Five Best Shoes for Traveling


What shoes do you bring when you travel? I used to get stumped, but over the past few years, I’ve thankfully come across five options that work really well.


For walking around big cities, like Paris, tan ballet flats are chic, comfy and won’t make you look like a tourist.

For swimming at the beach, red and white striped espadrilles are fresh and pretty (and more grown-up than rubber flip flops).

For canoeing, camping and drinking beers with friends, Bensimon sneakers are adorably tomboyish.

For exploring rainy towns and eating your weight in fish and chips, Hunter Boots are the obvious classic. Your jeans will stay clean, and you’ll look lanky and beautiful. Even the Queen wears them!

(P.S. These short boots are cute, too, and might be easier to pack.)

For road trips with your crush, Minnetonka moccasins are my favorite. They’re effortlessly cool and sturdy enough for whatever the day brings—plus, you feel like you’re wearing bedroom slippers.

Which of these five shoes would you wear? What are your go-to travel shoes?

(Top photo by Real Simple, beer girls photo by Brian Ferry)

  1. Rachael says...

    Clark Chukkas were the best item I brought backpacking around 12 countries in Europe for a month. Everyone in the UK is wearing them or versions thereof so you don’t look like a tourist per se. I toured the Vatican, hiked Cinque Terre, rode a gondola, walked through Dachau, skipped through Salzburg, rode a moped in Budapest, hiked Santorini, and ran through Athens on a layover in these magical shoes and my feet never hurt and stayed clean, dry and warm throughout.

  2. Minnetonka moccasins slippers are really great. Are they good for flat feet? Of course, thanks for sharing the cool and awesome pictures. Where they were taken?

  3. Traveling is really a good way to recreate our minds. I like the shoes that you mentioned for traveling days. However, you mentioned different types of shoes for different purposes. Is it possible to bring too many shoes in the traveling? However, I like the design and feature of the Bensimon shoe because it is the shoes for plantar fasciitis that can help my foot pain problem too!

  4. I don’t agree with the camping shoes, I camp and trek a lot and your feet tend to get damp and sweat a lot, so you’re better off with a hiking boot that is durable but has style . I wear my green palladium canvas hiker boots( when it’s sunny and dry and my Sorelleather and rubber waterproof boots ( for when it’s wet. I think thery are also stylish and I have been complimented on both by other campers!

  5. Great information. I love all the posts, I really enjoyed, I would like more information about this, because it is very nice, Thanks for sharing. I like the site best.

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  6. I am very addictive to traveling and flats are very comfortable for traveling. I have seen Tory Burch flats sale at tradesy and will definitely buy one from there.

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  8. Great advice! I love the idea of a tan flat and avoiding rubber flip flops for the beach. I like a gladiator sandal as well.

  9. I have some flat backless shoes that cover my toes – I call them my arabian slippers as they have sequins on them but are perfect dressed up or dressed down! Plus they don’t take up much valuable suitcase space :-)

  10. Just ordered the Bensimon sneakers. Never heard, but how adorable. Looking forward to wearing them to my trip to Greece in three weeks. Now if only you had a blog post on how to get over the anxiety of flying. :-/

    From a fellow Joanna.

  11. Just ordered the Bensimon sneakers. Never heard, but how adorable. Looking forward to wearing them to my trip to Greece in three weeks. Now if only you had a blog post on how to get over the anxiety of flying. :-/

  12. When it comes to travel, walking is definitely part of the trip. The last trip I had, I choose the wrongs shoes to bring and it really hurt. My feet was swelling, and wished I brought something else. A lesson learned for me.

    Travel Deals Asia

  13. You have written a wonderful post but it is difficult to say that which shoes I would like to wear? Different ladies shoes are needed on different occasions. Generally I like flats.

