It took me years to find the perfect combination of women’s travel shoes. Every trip I would stare dubiously at my suitcase, trying to figure out how the heck I was going to cram in the number of shoes I needed to achieve the various activities I wanted to do – you know, adventurous things like walking without hobbling in pain or hiking without hobbling in pain – while also trying to maintain a basic level of not-hideous-ness.
Squeezing shoes into my luggage was a battle every time I went on a trip.
But today, that’s all changed. After trying on, returning, trying on again, and field-testing like crazy, I’ve found SIX absolutely amazing pairs of travel shoes for women. And what’s more, they’re all lightweight and easy to cram into your luggage without taking up a ton of room!
With these six shoes, I’m able to cover all of my bases and not think twice about what shoes to pack for trips. It’s changed my travel game, and I’m about to change yours, too!
Psst: Looking for more travel tips to upgrade your next trip? Take a look at some of our other helpful posts, and don’t forget to read our men’s travel shoes guide!
- The Best Travel Pants for Women: Functional, Cute, & Field-Tested
- Beach Vacation Packing List: What to Pack for the Beach (by a Curvy Girl)
- Long Haul Flight Essentials & Travel Tips for Economy Fliers
The Problem With Women’s Travel Shoes
I think a lot of the problems with women’s travel shoes actually mirror the problems that women generally face every day, namely the creeping feeling that society doesn’t want us to be able to move very quickly.
While some of us are surely able to do things like run from a charging Tyrannosaurus Rex while wearing heels (by the way – if you haven’t seen this Jurassic Park YouTube parody yet, please stop reading right now and go watch it – I’ll wait), the vast majority of us really just need like, comfortable walking shoes. And while your cutest pair of flats may be perfectly adequate for a long day at the office, walking 10+ miles as you explore on cobblestones or sand is a whole different ball game.
Tell me if any of this sounds vaguely familiar in your search for your favorite pair of travel shoes:
✔ The shoes that give your feet cramps if you walk in them for more than 20 minutes.
✔ The shoes that you can totally walk in all day long! … But you have to pay for later with those miserable midnight Charlie Horses (UGH WHY) and a full day of post-exploring hobbling.
✔ The shoes that are absolutely perfect in every way except for that 1 very specific spot that rubs your skin until it’s a miserable, aching blister. You regularly carry around pieces of Moleskin, bandaids, and duct tape just to stave off the inevitable for as long as possible.
✔ The shoes that you loved to pieces … literally, you wore them on 1 trip and they fell apart. You can’t bear to get rid of them because they were so beautiful and perfect, so now you just have a pair of shoes with a giant, gaping hole just mocking you from your closet.
Yeah. Things are bleak.
So bleak, in fact, that I literally injured myself in my search for shoes I could wear to do what is currently my full-time job (that would be running around in heels being chased by t-rexes. No, just kidding, it’s travel blogging).
Story time! Years ago, back when this blog was merely a twinkle in my eye, I got myself a cute little pair of trainers and thought I’d pick up running as a hobby. It sounded fun. It sounded athletic. It made me think back nostalgically to scenes from Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, where Blake Lively gallops like a gazelle on foreign beaches, blonde hair flying behind her as every leg muscle rippled in beauty and power. I wanted that REAL bad.
So I picked up the cutest pair of sneakers I could find, laced them up, downloaded the Couch to 5K app, and hit the road.
2 weeks later, I couldn’t walk. I was in SO MUCH PAIN. Every step felt like I was jabbing a nail into my heel, and the very arches of my feet were so cramped up I started rolling them on frozen water bottles every night just so I could hobble into bed. It got so bad that I started wearing sneakers to work. And I worked in the corporate fashion world, so that was a HUGE faux-pas.
Turns out I had a raging case of Plantar Fasciitis. I had it for nearly a YEAR. A year of ugly sneakers, hobbling around, rolling my feet on stuff every night, and waking up in horrible pain every morning. It was awful. I was desperate to find a solution, and I was willing to go extremes to relieve my pain.
No, this isn’t the story of how I developed a raging addiction to nutella. This is the story of how I found barefoot shoes.
OK WAIT – I can feel you heading up to click that X in the corner because you’re imagining me wearing those ugly, awful 5-finger shoes. But that’s not what I’m talking about at all!
When I say barefoot shoes, what I mean are shoes that allow my feet to have a full range of motion – thin, flexible soles, WIDE toe-boxes, and no heel at all (the technical term is “zero drop”).
When I first started testing these kinds of shoes, I was freaked out by both the fact that I could kinda feel the ground beneath my feet, and the fact that I couldn’t walk more than 5 minutes at a time without feeling like I had just run a mile – my calf muscles were so underdeveloped from years of wearing cute, fashionable shoes that my body had essentially forgotten how to walk properly. It was eye-opening.
But as I worked my way up by adding a few more minutes of walking in barefoot shoes every day, my plantar fasciitis started going away too. It was like just walking around was stretching my feet out in ways that the ugly foot-cast contraption I’d started wearing every night never could.
A year later, my feet had developed muscles I never knew they had. I could stand and walk for miles and miles with no pain at all. I could do things at the gym I’d never been able to do before. And I even went full granola for a minute and started hiking and rail-running completely barefoot. Yes, that bit is definitely a bit nutty and no, you don’t have to go quite that far.
Today, I even work at a standing desk: I stand all day long whether I’m at home on my computer or running around having adventures, and my feet NEVER slow me down.
So, here’s the point I want to make: every single shoe that I wear for travel allows my feet their full range of motion. They all have flexible soles, little to no heel, and are wide enough to allow all of my toes to move around comfortably. Travel requires a LOT of standing and walking, and you don’t want any pain to slow down your adventures!
So before you run away screaming from the word “barefoot,” consider trying something different – especially if you struggle with foot pain like I did before I changed my attitude towards shoes!
OK, now that I’ve given you my cavewoman spiel (I’m KIDDING they’re not that granola, I promise) let’s get to the actual shoes!
The Best Walking Shoes for Women
I don’t know why I waited so long to finally try out a pair of Allbirds. I think I waited for like 3 years before finally taking the plunge. And I have nothing but regrets because my Allbirds Tree Skippers are AMAZING – and I now own them in multiple colors!
Y’all, these are hands down the cutest, comfiest, and downright best walking shoes I’ve ever owned! Let me break my obsession down for you:
✔ They are legitimately cute shoes.
Was anybody else obsessed with Dirty Dancing growing up? These remind me of the shoe Baby wears in her little dance practice montage scene up the stairs (you know, this one). I feel like I’m channeling that movie every time I wear these, and it makes me feel ADORBS.
Also, white shoes are like, all over Instagram right now, so I’m technically insta-cool, to. (I’m really super not, though.)
The point is, these cute walking shoes go with everything: jeans, leggings, shorts, even dresses! I have yet to find something they don’t look good with, and I’ve been trying.
✔ They’re the perfect city walking shoe!
I’ve taken to wearing these on all of my long daily walks through my neighborhood, and on city exploration days while traveling.
