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Best Travel Shoes to Make Every Trip a Comfortable One

Travel Shoes
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Updated March 29, 2024

A comfortable pair of shoes can really make or break a trip. Whether I’m taking a city break and exploring the local culture, hitting the beach for some R&R, or taking time in the great outdoors, my enjoyment of a new locale is closely linked to how well I’m able to get around. Sometimes that means a pair of waterproof sandals that I can wear for walks along the shore, other times that means a sturdy pair of sneakers that can handle a mountain hike but won’t weigh too much in my carry-on. And of course I want my travel shoes to go with the majority of my travel outfits, so I don’t need to sacrifice style for comfort.

My priorities are different when I travel compared to when I’m home, so my footwear is too. When on a trip, I’m more likely to be on my feet as I take advantage of new surroundings. The weather also might be different to my everyday conditions, requiring different footwear materials to cope with heat or precipitation. Then there’s the issue of packing space: Aside from the pair you wear to travel (which you may want to be easily removable for TSA), you likely won’t have much suitcase room for additional pairs. In these conditions, the more versatile and comfortable a shoe, the better. My favorite travel pairs are the ones I can slip on without a second thought, knowing they’ll get the job done no matter what’s on the itinerary for that day. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together this list of footwear that I’m confident will quickly become your favorites too.

What to consider when buying travel shoes

Functionality

Depending on what kind of traveler you are, you might need different qualities in your travel shoes. While comfort is always important, more adventurous folk may want to look for footwear that’s designed specifically for outdoor pursuits, with added tread and water-resistant materials. If you mostly visit warm weather destinations, you’ll want to prioritize footwear with good breathability and maybe a sandal-type silhouette. For travelers that like to be out all day, moving from cafe to museum to restaurant, a stylish shoe with hidden cushioning may prove to be the best balance of style and comfort.

Price point

As with all products, there is a wide price range when it comes to travel footwear. There are a few affordable options on this list for around $50, with several more under $100 and then a few more expensive pairs. Depending on your priorities, you may want to spend more in exchange for a look you prefer, or sustainable materials. However, a lower price point doesn’t need to mean a dip in quality. There are also several shoes on this list that are classic models that frequently go on sale, so keep an eye out for even better deals.

Sizing and colorways

All the brands on this list adhere to pretty standard sizing, however not every company offers half sizes or as wide a size range. It’s important to read brand sizing guidelines in order to know whether to size up or down from your regular size, as well as to determine if the available sizes will be a good fit for your feet.

In terms of colorways, some brands offer a wide array of options to fit different aesthetics, while others stick to a more minimal palette. If you’re buying footwear for travel, you’ll likely want to pick a color that will go with the majority of your travel outfits, for maximum versatility—or perhaps you want a statement pop of color. Keep that in mind when choosing your shade of shoe.

Our top picks for best travel shoes

Best walking shoe for travel: On Cloud 5

Best walking shoe for travel - Men
On Cloud 5
Best walking shoe for travel - Women
On Cloud 5

If you’re walking long distances on your travels, you want enough cushioning to support your feet but without the added performance and bulk of adventure gear. I like the On Cloud 5 for both men and women because it prioritizes comfort but still keeps a slim, lightweight silhouette. Made from 44% recycled materials, the Cloud 5 features signature CloudTec® in Zero-Gravity foam for enhanced cushioning underfoot, as well as a speed-lacing system that lets you slip them on and off as needed—ideal for airports.

On offers wide size ranges, half-sizes, and over 13 colorways for men and 14 for women, so you’re sure to find a pair that fits both your feet and your wardrobe. While this product isn’t waterproof, there is a slightly more expensive version with waterproof finishing if you’re going somewhere particularly wet. Ultimately, Cloud 5s are subtly sporty and incredibly versatile: these are shoes that you can wear all over town and then out to dinner, as long as it’s not a black tie event.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 14 (men’s), 5 - 11 (women’s), half sizes available
  • Materials: 44% recycled materials, antimicrobial mesh, Zero-Gravity foam, taped reinforcements
  • Weight: 0.55 pounds (men’s), 0.45 pounds (women’s)
  • Colors: 13 (men’s), 14 (women’s)
  • Price on publish: $139.99

The bottom line:

The On Cloud 5 is a great option for both men and women who want a lightweight sneaker they can slip on and off, but still provides advanced cushioning and comfort.

