines a lightweight and breathable mesh sock with a flexible and durable TPU sole. This barefoot shoe packs easily in a foldable form and is designed to allow toes to spread for comfort and freedom of movement.
The Primus Lite comes in men’s and women’s sizes and is made with recycled PET mesh for light weight, breathability and comfort. The shoe also features a thin yet tough TPU outsole and a stitchless, durable design that complements the natural shape of the foot for maximized natural movement and barefoot sensory input.
Sandals / flip flops (awesome ‘second pair’ to pack)
The Hurricane 4 is a tough and adaptable sandal that embraces a variety of environments, from outdoor and water settings to urban streets. The sandals come in men’s and women’s sizes and are made with a quick-drying polyester webbing upper. The hook-and-loop closure lets you dial in the fit, while the cushioned Shoc Pad™ in the heel provides impact absorption. The Durabrasion Rubber™ outsole provides a functional mix of durability and traction, and the antimicrobial treatment helps keep these sandals fresh on your travels.
These sandals offer a cool and quick-drying knitted upper and footbed for all-day comfort. Combine this with a super-lightweight yet durable FloatLite™ outsole, hook-and-loop closure for a tailored fit, and an antimicrobial treatment and you get a solid sandal for diverse travel needs. Plus you can get it in men’s and women’s options.
The Total Eclipse is a barefoot running sandal that works equally well for more laidback travel activities. Inspired by ancient running sandals but built with modern technology, the Total Eclipse is vegan-friendly and features a foldable design that’s handy for packing. It’s available in women’s and men’s sizes (though you may need to look outside the US).
The Teva Hurricane XLT 2 embraces water and land alike, with a quick-drying and durable upper and a Durabrasion Rubber™ outsole for durability and grip. The hook-and-loop closure allows easy on-and-off movement, while the cushioned heel tab and EVA foam midsole keep you comfy throughout the day. The sandal comes in men’s and women’s options.
The Z-Trail’s 3-layer FeelLite™ sole offers a great mix of abrasion resistance, grip, shock absorption, comfort and flexibility for natural movement. The sport sandals provide excellent versatility, moving smoothly from runs to water-based activities and more. The lightweight and foldable design is easy to pack and is available for men and women.
The rugged Cairn Adventure Sandals offer an adjustable strap system for your ideal fit and a Vibram® Regolith sole for lightweight grip. Comfortable, durable and versatile, they roam easily between urban and outdoor settings so you can explore with greater freedom.
The Cloud comes in men’s and women’s sizes and is a lightweight and versatile barefoot sandal for urban or outdoor use. The Barefoam™ forefoot insert provides comfort while maintaining flexibility, and the patent-pending lacing system easily dials in the fit so it’s right for you. Additionally it features a heel cup for added heel security and to help protect your feet from debris.
Slipper / slip on
Available in men’s and women’s options, the Classic Alpargatas come in a variety of colorways and feature a timeless, understated style that adapts to diverse settings. An elastic “v” lets you easily slip them on or off, and your purchase does good to boot through TOMS’ One for One® initiative.
The Traveller is a sleek and lightweight shoe with a convenient slip-on design that keeps you moving smoothly and stylishly through airport security and beyond. The shoe features a durable and breathable knit upper and Stable Platform Outsole with dry and wet weather grip. The wide forefoot also lets your toes spread out for comfort on the move.
The sleek, minimalist Jing Jing pump transitions easily from day to night, with an exceptionally lightweight build and a thin yet durable sole for barefoot freedom of movement. The pump rolls up for compact storage and is a convenient go-to choice for urban environments. This version comes in Wild Hide leather, while a vegan Eco Suede option is also available.