A pair of travel shoes can make or break a day of traveling and exploring in a new place. With long hours spent on planes and trains or sightseeing and exploring, it’s often your feet that take the most brutal hit.
That’s why it’s critical to choose the right pair of travel shoes. It’s important to have a pair of kicks that are not only comfortable, but functional, stylish and affordable to boot (pun intended).
For those traveling away from home, particularly on an airplane, luggage space is often very limited, making the right travel shoes that much more important. You need something versatile that you can wear in many situations, and if you plan on packing them, every ounce and inch counts.
So, how do you choose the right pair of travel shoes that fit all the right criteria?
If you’re wondering what to look out for on your hunt for the right travel shoes, read on. I’ve worn them all, and in this post, I’ll cover some of the best pairs of travel shoes for both men and women.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to choose the best pair for your needs.
Best Travel Shoes of 2021
- Best Overall Travel Shoes: Tropicfeel Canyon Shoes
- Best Everyday Travel Shoes: Vessi Everyday Sneakers
- Most Stylish Travel Shoes: Allbirds Tree Dashers
- Most Comfortable Travel Shoes: Deckers x Lab X-Scape
- Most Eco-Friendly Travel Shoes: 8000kicks Explorer V2
Best Overall Travel Shoes
The Tropicfeel Canyon shoes provide a versatile choice for the traveler on the go and come in a range of different stylish colors. These include black, grey, green, yellow, and blue options for both men and women.
While the sneakers aren’t entirely waterproof, they are quick-drying for use in wet conditions and are suitable for walking, hiking, and everyday use. If you do get your shoes wet, at least you know they won’t be wet for long.
The sleek design of the Tropicfeel Canyon Shoes makes these a fashionable choice for the day-to-day. Added features like quick-drying technology ramp up functionality, too. Essentially, you get all the technical benefits of hiking shoes on top of the comfort of sports shoes.
Made with sustainably sourced materials, each pair of Tropicfeel Canyon sneakers uses eight recycled plastic bottles in the production process. Sustainability is one of the brand’s leading design principles. So, these are a good choice for the eco-conscious traveler who wants to support brands aligned with their own principles of sustainability.
The shoes come with something called an Agion treatment. This is a life-long treatment that prevents odor and funk, keeping your shoes fresh after a long, sweaty day. This is an excellent feature if you prefer to wear your shoes without socks. Plus, the sneakers are slip-on to make getting ready for the day that much easier.
I love that the Tropicfeel Canyon shoes have sprint laces with a shoe-tightening mechanism. The mechanism will help wearers adjust the sizing accordingly to get the perfect fit and keep the shoes’ tongues from slipping out of place. The insoles also come with a layer of non-slip rubber, which should help give wearers decent grip on any slippery terrains.
- Agion treatment for durability and to minimize odor from stinky feet
- Made with sustainable materials and ethically conscious production methods
- Lightweight for long-distance travel
- Breathable to keep your feet cool on hot days
- Shoe-tightening mechanism keeps the shoes’ tongues from slipping
- Not ideal for cold weather or damp conditions
- May take a few wears to break the shoes in fully before they feel comfortable
- Not 100% waterproof
Tropicfeel Canyon Shoes Specs:
|Material:||Recycled polyester and recycled EVA|
Best Everyday Travel Shoes
The Vessi Everyday sneakers are the best walking shoes for travel if you’re looking for shoes that can do it all. These sneakers are super versatile and can easily be your go-to shoe for trips that involve a little bit of everything: hiking, walking, camping, you name it.
The Vessi Everyday sneakers are made from breathable knit fabric to keep you cool. One major bonus is that the material is 100% waterproof, too. I love that the waterproofing comes from the fabric itself instead of a coating, as waterproof coatings tend to wash off over the years.
The herringbone grip on the sole will keep you grounded and keep you from slipping on smooth surfaces like river rocks. The knit is also warm enough to keep your toes from getting too cold if you plan to be in cold conditions.
I love that Vessi sneakers come with antibacterial insoles. Insoles are a fantastic addition in general because they provide additional comfort. But these insoles also come with a built-in anti-odor layer to keep your shoes smelling fresh even after getting damp and sweaty on a long day out walking or exercising.
The insoles also mold and contour to your feet for added comfort, and you can remove them quickly and pop them in the washing machine when need be.
Vegan buyers will be glad to know that the Vessi Everyday Sneakers are made entirely from vegan materials. Vessi even uses water-based adhesives rather than chemicals, which is undoubtedly a plus where the environment is concerned.
