19 Comfy, Travel-friendly Shoes Made for Walking
Walking is, without a doubt, one of the best ways to take in a new city. On foot, you can spot the details that bring a destination to life. It’s easy to lose track of time perusing the shops along Via del Corso in Rome, exploring a bamboo grove in Kyoto, or weaving your way through the medieval medina of Fez. But there’s no quicker way to shatter the magic of these immersive cultural experiences than an uncomfortable pair of shoes.
Comfort vs. style has long been a classic conundrum for the fashion-conscious traveler. Your everyday flats may not necessarily be the most practical for a packed itinerary, but something more orthopedic in design might have you cropping your vacation photos from the ankles up.
Some destinations call for a sturdier shoe due to rugged terrain or extreme weather — Iceland in the winter, perhaps — and in that case, you’ll need some trusty, travel-friendly boots. But when mild weather and walkable streets open up the possibilities, it gets a lot harder to choose the perfect pair.
We sorted through sneakers, sandals, slip-ons, and every style of footwear in between to find the best walking shoes for women. Our picks are designed to maximize comfort — using technology like shock absorption, memory-foam insoles, and breathable upper fabrics — without compromising style.
There is one more important element that makes for a good pair of travel shoes: versatility. If the same kicks can take you effortlessly from shopping to a six-hour walking tour to dinner, sans blisters, you’re set. We know it’s a ludicrous ask, but planning to wear only the pair on your feet makes it much easier to pack everything else to match. Plus, those five just-in-case pairs of shoes are often what add the most weight to your luggage. Wouldn’t you rather have the extra suitcase space to pick up a few souvenir pairs?
Oh, and one last suggestion: A weekend staycation is a great way to break in your new favorite travel shoes before you go.
Best for: A Colorful Classic
Best for: Sandals With Support
If an easy pair of sandals is your vacation footwear of choice, you don’t need to give up on comfort. OluKai’s crisscrossed leather pair ($90) has an anatomically built footbed that feels better and better with every wear. It comes in six color options, and we love this gold and leather combo.
Best for: Cool Knit Flats
Ugg is far more than shearling-lined boots these days, and the knit, skater-style Sammy Sneaker ($110) is one of the most beloved new silhouettes. We're into this melange grey, but it also comes in brighter colors like a minty aqua and a fiery red.
Best for: Taking You From Boardwalk to Beach
Would you believe us if we said these sneaky Sea Star Beachwear espadrilles ($90) are actually water shoes? With a fast-drying neoprene upper and a grippy rubber sole, they'll take you straight from lunch beneath the palm trees to a rocky surf, sans stubbed toes. We recommend sizing up on these if you typically wear a half size.
Best for: Lightweight Sneakers
A trendy, mixed-media upper makes the latest Nike Free RN trainer ($100) easy to wear and even easier to pack — it's super lightweight. They've got a cushioned insole and a lightly padded tongue and collar for comfy all-day wear. And they come in 13 fun color combinations.
Best for: Warm-weather Destinations
Before your toes hit the sand, pamper your feet in these cushy leather Vionic sandals ($100). The brand is known for working with podiatrists to blend simple style with comfort technology (like a molded footbed for arch support and a shock-absorbing midsole).
Best for: A Little Lift
The memory foam padded sole and stacked 2.5-inch heel on this OTBT open-toed boot ($149) are perfect for pounding the pavement in style. Not only is it comfortable, but style-wise, it's a super versatile pick in the face of unpredictable weather or travel plans as it can easily pair with casual or more dressed-up outfits.
Best for: Leather Lace-ups
The Ecco Soft VII sneaker ($150) has as much arch support as it does style. Though its supple leather upper is available in 14 styles — from floral prints to metallics — keep in mind that when packing, neutrals will be easier to work with.
Best for: Statement Sandals
With Beek's 100 percent leather sandals like the Finch ($260), you're getting the best of both worlds: arch support that doesn't get in the way of unique design. It's molded into the slim sole of the sandals, all of which are handcrafted by artisans in Mexico. The toe-ring style just so happens to be a big sandal trend this summer, but these are built to last you for decades.
Best for: Easy Pumps
Sarah Flint is known for effortless, feminine shoes like the Emma Pump ($345) — a style both Meghan Markle and Amal Clooney swear by. The footbeds have 3mm of extra padding for all-day walkability and the block heel is inset a bit to keep your steps from feeling clunky.
Best for: Stylish Slip-ons
Made in Spain, this pointed-toe, leather slip-on by Free People ($198) is the perfect casual pair to step into for a day of wandering. Right out of the box, the leather feels ready to go. And if you like the asymmetrical silhouette, but want something a little more summery, it also comes in an open-toe style ($168).
Best for: A One-shoe Weekend
Save precious suitcase space with a shoe that can take you from day to night. Everlane — Angelina Jolie’s go-to brand for travel shoes — makes this modern Day Glove flat ($110) with buttery, molds-to-your-foot leather that pairs well with jeans, skirts, business attire, and beyond. They've even got durable rubber soles and side vents to keep your feet from overheating.
Best for: Waterproof, Wear-anywhere Booties
This taupe suede Blondo ankle boot ($150) will seamlessly take you from breakfast to nightlife, looking great with dresses, skirts, and denim. There are seven different colors of suede and leather uppers, and they're all waterproof. The footbed is cushioned for natural-feeling comfort, and the low block heel is the perfect height for all-day wear.
Best for: Taking to the Trails
Best for: Driving Loafers
Pebbled driving soles soften the step while bright white leather brings a fresh, vacation-ready look to this Tod’s moccasin ($425).
Best for: Dressing Up
Ideal for destination weddings and dinners out, this Stuart Weitzman block-heel sandal (from $239 on sale) gives you a lift without the accompanying pain. The insole is padded, the adjustable buckle ankle strap hides a strip of elastic, and the sole has slit detailing to allow the shoes to move with you on the dance floor. It comes in 14 colorways ranging from mirrored gold to powder blue suede.
Best for: Ballet Flats
Forget walking; try pirouetting through your trip in Repetto’s ballerina flats ($295), which are made with the same stitching technique as the brand’s ballet shoes, making them ultra-flexible.
Best for: Wedges Made for Walking
Despite the carefree aesthetic of this classic espadrille wedge ($85 on sale), Vionic put a ton of thought into the comfort features of its shoes to ensure anatomically correct support. With its adjustable lacing, arch support, and ample cushioning, this style is a must-pack for any coastal getaway.
Best for: Menswear-inspired
Available in a variety of colors, the latest version of Cole Haan’s 2.Zerogrand Stitchlite Oxfords ($150) comes in a sleek, stitched style, blending that classic brogue look with the biggest trend in sneakers. They're perfect for transitioning seamlessly from the plane to the boardroom: super comfortable, yet fancy enough to impress any client.