Get it here: On Cloud 5


Best packable shoe for travel: Men: Suavs The Zilker Women: Suvas The Zilker

Best packable shoe for travel - Men
Suavs The Zilker

Suavs The Zilker

Best packable shoe for travel - Women
Suavs The Zilker

Suavs The Zilker

Shoes are some of the bulkiest items to pack, which is why we’re often reduced to bringing just one or two pairs. If you can pack an extra set in a bag or travel backpack, then Suavs’ The Zilker is an ideal choice for nearly every travel scenario. The minimalist design features a 100% recycled knit upper made from plastic water bottles, for a vegan-friendly shoe that will go with everything in your wardrobe. The fabric is breathable and moisture-wicking so that socks are optional, increasing the shoe’s versatility.

I also appreciate that the footwear weighs just 8 ounces and packs flat, so I can use the extra suitcase space for other items. Suavs offers these shoes in both men’s and women’s, with wide size ranges—although there are only half sizes available in the mid-range. Shoppers can pick from a range of colors in both bolds and neutrals, as well as choose between rubber or gum soles depending on their grip preference. While you won’t find quite the same level of cushioning as some of the other products on this page, the polyfoam insole keeps feet comfortable during even active days.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 8 - 14 (men’s), 5 - 12 (women’s) some half-sizes
  • Materials: 100% post-consumer recycled digital knit upper, cotton laces, foam insole, rubber or gum sole, vegan-friendly
  • Weight: 0.5 pounds
  • Colors: 8 (men’s), 10 (women’s)
  • Price on publish: $96

The bottom line:

The Suavs Zilker line packs flat, weighs just 8 ounces, and has a minimalist, sustainable design that will go with everything, making it the perfect pair to throw in your bag for a trip.

Get it here: Men: Suavs The Zilker Women: Suvas The Zilker


Best waterproof shoe for travel: Vessi Sunday Slippers

Best waterproof shoe for travel
Vessi Sunday Slippers

Vessi Sunday Slippers

Waterproof shoes don’t need to be big, bulky boots or made from shiny, slick rubber. The Vessi Sunday Slippers are the ideal way to keep your feet dry while also looking stylish, thanks to the brand’s signature Dyma-wool® technology. Dyma-wool® is engineered to be 100% waterproof yet also breathable, thanks to nano-sized pores in the material, so your feet will be protected from both rain and sweat.

A collapsible heel turns these slippers into slip-ons, so you can choose the look and feel you want for each occasion. I appreciate that these shoes don’t sacrifice fashion for function, so you can feel confident wearing these slippers on walking tours and out for drinks. While they won’t be as suitable for heavy athletic activity as other picks on this list, the slim, lightweight silhouette makes them ideal for travel and provides a nice contrast to classic sneakers. I wish there were half sizes available and perhaps more colors available, but the neutral palette available is sure to go with everything in your bag.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 6 - 13 (men’s), 5 - 11 (women’s), no half-sizes
  • Materials: 100% waterproof vegan Dyma-wool®
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: 4 (men’s and women’s)
  • Price on publish: $71

The bottom line:

Balance style and waterproof functionality with the Vessi Sunday Slippers, which look as good with jeans as they do with a summer dress and will keep your feet comfy and dry.

Get it here: Vessi Sunday Slippers


Best sustainable shoe for travel: Allbirds Tree Runners

Best sustainable shoe for travel - Men
Allbirds Men's Tree Sneakers, Jet Black, Size 10

Allbirds Men's Tree Sneakers, Jet Black, Size 10

Best sustainable shoe for travel - Women
Allbirds Women's Tree Sneakers, Grey, Size 8

Allbirds Women's Tree Sneakers, Grey, Size 8

It can be challenging to make footwear fully sustainable, due to all the different components involved. That’s partly what makes the Allbirds Tree Runners so impressive: the brand utilizes eucalyptus, sugarcane, recycled plastic bottles, and castor bean oil in its lightweight sneaker, with every purchase made carbon neutral by Allbirds. The other impressive part? These shoes perform as well as, if not better than, any other non-sustainable competitor. The SweetFoam® sugarcane midsole provides ample cushioning for consistent comfort throughout the day, while the TENCEL Lyocell upper is breathable even on hot days.

