From Hiking to City Walking — The Best Travel Shoes Out There

by Caitlin
Published: Last Updated on
person walking up stairs with yellow stripes on them

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My last short getaway involved a lot of hiking — I averaged about 27,000 steps per day. And my most recent city break before that I was doing around 17,000 steps per day. Not only do I expect my shoes to hold up to that sort of work out — trip, after trip, after trip — I also expect that I will be incredibly comfortable in them. Now, that is no easy order to fill. And believe me, I haven’t always gotten it right. One time I had to go into a shop in the middle of the mountains in Japan and gesture to the shop lady that I needed tape to wrap up the bottom of my boots that had worn through (there was snow on the ground). More than once I have had to buy a new pair of flip flops from the nearest market after my current pair broke. But I have learned from these mistakes. As, I am sure, have my colleagues in this world of travel. So, I, along with all of them, have compiled a list of our most trusted travel shows. So, whether your next trip takes you to the mountains, or a city, or anywhere in between, here is a list of the 10 best walking shoes for travel

Specifications for the best travel shoes:

Your checklist might not be the same as mine. But here are some things you might think about taking into consideration as you head out on the journey to find your next ultimate travel shoes.

  • The right balance between casual and smart
  • Usable across varied terrain
  • Usable across varied weather and climates
  • Nice enough to wear with pants or even a casual dress
  • Comfortable enough to walk around a city for a full day and then again the next day

For City Walking

Skechers

blue shoes on crossed get at the bottom of the image in front of an open space of green grass

Over the years I’ve had so many disasters with shoes while traveling, possibly enough to fill a book! That all changed when I bought my first pair of Skechers and took them on my travels. Apart from never falling apart or letting me down in some way, they’re wonderfully versatile.

They’re my favorite shoes for traveling and exploring cities because they’re just so comfortable, but they’re also great for most terrains. They’ve served me well on gentle hill walks, pebble beaches, and rocky paths. They never give me blisters and save me so much luggage space as I no longer have to pack different shoes for walking, shoes to wear with a dress, and shoes for comfort on the flight. My Sketchers tick all those boxes. So now I only travel with Skechers and a pair of hiking boots for more challenging trails. I’ll confess, though, that I now have so many different pairs of SKetchers that it’s hard to choose which will join me on my next travels!

Alison, Glimpses of the UAE

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Olukai Pehuea Slip-on Sneakers

Two blue shoes piled up on each other sitting in the grass

I love my Pehuea slip-on sneakers from Olukai. They are great travel shoes as they transform into whatever kind of shoe I need them to be.

On days when I am walking 20,000 steps, exploring a new city, Pehuea gets me from museum to cafe to boutique. The synthetic suede heel means I don’t get blisters, and the shoe is stylish enough to go with any of my casual outfits.

The main frame of the shoes is made from a breathable mesh which means my feet stay aerated and cool on warm days, especially when I wear them barefoot.

If I need to slip them on real quick, Pehuea’s heel folds into the shoe to transform into a clog, so I am not destroying the infrastructure of the shoe when I wear them halfway. 

I have even gone hiking with them in extreme locations, like Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and the soles were thick and sturdy enough to walk over scratchy lava fields. 

I am so happy to have found my perfect travel shoe that can take me from city sauntering to trail trekking.

Tabitha, Travel Compositions

Shop Olukai shoes:

Saucony

woman in blue jacket and blue shoes standing up petting a deer in a park

Saucony, my favorite pair of shoes, has been a game-changer for me. As I found out quite late in my life, I suffer from overpronation, and walking for extended periods used to be a nightmare. My feet would ache and I would have to cut my days shorts and sometimes even my trips. I would often suffer from plantar fasciitis, so my feet would hurt for a few months after walking more on a city break.

These shoes are like magic! I can walk all day without any discomfort. In fact, during my trip to Japan, I walked a whopping 30,000 steps a day. Guess what? My feet were tired, of course, but they didn’t hurt. Can you believe it? It’s like walking on clouds! The soles are literally from cloud foam, funnily enough.

Sure, Saucony might be a bit on the expensive side, but let me tell you this: it’s worth every penny. Investing in good quality shoes is essential when you’re constantly moving. Trust me; your feet, back, and overall health will thank you later.

Not only do these shoes provide incredible support for my overpronation, but they also offer excellent cushioning and stability. Since they’re on the wider side, and their insoles can be removed, you can even use your own custom-made insoles with them, thus combining the medically designed solution with a sturdy pair of shoes. Plus, they come in a wide range of stylish designs – so you don’t have to compromise on fashion either, something that we, “unhealthy” people, often have to do.

So if you’re like me and love exploring new places but suffer from foot pain or overpronation issues, give Saucony a try. Your feet will thank you and you’ll be able to enjoy longer days and longer trips, and who doesn’t like that?

Cristina, Honest Travel Stories

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Classic Vans

could sitting on the ground in front of an Amsterdam Canal. their legs are crossed over each other and they are smiling

Is there any shoe more versatile, more full of stories, than a good old pair of classic Vans? They might not be the top hiking shoe — but I have worn these babies throughout plenty of European countries: tours around the Scottish Highlands, jaunts through the countryside of Poland, and strolls along the streets of Paris, France. Plus thousands of miles in between.

They’re sturdy and comfortable, but they also go with everything. We all know how difficult it can be to pack a wardrobe into a small suitcase, but the classic Vans? A must-have part of every travel capsule wardrobe. A true staple. 

Most recently, mine helped me wind my way through the canals of Amsterdam during a photoshoot to commemorate my husband and I’s 7th anniversary. Amsterdam is our favorite place! I knew I wanted to look cute, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my comfort all day just for a few cute photos… cue my classic Vans! They did the job — like they do, every time.

