Smart travelers know the value of great shoes. When you’re on your feet all day — whether it’s hiking a trail or walking neighborhoods in a new city — your footwear can make an enormous difference. That’s why I’m here to report on the best men’s and women’s travel shoes for walking all day in 2023.
I’m a minimalist and typically only take one or two pairs of shoes on the road. My ideal travel shoes are stylish, lightweight, and comfortable all day long. In the summer, I look for more breathable and lightweight shoes, and in winter, I crave warmth and durability.
I’ve worked at REI and traveled extensively in Europe for business and personal endeavors, so I know a thing or two about footwear that’s built for walking all day. I’m happy to share my findings on such brands as Allbirds, Lems, Xero, SeaVees, and Blundstone, as these companies make some truly stellar kicks.
This list includes sneakers, loafers, slip-ons, athletic shoes, and a few sandals that I’ve evaluated for comfort, style, packability, and other key factors.
Travel is back in a big way, so let’s dive headfirst into my list of the best men’s and women’s travel shoes in 2023.
Allbirds Tree Runners
I’m a huge fan of the Allbirds Tree Runners. They come in a wide variety of colors, and you’ll love their breathability and packability. You’ll have no problem squishing them down flat and tying them to the side of your backpack or even stuffing them into the water bottle pocket.
I criss-crossed Europe in my Allbirds and washed them several times. They held up great! The best thing about Allbirds is how lightweight they are. They’re perfect for walking all day, thanks to the stretchy material that molds to your feet.
If you’re looking for responsibly sourced and comfortable all-day shoes, I can highly recommend the Allbirds.
SeaVees Huntington Middie
Want a slightly more stylish option than the Allbirds? The SeaVees Huntington Middie is my favorite slip-on shoe for travel in 2023. The high top and suede material make them easy to dress up or down.
SeaVees are perfect travel companions. I love the simple, minimalistic look they bring to any outfit, so they look great day and night.
Plus, they’re super comfortable and easy to slip on and off. Quite a few online reviewers say SeaVees aren’t just a travel shoe but also a go-to everyday casual shoe.
Zero-Drop Barefoot Shoes
Lems Primal Zen
I recommend the Lems Primal Zens for the zero-drop traveler because they’re lightweight, versatile, and minimalist, making them excellent travel shoes.
Travel is hard on the body, and some people prefer the benefits of a zero-drop shoe with the natural fit and feel that promotes healthy walking habits. In comparison, traditional shoes can produce an unnatural gait that increases the likelihood of injury.
These Lems can handle anything – from running, hiking, working out, and walking. Their versatility and durability make them perfect for a new adventure every day when traveling.
Zero-Drop Barefoot Boots
Lems Boulder Vegan
Traveling in the fall or winter? I’d opt for Lems’ Boulder Vegan Boots. The neutral colors go with any outfit, and they pack down to a size of a puff jacket, making them an easy must-carry.
Lems is a vegan-friendly Colorado brand that strives to make responsibly produced and sustainable footwear. They use recycled products to create new materials and also partner with a non-profit.
The Lems cork footbed molds to your feet and has a wide toebox, so this zero-drop style is perfect for travelers who are on their feet all day. You have a choice of materials to help you find the one that best matches your travel needs.
If you’re a fan of sneakers, the Reebok Classic offers excellent support and comes in an array of colors and styles.
The downside to these shoes is their limited packability and versatility. Compared to others on this list, the Reebok Classics don’t pack down as small and don’t dress up as easily for attending those special dinner events.
I love these Reeboks because they’re highly functional and will take you to your destination in comfy sneaker style.
Ultra-Lightweight & Packable Slip-Ons
The Xero Sunrise slip-ons are the lightest and most packable shoe on this list. Weighing in at a ridiculous 5.6 ounces each (men’s size medium), these were designed for those who want a comfortable shoe to slide into when it’s time to chill.
Though I don’t recommend climbing a mountain in these or donning them during a 30,000-step marathon around the city, I do think they’d work perfectly for a relaxing night on the town, strolling around a farmers market, or kicking your feet up by the pool.
From experience, I can tell you these are about as comfortable, cozy, and convenient as travel shoes come these days. For my more relaxed trips, they’ll make it into my travel bag every single time.
Trail Running Shoes
The Salomon Wander is made for trail running but also works quite well as a travel shoe. They’re versatile for active travelers who like to walk, run, and hike all day, every day.
