Whether you’re wandering through charming cobblestone streets or awe-inspiring natural landscapes, your adventures call for the perfect pair of travel shoes.
As a seasoned traveler, I understand the importance of finding footwear that strikes the delicate balance between style and comfort, especially when exploring new destinations.
In this list, I’ll unveil a curated selection of the absolute best travel shoes for women, meticulously chosen for their ability to not only complement your fashion-forward sense for trips to Paris, but also endure the demands of exploring far away lands.
From versatile sneakers that effortlessly transition from day to night, to supportive athletic shoes that let you roam with ease, these travel shoe options are tailored to elevate your travel experience, ensuring you not only look good, but feel great on every step of your journey.
Why You Need a Good Travel Shoe
A terrible pair of travel shoes can ruin your entire trip.
When you travel, you are more likely on your feet and walking more usual, and having a new pair of shoes that aren’t broken in, or a pair that aren’t comfortable can be a nightmare, and I speak from experience.
Today, I have a scar on the inside of my foot from my trip to Pamplona, Spain, more than 20 years ago, because I wore a brand new pair of shoes.
Bad choices in travel shoes can lead to pain, discomfort, blisters and sometimes even real injury to your feet.
As an experienced traveler, you need to avoid this by finding a good pair of travel shoes.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Travel Shoe
When you’re deciding on the best travel shoe for your trip, there are two major considerations: style and comfort.
We don’t need to overcomplicate it. If you have a comfortable pair of shoes or sandals, then you’ll be ready for any activity. And if you have a pair of shoes that exude a sense of style while being practical, then you’ll be ready for any occasion.
Choosing Travel Shoes for Style
When it comes to exploring culinary delights and indulging in the finest experiences Europe has to offer, looking the part is just as important as savoring the flavors.
That’s where the right pair of travel shoes comes into play. Opting for stylish, high-quality footwear not only complements your sophisticated ensemble for exquisite dinners and wine-tasting soirées, but also ensures you won’t stand out as a typical tourist.
Elegant yet comfortable options, like chic leather loafers or versatile ankle boots, effortlessly marry fashion and function. These shoes are designed to transition seamlessly from exploring historic streets to stepping into exclusive dining establishments.
So, whether you’re savoring a Michelin-starred meal in Paris or enjoying a glass of Chianti in a charming Italian enoteca, your choice of footwear will not only enhance your overall look but also provide the support and comfort needed for those enchanting, memory-making, jaunts.
Choosing Comfortable Travel Shoes
While style undoubtedly plays a significant role in curating the perfect travel wardrobe, it’s paramount not to overlook the essential factor of comfort and support.
The reality of exploring the world often entails long days of sightseeing, meandering through picturesque alleys, and venturing off the beaten path. That’s why investing in shoes that not only exude style but also offer reliable support and comfort is non-negotiable.
Think cushioned insoles, arch support, and breathable materials—all vital elements in ensuring that your feet remain happy and pain-free, even after covering substantial distances. Whether you’re navigating the vibrant markets of Barcelona or strolling along the Seine in Paris, your choice of footwear can truly make or break the day.
The ideal travel shoes strike that perfect balance, effortlessly marrying fashion-forward looks with the kind of support that lets you relish every moment of your travel adventure.
The Different Types of Travel Shoes & Sandals to Consider
There are several types of travel shoes. Here’s what you need to know about each type.
All Purpose Walking Shoes
All purpose walking shoes are designed to be extremely comfortable under foot, durable, and have a certain stylishness so that they can be worn in any and all situations – out on the trail, around the house, during airport travel and more.
All purpose shoes are probably the most common type of women’s travel shoe. Because of their versatility, you don’t have to pack a specific type of footwear, save space in your luggage, and rest assured you’ll have reliable, comfortable shoes.
Comfort Shoes & Footwear
Comfort shoes and specifically designed for maximum foot comfort and often don’t have the same durability and style that typical all purpose walking shoes have. Often, you’ll use comfort shoes or sandals when you’re not planning on too much activity in your day and need something with plenty of cushion and support or breathability.
