I’m a Travel Writer, and These Comfy Sneakers Were Stylish Enough to Wear All Around Paris

I took these lightweight walking shoes everywhere with me on a trip to France.

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Hoka Clifton 8 Running Shoe Tout

Whether wandering the streets of Mexico City’s charming Condesa neighborhood or food-crawling my way through Lima, walking has long been my chosen way to experience a new city. But during my most recent trip to Paris — which was a family member’s first time there — I knew I would need a serious pair of comfortable and stylish shoes to get me through. This is one of the fashion capitals of the world, after all. 

To make sure I had the proper footwear for an itinerary filled with long days of walking from one iconic monument to the next, I brought along the one pair of shoes I find myself wearing over and over again thanks to its comfort and stylish sensibility: the Hoka Clifton 8. I originally got these shoes in the Eggnog/Shifting Sands color towards the end of summer to replace a faded white pair, and I quickly noticed I was packing them virtually every time I traveled. 

Hoka Clifton 8 Running Shoe

Nordstrom

To buy: zappos.com and nordstrom.com, $140

One of the features I love most about the Hoka Clifton 8 is the breathable mesh uppers that kept my feet relatively cool as we waited in line for the Musee d’Orsay on what was one of Paris’s last hot, sunny summer days. Also, the rubber outsoles are not only shock absorbing to take strain off your joints, but they’re also high-abrasion, too, meaning they won’t scuff or get worn down easily. What’s more, the shoes’ tongues fit snugly and comfortably around my ankles, and they never made my feet tired or achy, even after full days exploring Versailles or vineyards in the French countryside.

Hoka Clifton 8 Running Shoe Author Photo

A balanced cushion gives these shoes their reviewer-loved support that feels like you’re walking on a cloud. Hoka even received acknowledgment from The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) that the Clifton 8 sneakers are beneficial for foot health.  

Shoppers concur with the comfort. One Zappos reviewer who works in the medical field and is consequently on their feet a lot said, “The Clifton 8 help[ed] my feet stop swelling and hurting.” A customer at Nordstrom added, “Lightweight, comfortable. I walked 15 miles a day on a recent trip to Thailand and my feet fared perfectly.” They also mentioned how easy they are to care for after lots of wear: “Washed the shoes in the laundry when I got back and air dried — back to brand new.”

Hoka Clifton 8 Running Shoe

To buy: zappos.com and nordstrom.com, $140

Beyond taking them on the road, I regularly use these shoes to walk my dog or simply to complete a more casual outfit. They have that certain je ne sais quoi — they pair easily with everything, and they’re chic enough to wear with almost anything. I regularly style them with a casual, distressed pair of black Monfrere jeans, but I’ve also paired them with a dressier combination consisting of a blazer, turtleneck, and wool trousers, quickly making them one of the most versatile shoes in my closet right now. 

And while Hoka’s mix of mesh, foam, and rubber on the Clifton 8 is ideal for walking, I also used them periodically to work out — allowing me to pack one less pair of shoes in my carry-on. While they don’t have the exact grip or flexibility for side-to-side motion as the cross trainers I usually wear to the gym, they were perfectly fine for a run on the treadmill or around the Tuileries garden to burn off excess croissants. 

Hoka Clifton 8 Running Shoe Author Photo

Travel + Leisure / Dan Koday

The running shoes come in men's size 7 through 16, including half sizes, and the color combinations on these shoes are endless. Even though I initially opted for white, there is a range of colors and patterns available, from a more muted gray-on-gray to orange and yellow-hued pop of color. 

As someone who’s slightly neurotic about stains, especially on white or cream-colored clothing or shoes, I also appreciate Hoka Clifton 8’s washability. I’ve laundered these shoes multiple times already on a delicate cycle in warm water, and they come out of the wash looking brand new. I usually air dry them, and they even dry pretty quickly, too.

On a few occasions — specifically when I was wondering in vineyards in the South of France on the same trip — dirt would smear into the white mesh of the shoe, and so I’ve also treated the Clifton 8’s with stain remover and I’ve never seen any loss of quality after washing them. (Pro tip: Use Grandma’s Secret Spot remover, which I swear by, if you plan to do the same.)

If you're looking for a go-to pair of shoes for traveling that will easily style with lots of different outfits (in a cool, not trying-too-hard way), I recommend investing in the Hoka Clifton 8

Hoka Clifton 8 Running Shoe

To buy: zappos.com and nordstrom.com, $140

At the time of publishing, the price was $140.

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