Normally I’d wear sneakers for long walks, but my sneakers have been officially decommissioned because these are WAY cuter – and just as comfortable!
✔ They’re up for a challenge.
I always put my travel shoes to the test before deciding whether or not to recommend them, and I’ve taken my Allbirds on quite a few trips, including a week in Disney World.
Verdict: super comfy even after 5 straight days of 20k+ steps in the sweltering Florida heat!
I even once took my gorgeous bright white Allbirds on a dusty hike. Yup. I didn’t want to, but I left my hiking shoes at home like an idiot and had no choice but to test ’em out. They got filthy and I had to throw them in the wash as soon as I got home, but my feet stayed comfortable the whole time.
That said: I don’t recommend hiking in these if you can help it. Traction on slippery, dusty slopes was a bit of a challenge, and like .. they’re way too cute to get that dirty. Don’t be me! But the point is, in a pinch, they can handle it, and that’s pretty amazing.
✔ They’re hella lightweight.
Because the Allbirds are made with lightweight knit fabric and flexible foam soles, they’re incredibly lightweight. Which makes them perfect for throwing into your suitcase or backpack!
✔ They’re perfect for both hot and cool weather.
The knit fabric is full of tiny, barely-noticeable little eyelets that help your feet breathe. Plus, the material of both the shoe itself (eucalyptus) and the insoles (merino wool) naturally helps regulate both temperature and moisture. Nature is pretty freakin’ high-tech.
I’ve worn my Allbirds in both hot weather and cold, rainy weather, and while I don’t recommend wearing them in the rain, my feet weren’t cold at all thanks to the warm wool insoles!
✔ They don’t get stinky.
By using high-performance natural materials like merino wool – which is naturally anti-bacterial and one of our absolute favorite travel textiles – Allbirds shoes fight that stinky shoe smell even when you don’t wear socks. And you really don’t have to wear socks – they’re THAT comfy.
That said, after a few months of serious wear and sweaty feet *ahem* it might be a good idea to take out the removable Merino Wool insoles and give them a nice soak. I soaked mine in Oxyclean and water along with my shoes before I tossed them iun with the wash on laundry day, and they both turned out sparkling clean and smell-free!
✔ They’re made with sustainable materials!
Sustainability is incredibly important to us, especially since as frequent travelers, we need to go above and beyond to offset all of our carbon emissions. The Allbirds fit the bill perfectly!
The knit fabric is made from ethically grown & harvested eucalyptus pulp. The laces are made with recycled polyester. The insoles are made from merino wool (no sheep are harmed in the making of merino wool).
Plus, as a company, Allbirds is committed to fighting climate change as a fully carbon-neutral company from the ground up. We LOVE supporting companies whose values align with ours, and Allbirds is one of those special, responsible, ethical companies that we feel really, really good about supporting!
Plus, like, ya know … super high-performance, cute walking shoes that we’re in love with help, too.
One thing to know: I loooove the all-white Tree Skippers, but one thing you should know: they do get dirty. After about 3 trips and one accidental hike, mine were fairly grungy looking.
Luckily, you can just throw ’em in the washing machine to clean them off – just be sure to lay them out to dry rather than throwing them in the dryer! Whenever mine get really dirty, I soak them in Oxyclean & water before tossing them in with the rest of my laundry.
Ready to try out Allbirds?
Still on the fence? Check out our complete Allbirds Tree Skippers review for an even more in-depth look the pros and cons of these shoes, plus a quick rundown on a few other pairs of Allbirds I personally wear and love, like the Tree Pipers, which I now have in 3 colors!
The Best Women’s Travel Boots
Here’s the thing about most boots: they’re adorable, but they’re totally impractical. There is NO GOOD REASON why I should need different boots for different conditions. Snow? Rain? Cold weather? Just cuz I want to look cute? I want the same boot for ALL of those things. Ain’t nobody got closet space for multiple boots.
Enter the VivoBarefoot Gobi Hi-Top, the lace-up ankle boot that does it all. I have literally worn these babies everywhere from professional events to the Arctic tundra to snow-shoeing.
Yes: I actually went snow-showing in these boots. I slipped the snow-shoes right on top of them, and actually I was kind of terrified that it might ruin them. But it didn’t, and my feet stayed toasty warm and dry!
These are the kinds of boots that make you WANT to walk through puddles when it’s raining, just to show the world that you’re UNSTOPPABLE, dammit! They’re the kind of boots that make you excited for a cold day so you have an excuse to wrap your toes up in the cozy faux shearling lining. They’re the kind of boots that you wear every single day all season long, year after year after year.
Oh, how I love these boots. Let me count the ways:
✔ Legit adorable, especially with lil’ socks on some leggings or tights I like to layer my boots over a pair of socks and pull them up over my leggings in cold weather for maximum adorableness and cozyness.
✔ Waterproof AF in both snow and rain.
I’ve worn these boots on literally all of our winter trips for the past 3 years. I’ve worn them snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe & Banff, reindeer herding in the Arctic tundra, Christmas Market-ing all over Europe, and everywhere in between.
Y’all: They hold up.
That said: one day I did actually end up with slightly wet feet after spending a long day exploring Montreal through slushy freezing cold puddles of ankle-deep water. But hey, 1 damp pair of wool socks after 3 years is pretty darn good!
✔ Lined with faux shearling so it feels like you’re walking on a warm cloud of baby sheep.
The inside of these boots are so soft and cozy! I love them! And yes – I do sometimes skip wearing socks with my winter boots. Weird, right? But I don’t even notice!
✔ Thermal insulation to keep your feet warm.
In addition to the cozy faux shearling, there’s a layer of warm, thin insulation between you and the icy cold ground to keep your feet EXTRA toasty.
I credit the innovative thermal insoles – which you can buy separately to upgrade your current shoes – with keeping my feet warm in the Arctic in -30 degree weather. While my travel companions were stuffing heat packs into their boots – and in one case, frantically trying to stave off frostbite thanks to the rubber in her boats literally freezing and breaking, which was terrifying.
But my feet and toes were toasty warm all week long. I ended up giving away all of the heat packs I brought away because I never needed them!
By the way: even if you don’t buy these shoes, please be careful about purchasing winter boots made with materials that could break down in extreme cold, like rubber. That was incredibly scary and a major wake-up call.
✔ Comfortable enough to walk in for miles and miles.
I have tested many times in many cities and I’ve never, EVER gotten sore feet in my boots! Not once. Standing, walking, snowshoeing, winter hiking, whatever – they’re comfortable for miles and hours and days on end.
That said: the one downside is that the traction on these boots when walking on solid, slippery ice is not fantastic – for adventures like that, I prefer to wear the next travel shoe on my list, the Vivobarefoot Tracker Boots. More details on those below!
✔ Lightweight and easy to squish up into your bag for travel.
How many winter boots can you squish flat or roll up and stuff into your suitcase, taking up absolutely no room? These are the most versatile, lightweight, flexible boots I’ve ever seen in my life, and that makes them ultra travel friendly!
