The 18 Most Comfortable Walking Shoes for Travel of 2023

Allbirds’ Wool Runners are soft, sustainable, and stylish.

In This Article

Jump to a Section

In This Article

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Most Comfortable Walking Shoes
Courtesy of Amazon, Zappos, Dicks, Tieks

Whether it's on cobblestone streets or rocky cliffs, most trips will have you racking up that step count, and nothing can ruin your day quite like a blister or pinched toes when you were hoping to stay out until sunrise.

"Comfort is key!" says Dr. Jane Andersen, a podiatrist at Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic. "Expect to be walking more than your norm on vacation, so your shoes should facilitate that. You should plan ahead and have good shoes that are comfortable and not too worn out."

It's better to have multiple pairs to cycle through – just in case one turns on you after mile seven – and to avoid repeated strain in the same places. Our top pick is Allbirds' Wool Runners since they're so incredibly lightweight and breathable, making them both comfy and easy to pack. But if you're looking for something a little fancier, flatter, or more rugged, keep reading — our list has something for everyone.

These are the best comfortable walking shoes for travel, according to the people who use them most:

Best Overall

Allbirds Wool Runners

Allbirds Wool Runners


Why We Love It: They're super versatile, sustainable, and comfortable.

What to Consider: Wool is naturally temperature-regulating, but may not be ideal for very hot trips.

Throughout our research, one name kept popping up over and over again: Allbirds. And while every one of the brand's shoe styles shines in its own way, the wool runners are particularly useful for traveling. They're lightweight, which is great for both packing and walking, and the natural wool construction is sustainable, breathable, and sweat and odor-preventative. They're also machine-washable, so it doesn't matter how many mystery puddles you step in. They look sleek enough for dinner dates, they use sustainable materials like recycled plastic bottles, and they're carbon neutral. But most importantly, they're known for being extremely soft and comfortable — enough so that you can even wear them without socks if you so choose. What's not to love?

If you're going on to a hotter climate, try out the Tree Runners (men's) (women's), which are made of super-breathable eucalyptus fiber, instead.

Price at time of publish: $110

Sizes: Men's 8-14, women's 5-11 | Materials: Rubber sole, merino wool upper

Best Leather Sneakers

ECCO Soft 7 Sneaker

Ecco Soft 7 Sneaker


Why We Love It: They're so sleek and stylish, you'd never guess they're also extremely comfortable.

What to Consider: They run on the heavier side.

Ecco is known for comfort, and photographer Megan Moore is a long-time fan of the Soft 7. "The first thing that drew me to them was the larger platform at the sole. This means that my feet aren't hitting the ground very hard because there is a lot of padding between my feet and the floor — saving me lots of foot aches!" she says. "I also love that they are lace-up shoes because you can tie them up very tightly to reduce any slipping, which in turn reduces the risk of blisters. I got these shoes in black so that I could walk around on the grass and muddy grounds without the sneakers being affected!"

Price at time of publish: $160

Sizes: Men's 39-46, women's 35-42 | Materials: Rubber sole, leather upper

Best Leather Sandals

NAOT Dorith Sandal

NAOT Dorith Sandal


Why We Love It: The sturdy-yet-soft cork footbed offers comfort, support, and style.

What to Consider: They take a long time to dry and may warp slightly if they get soaked.

Naot makes versatile leather sandals that can easily take you from a walking tour to an evening out, keeping you comfortable all the while. "I believe the best material for a sandal's footbed will include cork and latex with a suede cover, which is a mainstay of the Naot brand," notes podiatrist Dr. Tim Oldani. We're particularly fans of the Dorith, which comes in enough colors to match any outfit, from basic black to bright red and pops of metallic. The shoe's gladiator-inspired design hooks around the back of your heel and fastens on the side using velcro. It's also free of any toe posts, which keeps potential irritation to a minimum. The best part is that even after years of wear, they'll still look good.

Price at time of publish: $150

Sizes: Women's 4-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, leather upper

Best Flats

Tieks Ballet Flat

Tieks Ballet Flat


Why We Love It: These foldable flats come in dozens of colors and are easy to transport when not in use.

What to Consider: Because these are so bendy, they don't have as much arch support as a less-flexible shoe.