These are more of an everyday sneaker than a performance sneaker, which makes them a great choice for vacations—especially with 19 different colorways to choose from. They’re also lightweight at just over 8 ounces and machine washable, so you can keep them looking good throughout your travels. You will need to pay a little more for these high-quality materials, but the Tree Runners still come in at under $100.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 8 - 14 (men’s), 5 - 11 (women’s)
  • Materials: TENCEL Lyocell (eucalyptus tree fiber) upper, SweetFoam® (sugarcane-based) EVA, recycled plastic laces, castor bean oil insole foam, merino wool heel lining
  • Weight: 0.53 pounds
  • Colors: 19 (men’s and women’s, some variation)
  • Price on publish: $98.00

The bottom line:

The Allbirds Tree Runners turn eucalyptus, sugarcane, castor bean oil, and plastic bottles into a shoe that’s breathable, comfortable, lightweight, and available in 19 fun colorways.

Get it here: Allbirds Tree Runners


Best arch support shoe for travel: Women: Chaco ZX/2 Classic Sandal Men: Z/2 Classic Sandal

Best arch support shoe for travel - Men
Z/2 Classic Sandal
Best arch support shoe for travel - Women
Chaco ZX/2 Classic Sandal

Chaco ZX/2 Classic Sandal

Supportive footwear isn’t always the most glamorous, but it can make a huge difference to your comfort and overall enjoyment of your day. With the Chaco ZX/2 Classic Sandal for women or Chaco Z/2 Classic Sandal for men, your feet will benefit from the podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT PU cushioned footbed, which promotes healthy alignment and provides greater arch support. But these aren’t your grandparents’ sandals. The ZX/2 and Z/2 Classic styles are designed for water-based adventures, with a specialized ChacoGrip 3 mm lug performance outsole for no-slip traction even on wet surfaces. The adjustable straps and toe loop also provide an extra secure fit so there’s no risk of your foot sliding around the sandal; just keep in mind that the brand recommends you size down if you’re in between sizes.

Now, these aren’t the most stylish sandals or the ones that you’ll want to wear to a nice dinner, but they’re ideal for more active trips and for weathering the elements. They also come in six vibrant colorways for women and 7 for men, to add a bit of fun to your vacation wardrobe. If you’re willing to spend $105 to keep your feet in good standing, then you’ll reap the benefits from these sandals.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 15 (men’s), 5 - 12 (women’s), no half-sizes
  • Materials: LUVSEAT PU cushioned footbed, ChacoGrip rubber sole, polyester upper
  • Weight: Not listed
  • Colors: 7 (men’s), 6 (women’s)
  • Price on publish: $105.00

The bottom line:

If you’re going to be active and need extra arch support, Chaco ZX/2 and Z/2 Classic Sandals will keep your feet comfortable and secure, even during water adventures.

Get it here: Women: Chaco ZX/2 Classic Sandal Men: Z/2 Classic Sandal


Best travel shoe for hiking: Women: Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low Men: Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low

Best travel shoe for hiking - Women
Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low

Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low

Best travel shoe for hiking - Men
Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low

Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low

More adventurous travelers may spend their vacations exploring new terrains and even mountain ranges, which requires appropriate footwear. For hiking, especially in warmer conditions, I have to recommend the Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low. With an ultra-ventilated knit upper made from 100% recycled polyester (rPET), these shoes offer great breathability even during intense physical activity. The Vibram® Megagrip outsole provides impressive traction for even the most uneven terrains, while the Hubble heel geometry makes it easier to transition from heel-to-toe during hikes.