The Bottom Line: If you live somewhere cold, plan to travel somewhere cold, foresee rain at some point in your life, or just get cold feet sometimes (hopefully not on your wedding day! Ba-dum-ssh, I’ll see myself out) the VivoBarefoot Gobi Boots are the boots for you.
Important Note: Although these boots are available annually (and have been since I bought my pair four years ago) I’ve noticed that they are often out of stock, especially from the end of winter through the summer and fall. If you see them in stock, jump on it and snag a pair!
Psst: Use the code PW10 to save 10% off any pair of VivoBarefoot shoes!
The Best Women’s Winter Boots for Outdoor Adventure
Although I love my VivoBarefoot Gobi boots, wear them daily in city conditions, and have taken them on many winter adventures, I have to admit that I also have another pair of Vivobarefoot winter boots that I also love: the Vivobarefoot Tracker FG.
The Tracker boot is not as packable as the Gobi boot, but it has excellent traction and is my go-to pick for rugged winter sports like hiking or crunching around on slippery ice.
Whereas the Gobi boot perfectly conforms to the shape of my foot like a warm leather glove, the Tracker boot provides more stability and structured support – while still being just as lightweight and flexible.
Here’s why I’m a fan:
✔ Extremely cute, in like a “I am going to a rugged cabin somewhere on a mountain” kind of way.
Incidentally, that’s also why all of my pictures of the Tracker boots are from trips to Lake Tahoe. They just fit the vibe.
✔ Waterproof AF in both snow and rain.
The treated leather makes these boots totally protective against the elements! The waterproof membrane is breathable but effective.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend wearing these without socks to prevent blisters from the stiff ankle supports: I typically wear a pair of thick, absorbent merino wool socks with them.
✔ Super warm and insulating.
Even without the faux shearling interior that I love so much on my Gobi boots, the thermal insole that’s in both boots is made with foil and foam reflects body heat, so that you stay warm and toasty even when you’re standing in the snow.
- Psst: buying the thermal insole on its own is a super budget-friendly way to winterproof your current pair of winter boots or travel shoes!
✔ Lightweight and easy to squish up into your bag for travel
Super rugged winter hiking boots – teeny tiny little suitcase space. Like my other pairs of Vivobarefoot shoes, these boots are versatile, lightweight, and flexible which makes them ultra travel-friendly!
✔ Fantastic grip, perfect for ice, snow, and challenging terrain.
These boots are designed with outdoor adventure in mind, and the soles have excellent grip. You won’t slide anywhere on the ice!
✔ Flexible soles with plenty of room for foot movement.
Even though they are designed to be barefoot boots and the sole is super flexible and thin to allow your foot its full range of motion – which means no foot pain – you won’t feel a thing – no cold feet in these winter boots!
The Bottom Line: If you do a lot of outdoorsy winter activities or snow sports, especially hiking or crunching around in the ice and snow, or you like a more structured winter boot with ankle support and excellent traction, the VivoBarefoot Tracker Boots are the boots for you.
Psst: Use the code PW10 to save 10% off any pair of VivoBarefoot shoes!
The Best Women’s Lightweight Hiking Shoes
I used to think you needed big, chunky boots to go hiking in – for ankle support and snake protection or whatever – and I thought that the best boots of all were waterproof and cost hundreds of dollars for good reason. For years as I explored the best hikes in Northern California, I wore whatever clunky hiking boots I found on sale at REI, nursing my feet after long hikes, aches and blisters and sore calves and all.
I assumed that my problem was that I couldn’t afford to drop bands on a pair of good waterproof hiking boots, not hiking boots themselves. And I avoided taking my hiking boots with me on trips, because they weighed a zillion pounds and took up half of the space in my suitcase.
Then somebody told me about trail runners, and it changed everything.
Trail runners are like the shoe that sits directly in between regular sneakers and massive, clunky hiking boots. They have the grip of hiking boots with the light-weightedness of sneakers. They’re built to stabilize your foot as you run through forests and unstable terrain, leaping over logs and probably doing the occasional Tarzan swing through the trees, and they’re excellent for hiking.
Once I laced up my Altra Lone Peak Trail Runners – with some lacing tricks I’d learned in my years-long quest to make hiking boots actually work for me – and hit the trails, I knew I’d never hike in clunky, inflexible boots again.
Without the weight and bulk of those boots on my feet, I felt light and free – and yes, I even went trail running a few times out of sheer excitement. (It’s actually REALLY fun, and I usually hate running! Don’t believe me? Read Born to Run and tell me it doesn’t make you want to gallop off into the mountains somewhere for a casual 50-mile run.)
Here are a few of the reasons why I love my Trail Runners:
✔ They’re zero drop, so there’s no risk of re-aggravating my plantar fasciitis.
Too many hiking boots have a little heel, which may look cute, but 12+ miles in, your feet will be screaming! These trail runners are zero drop, so my feet stay pain-free.
✔ Flexible sole, so my foot can move with full range of motion and flexibility to keep me stable even on tricky terrain.
I’ve scrambled down rocky mountainsides and up sandy cliffs in these, and the textured, flexible rubber sole can handle it all.
✔ The upper is made of lightweight mesh, which is incredibly breathable, keeping my feet sweat-free.
This does, however, mean that whatever socks you wear might get a bit dusty! I sometimes have to stop and empty out my shoes on sandy trails in California.
✔ Who needs waterproof boots?
My trail runners dry lightning-fast, so that if I have to wet-foot portage (that’s hiking nerd speak for “walk through a puddle or something”), my wool-blend hiking socks and shoes are dry not even 15 minutes later. If I end up hiking in the rain, I just pull out the pair of waterproof socks I keep in my Camelbak and pull them on over my regular wool hiking socks to keep my feet completely dry (yes, I’ve done a full submerge test just to check).
✔ Have never given me even close to the inkling of a blister.
Never. Not even on our very first hike! They’re soft and comfortable and lightweight and wonderful and nothing rubs or sticks out or irritates my feet at all!
✔ The perfect hiking shoes for travel.
They’re lightweight and the mesh upper collapses to nothing at all, so you can smush these in your bag (or in my case, in the mesh cup-holder on the side or the front pocket) and hike anywhere your heart desires! I’ve taken my trail runners hiking everywhere from the Andes Mountains to the Inca Trail and they’ve never once let me down.
Oh, and as for ankle support? Turns out that the whole thing is a myth, much like the concept of “arch support.” When you let your feet do their thing naturally, your feet and calf muscles develop into the super-strength Wonder Woman feet you were born to have, and your muscles do the job of stabilizing your ankles just fine.
And arch support? Since when have arches, the strongest shape in the world, used throughout the history of mankind’s greatest architectural achievements, needed support? What happens when you stick something under an arch? Does it help make the arch stronger? No. It does not. The term arch support is a non sequitur!
If you’re still hiking in hiking boots and take for granted the fact that your feet will hurt after a long day of hiking, let me tell you: it doesn’t have to be that way! Trail runners changed my attitude towards hiking and helped me develop a 1-hike-per-week habit during the year leading up to our year-long honeymoon (which I haven’t exactly picked back up again now that we’ve returned, but it’s not my shoes fault – they’re miraculously as good as new).