Stylish Shoes & Boots
No surprise here – stylish shoes might look great, but they’re not practical. Oftentimes, a stylish shoe is going to have limited use because it’s either not designed for lots of use, or it’s not very comfortable to wear over a long period of time. That’s why all purpose walking shoes are so popular. They give you the comfort and durability aspect while not being too hard on the eyes.
Specialized Travel Shoes for Running, Working out, Hiking
For some travelers, the destination involves a certain type of activity. Maybe you’re planning a big hike (like the one I did at Kotor in Montenegro), a long run, or a particular physically-demanding activity. In those instances, an all purpose walking shoe might not suffice. For intense hikes, you’ll likely want a dedicated hiking boot that has plenty of ankle support and lots and lots of durability. If you’re a runner, an all purpose walking shoe might not be adequate for a long run, so you’ll want to bring a dedicated pair of running shoes.
Waterproof Travel Shoes
Waterproof travel shoes are specifically designed to keep your feet dry in wet conditions. This type of travel shoe can come in handy if you’re traveling during a destination’s wet season, or if you’re just generally prone to stepping in puddles.
For tropical climates and coastal areas, you may want to look into some comfortable travel sandals. A travel sandal likely has open toes, open ankle, and utilizes straps to keep them on your feet. Travel sandals are primarily a comfort and convenience shoe that are easy on, easy off at a moment’s notice.
Shoes for Air Travel
In some cases, you may want to get shoes specifically designed for air travel. To be honest, there isn’t much of a difference between air travel-specific shoes and any all purpose shoe. The goal with a good pair of air travel shoes is to have equal parts comfort and stylishness.
The Best Travel Shoes for Women (According to the Experts)
To save you some time, we have gone through the internet’s best recommended lists of travel shoes for women to put together the ultimate recommendation.
The Abundant Traveler’s Top 5 List of Best Travel Shoes for Women
I have two running lists specific to different types of footwear: travel sandals and travel boots. You can visit either of those pages to see which of those products I’d recommend. However, since we’re talking about shoes and footwear in general, here is are my top 5 recommendations.
- Best Women’s Travel Boot: BORN Women’s, Brenta II Boot
- Best Women’s Travel Sandal: Teva Women’s Verra Sandal
- Best Sandal for Hiking: Eileen Fisher Women’s Sport Sandal
- Best Travel Sandal for Versatility: Birkenstock Milano Unisex Leather Sandal
- Best Travel Athletic Shoes: Lululemon Chargefeel 2 Low Women’s Workout Shoe
Forbes’ List of the Best Women’s Travel Shoes and Footwear
Forbes’ list is broken out by the specific application or category of travel shoe. They’ve also included some recommendations on travel sandals, but we’ve only focused on their travel shoes.
- Best Overall Travel Shoe: On Cloud 5
- Best Comfort Travel Shoe: Ariat Hilo
- Best Travel Sandals For Walking: Chaco Z/1 Classic Sandal
- Best Shoe for Long Distance Walking: Lowa Merger GTX Lo Hiking Shoe
- Best Travel Shoe for Stability: Altra Olympus 5 Trail Running Shoes
- Best Waterproof Travel Shoes: Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX
TripSavvy’s 9 Best Women’s Travel Shoes for 2023
TripSavvy’s list of best women’s travel shoes includes insight into the wear and tear test. Uniquely, their list also includes a recommended shoe for business travel. Like Forbes, they also included some travel sandals on here, so we’ve removed them.