This is a slimmer, lighter silhouette than other Hoka Anacapa models, but there’s still advanced cushioning thanks to the compression molded EVA midsole. Available in both men’s and women’s styles in an impressively wide size range, these shoes are more expensive than most of the products on this list, but you’re paying for high quality, athletic performance. These aren’t the shoes to wear out to dinner, but they’ll take you all the way to the mountaintop.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 15 (men’s), 5 - 11 (women’s), some half-sizes
  • Materials: 100% rPET knit upper, nubuck leather, PU liner, recycled polyester, rubber
  • Weight: 0.77 pounds (men’s), 0.63 pounds (women’s)
  • Colors: 6 (men’s), 5 (women’s)
  • Price on publish: $155.00

The bottom line:

The Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low combines advanced functionality with enhanced breathability, for greater support and performance when hiking in warmer climates.

Get it here: Women: Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low Men: Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low


Best travel shoe for comfort: Women: New Balance Classics 574 Core Men: New Balance Classics 574 Core

Best travel shoe for comfort - Women
New Balance Classics 574 Core (Nimbus Cloud/White)

New Balance Classics 574 Core (Nimbus Cloud/White)

Best travel shoe for comfort - Men
New Balance Classics 574 Core (Black/White) Men's Shoes

New Balance Classics 574 Core (Black/White) Men's Shoes

A good travel shoe is one that you don’t need to think about all day, because they’re that comfortable and streamlined. The New Balance Classics 574 Core is a classic piece of footwear, featuring a sporty yet compact silhouette and a textured suede and mesh upper. Today, the upper is made from at least 50% recycled materials and the overall shoe is made of 20% recycled materials, in keeping with New Balance’s green leaf standard.

The ENCAP® foam midsole provides enough cushioning for a full day of exploring, without creating too much bulk, and the durable textile lining creates a really comfortable fit. There’s also something reassuring and familiar about this classic New Balance shoe. It’s incredibly size inclusive, offering sizes 4 - 18 in men’s and 5 -12 in women’s, and the available colorways include muted primary colors for every possible wardrobe aesthetic. These aren’t the newest or the trendiest shoes, but they are staples for a reason.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 4 - 18 (men’s), 5 - 12 (women’s), many half-sizes available
  • Materials: 50% recycled suede & mesh upper, ENCAP® foam midsole, rubber outsole
  • Weight: 0.69 pounds (men’s), 0.63 pounds (women’s)
  • Colors: 6 (men’s and women’s)
  • Price on publish: $89.99

The bottom line:

The New Balance Classics 574 Core is a classic piece of footwear that offers just the right amount of cushioning for a day of walking, in a familiar, compact shape that goes with everything.

Get it here: Women: New Balance Classics 574 Core Men: New Balance Classics 574 Core


Best travel shoe for flat feet: Women: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 Men: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Best travel shoe for flat feet - Women
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Best travel shoe for flat feet - Men
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Like high arches, flat feet need specific support and cushioning—but unlike high arches, this usually means a softer support that doesn’t push too hard into the sole of the foot. Flat feet will get the perfect blend of support from the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23, which has been updated with DNA LOFT v2 cushioning for a softer level of support. The built-in GuideRails® technology also ensures a more stable fit within the shoe, which has health benefits for the feet, knees, and the hips. A breathable air mesh upper helps to keep feet cool, while the 3D Fit Print keeps things structured.

Brooks has also ensured that this is a supremely accessible shoe, with the most expansive size range of any product on this list; it includes fit options of medium, narrow, wide, and extra-wide. The athletic look of the footwear fits their function, as they’re principally designed for running, but anyone with a sporty aesthetic will enjoy wearing them more casually or as a walking shoe

. You even have a minimum of 21 vibrant colors to choose from!

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 15 (men’s), 5 - 13 (women’s), some half-sizes available, narrow/wide/x-wide sizes available
  • Materials: 100% synthetic (59.9% recycled materials in the uppers)
  • Weight: 0.63 pounds (men’s), 0.56 pounds (women’s)
  • Colors: 21 (men’s), 23 (women’s)
  • Price on publish: $140.00

The bottom line:

Flat feet need not suffer any more thanks to the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23, which provides enhanced structure and support during athletic activity and beyond, in 21+ colors.

