A woman walking beside a canal in Amsterdam

The Best Shoes for Walking All Day (That Aren’t Ugly)

There’s nothing worse than having to cut a day-trip short or miss out on an excursion because your feet are too sore from uncomfortable shoes. But it’s also hard finding shoes that will keep your feet feeling good, whilst also remaining reasonably priced and that don’t look utterly horrific. Whether you’re sightseeing in Spain, trekking in Nepal, or just exploring new places on your own two feet, it’s important to take care as you wouldn’t want a blister or a sprain to spoil your trip.

Unfortunately for some, flip flops aren’t going to make the cut for all-day walking shoes. However, we have come up with a list of some of the best footwear features to look out for when preparing for your trip, in order to keep you comfortably on your feet for as long as possible. All recommendations are unisex and come in a range of colours so you can find the best shoes to suit you.

A man crossing the road in Toronto, Canada
No matter what you’re doing, you should be comfortable! | © Arturo Castaneyra/Unsplash

Stylish walking shoes for travel

Waterproof shoes

So you’ve checked the weather forecast for your trip and it’s going to be non-stop rain? Try and find waterproof or water resistant walking shoes so that you don’t find yourself with soggy feet!

A great option are the Arc’teryx Konseal FL GTX. These Arc’teryx shoes will protect your feet in all weather conditions. The Gore-tex waterproof and windproof material ensures breathability in both wet and dry conditions, whilst also offering excellent rubber traction at no expense to the lightweight nature of the shoe. Konseal’s come in both men’s and women’s sizes, with a range of different colours so you can stand out or blend in as much as you’d like to.

Breathable shoes

This is arguably the most critical factor when shopping for walking shoes. When walking for long periods of time, particularly on warm days, your feet sweat a lot. This moisture then has nowhere to go, so can often seep into your feet, causing soft skin to blister. Breathable shoes often aren’t waterproof, meaning they can get wet quickly when it rains, however they can also dry quickly too.

When it comes to breathability, an extremely reliable option are the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus. The engineered mesh targets breathability in high-heat areas, ensuring that your feet remain fresh and distribute heat evenly. The flexible sockliner moulds to the contours of your feet for optimum comfort and the foam sole puts an extra spring in your step so that you can complete your sightseeing without having to stop for breaks. Not to mention that if you can’t find a design that suits you, you can actually design these yourself on the Nike website or store and choose colours that match your personal style.

A man hiking on a trail in Lac Blanc, Chamonix, France
The right shoes can make a good hike a great hike | © Nicolas Cool/Unsplash

Durable shoes

It is said that running shoes can last anywhere between 300 – 500 miles before wearing down, with some purposely designed to last longer. Spending more money doesn’t always correlate with durability, so make sure to do some research and test them out in the shop before buying.

If you’re looking for a pair of shoes that will last, a great choice are the La Sportiva Kaptiva. These shoes were actually designed for medium-long distance races, so they will be sure to keep you afloat in all your on-foot adventures to come. The 1.5mm slim yet extremely sturdy rock-guards at the front and back of the shoe are made to protect against rocks or unlevel terrain, so you can rest assured that your feet are in good hands and your shoes won’t be breaking anytime soon.

Shoes based on comfort and fit

Different people have different shoe needs, most commonly wide versus slim, minimal heel-to-toe drop versus high, or maximised support at the foot’s arch. Finding out what suits your feet best is important, as you wouldn’t want to cause harm to your feet by wearing the wrong shoes for you.

ASICS Gel Kayano are designed to help those with low arched or flatter feet, or those who experience an inward movement as they walk. These ASICS shoes have a midsole which works to balance out the position of your feet, and avoid any problems that can often arise after a long day of walking. Their flytefoam technology provides cushioning comfort and support for your feet, while the mesh material works to increase breathability so that your feet feel fresh throughout the day.

Light-weight shoes

Use your energy on walking, rather than carrying extremely heavy footwear around all day. Weight is something that is commonly overlooked when trying on shoes, however for sightseeing or hiking it is 110% worthwhile considering.

Weighing just 229 grams, the Cloud X runners are the perfect option for lightweight walking. With zero-gravity foam, their weight is kept to a minimum for maximum mobility. Along with an extremely low heel-to-toe drop of 6mm and knit-weave engineered mesh for breathability, this shoe is a great option for any action-packed trip.

A group of people hiking
Always make sure your shoes are properly broken in! | © Henry Xu/Unsplash

Shoes for traction 

Particularly with hiking, traction is worth thinking about. Imagine trying to clamber up steep gravel with your foot continuously slipping due to weak traction in your shoe’s sole. Avoid the extra hassle in your walk and opt for a shoe with quality traction.

If traction is important to you, you need the Salomon XA PRO 3D. Salomons are renowned for their premium wet traction grip, so that no matter where you are or what terrain or ground you’re travelling upon, you always keep stability. In conjunction with their pull-up laces that can’t unravel or untie, and their extremely breathable material, these shoes are a great option for any long-spent periods of time on your feet.

Whether you’re looking for shoes for a long-haul hiking trip, or just need something cute and comfortable for days spent window-shopping in Paris, one of the most important things to remember about buying new shoes to travel is to break them in beforehand! Even the most comfortable, specially-engineered shoes can cause problems if you aren’t used to wearing them. Spend a few weeks walking around in your new shoes before jetting off on your next adventure – your feet will thank you!

What are your go-to shoes for travel?

Half-English and half-Canadian, Simone now resides in Melbourne where she is consumed by both the Victorian architecture and the love of tending to her garden. When she isn’t planning her next adventure or fertilising her blood orange tree, she enjoys writing, hiking, and learning German.

Woman standing on a beach facing the ocean wearing a hat
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