  14. I heartily agree with your choices. I go for the espadrilles, and it’s fun to find a new pair while in France. I love my Bensimon sneakers although I have
    LLBean boots. I have been wanting Hunters. Tall or short? Great post, makes me want to hit the road! aubeausoleil

  15. traveling is actually one my hobby so that is why i must have to make sure that I also have some good shoes to wear whenever I am on the road.
    online shoe store

  16. Keens, Privos by Clark & Chacos for this girl…

  17. My danskos….cue the angel choir! LOVE THEM! they may not be the cutest shoe on the rack, but OH.SO.COMFORTABLE!!!

  18. Nell Weise says...

    I agree with Ali Masterson – Tieks are my favorite year-round shoes! They’re the most comfortable of any shoe I’ve ever had and it feels so chic to have the turquoise sole. I have Cream, Camel and Tiek Blue!

  19. I bought my Bensimon sneakers off of ebay (for MUCH cheaper than the online store), got them last weekend. So fabulous, I love them with skinny jeans!

  20. I used Bensimon sneakers in my trip to Argentina. Since the country has so many wild areas and National parks, I thought I had to be comfortable. Then when I got the Buenos Aires real estate, they still worked!

  21. For traveling, I stick to my Puma running shoes (light and breathable since they have tiny holes in the front for air circulation), ballet flats if I’m wearing a dress/skirt, or if I’m in Paris ;)

    Rubber flip flops all the way (in the summer)

    And for hiking (in a forest), I have this one very old very used pair of rubber Keds flats that’s a lifesaver. Good in rain too!

  22. For exploring rainy towns and eating your weight in fish and chips, Hunter boots are the obvious classic schuh center

  23. Sarah says...

    Hi, does anyone have any advice on shoes to wear in Paris in February?! Going there on my honeymoon in a few weeks…


  24. this is a great list. i travel frequently for work and i’m always stumped on the shoes. i do love my green Hunters and mocs – i need to put those into rotation.

    also love the joan didion list. i’m taping that up in my closet too!

    as always – great info, joanna! thx

  25. Just bought a pair of Bensimons! Thanks! :)

  26. I am a fan of all 5 choices, however I always make sure to take a cute pair of wedges for day and night chic.. And then my trusty pair on converse sneakers.. They go well with almost everything…

  27. Did you see these foldable rain boots?? I totally want a pair even though I already have a pair of rain boots–would be great for my upcoming trip to London I think! (and there’s a great groupon for them right now!)

  28. Just invested in a new pair of moccasins…gorgeous, though restricted to pottering around the house due to a (beautiful) frosty english morning.

  29. Anonymous says...

    You are a professional journalist. Please learn the difference between “every day” and “everyday.”

  30. Those are all super cute, but totally lacking in proper support for walking, which is key on trips. I love Fit Flops for walking–they offer amazing support for my legs and back, and are incredibly comfortable. I can walk all day in them! In the winter/fall, I go with boots with good support (I like Anne Klein sport boots.) And heels for dinner and going out at night, of course!

  31. Thank you so much for recommending the Bensimon shoes! After reading your post, I opened the link and ordered a pair in dark grey. They just arrived today, and I love them! They’re perfect for chasing my toddler around all day :)

  32. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

  33. I love this list! I can’t begin to tell you how often I head out in the cutest and most impractical shoes the first day of a trip only to end up blistered and sneakered the rest of the vacay. Although, I would add to the list (for tropics, beaches, hot spots and theme parks a pair of Natives (

  34. Ha I love this! I will be traveling to Paris and London for the first time this summer! I will be sure to snag a pair of tan flats before I head over. Great images as well!

  35. I’m new to the blogs sphere and a new fan of yours. the pics that you choose arde always so inspiringly spot on!! now let me go browse for my next vacances

    Sam from London

  36. i’m glad to see so many folks commenting on the lack of photo credits in this post. Just because someone’s photo got tangled up in the mess of un-sourced images on pinterest, doesn’t mean they are for the taking. it’s easy enough to find credited photos through flickr (using creative commons), stock photo sites, or by kindly asking the photographers. Even better, get creative and take your own photos — don’t make someone else do the work for you!

