I’ve spent more than my fair share of time searching for the best walking shoes. It seemed like every time I bought new shows, I almost instantly regretted the purchase for one reason or another. They were too wide for my feet, they didn’t have enough arch support, they rubbed on my heels… You name it, I’ve had a pair of shoes that fit the bill.
Through all the years of trials – many band-aids and blisters later – I’ve finally got a good handle on what makes the best walking shoes for travel, and I know where to find them.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of shoes for travel, make sure you keep reading to find out what the best rated walking shoes are for travelers like us who spend hours walking around cities and exploring destinations.
What Are The Best Walking Shoes for Travel?
In case you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read all of our reviews below, here is a chart containing all of our top pick shoes in each category. We hope you’ll stick around and read our full reviews below, but you can trust that we only added the best shoes to the list. The top 4 are men’s shoes, the bottom 4 are women’s shoes.
How to Find the Most Comfortable Walking Shoes
There isn’t one shoe that will fit everyone. There are too many different types of feet out there to be able to please them all with one type or style of shoe. So it’s very important, when looking for the right pair of walking shoes for you, that you understand your feet and what they need in a shoe.
The size of your foot is the most important criteria to know before purchasing a shoe. I bet it’s been a really long time since you’ve set your foot on one of those foot measurers at the shoe store and seen what your actual size is.
You’d be amazed to see that your foot can change size and shape over the years. If you’re ordering online it can be a big pain to find the right size, so always check the sizing guide and see what other reviewers have said about the fit.
If you don’t want to go into a store to have this done (because most of us order our shoes online these days!), you can buy a foot measuring device for home. They’re cheap and easy to use. It will tell you the length and width of your foot.
Another important thing to consider is the purpose of the shoes. When I say travel, obviously I expect you’re going to take them on a trip with you. But what kind of a trip is it? Will you be mainly walking around town? Will you be doing adventure activities? Will you be spending most of your time hiking?
These are all important questions to consider before purchasing. Like I mentioned before, there’s no one shoe that can fit every purpose. That’s fine if you don’t mind taking a few pairs of shoes with you. But for travelers who pack light, it’s really important to find a good all-purpose shoe.
⇒ Traveling in warm weather? Check out our guide to finding the best walking sandals.
This is the one I have the most trouble with. When we travel, I mostly need a pair of shoes that I can wear during the day to walk around town, but that will also fit in well when I put on a dress and go out for dinner later on.
Is there really a pair of shoes that can cover me in both situations? Think about what situation(s) you’ll be needing these shoes for. Will it be dressy, casual, or both?
If you’ve got a specific foot type or foot issue that you know you need to accommodate, it can be very difficult to find the right shoe.
For instance, if you’re trying to find the best walking shoes for flat feet or the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis, which I myself suffer from, you’ll need to dive a little bit more into the descriptions and reviews of the shoes you want to buy to make sure they meet you needs. Oftentimes, an insole insert will suit you best for these specific needs.
It will be easier to find an insole for your shoes than finding the right walking shoes with arch support. Although there certainly are some good, supportive walking shoes out there, buying a shoe with the support already built in can cause other problems, like back, knee and foot pain, if you don’t need that type of support.
Superfeet are my favorite inserts for different issues you may be facing. They have an insole for every situation. For instance:
- Support for flat feet: Superfeet Black
- Support for neutral feet: Superfeet Blue
- Support for high arches: Superfeet Green
Need a different type of insole? Check out our guide to the best insoles for travelers here.
Best Walking Shoes for Travel 2018
In this category, we list the best men’s walking shoes 2018, followed by the best women’s walking shoes 2018. You might be looking for something super casual, or something built to weather the elements.
We’ve got four different styles of shoes to choose from, starting with the most lightweight and comfortable and moving into the more sturdy and rugged for hiking.
Best Walking Shoes for Men
This chart lists the four top walking shoes we recommend for men. You can find indepth reviews of each shoe below the chart.
* Most comfortable mens walking shoes for travel – lightweight & slip on
You really can’t find any lighter weight shoes than these. Nick has been wearing the Skechers Go Walk shoes for years, because they are the most comfortable pair of shoes to wear for long periods of walking. A lot of the benefit of these shoes is in the fact that they are incredibly light weight, so they feel like walking around with clouds attached to your feet. You might think that means they must lack in support and features, but it doesn’t.
