You’ve done the research for the trip of a lifetime—or just a month—but while we love to focus on what travel backpack to carry and what places to explore, it’s easy to forget to focus on what takes us along the way: our feet! You’re not likely to spend your trip on the couch binge-watching Netflix, so finding the most comfortable walking shoes to support your feet during a full day of exploration is essential.
Here at Pack Hacker, we like minimalist travel shoes that are lightweight and easy to pack for your next vacation. Footwear with a wider toe box (or no toe box at all in the case of sandals) feels better after an epic hike or long travel day when your feet start to swell, and zero-drop soles help with balance and posture while taking weight off the more fragile parts of your foot. They’re not for everyone, though, so we’ve included more supportive options on this list, as well. Whichever works for you, it’s usually best to break things in before you hit the road. We wouldn’t want a blister to come between you and the perfect vacation!
So whether you’re looking for a shoe that will fit in at the Sistine Chapel or one to run the perimeter of the Grand Canyon, we’ve got the best travel shoe for you. Let’s dig in.
- Allbirds Wool Runners
- Xero Shoes Prio
- Skechers GOwalk 4 Travel Shoes
- Teva Hurricane XLT2
- On Cloudvista
- Vivobarefoot Gobi III
- Vessi Cityscape
- Lems Chillum
- Chaco Townes Sandal
- Vessi Weekend
- Earth Runners Elemental Sandals
- Rothy's The Sneaker
- BIRKENSTOCK Arizona Essentials EVA
- OAKA The Derby
- Tieks Ballet Flats
- Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018
- New Balance STAUD XC-72
- Sperry Men’s Authentic Original Boat Shoe
- Clarks Women’s Breeze Sea
- Dockers Men’s Fisherman Sandal
- Tropicfeel Monsoon Sneakers
- Greys The Outdoor Slipper
- Lems Mesa
- Allbirds Wool Loungers
- Vivobarefoot Ra III
- VEJA Men’s Condor 2 Road-Running Shoes
Best: Sockless shoe
Wanting to feel like you're walking on air all day long is for the birds—Allbirds, that is. Whether waiting in line for Space Mountain or trekking to the Trevi Fountain, you’ll appreciate Allbirds Wool Runners' comfortable sole that conforms to the flexibility of your foot.
We recommend Merino wool travel gear for many reasons, including its being naturally antimicrobial. Since Allbirds uses it for these shoes, you can rock the sockless look without worrying about them stinking up your luggage when you repack for the trip home.
While you could just raid your gym bag for comfortable walking shoes, we prefer a more streamlined look when considering the best shoes for travel. The Allbirds Wool Runners have a more trendy style and will complement the various pieces in your capsule wardrobe. And, bonus, you'll save space by leaving your socks home!
Best: Vegan friendly
The best travel shoes are ones you reach for every day of your trip. When you’re looking for a minimalist shoe to take you through the morning trip to the cafe, a day spent exploring museums and the local park, and that still looks good when you hit the pub for some local flavor, the Xero Shoes Prio are good to grab.
These are an excellent choice for vegan world travelers since Xero uses 100% vegan-friendly products, including rubber, canvas, and microfiber. They don't skimp on comfort and durability, either. You barely feel like you're wearing shoes when you have them on, yet there is a 5,000-mile warranty on the soles. Xero says if they've worn down to a 1 mm thickness on the outsoles at the heel or ball of your foot within that time, you can get a new pair for 60% off.
Unlike many other comfortable walking shoes, these compress to fit easily in your daypack. You can even roll them up, though we don’t recommend leaving them that way as it may put an undue strain on the materials. They're lightweight, too (between 6.4 and 7.6 ounces each, depending on your size), so they won't add much to your baggage limit.
Best for: Frugal Travelers
Best: Versatile travel shoe
You may read the word “Skechers” and think, “that’s not for me.” Bear with us, though, because the Skechers GOwalk4 Travel Shoes are not the clunky designs you remember from the early aughts. These lightweight loafers have a slimmer look you can wear with pants, shorts, skirts, and casual dresses, making packing for one-bag travel a breeze. And if loafers aren’t your thing, they’re available in eight different versions for maximum versatility, including lace-up styles.
While you can sport no-show socks with these, the bamboo-lined inner sole resists odors, so you can opt to go sockless, too. Skechers improved the water resistance of these comfortable walking shoes from the prior version, so you're set for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
These may be the best shoes for your travels, thanks to the Goga Pillars (pillars on the bottom of the shoe that cushion any hard impacts) and responsive midsole cushioning that will put a spring in every step you take. At just over 5 ounces each, they won’t weigh down your bag, so you don’t have to fear the scale when you check in for your flight. If you do go over, have a look—the soles are prone to picking up rocks, so you may be able to ditch a few ounces if you spy any hiding under your feet.