  37. You have such an effortlessly cool style! I haven’t even heard of half the brands you mentioned, but I love the looks of them so much! I’m all about comfort, which is usually why I don’t pay much attention to style — these shoes all look super comfortable though and STILL are very stylish. Win-win!! Thank you for the tips. :)

  38. Minnetona moccasins are my staple. Of course I can’t wear them for everything but they are so comfy for just walking around. I always put more shoes than clothes in my luggage :)

  39. What a great post! Your picture choices are amazing as well! Love them! When I travel, (even if it’s going home for x-mas break) I end up taking way too many shoes and have yet to master limiting my choices down to 5. I took home multiples flats and boots in different colors for different weather possibilities. Sigh.

  40. Kusha says...

    Thank you for this post…i am flat footed, cannot walk too much in heel and also in way too flat shoes..but seems like these might do the trick.

  41. Love this post! I live in my mocs as well–a leftover habit from college now turned cool. I knew it would catch on eventually!

  42. Anonymous says...

    The ballets are cute – but my feet would kill me after walking miles (and miles) as one does in Paris.

    Imagine the rough cut stones underfoot with that barely there sole!

  43. Angelshoes! says...

    Are the Bensimons from France higher quality than the ones you get here in the states? I ordered a pair last year after seeing so much enthusiasm for them online, but was sorely disappointed in how cheap they looked and felt. I sent them back in disgust. Just wondering if I am missing something??

  44. Danskos are great shoes for touring–especially if you walk all over a city. They can look smart with jeans and I was happy to see a woman wearing them on the Sartorialist this year.

  45. I just returned from Paris with my feet destroyed. Next time I’ll definitely take my Clarks desert boots, the most confortable pair of shoes I own. :)

  46. I love your blog and these are great suggestions but I am going to take issue with the “tan ballet flats” idea. They look GREAT when you first buy them but in cities like Paris or New York they get completely destroyed and look really crummy after only a few wearings. I would avoid.

  47. vanessa says...

    Hi there,

    I can’t access any of the photos on pinterest. That is really not fair to the photographers who took them. If you enjoy their work enough to share it on your blog, please credit them and their work. Especially on a popular blog like yours that has a lot of influence in the blog-world, this makes me pretty bummed out!

    Thanks, V

  48. Ana says...

    I really like your blog but I agree about the photos and crediting. If you can’t credit the work of someone, you should not use the work product. My brother is a photographer and it’s tiring to see people use his photographers and not give credit – the most common excuse is not being able to find the source. It’s unfair and not professional at all especially if it is done on a regular basis. You get a reputation.

  49. i’ll be honest, footwear is always my problem. whether its daily wear or travelling (especially travelling!!) i never seem to get it quite right!
    i love your choices, and they totally make sense. i want a shoe that i’m able to walk around in and be on my feet all day, but look cute enough that when we stop to enjoy lunch at a pretty street cafe i blend in.
    yes, i’ve put alot of thought to my footwear, and i promise to be better at it!!!
    loove this post! i might ask for a simliar one more so dealing with different weather all in one trip.

  50. this post is filled with so many beautiful photos! it makes me just want to pack a bag and GO! (with all of the appropriate shoes, of course :) )

  51. Anonymous says...

    You’re making me want those moccasins! What do you wear them with? Just skinny jeans? Do they look ok with bootcuts? I just got a hole in my skinny jeans…drag.

  52. Hi again Joanna–I find Google Images’ drag-and-drop/upload function incredibly handy for identifying photo credits. You may know about it already but I only just stumbled across it the other day myself, so I wanted to pass along the info in case.

    Good luck with the credit finding!

  53. jenny says...