"As a luxury travel advisor and the recipient of a partial knee replacement, I take my shoe choices very seriously these days," says Kim McCardell of Windward & Crown. "If you want to dress things up and feel comfortable all day, then Tieks are the best. Anti-slip, durable soles, arch support and an incredible fit pair perfectly with their trendy patterns and signature teal soles." They also come in a nearly endless array of colors, and fold in half for easy packing when you just need to slip that one extra pair of shoes in your bag.

Price at time of publish: $185

Sizes: Women's 5-13 | Materials: Rubber sole, leather upper

Best Technical

Hoka One One Arahi 6

Hoka Arahi 6


Why We Love It: Hoka's trail runners meet the streets for minimal fatigue and gait correction.

What to Consider: They're a little on the larger side for minimalist packers.

Hoka's trail runners are recommended by multiple travel experts. If you're combining both hiking trails and city streets on your trip, then you'll want a versatile model like the Arahi 6. "They're my favorite because they combine breathability, cushioning, and support in one neat package," says Gaby Pilson, an outdoor educator with Outdoors Generations. "As with all Hoka shoes, they have an extra thick midsole for all-day cushioning underfoot to limit foot fatigue. Additionally, the Arahi 6 is surprisingly lightweight so they won't keep you back as you walk. Hoka's J-Frame technology also helps prevent overpronation while walking without overcorrecting so much that you start to supinate. Plus, the Hoka Arahi 6 feature a recycled mesh lining, making them vegan-friendly."

Price at time of publish: $140

Sizes: Men's 7-15, women's 5-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, mesh upper

Best Recyclable

Hylo Run 2

Hylo Run 2 Running Shoes


Why We Love It: They're lightweight, recyclable, and available in half sizes.

What to Consider: They run narrow, and are less padded than some other options.

If you're looking for an extra-sustainable shoe choice, try the Hylo Run 2. They're made of renewable materials, and they're recyclable once you're ready for your next pair. "I make sure to pack these shoes any and everywhere I go," says Jasmin Diaz, director of operations at "They are supportive enough for working out and comfy enough to live my best tourist life adventuring all day. My favorite aspect of these shoes is the science behind them. Not only are they lightweight, breathable, and machine-washable, they are made from recyclable and renewable materials, including corn!" Not to mention, ankle pull tabs and rubber toe bumpers make them super practical.

Price at time of publish: $135

Sizes: Men's 7-14, women's 5.5-11.5 | Materials: Rubber and corn spring sole, corn fiber upper

Best Boat Shoes

Columbia Women’s Dorado PFG Boat Shoe

Columbia Women’s Dorado PFG Boat Shoe


Why We Love It: They're waterproof but still stylish enough to go from boat to brunch.

What to Consider: The toggle on the laces is a design choice that isn't for everyone.

"Our video production companies cater to international clients so I find myself traveling a lot and walking a lot, too, to scout locations for shoots," says Anna Chiranova, co-founder of Ucan Production. "The Columbia Women's Dorado Boat Shoe is just the best for city walking. It's designed with breathable mesh upper material and slip-resistant rubber sole – making it really comfortable to wear for long periods of time. [It's] also sufficient for casual hiking and excels in water activities, like boating. The shoes weigh just a little over half a pound, which means they are good travel shoes for packing, too."

Price at time of publish: $70

Sizes: Men's 7-15, women's 7-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, mesh and synthetic upper

Best Wedge Sandals

Sorel Explorer Blitz Stride Sandal

Sorel Explorer Blitz Stride Sandal


Why We Love It: This chunky sandal is super supportive and made of the highest quality leather available.

What to Consider: Some wearers may find the front toe band a little tight.

"My Sorel Explorer Blitz are the illest," says Rachel Griner, founder and CEO of Brave Nu Ventures, an educational travel company that specializes in hands-on learning experiences. She's especially a fan of the brand's collaboration with Prana. "These Sorels keep me moving through street art class and urban farming workshops. The sole of a gym shoe with the flyness of a wedge means I can go all day from the Black-owned business tour in the morning to jazz night." The extra lift in the heel gives them an ultra-stylish touch, especially paired with the funky details and color options.

Price at time of publish: $100

Sizes: Women's 5-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, leather straps

Best Active Sandals

Chaco Lowdown Sandals

Chaco Lowdown Sandals


Why We Love It: They're super rugged and they stand up to the elements.