These shoes have ample cushion that makes long walks in the city easier on your knees, but they aren’t quite as stylish as some and don’t dress up as easily.
Salomon is a trusted and well-reviewed brand, and their Wander is a fine addition to their respected product line. If you spend all day on your feet, look no further.
Stylish Hiking Shoes
Merrell Burnt Rock
I love the Merrell Burnt Rock because they’re so stylish. These are ideal for travelers who like to hit the trail occasionally but also know they’ll spend most of their time in the city.
The Burnt Rock comes in various colors, and their earth-toned palette makes them about as versatile of a shoe as you’ll find on this list. The mixture of suede and mesh make them breathable like a sneaker, but with style.
Flip the shoe over and you’ll find a beautiful rubber outsole for reliable traction, yet these don’t look like hiking shoes.
Tough Fitness Kicks
GORUCK Ballistic Trainers
Are you an active traveler who pushes most shoes to their limits? Or someone who will work out CrossFit-style before racing off to see the sights? Then I wholeheartedly recommend the GORUCK Ballistic Trainers.
The Ballistic Trainers are designed for the traveler who puts their shoes through hell. They’re extra supportive, with tough nylon uppers and durable triple compound rubber. These shoes are seriously durable.
Not only are they built to last, but also are stylish and versatile enough for any casual travel. They’re low-profile sneakers in neutral colors that can be paired with any casual clothing. The GORUCK Ballistic Trainers make for a perfect travel shoe for the always-on-the-move traveler.
Men’s Dress Shoes
For men who like to travel in style, the Florsheim Oxfords are ideal shoes for looking good all day and night. I recommend these for business commuters who need to balance professionalism with their active lifestyle.
The Oxfords have a very classic, minimalist style. Their Ortholite X-40 rebound foam soles deliver non-stop comfort no matter how long you’re on your feet.
The Florsheim Oxford is a quality dress shoe that won’t break your budget. Traveling for work is often tiring, but these shoes will cushion your feet and keep the spring in your step.
Women’s Dress Shoes
Rothy’s The Point
Rothy’s is a high-quality brand that’s known for transforming recycled plastic bottles into simple, stylish shoes. They have classic silhouettes and a variety of styles to match your personality.
Why have I included them on this list? Not only are they simple and packable, but they’re designed to be washed. I’ve had mine for years, and even after several washes, they look as good as new.
While they cost a bit more, the material quality and durability are well worth the price. For businesswomen on their feet all day, these are the stylish flats you’ve been wanting.
Slip-On Chelsea Boots
These are my go-to winter travel shoes — versatile and stylish slip-on Chelsea boots that are easy to love. Yes, they’re one of the more expensive options here, but well worth the investment.
If I was traveling and could only bring one pair of shoes, I’d bring these. I can work, hike, or walk all day in them with no problem. Compared to the Lems, the Blundstone 550 are more durable and rugged. They do get a bit hot in warmer climates, so consider the low cuts.
Caution: Blundstone is an Australian brand, and AU and US sizes differ slightly. For example, at REI the boot size on the box is AU sizing but the size selection tool on the website is US sizing. Make sure you’re ordering the right size.
Minimalist Barefoot Sandals
Luna Oso Flaco Winged Edition
If you’re traveling to a warm climate and have little need to dress up, I’d recommend the Luna Oso Flaco. In another post, I chose these as the top minimalist barefoot sandal for 2023, due to their many excellent qualities for active travelers on the go.
Weighing under one pound per pair, these are lightweight as well as super-compact. You’ll barely notice them in your suitcase or backpack.
The Oso Flaco sandals are the best zero-drop option for travelers who want to connect with the earth. Their lightweight and rugged sole makes them a great choice for your adventures.
Classy Slide-On Sandals
Our favorite versatile slide-on sandals of 2023 are the Birkenstock Arizonas. These are a classic style that has transitioned from dorky to stylish over the years.
I sometimes travel in summer with friends who also wear these shoes. We all agree that they’re ultra-comfortable and perfect for all-day treks in the city. Whether you wake up in hostels or highrise hotels, these are reliable urban cruisers.
One caveat, however: on hot, sweaty days in these sandals, my feet sometimes get blisters, so I’ll usually opt for sneakers instead. Other than that, I love my Birkenstocks for traveling.