    @kristy i second that. i see the only photogs credited are the ones who have been identified by readers.

    it takes time and diligence to only use creditable photos. and the occaisional *this image is just too perfect to use, i have looked EVERYWHERE and cant find a source* is forgivable, but this is not what is happening here.

    it looks like the previous post also has no credit..

    as a well respected blogger who is making money off of her content, i think it would really be lovely to see you take it up a notch and set a good precident to all of your devoted readers.

  54. shoes are a big big headache for me..bigger than buying bra or jeans & we all know how tough that is!
    i have really small feet like a US4-5(asian 35)..and packing for vacay is harder..i stick wither flip-flops/sandals/low arch wedges/gladiators.they suit me the best.

  55. I wore my Toms for our trip to Mexico in November. I hiked all around Chichen Itza and climbed to the top (and back down … scarry!) of the Ek Balam temple in them. They were so comfy! Not one blister.

  56. TOMS! Seriously….the best. Unless it’s raining…

    I wore TOMS my whole trip to NYC a few years ago and my feet didn’t hurt at all and we walked a lot!!

  57. kristy says...

    hi joanna, just wanna say that i dont think “Photos via Pinterest” is a proper credit. dont you think it’s better to use images that we can credit rather than using random images without credit so that our blog could look lovely?

    i enjoy every single blog post of yours. but this thing kinda bothers me a bit.i hope u dont find it offensive :)

  58. my sister bought me sparkly toms for christmas which i’m super excited about. I feel like they’re perfect to be walkable but still a lil fancy.

    i just bought a new pair of minnetonka moccasins yesterday (i wore my previous pair into the ground!)

    and on the rainboots note, I have a pair of mid-calf Tretorn rainboots. I like that the soles look a bit like casual sneaks, and the mid-calf height is perfect for my athletic calves… hunters just do not work for me, no matter how much time i spend in the nordstrom shoe department.

  59. my toms! They are super easy to pack, really comfortable and for a good cause.

    plus they’re pretty darn cute too =D

  60. I love my Minnetonkas! However, for cold weather/rain, they’re no good. I agree with many posters here that think that ballet flats and TOMS just won’t cut it while traveling and walking around a lot. I need arch support and I’ve heard that ballet flats are actually one of the worst things you can wear for your feet!
    When we went to NY for NYE this year I wore Keen Bern boots and Asics Tigers. I find converse to have ZERO arch support. I like the idea though of putting arch support in my moccasins since they stretch well.
    Nice post Joanna! I always struggle to find cute, comfortable walking shoes.

  61. Love your five picks. Bensimon comes in so many different colors. What do you think on color? Should I pop or stay more neutral?

  62. I’ve left a pair of flats in the trash can of almost every city I have ever traveled to. True story. I DESTROY shoes when traveling. I wish that those Puma flats with the little luggage strap looking motif were in the price range to be considered disposable.

  63. Anonymous says...

    my minnetonka moccasins pretty much melt on my feet when i wear them… i usually travel with my chuckies + i’d def look into buying some toms for my next trip. but i got through nyc with my ballet flats that fold up from the gap (no longer sold) that held up great + felt fantastically comfy.

    p.s. just a thought: other than the obvious reasons (like getting pick-pocketed,etc.), i vote for being who you are, embracing your touristy self and just having fun when on vacation :)

  64. I like to make sure I can rotate shoes, wearing the same shoe the whole time if you are doing a lot of walking seems to start aggravating a random spot at some point. OH and buying a 1/2 size bigger to account for a nice insert helps as well.

  65. Anonymous says...

    Just came back from the bay area with gray suede ballet flats, chocolate Hunter boots and a pair of Chuck Taylors.

    If you wear the Hunters on the plane, they won’t monopolize your suitcase. And they are super easy to take off and put on when going through security. Once on the plane, the boots go under the seat and I grab ballet flats or mocs from my bag.

  66. Emily says...

    I think a pair of flats and a pair of sneakers (I like Superga) are all you ever need in a trip, or really, in life.