You may wonder what is the difference between Go Walk 3 and 4. There isn’t a huge difference in the main features of the shoe, but they do look a bit more stylish and nice. The 3s are all mesh. The 4s add a bit of style, which makes them look less meshy (for lack of a better word). The sole of the shoe also underwent a makeover – the 4s don’t have the Goga pillar sole, which gave the 3s a more sporty look, and also squeak pretty loudly on certain flooring.
Their lighweight design also means they are very easy to pack. They don’t take up much space in a bag, and aren’t heavy to carry around, which is a huge benefit of these over other shoes.
Pros: Extremely lightweight, comfortable and airy. Slip on for added convenience. Good padding for long distance walking.
Cons: Squeak on certain floor types. Don’t provide a lot of ankle support. Can be hard to find the right size.
(Read more reviews on Amazon for the Skechers Go Walk 4)
* Best walking shoes for men – walk long distance with comfort
Vans are another line of casual men’s walking shoes that are both sporty and fashionable. They’re a good combination shoe to wear all day when traveling, because they are comfortable for long periods of time. A questions we hear a lot is Are Van’s Comfortable? Our answer is that yes, Van’s are comfortable. Nick has a pair and likes them a lot. The Atwood shoe has laces and they also have Vans Classic Slipons, so you can decide which type you like best.
Both are made with canvas and have a sturdy rubber sole. The canvas upper makes them not quite as breathable as the New Balance – keep that in mind if you have naturally sweaty feet. They have a padded footbed for extra comfort and good shock absorption. The tongue and collar are padded. The rubber sole provides good grip and doesn’t slip easily on slick or wet surfaces. They come in dozens of colors.
The only issue with these shoes is that they are very casual, so you can’t wear them with nicer clothing and get away with it. For those of us who are light packers, this usually means you’ll have to pack two pairs of shoes.
Check out the entire line of Van’s Men’s Shoes.
Pros: Comfortable for long periods of walking, rubber soles, breathable.
Cons: They can start to fall apart on the sides quicker than expected. Fabric fades.
(Read more reviews on Amazon for the Van’s Atwood Shoe)
* Best walking sneakers for men
New Balance is one of the top and trusted shoe brands. Once you find a pair of New Balance that you like, you don’t usually go back to looking for a different brand. These 877s are great for walking because of their superb cushioning and flexible, breathable material. Even the tongue and collar are padded.
New Balance utilizes two types of innovation in their shoes to make them especially comfortable. One is called Abzorbs, which is a rubber content that absorbs impact and increases cushioning in the midsole. The other is Walking Strike Path technology that helps stabilize your foot as you walk.
These 877s are much more casual looking and lightweight than the popular 577s. There’s plenty of room in the toe box, even if you have a wide foot, because of the mesh material, which is flexible. You also won’t have to worry about your feet getting hot and sweaty in these shoes because the mesh is breathable.
Pros: Comfort padding, rubber soles, breathable
Cons: The laces aren’t high quality and are too long. Wide toe box.
(Read more reviews on Amazon for the New Balance Mens 877s)
I know tons of travelers who own these shoes. Nick and I both have a pair. They’ve come in handy more than a few times, and they are incredibly comfortable, offer great support for your foot and have breathable mesh panels so your feet don’t get too hot on long walks. We took the Merrell Moab Ventilator shoes on our trip to Cappadoccia in Turkey and they were the only shoes we needed. As you might know about that area, it’s a rugged, desert terrain with lots of loose rocks on the trails.
The vibram sole on these shoes helps keep even footing, even in these conditions. They’re perfect for day hikes and those times when you need versatility – spending half the day hiking, half the day wandering through town. If you’re looking for waterproof walking shoes, Merrell also makes a Waterproof version of this shoe (like the ones in the image).
Pros: Very sturdy construction. Great stability and arch support.
Cons: The new Moab 2 construction isn’t as reliable and has one less lace eye hole to tighten them up.
(Read more reviews on Amazon for the Merrill Moab Ventilator)
Best Walking Shoes for Women
This chart lists the four top walking shoes we recommend for women. You can find in-depth reviews of each shoe below the chart. We’ve included slip ons, ballet flats, sneakers and hiking shoes. All of these shoes are available in a range of colors and fabrics.
* Most comfortable womens walking shoes for travel – lightweight & slip on
One of the most comfortable pair of walking shoes I’ve ever owned is a pair of Skechers Go Walk. The comfort comes from the fact that they are incredibly lightweight walking shoes, and that they are made with an extra cushioning in the step. It feels like you’re walking on a cloud. They are also slip on walking shoes, which I love. Why bother with shoelaces!
