When traveling, two of your most important companions are your feet. You are able to choose your own path and explore a city or countryside at your own pace. And yet, despite our feet being so important, we’ve all made the mistake of bringing shoes that resulted in discomfort. Or maybe you’ve fallen victim to another common mistake—over-packing and bringing too many pairs of shoes that go unworn.
We sat down with our Senior Web Merchandiser, Rachel, to pick her brain on her top tips for bringing shoes along her adventure. Rachel not only is a huge travel buff herself (hello, Machu Picchu!), but she’s also the one who helps bring our shoes to our customers. Whether you’re seeking comfort or are in pursuit of packing simplicity, read on for these five easy tips that will help you choose the perfect travel shoes.
- Weather: One of the first things to consider when deciding how to fill your suitcase is the forecast. Although weather is bound to fluctuate, it’s essential to review the predicted temperatures and weather trends of your destinations. If rain is in your future, opt for waterproof footwear or quick-drying materials. If temperatures will be warm, select well-ventilated shoes such as those with mesh or breathable uppers. Supportive sandals can also be a great option for warm climates.
- Activities: After reviewing weather, take stock of what activities you plan to participate in. Ideally there can be crossover between your active shoes and your leisure shoes. However, certain activities such as hiking, rock climbing or cycling require specific footwear. Others, such as sightseeing, allow for more overlap with casual shoes. When packing, select one pair of activity-specific footwear and then include an additional casual pair that can easily transition from day to night.
- Versatility: Selecting versatile shoes that can serve many purposes throughout your trip is crucial. When assessing versatility, look for shoes that can be dressed up for an evening out or can be styled down to wear throughout the day. Also look for styles that can easily go from trailhead to city street. Color is another key to extending the life of your shoes. Choose hues that are neutral and can pair easily with any outfit: black, brown, gray and navy remain top choices for travel shoes.
- Comfort: When assessing the comfort of a shoe, there are several factors to consider.
- Arch Support: When walking, the natural motion of the foot is for the heel to hit first and then to slowly roll to the ball of the foot. This means that most of the pressure is applied to the arch of the foot. For increased comfort, look for shoes that have a metatomical footbed, or add insoles for extra support.
- Flexibility: In keeping with the motion of a foot while walking, it’s also important to look for flexible footwear. If you bend the shoe, it should flex under the ball of the foot and not under the arch.
- Toe box: To account for the swelling of feet throughout the day, select shoes that provide enough space in the toe box. Your toes should be able to move freely and not be compressed. To make the best decision, try shoes on in the afternoon.
- Weight: A subject no one ever likes to talk about…weight. However, when it comes to packing, knowing the weight of your shoes can be crucial. Not only will weight affect your suitcase load, it can also impact how tired your legs will be at the end of the day. Look for lightweight shoes that won’t compromise performance. Finally, to maximize suitcase space, opt to wear your heaviest pair of footwear on the plane.
It’s hard to fully prepare for a trip, because you never really know what life will throw at you (we’re lookin’ at you, food poisoning and delayed flights), but having the right footwear is a start! We hope that you found these basic tips a good starting place for your next adventure and be sure to share all your travels with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.