Best: Hiking sandal
Feel the air on your feet as you traverse the trails and woods of the world with these travel shoes from Teva. The sturdy EVA footbed will take on all-day adventures, and you can adjust the straps to get the right fit. This version of the iconic Hurricane has soft padding on the heel strap to prevent rubbing and blisters, and the updated sole has even better traction than before, so you can grip the ground as you climb the forest floor or the pyramid steps.
They’re environmentally friendly, too: the fast-drying webbing is made with recycled plastic, saving four plastic bottles from landfills. Teva will also keep them out of the trash when you’re ready for an upgrade—the TevaForever recycling program accepts any style of your well-loved Teva travel shoes to save them from the dump.
Best: Trail running shoes
You’re running on clouds, not trails, when you pack the On Cloudvistas for your next trip. There’s no need to sacrifice speed workouts for sightseeing when you pack these, as they’re some of the lightest trail running shoes for travel. The Superfoam will keep you comfortable while keeping a grip on the ground—nothing will ruin a vacation like a sprained ankle from a slip, after all. But don’t worry about splashing through the mud. These best travel shoes have a TPU mudguard for easy cleaning, so you can repack them without worrying about spreading dirt through the rest of your pack.
Opt for On’s Cloudvista to be comfortable as you wander the world, though the Swiss-cheese-sole style isn’t for everyone or every situation. Bear in mind that these run a little small, so you may want to order a half size larger than usual to ensure these will be the best travel shoes for you.
Best: Barefoot boot
Tossing boots, dress shoes, and tennis shoes in your pack takes up a lot of room in your bag. Luckily, the Vivobarefoot Gobi III may be the best travel shoe for you, since its minimalist boot-like look complements plenty of styles. The Gobi III desert boots strike a balance between urban and rural fashion so you can pack just one pair of shoes for your business meeting and your after-work stroll—you can wear these for the entire trip!
They're made primarily of biodegradable Portuguese leather, with the remainder of the shoe made from other renewable natural materials like organic cotton and an insole made from sugar cane. They take a little getting used to, but they’ll soon become the most comfortable walking shoes you own. The cork insole is very slim and flexible, and it helps ease the transition to barefoot soles. Don't be surprised if once you turn minimalist, you don't want to go back; we love feeling grounded as we do with Vivobarefoot.
Best: Slip-on sneaker
Set it and forget it with the Vessi Cityscape. We streamline the travel process whenever possible, and the stretch knit upper of the Cityscape lets us lace these comfortable walking shoes up once, then slip them on and off with ease at the airport or Airbnb. These shoes are the best for travel because they have a lightweight but grippy sole and extremely-supportive molded insoles.
They’ve got an urban look and feel that’s just as stylish in the beer garden as they are at the Met. They’re waterproof, too—it's built right into the knit fabric so your feet are protected from winter slush and spring rains. Its breathable, though, so your feet won't sweat. If they start developing unsavory aromas, slip the built-in anti-odor layer out for washing to be a good travel companion. You don't want your hotel room to smell like a locker.
Best: Comfortable walking shoes
Diving into the world of barefoot shoes can be jarring for first-time users. The good news is that the Lems Chillum is a good entry point for those who want to try out the style. The pair's relatively thick soles make them comfortable walking shoes while still delivering that barefoot sensation. They're also easy to pack thanks to their lightweight and flexible construction. And, because of its clean style, it also doesn't look radically different from regular shoes if you want to blend in more naturally.
That said, if you're looking for the (nearly) full barefoot shoe experience, then the Chillum probably isn't for you. The thick soles also have a zero drop design that is uniform and level from heel to toe. In other words, while the Chillum is a beginner-friendly pick, it may not satisfy enthusiasts.
Best: Day-to-night travel sandals
Sometimes you want to take your travel shoe style up a notch. You can with the Townes, a sleek sandal that adapts to many situations. The leather construction is comfortable when you detour onto a dusty trail to take in the views of a national park or the sights of the river walk.
They look just as nice with jeans as with dresses, and we appreciate the duality when looking for the best sandals for one-bag travel. You can slip these on at home, get through security and your flight, and then hit the ground running to take in all the sights when you reach your destination, all without switching shoes (though we’d opt for the socks and sandals look before walking barefoot at the airport).
The full-grain leather Chaco Townes is available in a few different designs topped with a metal buckle. Choose from neutral colorways knowing you’ll have comfortable walking shoes, thanks to the cushy footbed that cradles your feet with substantial arch support.
