When you're traveling, you usually spend a lot of time walking around, so it's essential that you have good shoes. As many shoppers know, the most comfortable travel shoes for women are often elusive. (I've personally encountered a lot more of the "I walked 10 blocks and my feet ached all day" variety). So, what should you look for to ensure the shoes you pick are truly comfy?
First, look for cushioning. Even with a minimalist shoe, you'll want a soft footbed (EVA foam, TPU, and other forms of polyurethane work great for this) and solid arch support. It's hard to feel comfortable, after all, if you don't have proper cushioning. When possible, reading the reviews can help you see how comfy a pair of shoes really are.
High-quality travel shoes should also be lightweight. Even if airlines didn't have annoying weight restrictions, you don't want to be lugging around a bunch of extra pounds if you don't have to. Look for lightweight rubber soles and breezy materials like mesh and canvas.
Lastly, they should be compact. Space is essential when you're packing, so thick sneakers or clunky boots aren't going to work. Instead, look for shoes with designs that can be rolled up, laid flat, or tucked discreetly away.
Other things to consider are temperature control (breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics will keep you cooler) and style (you have to like them or you won't wear them). Below, I've made a list of the most comfortable travel shoes for women, with both casual and active shoes in a variety of styles. Take a look so you can start preparing for your epic vacation.
1. The Best Casual Sneakers For Travel
OLUKAI Women's Pehuea Shoe
What's great about them: Lightweight and extra breathable, these casual mesh travel shoes are bulk-free while still offering stellar traction and arch support. They have plenty of cushioning (thanks to the dual-density polyurethane footbeds), so you can take a walking tour without your feet aching at the end of the day.
Inside, they're outfitted with a moisture-wicking microfiber lining, which performs well in the heat and reduces the sweat factor. They also have "drop-in heels," which means you can convert them into slip-on slides. Just note that there's also a leather version, which has a dressier look but may be a bit heavier and less breathable than the mesh.
What fans say: "No break-in time required, VERY comfortable, true to size, and adorable ... The mesh upper is so breathable that my feet didn't even sweat with or without socks! (Unheard of for me.) Bought for a 10-day trip to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, and they didn't disappoint throughout daily walking tours, sometimes in 100+ degree temperatures."
- Available sizes: 5 to 15
2. The Best Active Sneakers For Travel
Vivobarefoot Women's Primus Lite
What's great about them: If you want to bring jogging shoes on your vacation so you can run or work out but you don't want clunky tennis shoes in your luggage, these barefoot travel sneakers are the perfect choice. They're made with lightweight nylon and a tough TPU sole. Similarly to the Xero sandals, they roll up into a tiny ball in your luggage and weigh hardly anything.
An important thing to note is that since these sneakers are "barefoot" style, it's important to train your feet to use them first so you don't injure yourself. Also, these run a bit small, so you may want to order up a size.
What fans say: "They are super comfy! I bought them for a trip so I'm glad they are ultra light! Weight almost nothing! I plan to run in them, wear them on a boat and in the water and wear them casually."
- Available sizes: 5 to 9
3. The Best Casual Sandals For Travel
Sanuk Women's Yoga Sling 2 Print Vintage
What's great about them: These ultra-comfy travel shoes have a veritable cult following, with more than 2,800 reviews. They make great travel shoes due to their soft, cloth wrap and their "legendary comfort," according to fans. The stretchy material is lightweight and hardly takes up any space in your bag since it can lie flat. The soles are lightweight, too, with a squishy, yoga-mat-like material that offers incredible support. Best of all, they come in 15 colors and patterns to choose from.
What fans say: "I bought these sandals for a trip to Thailand where I knew we'd be doing a lot of walking. They were so comfortable and my feet never hurt at the end of the day."
- Available sizes: 5 to 11
4. The Best Active Sandals For Travel
Xero Shoes Z-Trek - Women's Minimalist Sport Sandal
What's great about them: The soles of these women's travel shoes are exceptionally comfortable, which is especially impressive given how lightweight they are. While they don't have a huge amount of cushioning, you can still walk around in them all day without your feet getting sore. Durable and super compact, the "barefoot-inspired" design means they don't take up much room in your luggage (in fact, they can roll up into a tiny ball). On top of all that, they're designed for high-impact activities where you're getting dirty and sweaty, making them extra tough, too.
What fans say: "I was eyeing these for a long time before purchasing - really glad I did! LOVE THEM. Way more comfortable than my old Chacos and much easier to travel with."
- Available sizes: 5 to 10
5. The Best Casual Boots For Travel
DailyShoes Women's Ankle Bootie With Credit Card Pocket
What's great about them: These unique women's boots, which have more than 1,900 reviews on Amazon, feature a secret pocket on one side to store slim items like cash, debit cards, or a hotel key, making them great for anti-theft protection while you travel. Made with patent leather and a rubber sole, they're lightweight and fairly compact, although not as much some of the others options on my list. The slip-resistant soles offer great traction and they come in wide variety of colors and sizes.
What fans say: "The shoes survived my 3 week trip in Europe and Asia. The pockets were definitely useful for a night out without a handbag! I also got a lot of compliments on them. ... I am looking forward to using them in my future travels!"
- Available sizes: 5 to 13
6. The Best Active Boots For Travel
ECCO Women's Exostrike Gore-tex High Hiking Shoe
What's great about them: I have these women's travel boots myself, and I'm absolutely in love with them. Made with a supportive rubber sole, they're designed for high-impact activities, like hiking, backpacking, or multi-day tours, yet they're still super lightweight and stylish enough to wear around town. They have a soft, built-in tongue made of neoprene that feels like a comfy suction cup around your foot. The traction is excellent and, unlike traditional hiking boots, they're not heavy or bulky, so your bag will fit them with ease.
What fans say: "Liked Everything! Still do and I have been wearing them a lot"
- Available sizes: 4 to 10.5
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