Give them a try and let me know if your hiking game changes the way mine did!
Important Note: The Lone Peaks are updated every year or so with new technology and a slightly fresher design, but stay true to the originals. The ones pictured here are version 3; Version 4.5 is currently being phased out to make way for Version 5.
The Best Walking Sandals for Travel (& Hiking)
My love for Teva Sandals can only be described as “cult-like.” I’m currently on my 4th pair of these babies. They comprise the entirety of sandals in my closet, and when I bring them on a trip to somewhere hot, they’re all I wear.
I wore pair #3 for 6 months straight during our year-long honeymoon. I hiked in them. I rappelled down a waterfall in them (and then got rescued in them). I went white water rafting in them. I stomped through cities and frolicked on beaches in them. We had some really good times together, but every couple of years, it’s time for a new pair.
I’ve been buying leather Teva sandals regularly for the past 8 years. Here is a photo of my very first pair of Teva sandals, taken 8 years ago with a cutting-edge cell phone camera on a trip to the Grand Canyon:
I still have those sandals in the back of my closet. I couldn’t bear to throw them away – we’ve been to so many places together! I’m slightly verging into hoarder territory with the Teva shoe cemetery in my closet…
It’s not just me who’s obsessed with these sandals, either: one time I was getting mani/pedi and noticed that someone else was wearing the same pair of Teva sandals. We struck up a conversation and spent a solid 20 minutes loudly fan-girling over how much we loved these sandals, much to the irritation and bewilderment of the rest of the salon.
But you guys: they’re SO GOOD. Here’s why I think these Tevas are the best travel sandals:
✔ Durable straps and a flexible sole make these one tough, rugged pair of sandals
My Tevas last, on average, 3 years before they need replacing. And I wear them HARD.
They’re pretty much my only pair of sandals, so I take them on every hot-weather trip, wear them into the ocean, and go hiking in them. They get beat up by sand and dust and saltwater, but they hold up like champions!
When I do end up replacing them, it’s usually because I want prettier looking shoes, not because they’re no longer functional (unlike a cute pair of cheap sandals from somewhere that shall remain nameless which I once wore an actual hole into after just 2 weeks in Bali).
✔ Legit cute.
I know “Teva” used to be synonymous with those unattractive sandals at 8th-grade summer camp. And while they do have that style still – in about a zillion colors – they’ve also grown up and matured and blossomed and created some truly adorable, stylish shoes!
Every year, Teva comes out with a new pair of their stylish option, and every year, I look at my growing pile of Tevas and am tempted to buy yet another one.
✔ As good at being water shoes as they are at being walking shoes and city shoes.
Helloooo, Tevas are like, the original water sandals! So they’re not only my favorite city sandals: they’re also my (only) water shoes. I wear them whitewater rafting, snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing, and on hikes through streams and puddles.
They don’t slip around thanks to the velcro straps, they dry off entirely in the sun after a few hours (or overnight), and the materials handle water like it’s nothing!
✔ The most comfortable walking sandals that I’ve ever tried – and I’ve tried SO. MANY.
I truly have. There is a reason I’ve owned Tevas every year for the past decade. They’re the best women’s hiking sandals!
✔ Will give you the coveted “Teva Tan” which is like a wearable souvenir from all of your travels (at this point I think mine is permanent)
Is Teva Tan the new Hydroflask? Maybe not, but I rock mine every year like a badge of honor.
I’m obsessed and I want you to be obsessed too! Grab a pair and try them out. You’ll never go back to regular sandals again!
Note that Teva changes the design slightly every year, and this year’s may not look exactly the same as the ones I’m wearing in the above photos. I do try to keep this post updated, so please let me know if they’re out of stock!
The Best Travel Flats
Flats are the ideal travel shoe for 3-season travels. They’re perfect for exploring cities, going out at night (on the rare occasion that I manage to drag myself away from Netflix & drooling on myself to actually do something after dark, that is) and doing ~professional things.
I wear them on cobblestone streets and asphalt. I wear them at conferences, where I walk upwards of 15,000 steps per day as I hustle from booth to booth to beg brands to throw money at me (HAHA just kidding I love my sponsors being a travel blogger is so glamorous whee).
I wear them when I’m speaking onstage at conferences. I wear them when I attend the networking parties after the conferences that always last all night and cut into my Netflix & drool time.
Y’all: I wear them constantly. Because they are adorable, and I can walk a zillion miles in them and never feel any pain whatsoever.
Over the years I’ve tested a variety of travel flats, and frankly, I haven’t found most of them to be worth the incredibly high price tag.
Enter the budget-friendly Ollio Faux Suede Ballet Flats. Here’s why I love these affordable, lightweight travel flats:
✔ Lightweight and easy to pack
The Ollio flats are flexible enough to roll or fold up, and don’t weigh very much at all, making adding them to my suitcase, backpack or daybag a no-brainer (you never know when you might need to look halfway decent).
✔ Super cute with everything from jeans to dresses
Made from textured faux suede, the Ollios are otherwise a pretty classically styled ballet flat – no painful pointy toes, no ribbons or bells or whistles.
But they look good, add a nice pop of color to my outfit, and frankly if I’m on the go and running around a city or conference, I care a lot more about comfort than style.
They’re cute enough, super comfortable, and that’s all I need!
✔ Roll up or fold down into teeny palm-sized mini shoes
The Ollio Ballet Flats fold easily in half (much like Tieks), making them conveniently tiny!
✔ Comfortable enough to walk in for miles and miles
Comfort is my highest priority when it comes to travel shoes. The Ollio flats are made from soft material, are wide enough to fit my feet and toes without squishing them, and have flexible soles so that I can stand & walk for miles without sore feet or next-day hobbling.
Personally, I prefer barefoot shoes, but the Ollio Ballet Flats have some cushion! Even as a barefoot shoe lover, I do like their still-flexible but much thicker sole for added padding.
- Wait! Here’s a Very Important Tip for your travel flats: I, errr, tend to get kind of sweaty feet on hot days. Especially when I’m walking several miles and standing for hours and hours. So I found a really good little sock to wear with my flats. They’re made from wool, which is naturally antibacterial (aka anti-stink) and absorbant in a not-gross way, and they’re the perfect size and shape to fit seamlessly (and secretly) into any pair of flats! Pick up a pair to take with you on every trip.
If you’ve struggled to find the best women’s travel shoes, vent to me in the comments! What are your frustrations? What are your concerns? What questions can I answer for you about the best travel shoes for women?
Psst: Looking for more travel tips to upgrade your next trip? Take a look at some of our other helpful posts – and don’t forget to read our men’s travel shoes guide!
- The Best Swimsuits for Curves
- The Best Travel Pants for Women
- The Ultimate Travel Guide to Makeup & Beauty
Hey, did you find this post useful? Save it to refer to later on Pinterest!
Disclaimer: This post was originally created in partnership with VivoBarefoot, a shoe brand that we’ve actually high-key fan-girled for years (dreams came true writing this post, y’all). That said, we purchased all of the shoes in this post with our own money several years ago, and have been testing them on trips ever since, slowly becoming more and more obsessed. All opinions, bad jokes, and strong feelings about shoes are 100% our own and absolutely nobody else’s fault.