What to Consider: Some shoppers may find Chaco's unique strap adjustment system difficult to maneuver.

"I've been traveling full time the past few years over dozens of countries and many different climates, and by far the best travel shoes I've found are Chacos Lowdown Sandal," says travel blogger Katie Caf, praising the sandal's versatility and waterproof nature for sports or swimming. "The Chacos Lowdowns are also more fashionable than most hiking sandals on the market, making them great city shoes for walking long days on cobblestoned European streets. After a year of daily use, my Chacos Lowdowns still look brand new." They're even antimicrobial, minimizing any funkiness that may ensue after miles on your feet.

Price at time of publish: $85

Sizes: Men's 7-15, women's 5-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, polyester straps

Best Vegan

Vionic Pismo Sneaker

Vionic Pismo Sneaker


Why We Love It: Extra-supportive arches combine with a canvas upper for a shoe that's versatile and fully free of animal products.

What to Consider: The canvas upper won't dry as quickly as other materials.

Vionic is a podiatrist favorite thanks to the impressive support featured in its products. "My absolute favorite walking shoes are Vionics," says travel blogger and former food walking tour guide Lanie van der Horst. "My dad is a retired podiatrist and I first heard about Vionics from him. I travel with two pairs of Vionics, sneakers and flip-flops." The slip-on Pismo is one of the most popular styles and comes in colors ranging from black to boardwalk-friendly pastels to fruit- or mosaic-inspired patterns. Those in search of a similar men's style can opt for the Seaview.

Price at time of publish: $65

Sizes: Women's 5-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, cotton upper

Best Waterproof Sneakers

Vessi Waterproof Weekend Sneaker

Vessi Waterproof Weekend Sneaker


Why We Love It: Not only are they waterproof, they're also breathable, comfortable, and have great traction.

What to Consider: These don't have as much arch support as some of our other picks.

Vessi is the preferred shoe for the crew of Seattle Ballooning. "We set up our balloons at sunrise and often have a few on the grass. Our entire crew only wears Vessi shoes," says chief pilot Eliav Cohen. "Waterproof, comfortable, breathable, and has just the right amount of grip." Retreat and travel planner Jami Johnson specifically likes the Weekend sneakers for being both durable and on-trend, as well as their ability to keep your feet dry. "I took my Vessis on a two-week European holiday and put 90 miles on them in two weeks. My feet never blistered and did not get sore after all of the walking adventures," she says. They even come in kids' sizes so the whole family can match.

Price at time of publish: $125

Sizes: Men's 6-13, women's 5-11 | Materials: Rubber sole, knit upper

Best Rubber Sandals

Crocs Women's Sexi Flip-Flop

Crocs Women's Sexi Flip-Flop


Why We Love It: This water-repellent shoe from Crocs is sleek and surprisingly stylish.

What to Consider: These don't fully pass our "can't bend in half" test (more on that later) and won't have the most support if that's what you're looking for.

Despite their somewhat silly name, the Crocs Sexi Flip-flop is a perpetual frontrunner in the travel shoe discussion, and much sleeker than many of the other shoes you may associate with the brand. "I always recommend Crocs sandals," says Disney travel agent Tina Tolbert of Hey Mickey Travel. "A day at a Disney park usually comes with 8-10 miles of walking so your feet can take a beating! [These] form nicely to your feet, allow them to breathe, and there is no rubbing on heels." The sandals also boast excellent traction, water-repellent rubber, and an anti-slip T-strap design.

Price at time of publish: $30

Sizes: Women's 4-11 | Materials: Rubber

Best Street Sneakers

Clarks Un Rio Tie Sneakers

Clarks Un Rio Tie Sneakers


Why We Love It: They're ultra-stretchy and come in full, half, and wide sizes.
What to Consider: Some shoppers may find them to be a bit tight in the toe box.

"I have been planning vacations in Italy for over 18 years. I spent 10 years traveling around the globe as a cycling and hiking guide and I still occasionally guide cultural and hiking trips in Italy," says Candice Criscione. "Clarks are my go-to brand for travel. I love their Unstructured collection because they're comfortable and act like athletic sneakers without looking like them. They're cushioned, supportive, made with breathable materials, and work for sightseeing or paired with casual dinner outfits." For men, the Wave 2.0 Vibe, also from the Unstructured collection, offers a similar style.