These shoes stand out as an amazing, comfortable, and vegan option for the eco-minded buyer. If you’re expecting to meet wet conditions, you should have no problem parting with your dollars for these everyday sneakers.
Click here for my full Vessi shoes review.
- Antibacterial insoles to reduce odor, sweat, and funk on hot days or after a long workout
- Machine washable insoles are comfortable and lightweight
- Ultra-lightweight soles with herringbone grip to keep you from slipping on smooth surfaces
- 100% waterproof to wear in damp or wet conditions
- Made from vegan materials; 100% animal-free
Vessi Everyday Sneakers Specs:
|Material:||Dyma-tex, a patented knit fabric|
|Weight:||Ultra-lightweight (Exact weight not listed)|
Most Stylish Travel Shoes
The Allbirds Tree Dashers are technically running shoes. But, for travelers on the move, all of the features that make these kicks great for long-distance runs also transfer to sightseeing for long hours. The shoes were engineered for performance, but they also make stylish walking shoes for travel. With sneakers being so fashionable these days, the Tree Dashers could easily be a part of your everyday wardrobe, too.
The Tree Dashers come with a removable sock liner contoured to your feet for your comfort. They also add flexibility and arch support to the already comfy shoes. The liners will keep your arches from aching after a long day and reduce your chances of suffering from lower back pain.
The natural materials are also cool and breathable, helping minimize odor, sweat, and funk after long hours of wear. The fact that these shoes are machine washable is also a big bonus if you don’t have the time to get them cleaned or scrub them yourself. You can simply chuck them in the wash on a short cycle, and you’re good to go.
When it comes to sustainability, Allbirds have made every effort to be eco-conscious in making the Tree Dashers. The uppers are made from FSC Certified material made from eucalyptus trees, and the midsoles are made with the world’s first carbon-negative EVA.
For those who aren’t familiar, FSC certification means that the trees used in the making of the materials come from a forest managed under strict environmental standards. This is to ensure the production doesn’t support any deforestation efforts that could harm the environment. EVA is a rubber-like, elastomeric polymer material, and carbon-negative EVA is essentially the recyclable version of that material.
These shoes are also lightweight, which means they won’t put too much of a dent in your limited luggage space for overseas travel. In my opinion, the Tree Dashers rank highly in terms of ethical production, stylishness, and comfort. However, they are neither waterproof nor cheap.
- Breathable fabric helps to minimize odor
- Dual-density midsoles
- Durable and breathable material to keep your feet cool
- Machine washable and easy to clean
- Lightweight and flexible
- Decent grip but can be slippery on wet surfaces
Allbirds Tree Dashers Specs:
|Material:||Nubuck leather and looped wool|
Most Comfortable Travel Shoes
The Deckers x Lab X-Scape NBK Low are by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. To top it off, they’re also pretty darn stylish. That means you can easily get away with wearing the X-Scape’s on a day hike, out with friends or in a museum. They also make for amazing walking shoes if you’re doing a lot of sightseeing.
The built-in internal brace supports helps keep you stabilized on long walks and give your ankles the support they need. People with lower back pain will know how critical arch support is when it comes to getting the right pair of travel shoes. If you suffer from this problem, consider the X-Scapes to reduce those uncomfortable back pangs. The soles are also high-abrasion, making them ideal for a long-lasting pair of shoes that will stand the test of time.
The X-Scape NBK Low shoes are a really good option for the socially conscious, in particular. Deckers x Lab worked on the shoes in collaboration with an initiative called the HERproject, which aims to empower and educate women in the workforce. This initiative helps give employment to women in the supply chain, which is a lot more than most shoe brands can say.
If you only have space for one pair of shoes in your luggage, keep in mind that these thick-soled kicks are neither lightweight nor waterproof (just water repellant). While they are the most fashionable choice for women, in our opinion, you may want to go with something more versatile if you’re doing more than sightseeing on your vacation. That said, smaller sizes will weigh less than larger ones, so you could get away with it if you have small feet.
That being said, you probably won’t even need to pack these. Just wear them on the plane and every day after that!
Deckers x Lab also drops new styles all the time, which means almost every pair is a limited edition! Keep your eyes peeled for the latest and greatest.
- Comes in a range of stylish colors
- Ethically made
- EcoTan nubuck leather upper to regulate your temperature
- High abrasion rubber soles to resist wear and tear
- Internal brace support to help with ankle, arch, and back pain
- Thick soles may not suit everyone’s taste
Deckers x Lab X-Scape NBK Low Specs:
|Material:||Hemp soles, weed uppers, and algae bottoms|
|Weight:||Lightweight (Exact weight not listed)|
Most Eco-Friendly Travel Shoes
The 8000kicks Explorer V2s are the world’s first waterproof hemp shoes, making them a good choice to wear in cold, damp conditions with lots of rain. Besides the functionality of these kicks, they also have a minimalist design that is sleek and stylish. You could easily wear these out on a day trip with friends, as they look just as good as casual wear shoes.
