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 several absolutely amazing pairs of travel shoes for women. And what’s more, they’re all lightweight and packable – aka easy to cram into your luggage without taking up a ton of room!
With these fantastic pairs of women’s 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!
Table of Contents
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 nutella and reality TV habit. 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 lightweight 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.
✔ 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 Everyday Minimalist Sneakers for Travel
White sneakers are a classic, must-have staple in any well curated closet. They go with everything, and look sharp (as long as you keep your white sneakers nice and clean.)
So, I have a few pairs of white sneakers. I started with the Allbirds Tree Skippers, then a pair of white Allbirds Tree Pipers, then picked up a soft leather pair of Vivobarefoot sneakers, And then I swore I was done.
But one more pair wouldn’t hurt, right?! Especially if they’re way, way less expensive than every other shoe I just listed off??
Honestly y’all, I’m glad I took the gamble (despite my closet now being half-filled with white shoes) because these shoes are what introduced me to the most budget-friendly minimalist brand I’ve found since starting to wear barefoot-style shoes. The brand is called Whitin and as far as. I can tell, they only exist on Amazon.
Here’s why you’ll want to give these shoes a try (even if they’re not white):
✔ Did I mention they’re budget-friendly?
Every time I’ve gone in to purchase another pair of Whitin shoes, they’re on sale for around $30-40. If you’ve been buying minimalist/barefoot style shoes for a while, those are eye-poppingly low prices. So much so that. I was initially very skeptical.
But like, why not?? Why does a minimalist shoe cost MORE when arguably, there’s less stuff going on with it??
Anyway, mystery solved: they’re legit. Are the sneakers as high-tech as some of the other shoes on this list? No. Are they comfortable, flexible, breathable, and affordable? Yes!
✔ Soft, stretchy uppers and foam insoles.
These shoes are really comfortable! The top is made from a knit mesh, much like my Allbirds, and the insoles are a soft, squishy foam.
They don’t have quite the same “you can feel every pebble beneath your feet” vibes as a true barefoot shoe, but they’re wide and flexible and comfortable and that’s really all I need for a casual sneaker!
✔ Easy to wash in the washing machine!
White shoes require regular washing, and these are pretty easy to bring back to blinding white. I just soak them with Oxiclean and then throw them in the laundry with a regular load, and they’re back to new!
✔ Nice-looking enough to go with any outfit, even business casual wear.
I am SO happy that nice sneakers are wearable as business casual, y’all. I’m so comfortable at conferences now!
Heads up, this brand on Amazon has a whole bunch of styles, and we’ve really liked everything we’ve tried so far for both men and women! If you’re curious about minimalist/barefoot style shoes with nice wide toe boxes and flexible soles, this is fantastic way to try them out without spending a ton. If you’re anything like me, you may never go back to normal shoes again!
The Best Women’s Winter Boots for Travel
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 Be Lenka Barefoot Winter Boot, the wool-lined, 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 merino wool 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 fleece-lined leggings in cold weather for maximum adorableness and cozyness.
✔ Waterproof AF – in both snow and rain.
Made from waterproof-treated leather with a water-repellant membrane built between the leather outer and wool lining, these boots are made for walking in the rain, snow, slush, sleet, and whatever else you feel like stomping around in!
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 – probably thanks to water coming in over the top of. the boots rather than the boots themselves. But hey, 1 damp pair of wool socks after 3 years is pretty darn good!
✔ Lined with insulating merino wool 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! There’s both a merino wool lining AND a removable merino wool insole.
But beyond feeling wonderful, merino wool is a high-performing textile that’s perfect for cold-weather boots. Merino wool is naturally thermally regulating, which means it keeps you warm when it’s cold out and cool when it’s hot out.
It’s also also naturally warm when wet, which means even if you do get water inside of your boots from splashing in too-deep puddles, or if you’re just feeling a lil’ sweaty. your toes will stay warm – which can be life-saving (or at least toe-saving) in certain situations.
This is why I always, ALWAYS wear merino wool socks in the the winter – NEVER cotton. (Although with the merino lining, yes – I do sometimes skip wearing socks with my winter boots, especially on fall days.)