Price at time of publish: $102

Sizes: Women's 5-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, nubuck upper

Most Versatile

Skechers Work DynaAir SR Sneakers

Skechers Work DynaAir SR Sneakers


Why We Love It: They're water and stain-repellent.

What to Consider: They're only available in monochromatic black.

If you're looking for a do-it-all shoe, check out this versatile option from Skechers. Marino Cardelli, CEO and tour leader at Experience BellaVita, has been wearing the DynaAir for two years. "We're often in vineyards, small villages with cobblestone, and we stand for at least three hours for cooking classes, or longer for other food and cycling tours," he says. "I wanted to find a shoe that would be nice to wear but also comfortable. It's a flexible shoe that can adapt to different situations, I pretty much use it for everything, and it's easily washable." If that's not enough to convince you, maybe the shoe's memory foam footbed or ventilating panels will.

Price at time of publish: $100

Sizes: Men's 7-14, women's 6.5-11 | Materials: Rubber sole, knit mesh upper

Best Trail Runners

La Sportiva Karacal Trail-Running Shoes

La Sportiva Karacal Trail-Running Shoe


Why We Love It: These shoes are super bouncy and breathable.

What to Consider: They're only available in a few colors, which may be too bright for some shoppers' likings.

"As the founder of a global surf magazine, I do a lot of traveling and surfing guiding to pretty exotic locations, [so] having one pair of shoes which I can use in multiple environments is really important," says Marc Bromhall of Surf's Up magazine. "[The Karacals] have solid heel support, a 3D mesh upper making them breathable, and a soft-density EVA foam, meaning that walking long distances in them is a breeze." We love the bright colors for the trail, and they may add a needed bit of vibrancy — but if you're trying to stick to a capsule wardrobe, you may find the hues a little challenging.

Price at time of publish: $145

Sizes: Men's 38-48.5, women's 36-43 | Materials: Rubber sole, mesh upper

Best Hiking Shoes

Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoes


Why We Love It: They feature substantial arch support and a comfy, spacious toe box.

What to Consider: They have a slightly bulky appearance.

"For my work, I do a lot of hiking around different parts of the United States, [which] would be very uncomfortable without the right shoe — but I have had no complaints so far with the Merrell Moab Hiking Shoe," says Joseph Greene, founder and CEO of Trinidad Birding. "What I love most about this shoe is that as well as being a good hiking shoe, meaning I get no discomfort from traversing rough terrain, it is also very breathable which is a huge advantage for traveling. When hiking, especially in the hotter states, you will exert a lot of energy and sweat. If a shoe isn't breathable, then that moisture builds up and can become very uncomfortable. I have had no problems with moisture when hiking with the Moab and my feet are always well-ventilated."

Price at time of publish: $135

Sizes: Men's 7-15, women's 5-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, suede leather, and mesh upper

Best Hiking Mid

Columbia Trailstorm Mid Hiking Shoes

Columbia Trailstorm Mid Hiking Shoes


Why We Love It: A foam midsole and insole make these comfy right out of the box.

What to Consider: Though on the slimmer side of hiking boots, they're still bulkier and heavier than many other styles on our list.

"This pair of Columbia hiking shoes are my go-to outside of expeditions," says Shawn Richards, expedition coordinator at Ultimate Kilimanjaro. "These should stand out because they adapt perfectly to most situations while still maintaining a lot of grip in different terrains. Another critical aspect that makes these a good recommendation is that they're still quite comfortable beyond their functionality. Finally, the design is quite minimal and doesn't scream 'tourists,' which is important when I'm looking to blend in with locals. You can easily wear them in many situations outside of trails and hikes."

Price at time of publish: $110

Sizes: Men's 7-15, women's 5-12 | Materials: Rubber sole, mesh upper

Best for Running

Speedland SL:HSV


Why We Love It: This running shoe has toggles, rather than laces, to find your perfect fit.

What to Consider: These are definitely running-specific, so won't be as useful if you're looking for a multipurpose shoe.

