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
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
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
You 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
If 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
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.
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Thursday 3rd of March 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?
Thursday 3rd of March 2016
Ah I see your dilemma! I think it depends on how much hiking you plan to do in Oslo and Iceland. With just 2 days in Reykjavik it might be unlikely that you'll actually get up in the mountains to do any serious hiking. I'm not sure what your plan is for Oslo? If it's more walking trails and light walking then I'd imagine you'd be OK in trainers such as the Nike trainers. I really depends on you but I know I could do serious hiking in trainers if it's just a half day hike.
When you're in the UK, it will be raining but it shouldn't be too cold. I don't think you'll need rain boots but you might get a little cold in dress flats.
If I were you, I'd take a good pair of trainers (like the Nike's), a pair of ankle boots that can be worn in the evenings (they can even look cute with a dress) and a pair of sandals or flip flops. For the boots, I'd imagine you'd be wearing these the most so make sure they're really good quality.
I hope that helps and you have a great time!