What’s so good about hemp is that it’s a fabric that helps regulate temperature. By using hemp in the insoles and the uppers, the 8000kicks help keep your feet cool on hot days and warm on cold days.
The bottoms are also made of durable algae fibers, making them long-lasting and wear-resistant. By using algae in their production, 8000kicks have helped in the global effort to remove harmful algae from the ocean. If you’re looking for an ethically conscious brand of shoe, then 8000kicks is for you.
As mentioned, hemp is water-repellant. 8000kicks went the extra mile with a dust-proof coating on the fabric, which means these shoes are very easy to clean. What could be more convenient than shoes that don’t get wet or dirty easily?
The V2s are also exceptionally comfortable thanks to the soft hemp fabric, and you can endure long days on your feet thanks to the soft insoles.
The 8000Kicks Explorer V2s are antimicrobial and antibacterial, meaning minimal odor and funk even on your sweatiest adventures. That also means cleaning your shoes less often than you would have to with other sneakers.
- Sleek, versatile design
- Ethically made
- Helps to regulate temperature
- Only one style available
8000kicks Explorer V2 Specs:
|Material:||Hemp soles, weed uppers, and algae bottoms|
|Weight:||Lightweight (Exact weight not listed)|
Travel Shoes Buyers Guide
Travel shoes are an essential and non-negotiable part of your travel gear with very high stakes. Whichever pair of travel shoes you choose, they need to protect you against the elements, keep your feet comfortable, offer decent support and breathability, and last you for many travel excursions to come.
Every traveler wants something different out of their travel shoes, depending on the type of travel they’re planning and their personal preferences. While some travelers look for a basic everyday sneaker they can walk in, others focus on training shoes they can use for walking, hitting the gym, and hiking alike. Throw in different weather conditions, and you’ve got an entirely new set of needs to cater to.
Some travelers may insist on waterproof, water-resistant, or quick-drying shoes, while others prioritize stylishness and versatility instead. By focusing on the buying points below, you can make the decision-making process that much easier on yourself and become a pro at finding the proper kicks for your specific set of buying criteria.
Read on for a comprehensive buyer’s guide to finding the right pair of travel shoes for men or women.
Comfortability is without a doubt one of the most important decision-making factors when it comes to buying the best sneakers or shoes for travel. Look out for molded insoles that will give you added arch support, as well as the right incline for you. Some people prefer a flat-form design, while others like a raised heel with a sloping sole.
Heel cups, removable inserts, and removable insoles are also a big bonus if you struggle with sore ankles, lower back pain, or aching arches. This is especially true of people with low arches or flat feet.
One thing people often forget to look up is the narrowness of the fit. If you have pretty broad or wide feet, be sure to check if the shoes you’re planning on buying have a narrow fit. Getting too narrow a shoe can lead to foot pain and back pain. It’s always a good idea to compare the measurements of the shoes with your own favorite pair before making any decisions on which shoes to buy.
Also, read the reviews left by past buyers on the product page of your prospective shoes. Customer reviews are usually unbiased and honest and provide a great resource for information on fit, comfort, and wear and tear.
Style is a matter of personal taste, naturally, but there’s a lot to consider when buying the right style of travel shoes for your needs. If you go for a sneaker design, you may be short-changing yourself on aspects of functionality, as these styles tend to be more focused on aesthetic value than a particular function or need. That said, every pair of shoes is entirely different, so read the product descriptions carefully before you make any purchase decisions.
Cross-training and running shoes are generally good styles to check out, as these shoes focus on comfort, performance, breathability, and speed. You may not be going for any long runs when you’re traveling, but comfort is a bonus no matter what the situation is. Running shoes also tend to come with a host of incredible features (more on that later), making them ideal for a good pair of travel shoes.
Color is also a factor when choosing the right style for you, particularly if you’re going for fashion. If you don’t like the particular style you’re looking at, check if the brand offers the same shoe in different colors.
As mentioned before, travelers tend to have limited luggage space and can’t afford to pack three or four pairs of shoes for different scenarios. This is especially true if you’re going backcountry hiking, camping, or backpacking when every ounce is more weight on your back. It’s important to figure out exactly how much room you have and consider if your travel shoes of choice are too bulky to make the cut.
