What shoes should I take travelling? 5 shoes you need for every travel situation.

What shoes should I take travelling?

What shoes should I take travelling? 5 shoes you need for every travel situation. It might not be the most exciting topic in the world but it’s one of my many FAQs. ‘What shoes should I take travelling?’ or ‘What shoes should I take to (insert destination)?’

I’m always harping on about travelling light and one of the easiest ways to keep your luggage down is to avoid packing more than one pair of shoes. Shoes are bulky and heavy and, more often than not, you don’t even need the extra couple of pairs squished in your case.

Whenever possible, I only travel with two pairs of shoes. I’ll wear the bulkier pair on the plane and pack the other pair in my luggage.

After years of trial and error, here are the shoes I normally travel with depending on the type of holiday I’m taking.


Court Shoes – For nights out

What are the best shoes for travelling?If you’ll be going out for nice dinners and drinks then you’ll want a fancy pair of shoes. I love skyscraper heels but they take up so much space in your case so stick to one pair of black heels. You can walk for miles in these babies and they’ll instantly dress up a plain outfit. Stick to black and they’ll match every outfit you have. Do not be tempted to pack more than one pair. You don’t need them!

I like these simple V-fronted court shoes from River Island. They’re only £35 too.


Biker Boots – For winter city breaks

Winter shoes for travelOr any kind of boots really.

Invest in a good pair that will keep your feet warm and dry and you’ll be able to walk for miles in them. I like simple, leather biker-style boots because they’ll go with jeans and leggings as well as skirts and dresses.

Spring is a really good time to buy biker boots because they’re all half price so keep your eye out for a bargain. These boots are currently reduced from £179.00 to £68.00 at Office.


Converse – For summer city breaks

The best shoes for travellingYou really can’t beat a good old pair of Converse. They’re comfortable and cool and you can walk for miles in them.




Trainers – For active holidays

Shoes for travellingIf you plan to do lots of walking and hiking during your holiday then I’d recommend a pair of comfortable trainers. I’m a big fan of Nike Free trainers in black. I’m actually on my third pair because I wear them all the time. They’re simple and stylish so they can be worn on the plane and in cities as well as hiking in the mountains. I even did a triathlon in them!


Havaianas Flip Flops – For hot weather

What shoes should I take travelling?Some people struggle with flip flops but once your feet are used to them they’re the easiest footwear to travel with. I recommend Havaianas because they’re great quality and really comfortable. Cheap flip flops tend to break quickly and can give you blisters between your toes.



Should I pack walking/hiking boots?

Nine times out of ten I’d say no.

I guess this is personal preference but, personally, I can hike up a mountain in trainers. (I actually climbed up Mount Kinabalu in trainers and jeggings. Remember jeggings?) If you’re planning to hike up Everest then of course you should take a pair of hiking boots but for most walking situations they’re unnecessary.

If you really need hiking boots then you’ll probably be able to hire them in your destinations. When I was Iceland we needed hiking boots for glacier hiking so I rented a pair for the equivalent of £5.00. Yes, it’s expensive for half a day but it was worth every penny to not lug them around with me for a whole week.

You often see travellers walking around hot cities in their hiking boots and I can’t help but wonder why? Hiking boots are heavy and hot and you’d never wear them to walk around a city at home.

I think hiking boots are only necessary if you have foot/ankle/leg/back problems or you’re planning to spend a few days doing serious hiking. If not, leave them at home and wear your trainers. Walking shoes (like walking boots but without the ankle support) could be an alternative but they’re also heavy and hot and instantly make you look like a traveller.

What shoes do you always take travelling?


Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of the best holidays. Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!


  • February 10, 2015

    Definitely second you on the Havaianas (so comfy!) and Converse. They’re so practical for day-to-day activities.