Our Top Travel Tips & Resources
- Booking Flights: To score flight deals, search on Google Flights or Kayak. Money-saving tips: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on only on a budget airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
- Accommodations: We usually stay in budget-friendly vacation rentals, boutique hotels or private rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to book hotels (we love their flexible cancellation policy) and Hostelworld to book hostels (low deposit, easy change/cancellation, and excellent reviews). For vacation rentals, we prefer to book using VRBO because they've got lower fees and better support than Airbnb, and we're not fans of Airbnb's unethical track record. You can also book vacation rentals on Expedia and Hotels.com. We also use TrustedHousesitters as both hosts (for our home and our fur-child) and travelers!
- Travel Insurance: We always, always, ALWAYS buy travel insurance for international trips, and we STRONGLY suggest it - visit our Travel Insurance Guide to find out why. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing for international travel insurance. SafetyWing is one of the few policies that covers Covid-19, and they have excellent monthly policies that are perfect for Digital Nomads and long term travelers!
- Travel Credit Card: We book all of our trips on our favorite travel credit card. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card offers fantastic travel perks like travel insurance, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, which helps protect us on our travels. Learn more here.
- Vaccines & Meds: We use the travel guides on the CDC website to research recommended medications and vaccines for international trips. We always recommend getting every vaccine recommended by the CDC! You can get them at your primary care doctor's office or a walk-in pharmacy.
- Tours: We love booking guided tours, especially food tours and walking tours, to get a local's perspective and a history lesson while sight-seeing! We book our tours using Viator and GetYourGuide.
- Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to figure out how to get from place to place, and book local transportation online using Bookaway wherever we can. When we book a rental car, we use DiscoverCars to compare rental companies and find the best deal.
- Luggage Storage: Whenever we're checking out early or taking advantage of a long layover, we use LuggageHero to safely store our luggage while we're running around. Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
- VPN Service: A VPN keeps your digital information (like website login details, bank info, etc) safe, even when you're connected to an unsecured network while traveling. Plus, it lets you use Netflix & other streaming sites abroad! We use NordVPN. Use the code WANDERLUSTPROMO when you sign up!
- What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we bring on every trip. We also have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and many more. Take a look at all of our packing guides!
Brittany G. says
You are THEE BEST for so thoroughly reviewing shoes and naming ideals for each category with so much detail!!!! Much appreciated girl, thank you.
Love your site and recommendations! As a fluffier woman I especially appreciate the recommendations for shoes and swimsuits.
I’ve never spent much money on shoes but am starting to regret that. Lol
I’ve decided to invest in some of your choices and can’t wait to see how it turns out.
I am having trouble finding the Teva Mahonia and the Born Tusayan in my size anywhere. Do you have any other alternatives to these?
Thanks for all your tips! I look forward to reading your next post.
Richie Goff says
Hey glad I can be of help :)!
I’d recommend any of the Teva “universal” style. The leather and cork cute styles seem to get cycled out seasonally but there are always plenty of universals on sale year-round in a variety of colors! They aren’t as cute, but they are as comfortable and will hold up in water or on a hike.
Hope that helps,
Dawn McGough says
Hi! I stumbled across your blog by accident! So glad I did! As a fellow chonk and wannabe traveller, I always struggle! I’m now going to give this barefoot life a go! So many injuries and issues with pain, gait, plantar, Achilles, hips, knees etc etc etc!
I tend to overthink outfits and shoe choices due to my size and fitness levels and I want to be able to just get out there and do it!
Do you have any recommendations for a specific model/style of teva? They vary so much and some seem to have excess padding and arch support etc.
Thanks in advance you wonderful beautiful human!! Xx
Hi Lia! Thank you for such useful info and tips! The link for Teva sandals is not working and you never mention the specific style that you recommend. Do you know if it’s still available and how to find it?
Thanks again for the inspiration!
Lia Garcia says
Thank you for letting us know, Lindsay! I’ve fixed the link and it should be working now. The reason why I didn’t name the style is that this line of sandals typically goes out of stock annually in the winter, they tinker with the design a little bit, give it a new name and then go back in stock around spring, so every year it’s got a different name but is still basically the same sandal. The current style is called the Mahonia, but that’ll probably be changed in a couple of months 😛
Lia— Your description of the Gobi boots has got to be the best ad I’ve ever read about shoes! I’m struggling to tell if this version is the same or close to the ones you’ve waxed so poetic about? We’re headed to Banff for Christmas and I want zero reasons that people can’t continue walking (including me)!
Do I go with those or the Tracker II FG?: https://practicalwanderlust.com/recommends/vivobarefoot-tracker-boot
Lia Garcia says
Hahaha sorry it sounded like an ad! I just really love them! And yes, that is the same Gobi boot. It’s been updated over the years, and it looks like the main difference is that the boots were once lined with shearling and are not anymore, but I think they still should be about the same as what I’ve got. The Gobi boots are super lightweight and roll up into nothing, so I love being able to stuff them in my suitcase. The tracker are much more like a traditional winter boot – bulkier, sturdier, still lightweight but not as suitcase-friendly. Personally I really like the pared down feeling of the Gobi boots, which feel like nothing at all on my feet, versus the Trackers which definitely feel like I’m wearing a pair of boots. But the Trackers have a much better grip, so it’s better for more challenging terrain and ice/snow. I would advise the Gobi boots if you’ll be in cities and on sidewalks that are salted and free from slippery ice and snow, and the Trackers if you’ll be outdoors or walking on snow and ice.
Great list! I have about 20 tabs from your blog open right now as work through them all. We’re starting our around-the-world trip in January, beginning with 3 months in Costa Rica. Im definitely going to buy a pair of the Allbirds, and you’ve pretty much sold me on the Texas (even though I have a perfectly good pair of Chacos I’m loathe to give up!). The boots, though. I want them sooooo badly, but have been told over and over again not to take anything leather to Costa Rica because it molds in the humidity. What do you think?
Ha! Not Texas… Tevas. It won’t let me edit.
Lia Garcia says
Hmmm. TBH I doubt that 3 months is long enough to really affect well-treated leather that is designed to handle rain and weather? I’ve never noticed any issues with my boots with moisture, and I wear them every time it rains, in the snow, etc. But keep in mind we live in California where humidity is definitely not an issue lol. Still, these aren’t your average leather boots, and I’d be really surprised if a few months of humidity affected them!
FWIW, What we did during our year-long trip is to actually fly home (to family) after South America and before we headed to Europe for the winter, and basically left all of our warm-weather stuff with our family and loaded up our cold-weather stuff there! It took some pre-packing but it worked out because we spent Thanksgiving with family and didn’t have to pack for super cold and super hot weather at the same time.
Ehtel Ostroot says
The best walking shoes will provide you with the stability and the cushioning that you need as you walk. There should be enough arch support to prevent your foot from slipping forward as you walk. If there is not enough arch support, your foot will end up sinking into the ground.