Check the product descriptions for the weight in ounces, or look out for shoes that advertise themselves as lightweight. Some customer reviews also reveal how much the shoes weigh if the product descriptions leave it out.
That said, if you’re someone who prefers a thick-soled pair of shoes, you may be willing to go more on the heavy or bulky side with the shoes you buy.
Never buy a pair of shoes without reading up on its list of features. You may be distracted by the look of a shoe and the price, but remember that it’s all the minor features that distinguish an acceptable pair of shoes from a fantastic pair. The more useful the features are to you, the more willing you’ll be to part with your precious dollars.
If you’re planning on using your travel shoes in wet or rainy conditions, be sure to check if the material they’re made from is waterproof. 100% waterproof is always much appreciated, but may be hard to find if you have a restricted budget.
As mentioned, waterproof coatings tend to rub off over the years. So, look out for shoes that are made from waterproof fabrics instead. These will be waterproof for longer and give you more bang for your buck.
If you can’t afford waterproof kicks, try going for ones made with quick-drying fabric. These will get wet, of course, but at least you know they have the technology to help them dry faster. Another important factor for wet conditions is the grip on the soles. You want to ensure that the soles aren’t going to be slippery and have a decent grip on smooth terrains.
Regardless of the weather conditions you’re planning to be in, quick-drying fabrics are a good choice as they keep your shoes from getting clogged with sweat and becoming smelly all the time. The more breathable the fabric, the better. Remember, you’ll be wearing your travel shoes for hours on end, so breathability is critical. This is especially the case if you’re prone to stinky feet.
Travel shoe brands often distinguish themselves from the competition using innovative technology in the mid or insoles. Some soles are made of a memory foam material that molds to your foot with extra comfort, which is a huge help if you struggle with painful arches or bad ankle support. If this sounds like you, look out for brace support in the shoe design, too, as this can help with back pain and foot pain.
Some insoles are removable; others aren’t. You’ll want to take a careful look at the design of the insoles, their thickness, and whether or not they’re machine washable. The care guidelines on travel shoes can sometimes be a dealbreaker for buyers. So, read up on if you need to handwash your kicks of choice and how hard they are to maintain over the years.
Finally, some travel shoes come with antimicrobial technology in the soles to minimize odor and funk. If you’re planning on using the sneakers for training and walking purposes, this is a good feature to look out for. If you’re wearing the shoes every day, you don’t want the extra hassle of having smelly shoes to contend with.
In conjunction with the issue of weight and space, versatility is an important factor to consider before buying any pair of good travel shoes. Why pack separate running, hiking, and water shoes when you can buy one pair of sneakers that suits multiple situations? This is why cross-training and running shoes are often the wisest picks for travelers; you can easily transition between activities in them.
The style also has a lot to do with the versatility of travel shoes. Some travelers want their shoes to be sporty and functional but not so unattractive that they’d look out of place wearing them in a coffee shop or a museum. If the style is a big factor for you, you’ll want to make sure the shoes you buy are attractive to your eyes but that they also meet all of your requirements for functionality.
Ethical and Socially Conscious Production
In this day and age, one of the common distinguishing factors between shoe brands is their set of design principles. Buyers don’t just want functional and comfortable shoes; they want to support a brand that aligns with their own values.
If it’s important to you that your gear was made in a social and ethically conscious manner, dive into the finer details of the makeup of your prospective travel shoes. You can check if they’re made from renewable materials or recycled fabrics and do some research on whether or not the fabrics used are certified by an environmental board of some kind.
You can also research the company itself and how the brand incorporates sustainability into its shoe designs and production process. Many buyers want to know that the brand they are supporting uses ethical design practices with a focus on socially conscious standards in the workforce. If this sounds like you, you can read up on the brand’s mission statement and find out if the brand is ethical enough for your tastes.
Final Thoughts on Best Shoes for Travel
There are countless travel shoes, running shoes, and everyday sneakers out there for you to choose from. If you’re looking for a comfortable pair of high-quality travel shoes to take with you on vacation, you’re bound to find something to suit your taste on this list. We’ve covered multiple different styles of shoes for different purposes, which should help you find the best shoes for travel for your specific set of needs.
Next time you’re unsure of how to choose the right pair, you can turn to this detailed buying to help you make savvy, informed, and wise buying decisions. If you keep all the buying points in mind as you browse your different options, you’ll have no problem finding a quality pair of travel shoes for your next adventure.
If you need more inspiration on travel, travel gear, and choosing the right clothing and accessories for your next trip, you can read up on some of our useful posts below. Click on the links below for access to more helpful resources like this post.