Get it here: Women: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 Men: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23


Best travel shoe for long strolls: Adidas Cloudfoam Pure

Best travel shoe for long strolls
adidas Cloudfoam Pure Sportswear Sneakers, Black/White/Grey, 7.5

adidas Cloudfoam Pure Sportswear Sneakers, Black/White/Grey, 7.5

Maybe you’re not committing to a hike, but you like to wander at length when you’re traveling. If that sounds like you, then look no further than the Adidas Cloudfoam Pure sneaker. Made with the brand’s signature Cloudfoam midsole, these shoes weigh just 4 ounces yet provide substantial cushioning so you can leisurely walk in premium comfort. The uppers have a sock-like fit to better support your foot and are made from at least 50% recycled fabric to uphold Adidas’ commitment to sustainability.

Often, added performance comes in a very athletic-looking package, but the Cloudfoam Pure looks like a casual weekend shoe. The slim silhouette is easy to pair with different kinds of everyday outfits and the 11 colorways include a lot of versatile neutrals, with some fun pops of color. The low weight means you can add them to your duffel bag if there’s a chance of more athletic activity on your travels, but these would also be great shoes to wear throughout the journey too.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 5 - 11 (women’s), some half-sizes
  • Materials: 50% recycled textile upper, Cloudfoam midsole, rubber outsole
  • Weight: 0.25 pounds
  • Colors: 11
  • Price on publish: $75.00

The bottom line:

Make every long stroll feel like walking on a cloud with the Adidas Cloudfoam, which features advanced cushioning and recycled materials in a lightweight package.

Get it here: Adidas Cloudfoam Pure


Best travel shoe for workouts: Women: APL Streamline Sneaker Men: APL Streamline Sneaker

Best travel shoe for workouts - Men
APL Streamline Sneaker

APL Streamline Sneaker

Best travel shoe for workouts - Women
APL Streamline Sneaker

APL Streamline Sneaker

Just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your regular workout routine. If you’re someone who likes to get a run in during your travels, then you should consider the APL Streamline Sneaker. The brand’s most advanced running sneaker utilizes FutureFoam in its midsole and outsole for superior comfort and cushioning in a lightweight package—these shoes weigh under 0.6 pounds. You’ll have to pay a few hundred dollars for these sneakers, but you’ll receive the ultimate in performance, from a slanted shank plate to a breathable AeroLux upper and 3D molded heel padding.

The Streamline features APL’s new 5 mm Soufflé sockliner for a snug fit, as well as an 8 mm drop from heel to forefoot to better position you for running. As a bonus for travel, the futuristic styling looks good both in the gym and on the street, so you can get added wear from your shoes. Take your pick from 50 different colors, then select your fit from a large size range that accommodates both men and women.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 15 (men’s), 5 - 11 (women’s), some half-sizes available
  • Materials: Aerolux upper, FutureFoam midsole, rubber outsole
  • Weight: 0.58 pounds
  • Colors: 50
  • Price on publish: $320.00

The bottom line:

Make every workout on your travels the ultimate athletic experience with the APL Streamline sneaker, which is specially designed for running but also looks modern in 50 different colors.

Get it here: Women: APL Streamline Sneaker Men: APL Streamline Sneaker


Best travel shoe for sweaty feet: Men: Teva Universal Trail Women: Teva Universal Trail

Best travel shoe for sweaty feet - Men
Teva Universal Trail

Teva Universal Trail

Best travel shoe for sweaty feet - Women
Teva Universal Trail

Teva Universal Trail

Traveling to warmer climes can be wonderful, as long as you’re appropriately dressed for the occasion. If you suffer from sweaty feet, then consider bringing the Teva Universal Trail sandals on your next trip. Made with quick-drying materials and a Vibram® MegaGrip outsole, these sandals are designed to handle unexpected moisture and maintain traction. The molded EVA midsole helps to provide suitable support to the foot, while a lining made from Ariaprene creates a softer feel. These are shoes you can comfortably wear all day, whether you’re engaging in a light walk or walking from cafe to bar.