Lia Garcia says
I don’t think that’s how arches work! Arches are the strongest shape in the natural world. Arch support is an oxymoron – putting support under an arch makes the arch itself weaker. I’ve had zero issues with my feet since I ditched shoes with arches and thick heels almost a decade ago, and I’ll never go back! I know everyone is different, but arch support doesn’t work for me. And if human feet “sink into the ground” without arch support, then why are shoes with arch support a 20th century invention? What have humans been doing for centuries and millennia without any arch support??
So I am a tall Amazonian woman like yourself (6’1), and I have to ask…what size shoes do you wear?! I wear an 11 (42.5), and I find so many styles only go to a size 10, or their size 11s are a European 41 (which is NOT an 11, people!). Any advice?
*Side note: I have recently discovered you/your blog on the hunt for pants long enough. I love you’re blog, we’re basically the same person. And you’re hilarious!
Lia Garcia says
Hey Suzy, so glad you found me!! 🙂 I’m actually a size 9.5/10, so I don’t usually struggle to find shoes and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t even realize that most shoe brands end at a size 10! I’ll start keeping an eye out for inclusively sized shoe brands. I’d love to hear about which shoe brands you like for larger-sized feet!
Suzanne Wuolle says
I haven’t tried barefoot shoes, so none will fit in that genre. I do love my Birkenstock’s, I have an obsession with Keds, and for athletic runners I have found ASICS have lots of styles that go to size 11. I like my Vionic sandals as they have some support to stand all day at work/walk but they still have some cute styles. Just this summer I finally found a pair of Tevas in an 11 that fit, but haven’t really had a chance to try them out. I have tried Vessi for waterproof runners, as Allbirds’ women’s 11’s are also a 41 sadly. I haven’t found a boot brand that I’m in love with, I pretty much try a new shirt black boot every time I buy (why do so many boots have heels?!).
Lisa Sparkman says
What is the best shoes for CrossFit? The best crosser is made from durable materials that work with the body to ensure optimal comfort. Look for quality that lasts and that is also easy to care for.
Lia Garcia says
I would recommend Vivobarefoot. They are super flexible to move with your body & feet without adding any bulk, weight, or making it harder to flex your feet. And they’re incredibly durable. I have pairs that are over 5 years old that are still in fantastic shape, the only wear & tear is on the insole but they’re still fantastic for hiking & more!
Love this post! I keep referring back to it while planning an Iceland trip for next summer! I do have a question though – how do you choose between the Gobi IIIs and the Tracker boots? Since we are going to Iceland, I ordered the Trackers and they’re super comfy (just a bit stiff), but we tend to travel to cities more often than not, so now I’m wondering if I should switch? Any suggestions for how to decide?
Lia Garcia says
I’m so happy this post is helpful! I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland 🙂 in terms of your question, for me the Trackers are best for when you need a more rugged boot – hiking outdoors in the snow and ice that kind of thing. They’re definitely a bit more stiff, and have better grip on the ice. The Gobi boots are warm and cozy, super flexible and soft (and way easier to pack), and are my preferred go-to boots for long days of walking. But their grip on ice isn’t as good as the Trackers, so I only like to wear them on city sidewalks that have been salted, or directly in the snow! I hope that’s helpful 🙂
Hello! I found myself reading about your plantar fasciitis experience and thinking “OMGOSH! My twin!” I’ve been suffering for over 6 years now. This summer I got a great pair of supportive New Balance runners that have been great for walking and healing. In all my research though I had stumbled across the argument that the support makes PF worse long term so I wasn’t surprised to hear that switching to barefoot helped. I’ve heard that sometimes people suffering from PF need to start with lots of support and then fade… Which sort of sounds like what you did. What sort of things did you do to help you feet adjust to the minimalist shoes? Did you have favorites shoes that you wore while you were transitioning? How did you build the strength without causing a PF flare? I guess I live in fear of PF because it’s so debilitating. We were in NYC and I missed out on a ton of things because I could not walk anymore. I don’t know how I got back to the airport I was in so much pain.
Lia Garcia says
Hey Bess, it definitely sounds like you’re on a similar path to what happened to me! I’m so sorry you’re dealing with PF pain, it’s the worst 🙁 Much like you, right after I injured myself I was only able to walk comfortably in super-supportive shoes, but I didn’t want to be limited to those shoes forever (plus, they were kinda ugly, hehe). Long story short, it took a few months to adjust to walking and standing in barefoot shoes and resolve my PF pain, but switching to barefoot shoes ended up being just the tip of the iceberg for me!
When I got my first pair of barefoot shoes I was only able to walk for like a block or two at first without pain – but to my surprise, it wasn’t the plantar fasciitis pain I’d gotten accustomed to, but the kind of calf pain I would feel after climbing up a hill or jogging for a while, like pain that lets you know your muscles are working hard. That let me know that my calves needed to be built up and made stronger, and also that they were doing a lot of the work when I walked – maybe too much. For me, the biggest relief I found for my PF pain was stretching my calf muscles (even more so than rolling the ball of my foot!), and I realized that in barefoot shoes, my calves were getting stretched out in ways they never had before in my old shoes – which immediately helped my PF pain! I would still occasionally wake up unable to walk at first, or need to wear my PF foot casts to bed to help my feet stretch out, but eventually my calves adjusted.
To build up my calf strength, I did a LOT of heel raises, which is literally just standing up on your tippy-toes and then coming back down again. Doing them on stairs also helps (you get more of a lift AND a wonderful stretch, which is so good for easing PF pain) as does carrying something heavy and doing weighted raises. I basically got in the habit of doing heel raises throughout the day, whenever I found myself standing around or waiting for something. Strengthening and stretching my calf muscles, along with walking further distances each day in my barefoot shoes (and barefoot outside on soft ground) built up my strength and eased my PF pain within a few months. And soon, I was able to walk to the train station in my new barefoot shoes (about half a mile), wear them all day at the office, and walk home again.
On my path to solve my pain, I also picked up a new hobby: powerlifting! Although the 4 lifts I learned in powerlifting didn’t directly target my calves the way heel raises did, they helped strengthen my entire body and legs, which helped to take the pressure off of my calves. At first, I wasn’t even able to get into the proper “squat” position without literally falling over – that took me an entire year of stretching my calves and strengthening my core and quads to achieve. But over time, my legs strengthened so that my calves were no longer over-working whenever I walked. I also got a standing desk at work, so that I was practicing standing (and doing more heel raises!) throughout the day (and I also found out that I needed to strengthen my back and core to stand for long periods of time without pain! Back to the gym – deadlifting took care of that). It took me a few years until I was able to walk, stand, etc with absolutely no pain, no matter how long I go for – 20k steps, 30k steps, 8-16 hours of standing- none of it bothers me anymore!
It’s been 6 or 7 years now since I stopped wearing flats, heels, and too-narrow shoes that caused me pain (and I can’t wear them anymore without a gnarly PF flare-up) but it’s been so worth it. For me, it also kick-started a journey of understanding my body’s needs and addressing strength imbalances that I’d never realized I had. I’ve never been athletic in my life, but switching to barefoot shoes and working on addressing my PF pain led me to fall in love with strength training! Now I feel strong and healthy, and I can walk and explore all day long with no fear of pain.