Rainbow Double Layer
Rainbows are flip-flops built for the long haul. But be sure to break these in before your trip. They may be uncomfortable at first, but once they mold to your feet, you’ll never want to take them off.
I know people who have worn these for years and swear by them. As with some of the other shoes on this list, these are quite flat and packable. The two shoes sandwiched together are about the thickness of a paperback book.
The Rainbow product guarantee covers all manufacturing defects for life, no matter how old. This lifetime replacement policy is another reason to love these traveler favorites.
Want a more substantial and supportive sandal than the Bedrocks? I’d point you to the Teva Universal Sandal — versatile, classic, and more affordable.
These come in several neutral colors that simplify dress-up. I had a pair with copper-colored straps that paired easily with dresses I wore for a summer in Italy.
Teva Universals are lightweight and can be easily stowed. Save space by using their Velcro straps to fasten them to the outside of your backpack.
This list reflects several key factors you should consider before packing your suitcase with travel shoes. Some may be more relevant than others, based on your travel needs.
No matter where you’re going, your shoes must always be comfortable, especially when the steps start to pile up. Treat your feet right by carefully considering the cushioning and breathability.
An ill-fitting pair of shoes can be distracting and even painful at times, so do your do diligence as you research shoes, read reviews, and reference the sizing guide to ensure you get the right fit.
Styling is important if a shoe is to be truly versatile. I lean more towards minimalist sneakers if I’ll be going to museums all day followed by a relaxing dinner at night. Save space in your suitcase by packing a style that complements as many of your outfits and activities as possible.
We’ve done our best to pick a wide array of shoes that will look good on anyone, and have strayed away from the dorky Rick Steves dad sneakers of the past. (Sorry, Rick.)
Laced vs. Slip-On
I often pack one pair of laced and one pair of slip-on shoes for ease of use and comfort (slip-ons) and athletic performance (laced). There are other styles to consider, too, like boots and sandals, so do your research and choose what’s best for you.
I usually wear my slip-ons for more leisurely activities and wear laced kicks for more high-intensity activities that call for more foot and ankle support.
When you’re a high-intensity traveler who puts in a lot of steps, you need a set of footwear that’ll release the body heat that your feet produce. Otherwise, you’re looking at clammy, sweaty feet that are prone to blisters. Gross.
We did our best to pick breathable shoes that will keep your feet dry and fresh as you pile up the miles, so long as you match them up with a capable pair of travel or hiking socks.
Have you ever had a pair of cheap shoes crap out on you midway through a trip? I haven’t, but I can imagine it’d be quite the pain in the butt to replace shoes in a foreign land. I don’t have such problems with my footwear since I always pick travel shoes that are durable and built for the long haul.
To ensure you buy a pair of durable shoes, read reviews, keep a close eye on the materials used to produce them, and only buy well-reviewed products from trusted brands.
As a minimalist traveler, packability is one of my top priorities. I wear my bulkiest shoes on the airplane while packing my lighter and more compact pair, as well as my sandals.
Weight and packability go hand in hand. And lighter shoes are better when you’re carrying a weekend backpack, duffle, or suitcase. Shoes tend to be among the heaviest travel items we carry.
Noel, the founder of this website, is an ultralight backpacker who nerds out over the weight of each piece of gear in his backpack. Maybe you should too.
Affordability is another key factor. I want all of the factors listed above, but not at an unfair cost. Remember that your shoes must endure cobblestones, dirt roads, train stations, and the occasional hike. That’s why you don’t see any cheap Amazon knockoffs on this list.
We did our best to recommend an array of well-reviewed shoes across a wide range of budgets.
This has been my take on the best men’s and women’s travel shoes for all day walking in 2023. All of these shoes are stylish, comfortable, durable, lightweight and breathable. With any of these, your feet will thank you for making their next travel adventure as comfy as possible.
Don’t waste a single precious travel day looking for new shoes (or band-aids) because you chose the wrong footwear. This list consists of quality brands like Allbirds, Lems, Xero, Reebok, Blundstone, and others that you can rely on. Please share your experiences in the comments section.
I’ve traveled extensively in Europe wearing several of these shoes and hope my experiences will help you more comfortably navigate all those airports, train stations, and city streets that await you in the future. May all your travel adventures be low-impact, smooth sailing, and on-time!
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Last Updated on August 28, 2023