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Finding the best walking shoes for travel can be tough. You want something comfortable enough to get you through a full day of wandering around, but not so comfortable that it screams “I'm a tourist!” And since nobody wants to tote around a bag (checked or otherwise) filled with shoes, the ones that do make the packing list cut need to be versatile enough to wear with multiple outfits.
Knowing that a bad pair of shoes can ruin an otherwise lovely travel day, we asked Condé Nast Traveler writers and editors (as well as shopping writers from other Condé Nast titles) to share their tried-and-true kicks, so you don't have to take a gamble on whether they'll actually be comfortable or not. Whether you're looking for sneakers, boots, flats, or sandals, we have recommendations for you. Below, more than 30 of our favorite high-quality, easy-to-pack walking shoes for travel—all cushy, supportive, and versatile—that will take you just about anywhere. Scroll through to see all of our favorite walking shoes, or jump straight to the category you're looking for below.
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date. Additional reporting by Elaheh Nozari.
Susie Plotkin, who works on Condé Nast's global email team, calls these platform boots “the perfect shoe.” She's had them for about three years, and has taken them everywhere. “My boyfriend lives in Switzerland, and they’re the shoe I wear to sightsee around Zurich. I've spent 12 hours walking around Venice in them, and regularly stomp all around Brooklyn in them. They’re a little heavy but super comfortable and can slide on and off so easily.”
A cold-weather favorite of senior commerce editor Madison Flager, these Blundstone boots required no break-in time, and are a great all-purpose boot for fall or winter trips. The pull tabs make them easy to get back on, the shock absorption keeps your feet feeling good even after a few hours on the move, and the double stitching, durable leather, and tough outsole mean you won't be replacing them a few trips later.
Former Traveler editor Meredith Carey wears these waterproof Blondo boots almost all winter long, and brings them along on any fall and winter trips. “They look and feel like leather but I can wear them in snow and rain—I don't have to worry about my shoes surviving when I'm tromping around day-to-day in New York or a new city,” she says. They come in a host of color options, from black to brown leather to snakeskin.
Senior editor Megan Spurrell is a fan of Vagabond's lug sole boots, and recommends a style with a wider toe for maximum comfort on long days of walking. Best for city trips, these Chelsea boots are on the bulkier side, so wear them through security to cut down on suitcase weight.
Spurrell has waxed poetic about Frye's Melissa Chelsea boots before: They're her go-to for any city trip. They look good with jeans, leggings, or dresses, pack down well, and over time, have become as comfortable as sneakers. Plus, they last for years and are sturdy enough to navigate cobblestone streets. What more could you want?
New Balance sneakers have made a major comeback. This style of the cool dad shoes are frequently worn by associate commerce editor Meaghan Kenny, who says this: “These sneakers are just as comfortable as they are cool. I’ve had them for about two years now and they’ve come with me on a weekend trip spent walking around Boston, to the airport for a few flights, and on my very long commutes to the office. They’re a perfect balance of sporty and stylish—they don’t hurt my feet after hours of walking and the neutral shade always matches a variety of outfits in my carry-on. Besides my classic white sneakers, these are my most worn shoe. Bonus: I’m not very cautious about getting my sneakers dirty, but these have somehow stayed clean and in excellent condition—so don’t worry too much about its light hue.”
Hop on the New York City subway and you're bound to see a pair of Vejas or two on your fellow passengers' feet. Global digital director Arati Menon was first drawn to Veja because of the sleek, minimalist design and the company’s commitment to responsible sourcing. She landed on the Campo because of its chunkier sole—both an aesthetic preference and a practical one, as it offers more support. “The biggest criticism with Vejas are that they’re stiff when you first buy them, and this is somewhat true—but I’m generally cautious not to overuse new shoes for the first few times, breaking into them little by little,” she says, noting that the Campo is more comfortable out of the box than other Veja styles. “I’ve taken my Campos on rugged national park adventures and European city breaks, and use them as workwear staples. I just retired mine after years of use, but I’m sure I’ll buy another at some point.” To clean, Menon recommends a combination of mild dishwashing liquid on a damp cloth and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
The Adonis is a newer style for Naot—a podiatrist-approved footwear brand—that dropped earlier this year. The sock-style slip-on is made with a removable cork and latex footbed that promises all-day comfort. Flager is a fan of the easy-to-match white and light pink style, and recommends them for city trips. (Pro tip: Bombas's cushioned no-show socks are just the right size to wear underneath.)