Because of the athletic aesthetic, I wouldn’t recommend wearing these out to a smarter occasion, but they’re great for more active excursions. Teva has even treated each pair of shoes with a peppermint-based anti-odor treatment for greater peace of mind, should your feet get sweaty. While there are no half-sizes available, there is a hook-and-loop closure on each pair which makes them easy to take on and off and even improves the fit.

Specifications:

  • Sizes: 7 - 14 (men’s), 5 - 11 (women’s), no half-sizes available
  • Materials: REPREVE® recycled polyester, molded EVA midsole, Vibram® MegaGrip outsole
  • Weight: 0.66 pounds
  • Colors: 4 (men’s), 2 (women’s)
  • Price on publish: $100.00

The bottom line:

Teva Universal Trail sandals offer powerful traction and quick-drying materials, as well as an anti-odor treatment, so sweaty feet can feel at ease throughout your vacation.

Get it here: Men: Teva Universal Trail Women: Teva Universal Trail


How to maintain and clean travel shoes

Each pair of travel shoes will have a different protocol for cleaning, with some shoes suitable for machine washing and some requiring spot cleaning or hand washing. Make sure to check the label for the correct cleaning instructions. In general, it’s best to remove any laces before you put the shoes in the washing machine. Shoes that are lighter in color may need to be washed more regularly to help preserve the look, but this can also be achieved by wiping down the outer surface with an appropriate cleaner. Similarly, you can wipe down the soles and outsoles of your shoes in between machine washes, so that they’re clean enough to pack in your suitcase. If your footwear gets wet, they should be allowed to dry out thoroughly before you wear them again, even with waterproof shoes, to help preserve the material quality.

How to select the right size for a comfortable fit

As with clothes, most people will have a regular size of shoe they wear but this may vary between brands and even between individual products, depending on the fit of that style. Shoes with greater cushioning and thicker uppers may fit more tightly than slim silhouettes with thinner materials. Similarly, sandal styles may be more forgiving than closed-toe shoes that enclose the whole foot.

It’s also important to consider the sizes available: Some brands may offer half sizes while others may not, so you might need to pick a slightly larger or smaller size than your regular one. For the best fit, follow the recommended sizing advice from the brand as they will often say if you should go up or down a half size for a more comfortable fit. They may also provide size comparison guides, so you can have greater confidence in the fit. Finally, look for extra features like laces or adjustable straps that can provide additional tightening or loosening as needed.

Packing tips for travel shoes

Shoes can take up a lot of space in your suitcase, so we recommend looking for styles that will pack flat and take up the least room. Sandals are another good way to save space. Wear your bulkiest shoes while you travel, although keep in mind that you may need to remove them at the airport during the security screening. If you are packing an extra set of shoes, consider how heavy they are as airlines have a weight limit for your suitcase. If possible, look for lightweight shoes that will allow you to pack more items for your travels—I’ve included several products on this list that weigh under 0.5 lbs. Another tip is to stuff your shoes with soft items like socks or underwear, to help preserve their shape and maximize the space they take up.

If you’re looking for tips and information on other travel products, read our guides on travel pillows, hardside luggage, travel strollers, and carry-on luggage.

How we tested and selected the best travel shoes

Travel looks different for everyone, so I took into account the varying activities and locations travelers can encounter. Still, there were a few key metrics that I assessed all pairs of shoes against, to determine our best picks.

Materials

When traveling, it’s important to have shoes that are breathable, supportive and appropriately weather-proofed for your choice of activity. I considered whether prospective shoes were lightweight, waterproof, made with high-quality materials and suitably cushioned to support feet after a long day of walking. In particular, I looked for practical design choices such as cushioned midsoles, rubber soles with grip traction, breathable knit uppers and quick-drying textiles. If a brand could achieve these results with sustainable ingredients, like with the Allbirds Tree Runners, even better; I know that many of our readers are looking to make more environmentally-friendly purchases where possible.