I really hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions I can help answer 🙂
Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Lia Garcia says
Oh no! If you mind telling us what browser & device you’re using, we’ll try to see if we can figure it out?
A lot of good options here. I like Teva and Allbirds a lot but found a new shoe recently called BEDNY. It is made in California and very comfortable and stylish.
Lia Garcia says
We’ll have to check them out! Thanks for the suggestion!
I’m surprised no Birkenstock’s made the list. They are one of the most comfortable shoes for walking. I’ve walked ten mikes a day in my Birkenstock Arizona’s with absolutely no pain.
Lia Garcia says
Interesting! I have only ever worn Birkenstock clogs, which slipped off my feet constantly because they weren’t strapped down. I also remember the soles being very stiff and not flexible, which always leads to pain for me. But that was years ago! Maybe it’s time to try them again.
Thanks so much for creating this article. It is very helpful. I am looking for Tiva Ysidro Sandal on line, but couldn’t find it anywhere. It looks like Tiva no longer makes that style. 🙁
Lia Garcia says
They’re not currently available directly from Teva but they’re still available from Amazon! They’re right here: https://amzn.to/2RVTaxN
Because of this article i quickly found the Allbird laceups for an upcoming trip to Japan. They feel really good on the foot and are dressier than running shoes. I found my used pair on Poshmark. Though used they weren’t cheap; they seem like highly quality footwear.
Lia Garcia says
Dang that’s such a good find! They are def made to last. Enjoy your travels in Japan!
Wow, so excited to see this post as someone that is also very into the barefoot shoe life (also had the plantar fascitis plus achilles issues in my past). I am incredibly picky about what I will wear on my feet. I love Vivos, I love altras. I love the look of the Tevas you feature but they seem to have a little heel? Do you notice this or does it seem aggravating?
Lia Garcia says
Hayyy, barefoot fam! While my beloved Tevas aren’t 100% flat, the heel is made of cork and is so soft and flexible that I personally have no issues and don’t really notice it much, even on very long days with lots of walking and standing. My feet are pretty sensitive, so even though these aren’t technically barefoot, they definitely work for me!
Hello! I recently got turned on to your blog as I was researching for our 10 day honeymoon trip to Europe. I was curious to confirm what shoes you best suited you when you were walking through Europe. We dont plan on doing any true hiking. But everyone I speak to says to buy hiking shoes for walking the cities. I dont really want to if I can help it. We plan to walk a LOT around paris, Italy, Prague to name a few. Any recommendations? Thanks!
Lia Garcia says
For long days of walking through the cities, my pick is definitely, hands-down the Allbirds I included in our post. They’re fantastic and they’ve completely replaced my sneakers for city days! So freaking cute and absolutely up to the task of very long days and lots and lots of walking. Hope that helps!
I’m going on a month long backpacking trip to Thailand and Vietnam in February. It’s going to be hot! I’ve been looking a lot into what shoes to bring that will be comfy to wear all day for all the walking and exploring I will do without my feet sweating like crazy though. I think I want a sandal and an actual shoe. What would you recommend as a shoe option for the hot weather? Thank you for this in-depth review!
Lia Garcia says
HANDS DOWN, get the Tevas we linked. They’re amazing and they’re made of leather and cork so you won’t even notice the sweating. That’s what I wear on all of our hot trips and they’re fantastic! For actual shoes, I’d recommend a pair of the Allbirds we linked. They have tiny little holes so they let your feet breathe, and they’re made with natural fibers and absorbant, anti-microbial wool inserts to help with the sweatiness. Hope that helps!
Thank you for these in-depth reviews! (I actually love my Rothy’s, though — washable, pack flat, and comfortable — but I had to learn the hard way to size up.) FYI, your Vivo discount code no longer works. Do you have another? I’m planning a European Christmas trip and they seem like a good fit. Thank you!
Lia Garcia says
Hey Crystal, thanks for the review! I think sizing up might have helped us – maybe I’ll give them another try! I’m currently in communication with Vivobarefoot to get that code re-activated, so stay tuned!
Sarah Sampson says
YES GIRL. I learned this the hard way when my first big trip was to Europe for a month and I was only focused on looking cute and ended up missing out on some activities because my feet got SO sore in cheap flats! Now I always bring comfy walking shoes but I still haven’t found the perfect balance of cute/practical so I definitely appreciate the recommendations!
Lia Garcia says
Omg yes you are me! If I had to pick only ONE cute/practical recommendation at this point, it would be my white Allbirds. They are perfect 3-season travel shoes and I love them! But I really love all of the shoes on this list 🙂 I hope you find The Shoes you’re searching for!
Sam Yeager says
I absolutely love my Rothy’s! I’ve been considering them for years and I’m SO glad I finally did it! You won’t regret it. I have never been able to find a flat as comfortable and cute. They are super easy to dress up or down! You can toss them in the washer and they look brand new again. They have some super cute new sneaker styles as well – will def be my next purchase.
Lia Garcia says
Well sh*t this is making me want to try them again 😛
I have these ugly pair of sketchers which are super comfortable and I carry them everywhere on my trips. I think the biggest issue I face is finding shoes that go with every outfit, and yet are comfy for long hours of walking.
Lia Garcia says
I’m the same way! No shoes made this list without me walking for hours and hours and hours in them first 🙂
Thanks so much for the tips! I have planta as well and it’s a pain in the butt! I often find I have to wear shoes with a heel or put a heel raiser in my hiking shoes and I’m good to go. I’ll definitely check of some of these though, as I’m heading to Europe /UK in winter. 🙂
Kayli Devincenzi says
Hi! So I clicked on all the links to look at the shoes, and almost all are sold out! Such a bummer! Maybe it’s this post that has everyone running out to buy them. Guess I’ll have to keep checking for them to be restocked! Thanks for a great list!
Practical Wanderlust says
Hey Kayli! Thank you for letting us know! I’ve updated the post with alternate versions, hopefully you can find what you need there! Happy shopping! 😉
Great post! I plan to check out the shoes you recommended. Are there any particular shoes you recommend to build up my calf muscles? I am not athletic at all so I feel like the barefoot shoes will cause some pain unless I do some foot / calf conditioning first. Thank you for all the helpful tips and advice!
Lia Garcia says
Honestly, walking in barefoot shoes will do that for you! It’s incredible how different it feels to walk in them versus regular shoes, and you’ll notice your calves tiring in the same way you’d feel while running or doing calf workouts. Each day you’ll be able to walk for longer and longer without that feeling until you never feel it at all! That said, if you’d prefer to do some prep work and aren’t a runner or hiker, I recommend weighted calf raises (or unweighted calf raises). Just do as many as possible until you feel that burn! They’re not techincal – you’re literally just standing up on your tippy-toes and then going back down again. You can also do them on a step or stair (or curb, or any ledge you find) so your heels dip beneath the step on the way down for maximum effort. Weighted calf raises are just regular calf raises, except you’re carrying stuff. Maybe it’s a barbell on your back, maybe it’s just a really heavy backpack 😉 I used to do weighted calf raises while waiting for the train on my way to work with my laptop in my backpack! I also like to turn my toes to face inwards and outwards as well as straight ahead to work different parts of my calves. Again, super easy and non-technical, and I’ve just gotten in the habit of doing calf raises while I wait around for stuff now. (Fair warning: if you’re used to having smaller calves, you’re in for a fun surprise when boots stop fitting around your legs. RIP, cute fall boots!)