Taylor, Traverse with Taylor

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Vionic Flip-flops

three pairs of shoes sitting on top of their shoe boxes

Vionic shoes have orthotics built in making them comfortable to wear all day even when you are traveling and walking more than normal.

I started wearing Vionics back when they were called Orthoheel after my dad, a former podiatrist, recommended them. Through the years, the styles have improved significantly, and the comfort level is still there.

While I tend to wear the Vionic flip-flops, even on long travel days, they also make sneakers, boots, sandals, and flats. When hiking or during those times closed-toed shoes are required, I wear Vionic sneakers.

I have worn Vionics for an entire day at Disney World, walking through the streets of New York City, and hiking in Australia.

After requiring orthotics due to a knee injury, I found that Vionics are the only acceptable option and I can get away without purchasing expensive inserts. Vionics have a high arch and are good for those with plantar fasciitis as well as those with hip, knee, or back injuries.  

Lanie, Make More Adventures

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Adidas Swift Sneakers

a family of four sitting in cars for a ride

Let me just start with the fact that the Adidas Swift sneakers are the best! 

They are comfortable, easy to clean, and stylish. White sneakers, I feel like are always in style, but they can get dirty so quickly. 

I included a recent photo of me with my family vacationing in Georgia in the summer of 2023. I’ve had these sneakers since 2019 and wear them often. Do you see how clean and white they are?? After 4 years!! I just spray them with OxyClean, throw them in the washer, then the dryer, and they are back to being brand new. We live in Central Florida and frequent Walt Disney World quite often. Nothing will put new sneakers to the comfort test like walking 8 miles all around the park in the sweltering Florida heat for a day. Plus an insider secret for the ladies, you can find your equivalent size in boys if you are looking for more color options, or sometimes even lower prices. That’s what I did. 

So when I put together my free printable packing list for vacation, you can bet these sneakers were on it. You don’t want to leave home without them!

Dr. Rachel, TheRxForTravel.com

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For Hiking

Allbirds

blue all birds shoes with mud on them

After having far too many shoes crumble and fail on me, I bought a pair of Allbirds in 2020. I was drawn to them originally for their sustainability. The company aims to be carbon neutral, they focus on regenerative agriculture, and use all natural materials.

But I’ve been equally impressed with the quality of their product. My Allbirds are now my go-to hiking shoes. While I’m slightly too much of a fashion snob to be wearing them around a city tour day, I always pack them if there is any sort of nature or hiking on my trips. They’ve travel with me to Kyrgyzstan for hikes through the hills there. More recently they brought me through a two-day trek in Portugal. And the best thing about that trip was that we had to trudge though mud at the very end (no, that’s not the best part) but all I had to do when I got home was pull out the insole and throw my muddy Allbirds in the washing machine and they came out good as new!

Caitlin, The Country Jumper (that’s me!)

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Salomon trail running shoes

two pairs of Salomon trail running shoes lined up against a white wall.

The reason I love my Gore-tex Salomon trail running shoes is that they are lightweight, waterproof, and have good grip without taking up lots of room in my luggage. I often travel to Scotland and stay in a hotel on North Uist. On my first trip I thought my hiking boots were too bulky to bring, but after getting my feet wet and losing my grip one too many times I decided to invest in a new pair of shoes. I wanted a pair that could be used both for hiking and sightseeing.

Salomon produces a few different types of hiking shoes. The reason I prefer the trail running versions is that they are lighter and have better grip. They come in a range of different colors so you can pick your favorite. Since they are similar to trainers and don’t weigh much you can also walk around in them all day whilst sightseeing – saving even more room in your bag.

Kristin, Scotland Less Explored

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KEEN Hiking Sandals

a man and a young boy sitting on rocks with their feet in water.

The guide didn’t seem to know the answer. “Do we need flip-flops or hiking shoes?”, we asked. “Kind of both”, she said. “There’ll be lots of hiking but you also need to wade through some streams.”

The trek to the Kipungit waterfall in Borneo could have been invented for our Keen hiking sandals; sturdy enough to walk for miles but open and airy (and quick-drying) for those times you need to paddle. Trekking in humid climates, the temptation is to reach for the flip-flops but no-one makes the same mistake twice after a sprained ankle. Heavy walking boots provide stability but soon get too hot and sweaty. 

Each member of our traveling family has their own pair and we’d never travel without them. From the beach to the mountains and all points in-between, our feet are supported and well-ventilated. As for the waterfall hike, the guide was right; we did need both and with our Keen sandals, we already had it covered.

Jenny, On Penang

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The Columbia Peakfreak X2

pair of blue shoes with yellow laces sitting on grass

The Columbia Peakfreak X2, in its shoe and boot variants, have been my steadfast companions across many adventures. These waterproof marvels strike the perfect balance. They keep my feet dry without overheating, making them ideal for diverse terrains. Picture trudging through the lush jungles of Cambodia, each step a symphony of sounds from the unseen wildlife. Or scaling the majestic heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro, where the gravelly terrain was never challenging to their grip and comfort.

I love their versatility, having used them from the cobblestones of San Juan in Puerto Rico to the sprawling highlands of Ethiopia, the Central African plains, and the vast expanse of the Uganda savannah. Their most enduring test was the two-month hike across Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. My Columbia Peakfreaks X2 were a constant, unwavering presence through rain, mud, and unyielding terrain.

Their versatility is their magic. City streets or rugged trails, they adapt, making them an excellent choice for a traveler who refuses to be bound by boundaries. 

Odo, Caribe Vibes

Shop Columbia shoes:

I know, it’s no easy choice to make. But you can rest assured that if you pick up any one of these ten best travel shoes you will not be let down (quite literally). So, go forth, walk, hike, trudge, frolic, with full confidence in your footwear picks.

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