As an additional bonus, merino wool is naturally antibacterial, which means your shoes will smell great no matter what – AND you won’t have to worry about sweaty toe ick. Merino wool is the BEST winter textile, y’all. -that’s why we cover ourselves in it, head to toe, when it’s cold out!
✔ Thick but flexible rubber sole for grip.
The sole of these boots is made from textured rubber for excellent grip even in slippery conditions.
Which, if you’ve ever accidentally walked on a patch of ice and done a comical stepped-on-a-banana-peel carton flip into the air, is CRITICAL in any decent pair of winter boots.
But even though the sole looks thick, these shoes are barefoot-style, which means the sole is flexible and designed to allow your foot to walk naturally on any surface, all day long.
✔ 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.
✔ Lightweight and easy to stuff into your bag for travel.
How many winter boots can you comfortably fit into a suitcase? These are versatile, lightweight, flexible boots, 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 BeLenka Winter Boots are the boots for you.
The Best Women’s Winter Boots for Outdoor Adventure
Although I love my BeLenka Winter 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 winter boots that I also love: the Vivobarefoot Tracker FG.
The Tracker boot is not as packable as the BeLenka boot, but it has excellent traction and is my go-to pick for rugged winter sports like hiking or crunching around on slippery ice. Plus, the boots are taller and go up to mid-calf, so I wear it on deeper snow days.
Whereas the BeLenka boot perfectly conforms to the shape of my foot like a warm leather/wool glove, the Tracker boot provides more stability and structured support – while still being 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 merino wool interior that I love so much on my BeLenka boots, the thermal insole that’s in the Tracker 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
✔ 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 (like all the other shoes in this post!) 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 (the design changes slightly each year). They comprise the majority 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!
I’ve been buying Teva sandals regularly for the past 8 years. Here is a photo of my very first pair of Teva sandals, taken 10 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!
✔ 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 Minimalist Sandals for Travel
After years of being a devoted Teva fangirl, I tried something new. Something so lightweight and minimalist, it felt like wearing almost nothing.
And that summer, I barely even wore my beloved Tevas. WHICH IS WEIRD, considering I’ve worn them every summer for YEARS.
I wore them walking around the streets of London and Brighton, I wore them to the beach in Puerto Vallarta, I wore them to Disney World, I wore them hiking and walking and at home every single day.
By the end of the summer, I had TWO favorite pairs of sandals. So let me introduce y’all to the most comfortable minimalist sandals ever: The Xero Z-Trail Sandal. Here’s what I love:
✔ The most comfortable walking sandals that I’ve ever tried – and I’ve tried SO. MANY.
Hands down, these are the best women’s hiking sandals! They’re also comfy on pavement, cobblestones, and pretty much any other terrain you can think of.
✔ Soft, adjustable fabric straps.
Part of why the Xero sandals are SO comfy is that you can fit them perfectly for your feet by adjusting the soft straps that make a “Z” across your ankle and the widest part of your foot.
I have a really tall, wide foot and most shoes are either too narrow or not tall enough to accommodate my feet, so having stretchy, adjustable straps that can conform to my feet gives me the perfect fit.
✔ Stays on your foot no matter what.
A good sandal is never in danger of falling off your feet or tripping you up. These sandals have a single velcro closure on the back of your ankle that tightens up when attached to keep your sandals on no matter what.
Combined with the adjustable straps on top, the sandals fit so closely to your feet that it almost feels like you’re wearing nothing at all.
✔ Rugged, cupped sole with fantastic grip and just enough support.
While the sole on these minimalist sandals is SUPER flexible and lightweight, it’s not entirely without support. The back of the heel is shaped just-so with a little cup, so you’ll never find your foot sliding off the back (and it keeps out little bits of things too.)
The underside of the sole is textured for a rugged grip that’s great for any terrain, with plenty of sturdy protection for your actual feet while maintaining the flexibility of a barefoot shoe that allows your foot its full range of motion.
✔ Takes up almost no suitcase space whatsoever.
These shoes are little more than their lightweight soles, so they fit into any pocket or side wall of even the most crammed suitcase!
I’ve purchased two pairs of these shoes now, and honestly, my only complaint is that they really look like hiking sandals – they don’t pass well for cute everyday sandals, like my Tevas can. But they’re so freakin’ comfortable just I just don’t care that much at this point!
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
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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.