Best: Easy on and off
What makes the Vessi Weekend the best travel shoes is their easy use. Even with the lace-up tennis shoe design, they can be slipped on quickly when you need to rush out the door—great for making it on time for your flight and removing them at TSA without holding up the line. They also have a surprisingly breathable waterproof design and a soft footbed that won't leave you sore after a long day of touring the city.
Watch out for dirt, though. The Weekend's fabric is fairly susceptible to soot and mud and may catch some blemishes as you walk down the sidewalk. We dig the light colorways, but it's a shame whenever it gets marked up. That said, it's no harder to clean than other casual shoes.
Best: Minimalist sandal
When Pack Hacker team members dream about the best sandal for travel, this is the footwear we’re wearing. Seriously, though, the Earth Runners Elemental Sandal is a packer’s dream: they’re extremely thin (8 mm!), lightweight, and flexible. You can run in them or stroll down the beach without that slapping noise you get with flip-flops. We recommend just walking in the rain, though the bottom tread provides excellent traction otherwise. While the style isn’t for everyone, we like to sport the natural look at times.
What sets these apart from other best travel shoes is how form-fitting they are. Watch our review video to learn how to tie them so they perfectly conform to your feet, and once you break them in, you won’t even notice they’re there. We want you to focus on that once-in-a-lifetime sunset or the friends you’re on safari with, after all—not your shoes. The best travel shoes blend into the background, so you don’t feel your feet after a day spent standing on them, and these fit the bill.
Best: Eco-friendly travel shoe
We love exploring the world, so we like to be kind to Mother Earth. These travel shoes from Rothy’s check that mark—they spin their signature thread from recycled plastic, and about 13 bottles are kept from landfills with each pair of these sneakers. The company is working to be LEED- and TRUE-certified by using green building practices and getting down to zero waste.
Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort or style, either. These comfortable walking shoes slip on for easy traveling—just pop them off and on as you wend your way through TSA. Pick from a variety of classic and seasonal colorways and patterns—from solid navy or white to leopard—and pop them in the washing machine when needed. The shoe fits true to size for most, though you should size up if you like to pair them with no-show socks—they don’t stretch over time.
Best for: Relaxed Travelers
Best: Beach sandals
BIRKENSTOCKS aren’t typically what we reach for when combing the beach, but since the Arizona Essentials are made with EVA instead of cork and leather, we feel free to dash into the waves to rescue the Frisbee without fear of ruining them.
Let the jokes about “BIRKEN-Crocs” fly, but these are lightweight, waterproof travel shoes that still rock the contoured footbed we love in our #birkies. Depending on the colorway you’re sporting, they can resemble leather, and the sides of the soles have a textured look that mimics a traditional pair. The adjustable straps allow us to find the perfect fit, and the bold colorway options let us sport our style (minimalist black!).They’re rugged enough to hold up to short hikes or walks around the campground. After you’re done climbing the dunes, just rinse the sand off—they’ll be clean and dry in no time.
Best for: Professional Travelers
Best: Men’s dress shoe
Sometimes your travels call for something that looks a little nicer. Enter The Derby from OAKA. This minimalist dress shoe looks like footwear that would fit in the boardroom or the ballroom, but it can fold in half for easy packing.
The zero-drop sole allows your natural gait to shine, though there’s a faux heel for that dress-shoe style. Unique cutouts enable your foot to stay close to the ground, with a soft and flexible sole that doesn't look like a sneaker from the side. Choose from Ash Gray or Ink Black, depending on your style, then slip them on for fancy dress night on your cruise. Or pack both. You’ll have room, after all.
Whether it starts sprinkling as you stroll the cobblestone streets of Rome or you get splashed along San Antonio's River Walk, the faux heel cutouts drain water out of the sole, preventing the hydroplaning effect of other dress shoes. And if you happen to step in something unsavory along the way, don’t worry—these best travel shoes are machine washable.
Best: Women’s dress shoe
A little black dress can fit the bill for nearly every occasion, so why not a little black shoe? Tieks has taken this closet staple and turned it into the best shoe for travel with a split sole that allows the ballet slippers to fold in half, with the toe tucking into the heel to fit easily in your carry-on bag. The soles are non-skid and have a cushioned instep to keep you comfortable throughout the day and into the night, and the padded back protects against rubbing.
While we’re recommending the black for versatility, they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns if monochrome isn’t your thing—all with the same bright teal sole. The full-grain Italian leather develops a patina over time, and the simple design looks just as well with lululemon leggings as with a flowy dress, so these best travel shoes will have you set from day to night.
