Last Updated on February 5, 2020 by Candy Wafford
Finding great shoes for travel is no easy task. There are so many things to consider: comfort, packability, versatility, support, and cost. I’m always on the hunt for shoes that I can wear as I run through an airport or while sightseeing. Read on for reviews of five of the best shoes for travel.
What I Look For in a Travel Shoe
The better question may be what am I not looking for! Nothing heavy, uncomfortable, or poorly made. The cost has become less of a factor the more I travel because better quality shoes are generally worth the money.
But how to choose? You have to wear shoes, really wear them, to know if they are going to be a good match for you. And there are so many options out there. Travel Fashion Girl readers chose their favorite 40 brands. Forty!
When, where, and what you’re doing on a trip determines what type of shoes you need to bring. The travel shoe reviews here are for my favorite basic, can-go-on-any-trip shoes.
I have worn, tested and tried all of these shoes. My reviews and recommendations are based on my personal experience.
What Makes a Good Travel Shoe?
My basic criteria:
- Comfort – Are they comfortable? Do they feel good on my feet?
- Support – Oh to be young again and not have to worry about support! But I think we all should be kind to our feet and bodies regardless of our age and wear shoes that provide support or our feet which in turn provides support for our backs. And comfort and support are not synonymous.
- Style – This subject would be so much easier for me if I didn’t care what my shoes looked like. Or if I was comfortable wearing running shoes with anything. But I’m not. I want it all – a shoe that is supportive, comfortable, and cute.
- Lightweight and Packable – There are a couple of shoes on my list that aren’t supportive, and I can’t wear them for hours of walking city streets. But they are lightweight and small which means they don’t take up much space in my suitcase. I save those for dinner or activities that do not involve a lot of walking.
- Versatility – Can I wear them with multiple outfits? I try not to pack more than three (ok maybe four on a longer trip) pairs of shoes so those that I do pack have to work with lots of outfits and in different situations. I tend to wear black, white, and red shoes when traveling. You’ll see that I may have a problem with red shoes…
For business travel, I have to also pack and wear shoes appropriate for professional attire which brings about an entirely different set of criteria. But I do bring at least one pair of these shoes on business trips. Can’t run through the airport in heels!
Now on to the best travel shoes for women!
Allbirds Wool Runners
I love my Allbirds! I had been wanting a red sneaker forever and couldn’t find anything that I liked. When I saw that Allbirds has a runner in a gorgeous red, I decided to give them a go. Read on for my Allbirds review.
Made from superfine merino wool, these shoes are super breathable and comfy. Wool stays cool in heat and warm in cold. It also wicks moisture meaning you don’t have to wear socks and they don’t get smelly. Allbirds shoes feature padded insoles that are also made of wool. They’re also lightweight making them great shoes for travel. I also love that the company is committed to producing an environmentally friendly product. The shoelaces? Made from a plastic bottle!
My overall review of Allbirds shoes is that they are a comfortable and stylish shoe perfect for travel. My only complaint about Allbirds? They don’t come in half sizes! It’s recommended to size up if you wear a half size. I generally wear an 8 and ordered an 8 but I would like them to be a tiny bit longer. An 8 1/2 would have been perfect. Why do so many shoe companies only sell full sizes?! But they are so comfy and I love the pop of red!
Allbirds are available in a variety of styles and fun colors. I love them so much that I will probably order another pair in the future. Maybe a Tree Skipper or a Runner-up Mizzle. Allbirds for women range in price from $95 to $135 making these an investment. The company offers a 30-day return if you aren’t happy with their shoes. But the quality construction, wearability, and reduced carbon footprint make these worth every penny!
New Balance 520 Sneakers
I bought my New Balance 520 sneakers on a whim. I had mentioned to a co-worker that I had difficulty finding cute sneakers for travel. When she sent me a link these super cute white and gold sneakers I added them to my bag pretty much immediately.
Because I like to try and exercise while traveling, I need a shoe that not only meets all of my other criteria, but I can also comfortably and safely work out in. These New Balance sneakers meet all of my needs.
The gold accents give them the style that I want in a shoe but they are super practical at the same time. These are usually the shoes I pack if I’m going to be doing any outdoor activities while traveling like walking on a glacier. And because they are made for walking they are a great shoe to travel in. Oh, and my podiatrist told me that New Balance shoes are her favorites and great for your feet!
New Balance makes the 520 in different versions and a bunch of really cute color combinations. I’m eyeing the black and gold version for my next pair.
Ecco Soft 7 Sneaker
I love my Ecco sneakers! I wear them all the time and especially like that they offer the comfort of a sneaker, but the profile is that of cool trainers (as the Brits say). They look great with jeans, my favorite travel pants, and even casual dresses.
They feature a leather upper and the sole has the Ecco Comfort Fiber System. I’m not sure what the fiber system includes, but I can tell you that these are super comfortable.
The Ecco Soft 7 Sneaker costs about $150 making these another investment. I have them in black but they are available in lots of colors from a flamingo pink to some cool metallic colors.
Naot Kayla Sandal
I resisted cork sole sandals for years. Mainly because I don’t really like how they look and as much as I love comfort, I like style too. After trying on Birkenstocks a few times and finding them uncomfortable I wasn’t motivated to continue to look for a cork shoe even though I know they are extremely popular.
But then I stumbled upon a recommendation for Naot sandals. Intrigued, I went to a local store to see what they looked like in person and to try on a pair. My store only had a couple of options and the Kayla seemed like the best bet. I tried a pair on and while not convinced, I bought a pair. They were on sale which made the decision a little easier.
These are not my favorite pair of shoes, but they are really comfortable and a great option for when you need or want a sandal. I particularly like the velcro strap as it is really nice when your feet swell and you need some more room. But the two straps across the toe area are a little loose on me. I find they look great with leggings, shorts, jeans, and dresses.
Another shoe that comes in a bunch of colors. I’m a sucker for anything black patent leather and love that option. The Naot Kayla is a great shoe for travel and for anyone wanting to try a cork sole but finds that Birkenstocks don’t work for them. They are approximately $140 but you may get lucky and find them on sale like I did!
Rothy’s the Point
I love the concept behind Rothy’s shoes so much that it led me to pay way more for a pair of flats than I normally would. Rothy’s take single-use, recycled plastics and turn them into shoes. Awesome idea, right?
While I love that Rothy’s are made from plastic, I don’t love that they feel like plastic on my feet. They are comfortable enough to wear as long as I’m not doing too much walking. One, the plastic is a little unforgiving against the top of my feet. Two, they don’t offer any support.
I have the Point in a red camo pattern that’s no longer available. But they do have tons of cute colors and patterns available in their five different styles. Rothy’s are machine washable which is great when your shoes need cleaning after walking along dirty city streets. They are also super lightweight and flexible making them easy to pack.
While I don’t wear them for walking, I do travel with them a lot and they even made it on my Alaskan Cruise packing list. These are some cute shoes and I always get compliments when I wear them. I also see Rothy’s on lots of women when I’m traveling.
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What are your favorite shoes for travel?