An Unending Battle: Finding Comfortable, Non-Hideous Travel Shoes

Every time I go on a trip that will involve lots of walking in an urban environment, I face the same dilemma: what shoes do I wear? This sounds absolutely ridiculous, I know, but it is an extremely valid question. If you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to enjoy your trip to the fullest. And if you don’t look good while you travel….well….come on, you want to look good in all those pictures you are going to take! I’ve sacrificed style for practicality before when it comes to baggage, but I have a really hard time with shoes. I would love the FEELING of wearing my Asics Gel Kayanos while traveling….but I wouldn’t be able to stand the sight of myself.

When I went to Germany last year, I thought I had found the solution in some Bensimon knock-offs from Old Navy (mine were grey corduroy), but I ended up in SERIOUS PAIN by the time we were a week or so into our trip. Seriously, I was hurting. We had been walking so much that my ankles and feet and everything were just super swollen and awful, and it honestly made the last few days of my trip way less enjoyable. Also, you should not wear shoes like that in the rain with no socks and expect them not to stink. Just sayin’.

So what is a girl to do? Don’t even think about Googling “comfy travel shoes” because “cute” and “stylish” take on WAY different meanings in any results that you’ll find. I always break down and just stick to the classics, like black leather ballet flats, but those will honestly kill you after you spend a week walking every day in them. Honestly. I walk a lot. I walk to work, to the store, to the gym; everywhere. But walking on vacation is a whole different beast.

The only kindred soul that I have found that has a good answer to this question is here:

photo credit: les anti-modernes (click through image for link!)

She honestly provides the only legitimate round-up I’ve ever seen on comfy shoes to wear while traveling while not looking….too comfortable (plus great posts on other super stylish travel-friendly basics! check it out!) . I can’t say I agree with all the  suggestions; I’ve got both low-top and high-top Chuck Taylors and I can’t walk more than 100 feet in them without blowing out the arches in my very flat feet, but they’re still a great classic for a lot of people.

I still haven’t found a go-to shoe for travel that satisfies all my very finicky needs. I bought these many years ago when I was leaving to study abroad and faced the same conundrum (and when they cost about twice as much as they are now!), but I just don’t love them:

adidas silver streak

Alas, the hunt continues. I’ll probably leave these guys at home when I set out for Portugal next month, which only leaves me with aforementioned ballet flats and sandals (and these guys if I’m feeling adventurous), which could be a serious mistake. Any good travel shoes out there (or inserts that can span the comfy-cute gap)?

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One thought on “An Unending Battle: Finding Comfortable, Non-Hideous Travel Shoes

  1. I have always found that socks and sandals sufficed when I have been abroad.

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