Best: Vacation running shoes
You may be on vacation, but training waits for no one. What to do? Pack a running shoe that’s the best for travel with its collapsible upper, of course.
The Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018 is good for getting in shorter runs, and its sock-like, barefoot design is easy to fit in your tote or backpack for that last-minute trip to Chicago. At 7 ounces, they weigh less than many other running shoes, though you don’t have to sacrific performance. The rounded heel rolls with the ground as you stride, providing support in a lightweight option.
Lace them up and live like a local, running along Lake Michigan and seeing the pleasure boaters, water taxis, and more while you get in your morning exercise. The soft, lightweight sole mimics your foot’s natural movement by expanding and contracting with every landing and push-off, so you’ll still have a spring in your step when it’s time to hit Navy Pier and the Field Museum.
Best: Heritage design
A trip to Surf City, U.S.A., calls for travel shoes to match. Throw in a dash of the Motor City, and you’ve got the new collab between New Balance and STAUD, the XC-72. These heritage shoes mash experimental car design with surfer fashion from the 1980s and 90s to create a comfortable walking shoe.
Concept cars inspired the squared toe, and the suede overlays, leather accents, and patented New Balance logo give these a heritage look you can rock anywhere you travel. Opt for the neutral colorway to complement nearly any style or stand out from the crowd with the blue, which features pops of poppy and maize—shades inspired by sun and sand. No matter what, leave your mark on the world with fun tread designs in the sand. The pattern of pyramids and dots carries onto the toe box, and the geometric designs set these apart from other best travel shoes.
Best: Boat shoe
Be the captain of your adventure when you slip on Sperry travel shoes. These are the original boat shoe, and they stand the test of time, getting more comfortable with each wear. The hand-sewn full-grain leather moccasins mold to fit your feet like a comfy pair of slippers. Lace them up to get the perfect fit, and they also go on and off with ease, smoothing the path through security.
Luckily, you'll look stylish in one of several neutral colorways, which pair well with jeans, shorts, and skirts. The whole family can get set in Sperry and stay comfortable walking for hours staring at new sights, thanks to the Ortholite cushioning. Then take an evening stroll along the boardwalk and salute the Skipper—you'll feel right at home.
Best: Support for bad feet
The high-density foam and EVA midsole Clarks uses in its Breeze Sea sandals make you feel like you’re walking on a cloud—we think that’s why they call them Cloudsteppers. What’s in a name, though? A rose is still a rose, and these sandals have a supportive, softly-lined Ortholite footbed to cushion your soles throughout your travel adventures. Clarks built its brand on designing shoes for those with foot problems, and these sandals are no exception. They’re travel shoes that will keep you going throughout the day, whether at the beach, the farmer’s market, or the museum, so you don’t have aching arches by dinnertime.
They tend to run a little big, although there’s a hook-and-loop closure so you can find the perfect fit. Choose from a rainbow of colors to match every outfit and occasion, including some fun metallic options, to be set for wherever the breeze blows you.
Best: Supportive sandal
Although some footwear needs a break-in period, the Dockers Men’s Fisherman Sandal is a great shoe for travel because it’s comfortable right out of the box. So, there’s no problem when you realize the warmer weather calls for something a little less formal on your feet as you prepare to leave.
These durable sandals will last for trips to come, and you’ll be glad they do—the memory foam insole shapes to your foot and a Fusion Footbed adds an extra layer of cushioning support. The hook-and-loop fasteners help you find a perfect fit, so you can adjust them throughout the day if your feet expand after exploring the shoreline. They’re comfortable walking shoes that look great on that sunset dinner cruise, too. Since you won’t need to get off your feet, you can have your camera ready to get the perfect shot.
Best: Water shoe
Climbing Dunn River Falls is an iconic excursion in Jamaica, but there’s nothing more creepy than renting swim shoes from a stand by the side of the road. Plan ahead and pack your Tropicfeel Monsoon Sneakers since these are water-resistant travel shoes you can wear on land or in the sea.
They’re super lightweight and packable, which is why they made it on our Vacation Packing List, and the breathable mesh and built-in drainage holes make them a no-brainer for dashing into the waves. Tropicfeel has sped up the process of tying your shoes with sprint laces, although there’s a learning curve: if the knots are tight, the laces can stick out, but when we move the knots to the end, the shoes can get a little loose. Play around to find what works for you, and then find the nearest waterfall to climb on your next adventure.
Best: Travel slipper
On a long-haul flight, we want to lay back and relax like we’re on the couch at home to help the hours speed past. Get that couch-potato feel, without the slouchy look, with The Outdoor Slipper from Greys. They are the perfect travel shoe if you’re focused on comfort because the wool blend is soft and won’t cause your feet to overheat, and the sole and reinforced toe box make them sturdy enough to wear outside without the fear of slipping you get in plush-bottomed slippers.