Bronwen Abbattista says
This post was super useful! I’m in the market for trail runners and definitely going to check out the ones you recommend. I thought I needed waterproof, but I like your idea of using waterproof socks instead. Do you prefer that to the shoes being waterproof? What are your tips for lacing up hiking boots so they work for you?
Lia Garcia says
The thing about waterproof shoes is that during the 1% of the time when I need waterproof shoes they are great, but 99% of the time when I’m not actually hiking through water or rain, they’re just sweaty and uncomfortable. I’d much rather have a pair of waterproof socks on hand for the 1% of the time rather than deal with the sweaty misery for the 99% of the time, so yes, I definitely prefer that!
As for lacing up my trail runners, I do a triple twist/surgeon’s knot on my top lace before just tying my shoes like normal. I find that’s enough for me to prevent heel slip while hiking downhill. I don’t do anything else terribly special! Here’s more info about the surgeon’s knot: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/lacing-hiking-boots.html
I love this article! I just bought some of the Gobis for my European travels post-Africa (realised I didn’t have any warm shoes, just sandals!). Do you think they will be too hot for Europe in March/April? And I hope my calves survive! (read that bit after I pressed “purchase”…!) Thanks for such a fun article!
Lia Garcia says
I wear mine on chilly and rainy days here in northern California, so I think you’ll be fine! They get too hot around 70 degrees or higher but personally I find anything under 70 to be freezing 😛
Also, have you heard anything about a similar style to the TEVA Capris? It looks like they aren’t selling/making them anymore!
Lia Garcia says
They’re still available on other sites, like on Amazon, which is what’s linked to in this post! They make a new version every so often that’s slightly different. It looks like the current version is called the Ysidro, which is available on their website.
Hi Lia, thanks for your great tips!
I am a bit skeptical about the Teva sandals.. can you really immerse them in water with no damage? I am looking for some sandals that I can also use for showering in hostel/camping sites.
Thanks a lot!!
Lia Garcia says
Yep! I wear them as my water shoes too. I’ve worn them for snorkelling, kayaking, white water rafting, etc. You’ll just want to leave them outside to let them dry overnight before you wear them in the city or out of water again, or you’ll be slipping and sliding a bit! Teva is the original water sandal and these definitely hold up to that reputation IMO.
This post is great! I’m going to Switzerland and Eastern Europe at the beginning of December, do you think I have enough time to break in the barefoot Gobi boots? Also, would you mind sending me a referral link–we both get $30 off if you do! 🙂
Lia Garcia says
You don’t need to do any breaking in for the Gobis themselves, it’s more about making sure YOUR feet are comfortable in them. For me the biggest issue was that my calves were undeveloped from wearing shoes that didn’t allow my feet to move naturally for years, so I couldn’t walk in them for more than a few minutes without my calves aching from effort. It took me a few months to build up my calf muscles to a point where it didn’t feel like I was going on a jog just from walking around barefoot. If you’re more athletic than I was, like if you already go running and have strong calf muscles, you should have no problems – my husband was able to put them on and walk miles in them immediately because he bikes and has stronger legs than I did, for example! I hope that helps!
Wow you described the exact same issues and injuries I have. Been walking heavy bc himing boots for years, created several foot problems. Discovered trail runners this year nd never going back. Topo Athletics specializes in wide forefoot shoes. Their zero drop shoes made my short calve muscles get more flexible. Too bad their not suited for normal walking as they started to rib at the bend point after only few months and strangly the soles are slippery when walking on wet streets. Saucony peregrine 8 has amagingly rugged soles and I can almost walk a rock vertically with them. Too bad no zero drop or not too wide forefoot but they still walk like you walk on clouds, can bearily feel blind guides stones and besides the sole the shoe itself is flexible, breathable but gives more ankle support than the topos. Will definately look into your suggestions as well because you litterally wrote down my years and years of struggle with feet problems and finding fitting shoes as I have a wide front foot but small size. A shoe salesmen actually told me we have more foot problems here in the west because its fashionable to have pointy shoes (yes even the average sneaker is too narrow). Keep up the great work, love your blogs
Lia Garcia says
OMG the pointy shoes! I wore pointy shoes for YEARS, they were my go-to flat style. And it was a pair of sneakers that gave me my killer plantar fasciitis injury (those stupid Nike free runs that are SUPER cute, but terrible for your feet, which I learned after going running in them for 2 weeks)! Sounds like a lot of the shoes here will be a GREAT fit for you, and I’m excited to check out the ones you mentioned too!
This was THE BEST guide ever! Thank you so much & I will be sharing this with everyone I know!
Emily Hines says
I need to add a new pair of boots to my winter wardrobe for Michigan and these sound perfect. Do they run true to size?
Lia Garcia says
Because they’re barefoot style shoes, they’re a big bigger than what you’re probably used to – there’s WAY more room for your toes than probably any other boot you’ve ever tried, but that’s totally normal and all part of the barefoot shoe thing. My boots are actually a half size up from what I usually wear (their sizing is European and I’m a weird US half size) and they fit just fine. Also that extra space means more room for nice thick socks if it’s super cold out!
GIRL YAASS! I have a pair of barefoot shoes from Merrell that I friggin love and never ever want to stop wearing. Last year I got a pair of waterproof hiking shoes and wore them around Philadelphia in the winter. Cut to me having blisters the size of literal em-effin’ half dollars. Those puppies were promptly returned and I’ve never cheated on my Merrells again. Though those Gobi boots are little temptresses…
Lia Garcia says
The Gobis are PERFECT for winter weather! And they’re hella cute, too. Get themmmmmmmm 😉
I always struggle with what shoes to wear when traveling! I always want them to look good but I need to be able to walk in them for hours and that is hard to find! Thanks so much for sharing this. Seriously considering those flats and the trail runners!
Lia Garcia says
It’s such a struggle to find good ones! I’m so glad I found these and my feet have been happy ever since, too 😉
I swear by Ipanema’s travel sandals! They are very comfy and cute as well. These suggestions sound so good. I definitely need a pair of good travel boots so I will check out VivoBareFoot. You crack me up with that Jurassic Park commercial LOL so random yet hilarious.
As a former runner who has also suffered Plantar Fascitis, I feel your pain! Exploring for hours when travelling always leaves me with sore feet and I too have struggled to find shoes that are both comfortable and fashionable. Will defintely look into purchasing a couple of these travel shoes! Thanks for the information.
Lia Garcia says
Yesss give them a try!!! They made such a huge difference for me.