Running tour guide and ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes recommends Speedland shoes if you're looking to rack up some miles while wandering. "What I really love about them is the micro-adjustability when topography and terrain changes," he says. Rather than lacing up, you dial in your fit with the twisting Boa system to find your perfect increments. The overall effect is extremely sleek. The Michelin rubber sole is trimmable, so if the lugs are a bit too high for you, you can trim them down to get your ideal traction.

Price at time of publish: $375

Sizes: Men's 5-13 | Materials: Rubber sole, knit upper

Tips for Buying Comfortable Shoes

There's no way around it: buying shoes online is hard. You never really know how comfortable a shoe is going to be until it's on your foot, and even then, there may be a break-in period before you can truly understand how it's going to work for you. But there are three key factors you can consider to find the right pair.

"A good shoe will have appropriate support for your foot type, shock absorption, and fit appropriately. All those factors will contribute to comfort," says Dr. Andersen.

Choose something with efficient arch support

"Arch support is very important for people that suffer from common ailments such as plantar fasciitis, flat foot deformities, and posterior tibial tendonitis," says Dr. Oldani. "Lack of arch support will put increased stress on these structures and can lead to increased pain and inflammation. The arch should be relatively firm to support the soft tissue structures of the foot. As the foot fatigues with walking, this will be helpful to provide added support. A soft, cushioned arch may feel good for a short time but will not provide the firmness and support necessary for longer distances."

"What I look for," Dr. Andersen adds, "is a shoe that you cannot bend in half. It's okay for a shoe to bend at the ball, but if it's flimsy enough that you can bend the whole shoe in half, it's not supportive enough."

Keep shock absorption in mind

"For shock absorption, I like to see a sole that is made of good materials, and is not extremely thin," Dr. Andersen says. "There are many good materials (EVA is typical for athletic shoes) but there are many others like cork that have nice shock absorption."

"During the summer, many people will wear sandals exclusively, even when walking long distances," says Dr. Oldani. "Therefore, it is also important to feature a sole that can withstand the rigors of prolonged walking. Many times, the sole will be a polymer material (such as EVA or polyurethane) and be at least 1.25 inches thick. This material is both lightweight and durable, which is great for distance walking. Plus, a polymer sole will provide some rigidity when pushing off."

Prioritize the right fit

"I prefer my patients shop in person, but if they can't, reading reviews regarding sizing and materials as well as comfort can be helpful," says Dr. Andersen. "It helps if you have a brand that you know is generally comfortable. Again, plan ahead and try them out ahead of time. You should never take brand new shoes on a trip."

You can also look for shoes that have the American Podiatric Medicine Association Seal of Acceptance, which is awarded to shoes that are submitted for evaluation and reviewed to make sure they promote good foot health.

"Remember, not all shoes are for all people," she says. " There are different levels of support for athletic shoes specifically, and what's right for one person may not be right for another."

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Which shoes are best for air travel?

    Considering you'll likely be walking through the airport to your gate, removing your shoes at security, and sitting on the plane for long periods of time, you'll want your shoes to be supportive and comfortable. Slip on shoes are great options for air travel as well as well-fitted sneakers or flats. You should also be sure any pair of shoes you plan to wear to the airport are already broken in to avoid blisters and other foot pain.

  • Can boots or loafers work as travel shoes?

    The best travel shoes are the ones that keep you most comfortable for the longest period of time. If you have a favorite pair of boots or loafers that provide arch support and overall cushion, they can be great options for travel shoes.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Rena Behar has been covering travel gear and other products for outlets including Wirecutter,, Consumer Reports, and more since 2014. She also has very fussy feet and is on an eternal quest to find comfortable travel shoes that are also attractive. T+L additionally sought out recommendations from multiple frequent travelers, guides, and other specialists, and interviewed two practicing podiatrists for this article: Dr. Jane Andersen of Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic and trustee of the American Podiatric Medical Association, and Dr. Tim Oldani of Missouri Foot & Ankle.

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we'll send you our favorite travel products each week.

Updated by
Taylor Fox
Taylor Fox, Commerce Updates Writer at Travel + Leisure
Taylor Fox is a Commerce Updates Writer at Travel + Leisure where she tests, researches, and writes about travel products. Taylor holds a Master’s in Geography and has been a writer and editor for over seven years.
Was this page helpful?
Related Articles