When I was in eighth grade, I visited New York City for the first time. I remember spending the trip walking through Times Square, Central Park and the American Girl Store. I also remember going barefoot for a block (disgusting I know), in tears, because my Roxy beaded flip-flops had destroyed my feet. Since this ultra-dramatic coming of age moment, I’ve learned to only wear the absolute best travel shoes for women. To this day, I won’t sacrifice an ounce of footwear comfort and through some trial and error, I’ve been able to maintain the fashionable integrity of my walkable shoe choices.
I’m now lucky enough to actually live in New York City and I walk an average of five miles a day—though I rarely walk through Times Square. Finding stylish walking shoes for women has become a necessary way of life so when it comes to travel, I like to think that I’m prepared for anything.
I have two speeds: city speed and travel speed. City speed is quick, deliberate and quite frankly, a bit exhausting. Travel speed is slightly slower and gives me time to appreciate the details in my surroundings. I also stop for approximately 1,000 photos so having shoes that actually look good is a top priority.
One of my biggest tips for guaranteeing that your feet will survive a trip with a lot of sightseeing is wearing the shoes before your flight takes off. I know it can be tempting to keep new purchases in the box until the “big moment” but this is the only surefire way you’ll be able to explore blister-free.
When packing, prioritize shoes that you can wear with multiple outfits. I’ll usually wear my heaviest pair of shoes on the plane to help maximize my suitcase space. When you find a pair of shoes that work, milk it. I promise nobody will notice if you are outfit-repeating shoes when standing in front of a historical monument.
Spring break and summer vacations are looming ahead so I decided to compile my list of travel-ready shoes for the fast-walking fashionistas. I truly promise that these footwear options will be a game-changing investment for your adventures. I wish you nothing but comfort, safe travels and good lighting for your Instagram pictures. Enjoy!
Vagabond Cosmo 2.0 Loafer
I made it my personal mission to find a pair of loafers that didn’t sacrifice an ounce of cuteness or comfort. After ordering and trying on approximately 12 pairs (yes I’m serious), I found the holy grail of loafers. This pair from Vagabond is unbelievably comfortable and left my feet blister-free after walking around the entirety of Paris. I’ve worn them with thin tights, crew socks and no socks and every combo works. They come in four colors and sell out quickly so act fast while the black leather pair is still in stock.
New Balance 990v5 Core
At this point in the fashion cycle, this pair of New Balance dad-turned-fashion-girl shoes are no longer considered groundbreaking. They are, however, easy to style and even easier to walk in. My first pair lasted me for three years and I just ordered a second. I usually just wear mine for long days of walking in the city but they also double as great running shoes.
Club C 85 Classic Lace Up Sneakers
I cannot say enough good things about these sneakers. I had no idea I’d be a Reebok fan-girl until I wore these shoes for seven days straight. They are ultra cushy, have great arch support and add a fresh pop of white to every look.
Mid Chelsea Boot
These mid chelsea boots are anything but mid—if you have TikTok you get the reference. If you don’t, please disregard. While I have not personally worn these boots on a trip, both my mom and sister have and they swear by them. The comfort factor is a given (because I wouldn’t recommend something uncomfortable for travel) and they have the added bonus of being waterproof. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a surprise rain storm and ruining one of the few pairs of shoes you packed. The price sticker on these Ganni boots is a little bit high, but they are a classic silhouette so you’ll be able to wear them for years. They also come in a range of bright and neutral colors.
Boston Big Buckle Genuine Shearling Clog
Not every travel shoe needs to be for walking. These shearling Birkenstocks are perfect for all leisure-wear activities. This could include wearing them on the airplane or a long car ride, taking the elevator down to the lobby for coffee or just lounging after a long day. I always make sure to pack one slipper-style pair of shoes (and a sweatsuit to match) because every trip I haven’t, I’ve sat with deep regret.
I’m a big fan of Jeffrey Campbell heels because they are super comfortable and work for many occasions. This pair of simple strappy kitten heels are perfect for evenings out to dinner and work for many different locations. I’d wear this out in Paris, New York City, Mexico or Seattle without having to question if they fit the vibe.