- Best Overall Travel Shoe: Adidas Cloudfoam Pure 2.0 Running Shoes
- Best Value Travel Shoe: Superga Classic Sneaker
- Best Travel Sandals: Keen Women’s Elle Backstrap Sandal
- Best Hiking Sandals: Chaco Women’s Zx2 Classic Sandal
- Best Walking Travel Shoe: New Balance New Balance Women’s 574 Core Sneaker
- Best Stylish Travel Shoe: On Running Women’s Cloudrift Shoe
- Best Business Travel Shoe: Olukai Leather Sneakers
- Best Sustainable Travel Shoe: Allbirds Women’s Plant Pacers
- Best Luxury Travel Shoe: Frankie4 Australia Women’s Winnie II White Suede Shoes
Travel and Leisure’s Best Walking Shoes for Travel
Travel and Leisure has a pretty robust list of the different types of travel shoes and sandals that they tried out – 21 in all. But we’re just going to focus on their top recommended models.
- Best Overall Travel Shoe: Adidas Cloudfoam Pure 2.0 Running Shoes
- Best Sustainable Travel Shoe: Allbirds Women’s Plant Pacers
- Best Travel Sneakers: Superga Classic Sneaker
- Best Overall Travel Sandals: Keen Women’s Elle Backstrap Sandal
- Best Travel Shoe for Wide Feet: Olukai Leather Sneakers
- Best Versatile Travel Shoe: Frankie4 Australia Women’s Winnie II White Suede Shoes
- Best Casual Travel Shoe: New Balance 574 Sneaker
- Best Luxury Travel Shoe: Nisolo Everyday Chelsea Commuter Boot
- Best Travel Shoe with Arch Support: Chaco Women’s Zx2 Classic Sandal
TravelPast50.com’s Best Travel Shoes for Women
TravelPast50.com is focused on travel products for older travelers. Luckily for this list, they’ve broken out their recommendations into different categories: trails to towns, city travel, specialty footwear, comfortable footwear.
- Versatile Travel Shoe Brands for Trails to Towns
- La Sportiva
- Versatile Travel Shoe Brands for City Walking & Travel
- Bernie Mev
- Specialty Travel Footwear
- Waterproof Travel Shoes: Sea Dogs by Bzees
- Winter Travel Shoes: Bionica Everson Boot
- Comfort Travel Shoes for Problem Feet
Lindsay Silberman’s List of Best Travel Shoes for Women
Linsday Silberman is a popular travel blogger who’s always got great recommendations related to traveling in style. She doesn’t rank her shoes by any particular category. Instead, she highlights a bunch of different travel shoes (mostly sneakers) that she likes in her post.
- Veja V-12 Sneaker
- Golden Goose Low Top Sneaker
- Allbirds Tree Skippers
- Birkenstock Soft Slides
- The Swift by Birdies
- Vans Ward Lo Sneaker
- Tretorn Canvas Sneakers
- The Roger Sneaker
- Sam Edelman Ethyl Sneaker
- Athleta Saysh One Sneaker
- Birdies Starling Flats
- Hadley Chelsea Boots
The Ultimate List of the Best Travel Shoes for Women
Alright, we’ve covered what I, and other websites, are saying are the best travel shoes, so now let’s look at which footwear options are the best overall. First, we’re going to look at overall ranking and then we’ll make recommendations for the best travel shoes for specific uses.
The Best Women’s Travel Shoes Ranked in Order
While all the shoes listed above would likely be a great addition to your travel packing list, here is a ranked order based on the experts we covered above and other renowned travel websites:
- TIE – Allbirds Women’s Plant Pacers, Adidas Cloudfoam Pure 2.0 Running Shoes
- Birkenstock Milano Unisex Leather Sandal
- New Balance New Balance Women’s 574 Core Sneaker
- Olukai Leather Sneakers
- BORN Brenta II Boot
- Veja V-12 Sneaker
- On Running Women’s Cloudrift Shoe, OnCloud 5
- Altra Olympus 5 (Hiking or Trail)
- Ariat Hilo
- Frankie4 Australia Women’s Winnie II White Suede Shoes
Best Women’s Travel Shoes for Specific Activities
Best All Purpose, Women’s Athletic Shoes: Lululemon Chargefeel 2
While Lululemon is know for their workout gear, they make a WONDERFUL athletic shoe that is comfortable, light-weight, and – very importantly – stylish as well. If I’m going to be doing a lot of walking, or will be doing a more rigorous activity, I’ll throw on the Chargefeel 2’s knowing that they can handle anything I throw at them and they look great as well.
