Finding the best travel shoes can be a challenge. You need footwear that’s comfy for a whole day of exploring but doesn’t scream “tourist!” Also, since lugging around extra shoes isn’t fun, the ones you pack must go with various outfits.
Recognizing that uncomfortable shoes can spoil a great travel day, we reached out to Condé Nast Traveler writers, editors, and shopping experts from other Condé Nast titles. They shared their go-to shoes, sparing you the risk of picking uncomfortable ones. Whether you prefer sneakers, boots, flats, or sandals, we’ve got recommendations. Check out more than 30 top-notch, easy-to-pack travel shoes—cushy, supportive, and versatile. These shoes will accompany you anywhere. Explore our favorites or jump straight to the category you’re interested in below.
Table of Contents
Boots : best travel shoes
Dr. Martens Rometty Wyoming platform Chelsea boots
Susie Plotkin, a member of the global email team at Condé Nast, affectionately dubs these platform boots as the “ultimate travel companion.” In her possession for approximately three years, they have accompanied her on countless journeys. “Whether exploring Zurich while visiting my boyfriend in Switzerland or strolling through the charming streets of Venice for 12 hours, these boots have proven to be my go-to travel shoes,” she shares. Despite their slightly heftier build, their exceptional comfort and effortless slip-on/off design make them the best travel shoes for navigating both international cities and the bustling neighborhoods of Brooklyn.
Blundstone 2215 high top boot
Madison Flager, our senior commerce editor, absolutely loves these Blundstone boots for chilly weather. They boast zero break-in time and serve as excellent all-around footwear for autumn or winter adventures. Easily slipped back on thanks to their convenient pull tabs, these boots ensure comfort with their impressive shock absorption, leaving your feet feeling fantastic even after extended periods of walking. The combination of double stitching, robust leather, and a durable outsole guarantees that you won’t find yourself needing a replacement after just a few trips.
Blondo Elvina waterproof bootie
Meredith Carey, a previous Traveler editor, swears by these waterproof Blondo boots throughout most of the winter and always brings them along on fall and winter excursions. She notes, “They look and feel like leather, but I can confidently wear them in snow and rain. I don’t have to stress about my shoes enduring daily activities in New York or exploring a new city.” These boots are available in a variety of colors, ranging from classic black to rich brown leather.
Frye Melissa Chelsea booties
Spurrell has previously expressed her admiration for Frye’s Melissa Chelsea boots, considering them her essential choice for any city excursion. These versatile boots effortlessly complement various outfits, from jeans and leggings to dresses. Not only do they pack down efficiently, but they have also evolved into a level of comfort akin to sneakers over time. With a lasting durability that spans years, these boots prove sturdy enough to navigate the challenges of cobblestone streets. What more could one ask for in a reliable pair of boots?
Sneakers : best travel shoes
New Balance 574 Core sneaker
New Balance sneakers have staged a notable comeback, particularly in the realm of the trendy “cool dad shoes.” Associate commerce editor Meaghan Kenny is a devoted fan, praising their comfort and style. She attests, “These sneakers strike the perfect balance between comfort and coolness. I’ve owned them for around two years now, taking them on weekend trips exploring Boston, enduring multiple airport travels, and facing my lengthy commutes to the office. They effortlessly blend sporty and stylish elements, ensuring my feet remain pain-free even after extended walks. The neutral shade complements various outfits in my carry-on, making them my go-to choice, second only to my classic white sneakers. As a bonus, despite my lack of caution regarding keeping my sneakers pristine, these have miraculously stayed clean and maintained excellent condition. So, don’t fret too much about their light hue.”
Veja Campo sneaker
When riding the New York City subway, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll spot a pair or two of Veja sneakers on your fellow commuters. Arati Menon, the global digital director, was initially attracted to Veja due to their sleek, minimalist design and the company’s dedication to responsible sourcing. She ultimately chose the Campo model for its chunkier sole, driven by both aesthetic preference and practicality, as it provides additional support.
Menon acknowledges a common critique of Vejas – their initial stiffness. She advises breaking them in gradually by avoiding excessive use during the first few wears. However, she highlights that the Campo style is comparatively more comfortable right out of the box than other Veja styles. Menon has taken her Campos on adventures through rugged national parks and European city breaks, seamlessly incorporating them into her workwear wardrobe. After years of use, she recently retired her pair but expresses confidence in purchasing another in the future.
For cleaning, Menon recommends a mixture of mild dishwashing liquid applied with a damp cloth and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to keep these stylish and versatile sneakers looking their best.
Athletic shoes: best travel shoes
Salomon Speedcross 5
Editorial assistant Charlie Hobbs swears by these shoes for all occasions: “To the gym, to the park, to the rave—I sometimes have to remind myself that I own other shoes. You don’t have to tie them, just pull a cord [to secure them]. They are so comfortable and easy.”
On Cloudmonster sneaker
Recommended by Calle, these On sneakers feature the brand’s most substantial layer of CloudTec ever, providing top-tier cushioning, energy return, and reducing muscle fatigue. Calle, not a dedicated runner but an occasional three-mile jog enthusiast around Liberty State Park, shares her experience: “I’ve stuck to my old Nike sneakers for the past few years, but I decided to give On shoes a try last year, and let me tell you, I didn’t know my feet could feel so much relief while running. The rocker bottoms give me an extra push during my jog, and I love it. I’m never going back to regular minimalist sneakers.”
Slip-ons and loafers
Articles director Lale Arikoglu highly recommends these vibrant Sabah slip-ons, labeling them as “a permanent fixture on my packing list.” Available in a myriad of colors, crafted from either butter-soft leather or suede, these shoes are hand-stitched by one of the 10 shoemakers at the Sabah Workshop in Gaziantep. Arikoglu attests, “The more I wear them, the better they fit, molding to my feet like a glove—almost as if they were designed just for me.”
Cole Hahn Grand Ambition slip-on loafer
This black and white Cole Haan shoe effortlessly straddles the line between a loafer and a sneaker, making it versatile enough for various occasions. It’s polished and sophisticated, suitable for stepping into the office straight from a plane, yet casual and comfortable for a day of sightseeing. If you prefer a touch of flair, you can opt for the pair with an off-white, gold, or silver leather top, expanding your style options. Regardless of the color choice, this shoe is designed for enduring comfort on long days. It features traction on the bottom to prevent slipping on smooth museum floors, footbeds that mold to your feet, and cushioned padding on the heel to prevent rubbing.
Arizona Birko-Flor Birkenstocks
Wearing sandals for an extended period can be challenging, but former Traveler editor Sarah Ratner relies on the timeless comfort of classic Birkenstocks. With their suede-covered cork-latex footbed that gradually molds to your feet, the Arizona slides offer both support and style. Available in a wide array of colors and offered in regular or narrow sizes for a customized fit, these sandals are easy to match with almost any outfit.