There's a reason why the Adidas Stan Smith has evolved from a tennis shoe to a streetwear classic (and can be found on multiple Traveler editors' shoe racks): They're too comfortable to ever want to take off. If you're going on a short trip and only have room for one pair of shoes, wear these—they can handle anything from a day of sightseeing to an impromptu hike, are easy to slide on and off at airport security, and will make you look chic, without sacrificing an ounce of comfort.
Allbirds are a great pick for most every vacation thanks to their versatility and true all-day comfort. These Tree Runners come highly recommended by contributor Lauren Dana Ellman and are available in a half dozen colorways and just as many limited-edition hues. Like all of the brand's shoes, they are machine washable, which means lighter colors are easy to keep looking new.
Read a full review here.
Recommended by Glamour and Teen Vogue commerce director Brie Schwartz, this playful spin on the classic Converse low-top will add a bit of fun to your travel day. The sneakers are relatively lightweight thanks to the canvas upper, and the vulcanized rubber sole helps with traction.
Look down in an exercise class or marathon and you're bound to see, at minimum, a few pairs of Hokas around you. Glamour's senior commerce editor, Jenifer Calle, is partial to the brand's Kawana style: “I wore these sneakers when I was in San Antonio last year and they were a lifesaver for my feet,” Calle says. “I did a lot of walking during this trip and was not prepared for the Texas heat. (At one point my partner and I had to step into an H&M to cool off.) Luckily, my sneaks were very bouncy and breathable, so my feet never felt tired or sweaty.”
For those who live in Lululemon athleticwear, the brand's running shoes are a natural extension to your travel wardrobe. Traveler contributor and runner Rachel Chang tested these out when they launched in 2022, and was immediately impressed by the fit (designed specifically for a woman's foot), breathability, and smart features, like a reflective backing.
Read a full review here.
Editorial assistant Charlie Hobbs wears these shoes everywhere: “To the gym, to the park, to the rave—I sometimes have to remind myself that I own other shoes. You don't have to tie them, just pull a cord [to secure them]. They are so comfortable and easy.”
Former Traveler editor Scott Bay is a fan of this Arc'teryx hiker: “To me, it's technical enough to tackle any moderate hike, while being super comfortable all day, and I have been known to wear them to nice restaurants or shows.” Other perks: They last forever and you can throw them in the wash when they're in need of a polish.
Recommended by Calle, these On sneakers boast the brand's biggest layer of CloudTec ever for top-tier cushioning and energy return, as well as reduced muscle fatigue. “I’m not a runner by any means but I like to do a steady three-mile jog around Liberty State Park when the mood strikes,” Calle says. “I’ve been using old Nike sneakers for the last few years, but gave On shoes a try last year, and let me tell you, I didn’t know my feet could feel so much relief while running. I love that the rocker bottoms feel like they give me an extra push during my jog. I’m never going back to regular minimalist sneakers.”
Allbirds' sneakers are known for being comfortable, but the Tree Dashers—the brand's first pair made specifically for runners—ups the ante. The thick sole will cushion your feet on the longest of days spent exploring, and if you are someone who jogs on vacation, you can pack one less pair of shoes to do so.
Known as the most popular hiking shoe in the world—more than 25 million pairs have been sold since it debuted 15 years ago—Flager was excited to put the new third generation model of the Merrell Moab to the test. “I brought them along on a recent trip to Iceland, which involved some moderate hikes and city walks on wet roads; the shoe held up nicely on both occasions. The shoes have great traction, fit comfortably, and didn't take up tons of room in my carry-on—I can see why they're so beloved.” Jake Smith, a commerce writer for Glamour, is a big fan of the shoe, too: “I've worn them for three years, and while they're nice for hiking, I really love them as walking shoes,” he says.
Emma McDonald, who works on the digital marketing team for Condé Nast, recommends these recovery shoes from Kane. “I have had them for about six months and use them at my standing desk all day long, and while running errands.” The cushiony shoe is made out of Brazilian sugarcane, with raised footbed nodes that are designed to activate blood flow in key pressure points on the sole of your foot.