Best Overall Footwear for Comfort and Versatility: Teva Women’s Verra Sandal
This classic velcro sandal by Teva offers a little bit of everything, which is why I can recommend it so highly. First off, you have plenty of support from the straps and webbing so you don’t need to worry about slippage under foot. The rubber sole also provides contour and support so you can feel comfortable walking in them all day long. These sandals are especially great for more tropical destinations.
Best Overall Footwear for Comfort and Ease-of-Use: Birkenstock Women’s Mayari Sandal
This a slip on sandal that offers a bit more support and security than the traditional Birkenstock sandal, which has 2 over the foot straps. Because this sandal’s straps weave over the big toe, there’s a bit more security with the same level of comfort that the classic Birkenstock cork sole provides.
Best Women’s Travel Shoes for Style: Frankie4 Australia Women’s Winnie II White Suede Shoes
The Frankie4 Winnie II suede shoe is the epitome of traveling in style and comfort. The luxe look comes from the suede touches over breathable outer.
Best Women’s Waterproof Travel Shoes: Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX
If you’ve noticed a pattern in our recommended shoes, you’re not crazy: they’re all low-profile, muted colors, with comfortable soles and different textured uppers. The Altra Olympus 5 is a waterproof, low-rise hiking shoe that offers lots of support and comfort. Coming in 3 colors, this is a technical shoe that offers plenty of grip to navigate wet conditions.
Best Women’s Travel Footwear for Cold Weather: BORN Brenta II Boot
The Born Brenta II boot is my favorite and most recommended travel footwear for colder climate destinations. If you’re traveling to ski, or visiting Europe during winter time in the northern hemisphere, then you can’t really count on a travel sandal being able to handle all conditions. This chelsea-style boot is easy to pull on, pull off, stylish, durable, and comfortable.
Should I buy travel shoes online or try on in person?
You should always try on your shoes before taking them on a trip. Not only do I recommend trying them on, I recommend wearing them around the house and testing them in your daily life prior to taking them on your trip.
Even if you are buying your travel shoes online, you will want to wear them prior to your trip. It’s a must to either break in your travel shoes or don’t take them on your trip.
Something else to consider when buying travel shoes is the fit. You have to make sure that they fit well and are good for your feet, or you can cause real injury. It’s ok to have ill fitting shoes when you’re at home and going out to dinner, but fashion over quality is not the goal when looking for travel shoes.
How many shoes should I pack?
The answer depends on where I’m going and what I’m doing. Think about your travel shoes like you would a wardrobe. Bring shoes that will cross over from a casual day of wandering around to a nice evening at a restaurant (like these Skechers – they aren’t sexy, but they work perfectly with a black capsule wardrobe). I usually like to bring my neutral colored birkenstocks and I love bringing a pair of comfortable heels as well.
If you’ll be doing a lot of walking, then I recommend bringing 2 pairs of comfortable walking shoes. I find that my feet do better when they can “rest” from a particular pair of shoes, and my feet and legs are more rested when I change out of my travel walking shoes.
What is the best way to pack my shoes?
The best way to pack shoes is by putting the soles together and placing them in a travel shoe bag or plastic bag, as you want to make sure your shoes are not touching your clean clothes. Additionally, use a hard-sided suitcase, and I always put my travel shoes on the side with my toiletries and not my clothes.
Great Travel Shoes Are a Necessity, Not a Luxury
As a seasoned traveler, I know firsthand the transformative power of the right footwear.
The best travel shoes for women seamlessly merge style, comfort, and support, enhancing every step of your journey throughout Europe and the world. From enchanting narrow streets to exotic safaris, the perfect travel shoes are tailored to elevate your experience and help you enjoy your travels more.
Remember, the perfect pair of shoes isn’t just an accessory, so choose wisely and step into your next adventure with confidence, knowing that you’ve armed yourself with the ideal companions for both fashion-forward exploration and comfortable discovery.