Yes, these are slippers, but they’ve got a sleek look you won’t be embarrassed to be seen in, thanks to the fact that they have full coverage on the heel. You don't want anyone to see that hole you're hiding in your favorite socks, after all. They’re odor-resistant, too, for the comfort of your travel companions. Once you reach your destination, switch them out or keep them on—we won’t judge your travel shoe choice!
Best: For rugged adventures
When you're looking for a travel shoe that can conquer cobblestone streets, climb mountains and run a 10K race, look no further than the Lems Mesa. Oh, and did we mention it's also great for exploring new places and taking you from gate to gate at the airport?
While they give off an athletic shoe vibe, it's still a pretty nice aesthetic, provided you're not trying to make a business presentation. The exterior of the vegan shoes is lightweight, breathable, and fast-drying knit mesh, so wearing these shoes feels a lot like wearing socks. And since they dry so quickly, you don't have to worry about repacking them after a sudden downpour or if you end up with sweatier-than-usual feet after a day of walking around a new city.
The EVA midsole and molded PU footbed are comfortable enough to do that, though, and the outsole is a textured rubber that grips most surfaces out there, from concrete to gravel to dirt. Even so, you can fold these puppies in half to squeeze them into your travel backpack. While we wouldn't recommend doing so for long because it can strain the materials, their compressibility helps check all the boxes of a good travel shoe.
Best: Environmentally-conscious shoe
If you're looking for a lightweight and flexible shoe and have your eye on being eco-conscious, look no further than the Allbirds Wool Loungers. These slipper-like shoes are simple, minimalistic, and oh-so-comfortable. While they don't shine in desert-like heat or arctic cold, they work well for everything in between, like when you're planning to hit every museum in the city and don't want to have to soak your feet at the end of the day.
The Loungers are 17.5-micron ZQ-certified Merino wool, and they're pretty darn soft because of it. Add to that the castor-bean-oil insoles and a SweetFoam sole made from Brazilian sugarcane, and you've got yourself a pretty responsible product. Allbirds is also a certified B-corp, which means they are legally required to "consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment," and it's carbon neutral as certified by Climate Neutral—Nice!
The Wool Loungers could be better at odor and moisture resistance, but luckily, you can toss them in the wash to freshen them up! Along with cleaning out the funk from your feet, they'll be just as clean as when you first pulled them out of the box, unlike your trusty running shoes with every spec of dirt, dust, and debris hanging on like a badge of honor. So if you're looking for shoes that are easy to pack, extremely comfortable, and good for the environment, the Wool Loungers are worth considering.
Best for: Full-time Travelers
Best: Barefoot everyday shoe
When you’re looking for an everyday shoe that doesn’t sacrifice minimalist form for design, we dig the aesthetics of the Vivobarefoot Ra III. We like that barefoot shoes like the Ra III easily compress to fit inside limited bag space, and these shoes look nice enough to wear just about anywhere, whether you’re taking in local museums and markets or getting a little fancier for dinner out.
The Oxford-style lace-up shoe is made with Wild Hide leather, a naturally scarred leather of free-roaming cattle raised by small-scale farmers in Ethiopia. While this makes us feel good from an ethical-sourcing standpoint, we also like that the flexible and breathable shoes will continue looking as good as the day we got them because we plan to take them on trips for years. While the low-top design isn’t as good for protecting your ankles on motorbikes, the packability is a worthy trade-off. And hey, bringing these shoes along on your next trip means you can save space on socks, too.
Best for: Sustainable Travelers
Best: To complement a variety of styles
With Alveomesh uppers that are light and breathable and an inner sock construction for comfort, the VEJA Condor 2 Road-Running Shoes are a supportive shoe that’s pretty easy to keep clean. VEJA uses vegan and sustainable materials throughout its product line, and while some models are sportier, we think these shoes pair well with casual attire and slightly dressier clothing. That makes them a good choice for your capsule wardrobe, provided you’re not planning to travel to a wedding or another more formal event.
More than half the materials used in the shoes are recycled or bio-based, like the uppers, linings, and laces, which come from recycled plastic bottles. The outsoles are 30% Amazonian rubber that’s naturally sticky, so you won’t slip on the trail or a wet sidewalk. And if you want to work out on your trip, these will be great travel companions.
There you have it—the best travel shoes for any situation, whether you’re traveling by road, by air, or by sea to take a trip around the world or around the corner. Check out our website for full reviews on some of this footwear and other great travel clothing and accessories, and start planning your next vacation.