    Lizzy from Nomad Notebook

  • February 10, 2015

    I love the moto boot suggestion! I almost always bring a pair of black ballet flats or flat black ankle boots. I can walk forever in both of them, and they pretty much go with anything and everything! Sometimes I’ll wear the boots on the plane and pack the ballet flats – which hardly take up any space in my bag.

  • February 10, 2015

    Shoes are so annoying. I’m in Taiwan at the moment and I have flip flops and walking boots. The weather is directly in the middle of the two. Today I had to go flip flops and a beanie. Tomorrow I’m cycling so it’ll be walking boots and a straps top. Really need to start travelling with a porter so I can bring more things.

  • February 10, 2015

    I prefer slip-on sneakers to flip flops for sure when I’m traveling in a city (or at home in NYC). All that ickiness on my feet is no fun. I would also recommend you find a cute pair that has arch support or your feet are going to be SORE after a long day of walking around!

  • February 10, 2015

    For anywhere hot, I love my FitFlops – comfy enough to walk for miles but the right style is still fairly smart/dressy. Otherwise biker boots and ankle boots are so useful for cold/cities, maybe strappy sandals for somewhere sunny. I have some knackered trainers so I keep meaning to check out a pair of Converse.

  • February 10, 2015

    That last point is so spot-on…unless you’re going on a hiking/trekking holiday, hiking boots are just taking up space to do a job that could be done just as well by casual trainers! And I’m such a fan of modest heels these days, they’re comfortable for much longer and as you said, take up way less space. Excellent advice all around…now how do I get a grip on my shoe purchasing addiction?

  • February 11, 2015

    I ALWAYS take my Doc Martens… they’re great for everything. When travelling I’d wear them out all day then pair them with some tights and a dress to wear them out all night!

  • February 11, 2015

    So thankful for this post, shoe-packing decoded. I hate packing to go on vacation for the sole reason that I can’t visualise complete outfits, they all seem fragmented! Love this post, my first choice has to be trainers then boots! Monica, your site is looking so slick =)

  • February 11, 2015

    Well done on climbing Kinabalu – I hear it’s quite tough! Really useful post – I need new trainers – I’ve had mine for years but I keep seeing Converses everywhere I go on my travels so maybe that’s what I should go for next!

  • Jill
    February 15, 2015

    my go-to travel shoes are keds and birkenstocks. Unlike converse, (which I love and wear nearly daily in normal life), keds slip on and off easily, and they fit my insoles plus swollen airplane feet comfortably. The birkenstocks are hella comfy to walk in all day, while being nice enough that people actually wear them to fancy functions.

  • Caryn
    April 7, 2015

    My favorite flip flops are Rainbows! Sturdy bottoms and leather straps. It’s suggested you break them in to soften the toe piece but if you’re used to flips just wear them around before your trip. I’ve walked for days in them and was sorry I’d bothered to pack other shoes! Love your packing light suggestions!

  • April 15, 2015

    I definitely agree with you on the Havianas! I got a gold pair with a strap in the back (Freedom style I think) and wore them everywhere in Panama and they were so comfy! I also got a pair of ipanema flip-flops for that trip but I didn’t find them as comfortable and they seemed to run a but wider so they are a bit sloppy on my feet. I also love TOMS. I wear those in the airport for easy removal and security and they are so comfortable.

  • Claire
    March 3, 2016

    Hi! I’m going to be spending about 3-4 weeks in Europe this May. I’ll be all over, from Dublin, Belfast, London, Madrid, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo and then stopping in Reykjavik for two days on our way home.

    Two summers ago when I was backpacking, I brought sandals, flats, and converse.

    I’ll definitely need sandals for Spain and some type of shoe for going out, but our hiking in Oslo and Iceland is making it hard for me to decide what to bring – converse AND tennis shoes?

    Also, will it be rainy enough in the UK that I should substitute the dress flats for a pair of sturdier rain boots?

    I’ve been trying to find a stylish pair of rain boots that I can walk far in, but I’ve had zero luck! What do you recommend for my situation? What shoes would you pack?


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