To add to the comfort, there’s memory foam padding around the heel and a stabilizing heel cup so your heel won’t be coming in and out of the shoe with each step. This is especially important if shoes often rub against the back of your heel and cause blisters. The way the sole is constructed, there is a lot of flexibility in the shoe, so your walking isn’t impeded by an inflexible rubber sole. These shoes also come in an array of different colors and even materials, so if you don’t like the look of mesh, you can go with canvas instead.
Pros: Comfortable for long periods of walking, breathable, stylish
Cons: The don’t hold up well under constant wear. Sizing varies.
(Read more reviews on Amazon for the Skechers Go Walk 3 Reboot)
* Most comfortable ballet flats for women
These are some of the most comfortable ballet flats I’ve worn. Unlike many other flats, these don’t rub on the back of my heel or around the toe box. They have a thick sole with good traction to keep you from slipping and to protect the bottom of your feet when stepping on sharp objects. The insole is the Goga Mat technology that makes Skechers so comfortable to wear. You don’t need to add an additional insert for them to be comfortable to wear, even without socks.
If you’ve worn Skechers ballet flats before, you know that they’ve gone through a pretty dramatic design change. These are the first that I feel look nice on your foot. They aren’t too sporty looking and the sole doesn’t feature the rounded design of the older design that makes the shoes look clunky. These can be worn casually with jeans or shorts, or dressy with a skirt.
If you’re planning to walk long distances, but still want a stylish pair of shoes that don’t take up a lot of space or weight to pack, these are great. I wear them from spring to fall. They are very comfortable walking shoes for Europe, if you’re planning a trip
You can buy these shoes in canvas, suede or microfiber. There are many different colors and variations to choose from. I found that they fit fairly true to size.
Pros: Look nice, very versatile for all situations. Can wear for long periods. Don’t dig into foot. Comfortable insoles.
Cons: Sizing maybe be difficult. Rubber sole can come loose quickly with heavy wear. Suede starts to fade.
(Read more reviews on Amazon for the Skechers Go Step Challenge)
* Best walking sneakers for women – walk long distance with comfort
I’ve always been a big fan of Skechers Breathe Easy shoes for women. They are sporty enough to provide good comfort and protection to your feet while walking, even in slippery conditions. But they are fashionable enough to wear with casual clothing and still look nice – better than typical sneakers. I’ve worn different variations of these shoes for years and have never had a problem with any of them.
While so many pairs of shoes hurt my feet after a few miles or tear up the back of my heal when I walk, these Skechers shoes have never done that. They are the best shoes for walking all day. I can walk for up to 6 mile in these shoes before I even realize it, because my feet don’t hurt.
I’ve read a few reviews that say these shoes aren’t very durable, but I’ve had the same pair for nearly 3 years with a lot of use and they still look nearly new. I’d say if you’re tough on your shoes or doing more in them than just walking about, they may not be sturdy enough for you. But for general use, they have been great for me.
As mentioned, there are many different variations of these casual Skechers walking shoes, so you might want to have a look at all of them to decide which ones you like best. All Skechers Fashion Sneakers.
Pros: Comfortable for long periods of walking, breathable, stylish
Cons: Can have issues with bad construction. Insole wears down with heavy use.
(Read more reviews on Amazon for the Skechers Moneybags)
* Best hiking shoes for women
The Salomon hiking shoes are very similar in appearance to the Merrells. They have a breathable upper fabric to allow your feet to breath and they also have a sturdy protective rubber toe guard. The sole is a thick rubber. They are built with a Sensifit technology that allows the shoe to grip around your foot for added stability and a better fit. I like the way they cradle the foot and make it feel like an effortless stride when you’re walking, even on uneven terrain.
The insole provides good cushioning and arch support. There’s plenty of space in the foot of the shoe for when you want to/need to wear thicker socks.
Pros: Very sturdy, non-slip traction. Waterproof. Good support for foot and ankle.
Cons: Not great for wide feet. Heavy compared to similar hiking shoes. Need to be broken in.
(Read more reviews on Amazon for the Salomon X Ultra Prime)
I hope you’re able to find the best walking shoes for travel in this bunch, that suits your style. We’ve bought so many shoes over the years and these ones are always the ones we come back to, again and again. If you have a pair of shoes you love that isn’t on our list, please share it with us in the comments. We always love to hear what else is out there.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products we use and love.
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Laura Lynch is the creator and writer of Savored Journeys, an avid world traveler and lover of great food and wine. She has been a travel writer for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.