Slip-ons and loafers
Malia Griggs, Glamour's commerce editor, is a big fan of these SeaeVees clogs. “I thought they’d just be rain boots, but I end up wearing them all the time because they’re so easy to slip on, are comfy, and perfect for any sort of drizzly days when I’m out and about in the city,” she says. “This summer, I spent a week in the North Carolina mountains and brought them with me since they’re good plane shoes (easy on and off at security!) and also durable and waterproof enough for walks on little trails. I appreciate that they have enough of a backing to not slide all the way off when I’m walking.”
Another favorite of Schwartz, these leather lug loafers are fairly light at just half a pound each, with a comfortably low heel height of 1.1 inches. Basic black goes with everything, but for a pop of color, order them in red or emerald green.
These colorful Sabah slip-ons come highly recommended by articles director Lale Arikoglu, who calls them “a permanent fixture on my packing list.” They come in dozens of colors, in either a butter soft leather or suede, and are hand stitched by one of the 10 shoemakers who comprise the Sabah Workshop in Gaziantep. “The more I wear them, the better they fit, molding to my feet like a glove—almost as if they were designed just for me,” she says.
Read a full review here.
This black and white Cole Hahn shoe toes the line between loafer and sneaker perfectly—it's nice enough to wear into the office after hopping off a plane, but casual (and comfortable) enough to wear during a day of sightseeing. If you own enough basic black, you can get the pair with an off-white, gold, or silver leather top, too. Either way, the shoe is made for long days: There's traction on the bottom to keep you from slipping on smooth museum floors, footbeds meant to mold to your feet, and cushioned padding on the heel to prevent rubbing.
Kenny has slipped on these loafers to head to work, go out to dinner—in general, any situation where she wants to look polished but doesn't necessarily want to put on a heel. Made with a soft, merino wool upper, they come in onyx black, teak herringbone, or ivory, shown above, and have a chunky 1.5-inch sole. Best of all, they are fully machine washable.
Wearing sandals for an extended period of time can be tricky, but former Traveler editor Sarah Ratner swears by good ol' fashioned Birks, with their suede-covered cork-latex footbed that practically molds to your feet over time. The Arizona slides come in every color under the sun and can be purchased in regular or narrow sizes to better fit your feet. Plus, they're easy to match with almost any outfit.
Tevas are the kind of shoe that once you own a pair, you're a fan for life. They'll come in handy on so many occasions—light hikes through Arizona (find more intense hiking shoes here), sightseeing through dusty roads in Israel, swimming in rocky reservoirs in Austin. The trail sandals, which Flager recommends, have a bit more arch support than the classic style, meaning they'll be even more comfortable both in cities and on trails.
A second Birkenstock option with a ringing endorsement: The Arizona Big Buckle style. “I am very loyal to my Birkenstocks,” says Arikoglu. “I walked 10 miles in one day in Barcelona in them and they never rubbed.”
Another favorite of Kenny's, these Rothy's slides are a welcome update to some of the brand's previous iterations of sandals, which, while cute, offered little when it came to support. “When I put these new slides on from Rothy’s, I immediately knew they will be my go-to summer sandal for beach excursions and vacation days that require a decent amount of walking while also looking put together,” Kenny says. “A durable yet comfortable sandal is always tricky to find, but these have a pretty thick sole and give a lot more support than the flat pair of flip flops I’m always tempted to pack. I went for the neutral beige color that I know will match any midi dress or linen pants I pack this summer.”
Another one of Spurrell's go-to's, these Tevas are slightly less grippy than the Trail sandals, but are still plenty comfortable for all-day wear. Spurrell has worn them on bike rides, long walks, beach days, and out to dinner in New York—proof of their range, and value on your packing list.
It can be nice to have a good pair of flats tucked away in your suitcase for a fancy dinner or evening stroll after a long day in sneakers, especially given how easy they are to pack. We like Birdies' The Starling flats, meant to be a modern take on the classic smoking slipper. They're built to last, and to keep your feet comfortable: Inside, there's seven-layer cushioned footbed with elevated arch support, plus a little extra cushion in the heel to prevent it from rubbing. Order them in suede, faux fur, or velvet fabrics.
While Rothy's makes a classic ballet flat, too, we love the more sophisticated look of the Point Flat. Available in more than a dozen colors from lollipop red to boysenberry and dark emerald, there's a hue for every kind of traveler and outfit. All of Rothy's shoes are made out of recycled plastic, and cut using the same technology as Suav, meaning there's less waste throughout production. The shoes were recently redesigned to be even more comfortable thanks to a cushier insole and more spacious toebox.