Shoes are so much more critical to the travelling experience than most of us assume. Often, we only learn this when we’ve already begun to experience the worst side effects of choosing the wrong shoes for the wrong journey. For this reason, we decided it was a worthwhile endeavour to compile a resource for travellers curious about how to treat their feet. Whether it’s your first trip or your fiftieth, it’s worth reminding yourself to invest in proper footwear!

Look, it’s part of the process. Shoes are so often an afterthought. We take them for granted– unless, of course, you’ve got the wrong ones. Then, you’re cursing the heavens. And, typically, this is what happens with most of us, most of the time. Your usual shoes, which you’ve been wearing for casual, everyday life for the last few months, should work just fine, right? Wrong.

These are the dangerous assumptions that make this article necessary!

We’ve decided to design a guide which highlights both the popular and the obscure, with the goal of helping you find shoes that are going to make your journey the best it can be. We’ve got all sorts of suggestions, and one, in particular, we’d like to recommend.

But we’ll get there when we get there. First…

Finding the Perfect Shoes to Travel and Walk In (Comfortably!)

When we think back on our favourite trips, how often do we fondly reflect on the exact shoes we were wearing? How often do we remember the sour spots of that particular sojourn, in which our feet felt like they’d rather whither up and die than take the steps required to get back to shelter? It’s hard enough to wear uncomfortable shoes to a party or to work. Let alone on a 25,000-step walk through London or Amsterdam or Bangkok.

With this in mind, let’s look at shoes for what they really are… a big deal!

And here are the qualities that make for a great pair.

  1. Comfort, comfort, comfort.

Prioritize comfort. Seriously, do it. You won’t regret choosing comfort over something that looks great but inflicts pain. However, it’s not always one or the other. Lots of great shoes manage to be both comfortable and stylish, and this is the best. But, if you do have to choose for whatever reason… Choose comfort!

  1. Good shoes are basically wasted with bad socks.

Look, if you invest in a great pair of shoes, that’s awesome. But if you wear your cheap old socks, it really diminishes your returns. Bad socks can work to ruin good shoes, and they also cause a lot more bad scents and such. Stay away. Invest in socks, too.

  1. Don’t forget about insoles.

Great shoes don’t cancel the benefits of insoles. In fact, the better the shoes, the better insoles can help you feel. That’s how it works, and that’s why a great pair of insoles is a very worthwhile investment if you’re going to take your feet seriously.

  1. Plan for where you’re headed to.

The truth of the matter is that different geographical areas call for very different shoes. Just because on pair treated you well while you were hiking in Peru doesn’t mean that they’re what you’ll be needing for your backpacking trip through Nepal. Take a look a climate, conditions, and other such factors and make your choice accordingly!

  1. Break your shoes in.

Sometimes, it’s the simple things we forget. Nobody likes wearing brand new shoes, especially when you’ve got to walk for several hours a day. Purchase your shoes early and take some time to wear them in.

Without further delay, here are our top choices, for the top shoes for travel:

Vessi

We believe in rankings, but only when there is a clear winner. As far as we are concerned, Vessi takes the cake. These waterproof shoes are definitely unique, stylish, and super comfortable. Nobody wants wet socks. These shoes offer the protection to make the possibility of such a thing go away. They are knit sneakers which are waterproof, lightweight, breathable, and as is important to a growing number of folks concerned with ethics, 100% vegan. The “male” and “female” versions of these shoes allow for a model which is built specifically for the foot of each gender, but they stay harmonious in what makes Vessi what it is: stylish, comfortable, and unbelievably practical.

  1. ECCO

ECCO combines style and comfort to provide a really solid shoe. Pretty fabulous.

  1. ADIDAS

No matter what your taste is, ADIDAS probably has a shoe for you. Who combines fashion and athleticism as well as iconic ADIDAS? They’re not waterproof, but they check most of the boxes for a great shoe.

  1. Nike

Speaking of ADIDAS, why not Nike? A different style, but just as iconic. Nike has found all sorts of ways to stay topical and cool through so many years, and very few people won’t recognize the brand. A solid choice, if a somewhat typical one.

  1. Converse

Wherever you travel, you’ll see people wearing Converse. Is it because they’re made for extensive walking? Absolutely not. Converse is all style, and, in terms of travel, hardly any comfort. They’re about as inconvenient as they come, but a pair of Chucks is undeniably cool… We don’t recommend it, but we can’t dismiss Converse either.

Conclusion

Those are our top five picks. One stands out from the rest, however, and it’s the least well known of the group. Everyone knows the big brands, and to be fair, they won’t necessarily be a bad choice, should you choose them. But Vessi does something so unique and remarkable we could not help but rank them as the top shoe for travellers, basically wherever you’re going. If you’re looking for boots or sandals, we’ve got other lists for you. But, in terms of sneakers, Vessi takes home the gold medal by our standards.