Design

Travel shoes need to be more versatile than their at-home counterparts, as luggage space often requires that you pack only one or two pairs. Therefore, I measured prospective shoes on how well they would pair with different outfits and whether they would work in different environments from a stylistic perspective, as well as a practical one. Shoes that featured neutral colors and simple silhouettes were favorably viewed, but I also appreciated if there were several colorways to choose from, like with the On Cloud 5, Suavs Zilker and APL Streamline; this makes it easier for shoppers to find the best match for their travel wardrobe.

Fit

While everyone’s feet are different, footwear brands can take steps to improve the fit of their shoes and make them easier to secure. I looked for design closures like adjustable straps, such as on the Birkenstocks Arizona sandal, or laces, which can be used to tighten or loosen the natural fit of the shoe. I also considered whether the brand offers half sizing and additional sizing guidance, so that customers can get the closest possible fit to their natural size. Lastly, I assessed whether there were any additional features, such as the Chaco Z/2 sandal toe loop or the Hoka Anacapa Hubble heel, to help the foot feel more supported during wear.

Experience

I made sure to incorporate my personal, firsthand experience with the footwear, the recommendations and insights of industry experts, and the perspectives of real customers, to create a three-dimensional understanding of these products in action. It was important to only recommend shoes that had been proven to perform consistently over time, in each of my categories.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the best shoe to wear on an airplane?

The best shoe will be one that makes you feel comfortable and supported, but there are a few guidelines that we recommend to follow. Many people prefer to wear a closed-toe shoe, both for hygiene purposes and to keep toes warm on the plane itself, which is often kept at a cooler temperature. TSA protocols ask travelers to remove their shoes during the security screening, so you’ll want to wear a pair that you can easily take on and off, for your own convenience and for the sake of other travelers. While you’ll be sitting on the plane, you may need to walk a long distance through the airport in addition to the travel on either side of the flight itself, so comfortable shoes are a must. Lastly, it’s often a good idea to wear your bulkiest, heaviest shoes on the flight, so that you can free up more baggage space for other items; it’s better to pack your sandals and wear your big hiking boots than the other way around.

What shoes should I wear when traveling?

This will depend on what kind of trip you’re taking. If you’re going to be mostly spending time around the water and the beach, you’ll want shoes that are waterproof or water-resistant for greater peace of mind. You might even want to take some flip flops.

If you’re an adventurous type that wants to explore nature, it’ll be important to bring shoes that can support you during athletic activity and potentially uneven terrain. Hotter climates will increase the need for lightweight, breathable footwear, while city breaks might call for a more stylish shoe that you can wear out to dinner. Comfort and versatility is always important, which is why every shoe on this list has been vetted for that.

What are the best shoes for long distance travel?

For trips further afield, foot comfort and support will be even more important. You’ll be wearing these shoes for longer periods of time and likely in different conditions, so you’ll want to wear versatile shoes that fit perfectly. I find that most people prefer closed-toe shoes for greater protection and warmth.

I also recommend choosing shoes with sufficient underfoot cushioning, in case you end up delayed or on your feet for longer than expected. During a long day of traveling, the aesthetics of your footwear are probably not the biggest priority, but it’s best to pick shoes that you’ll also want to wear during the rest of your trip, to make the most out of your limited packing capacity.

How can you tell if a shoe has good arch support?

Good arch support will help your feet feel comfortable throughout the day, but it can be hard to tell simply from looking at a shoe if it will give you the support you need. Many of the shoes on this list have been certified by podiatrists and doctors for their foot health support, while others have arch support called out as a key feature of that particular style. However, you can also test the shoe yourself to assess its level of support, without needing to wear it all day and learn the hard way. One method is to try and fold the shoe in half; the sturdier the center of the shoe is and the less it bends, the more support it will give your arches. Movement in the toe area is fine, as you only want to assess the middle of the shoe where your arches will lie. Another test is to hold the toe and the heel with each hand and try to twist them in different directions. If the middle of the shoe easily twists up, then it is too flexible and likely won’t give you much support.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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