You’re counting down the days for your trip to Italy. You can’t wait to trudge the streets of Rome, marvel at the grandeur of the Colosseum, and experience the Vatican.
You’ve narrowed down your packing list but still can’t decide on the best travel shoes to pack. We believe sneakers should be at the top of your shoe packing list – provided you choose wisely.
We’ve rounded up these fantastic sneakers for travel based on comfort, style, practicality, and versatility. Your feet will thank you later.
Of all the essential travel gear that makes travel easier, choosing the right travel shoes can make or break a trip.
There’s nothing worse than sore feet or blisters during long days of sightseeing.
In my extensive travel experience, more often than not, I turn to a quality pair of sneakers for most travel situations.
Our Top Pick Travel Sneakers Quick Guide
Each style is unisex and available in men’s and women’s sizes.
- Allbirds Risers – Modern design, natural fabrics with superior contoured arch support.
- Allbirds SuperLight Tree Runners – Super Lightweight and breathable with superior footbed comfort and heel cushioning.
- Skechers Go Walk Collection – Best budget travel sneaker with various styles and features, including targeted cushioning, arch support, or massage fit models. Superior grip.
- ECCO GRUUV – High quality, modern design with superior comfort and support technology built in, including extra flexible grip soles.
- ECCO Soft 7 – Classic, versatile design with ECCO’s trademark comfort and support features built-in.
Know How Many Pairs of Shoes to Pack
Many frequent travelers swear by the “Rule of 3” when packing shoes – two pairs of functional shoes and one pair of dressy shoes.
I often say (not including extreme winter travel) your travel footwear wardrobe can be as simple as a quality pair of sneakers, super comfortable yet stylish sandals for summer, and a third pair of comfy flats or loafers if your sneakers won’t take you from day to night.
If you choose the right shoe for the trip, you shouldn’t need to pack too many other pairs. (Ladies, we cover this more in our Women’s Travel Essentials Guide).
If you have issues with packing shoes, we’ve got you covered with our guide to packing shoes for travel with simple packing hacks to make packing easier.
Choosing the Right Walking Shoes for Travel
Sneakers make the best walking shoes for travel, especially if you opt for a pair that has both comfort and fashion in mind. Sneakers are lightweight, versatile and are often the most comfortable walking shoes.
Luckily, several brands specialize in sneakers for travel. Features like waterproofness (is that a word?), breathability, stability and grip (perfect for Europe’s cobblestones), and good arch support make them fantastic for travel.
Brands like Allbirds, Skechers, and Ecco are standouts in these areas when talking about comfortable and practical shoes for travel.
Tip: Never buy a new pair of shoes for travel right before embarking on your trip. Allow some time to break your shoes in before leaving. Even the most comfortable shoes can have teething problems when new. Your feet and your travel companions will thank you for it during your trip.
What to Look for in a Good Pair of Travel Sneakers
A good pair of travel sneakers should boast exceptional fit and comfort. These two features are critical when traveling, but style is also a valuable asset in a travel shoe.
A great pair of sneakers should be comfortable to wear all day and stylish enough to compliment your evening outfit for casual dinners. It is this versatility that makes packing easier.
We’ve rounded up our favorite sneaker brands that offer fit, comfort, support, and style as a minimum. Some go one step further (excuse the pun) with water-resistant materials, sustainable production, and more.
Find more stylish and practical travel clothes to complement your sneakers.
The Best Sneakers for Travel
Allbirds boasts a B Corp status that aims to benefit shoe wearers and the planet. The company’s sustainability goals are evident in its various products. One of which is the Allbirds Risers, the latest addition to the popular eco-friendly shoe brand
The retro-style shoes, with their signature sharp angles, are made of Merino wool, organic cotton canvas, Tencel, natural rubber, and Sweetfoam.
Sweetfoam is a proprietary product from the New Zealand-born brand. It uses Brazilian sugar cane to create the shoes’ soles rather than rely on carbon-intensive products.
Material aside, the shoes offer a fashion-forward statement. With styles nowadays leaning on Y2K, the boosted platform on the Risers will keep you on trend.
The Allbird Risers is a unisex design available in women’s and men’s fits ranging from 5-11 to 8-14, respectively.
These classy cotton and wool runners come in classic white and black or one of the limited edition color pallets, such as my favorite, Honey Rust.
This sneaker is an excellent example of a versatile travel shoe. These will look great with shorts or pants for guys, and women can pair them with pants or dresses for a chic casual look.
In terms of comfort, this shoe is highly breathable thanks to natural fabrics and has a cushiony midsole for arch support. However, some people find this design a little narrow in the toe bed, so consider this if you have an extra wide foot.
- Comfortable: The Risers are made with Allbirds’ signature merino wool upper, which is soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking. The shoe also features a contoured footbed and supportive sole, providing ample cushioning and arch support.
- Stylish: The Risers have a retro-inspired design that looks great with jeans, shorts, or dresses. The sharp edges and gum soles give the shoe a unique look that stands out from other sneakers.
- Durable: The Risers are built to last, with a reinforced heel and toe and a water-resistant coating that can handle light rain and spills. The shoe also comes with a one-year warranty so that you can feel confident in your purchase.
- Price: Allbirds Risers are more expensive than some other travel shoes on the market. While the quality and durability of the shoe are impressive, the price may be a deal breaker for some travelers.
- Sizing: Allbirds recommends sizing up for the Risers, as they tend to run small (especially in the toe area). This can be frustrating for travelers who are used to buying shoes in their usual size.
Overall, I would recommend the Allbirds Risers sneakers as a travel shoe for anyone looking for comfort, style, and durability. While the price may be a bit steep, the quality of the shoe is worth the investment. Just be sure to size up when ordering.
Allbird SuperLight Tree Runners
Unlike Allbird Riser’s chunky design, the SuperLight Tree Runners offer a breathable change. If you compare both models weight-wise, the SuperLight version is almost 100 grams lighter in the men’s size.
These runners prioritize featherlight feel and comfort. It’ll almost feel like you’re barefoot on long walking days.
They’re not just light on your feet but the planet as well. The SuperLight model has the lowest carbon footprint, reaching 2.85 net emissions.
The Allbird SuperLight Tree Runners feature an upper made of eucalyptus tree fiber. It also has a bio-based cushioning foam. These runners are ideal for traveling thanks to their lightweight and barely-there feel. The integrated insoles allow your feet to rest snuggly into the fluffy foam.
Despite the lightweight feel of these sneakers, they are still durable enough to withstand day-to-day wear on extended trips. However, you may wish to choose a sturdier shoe for heavier walking or hiking activities.
The pair also sports heel cushions. You won’t have to worry too much about breaking them in as the Tree Runners are true to size and cushioned from every angle.
At first glance, these shoes are fit for a minimalist. They don’t have any fussy details or logos or showy patterns. They’re sleek and come in Natural Black and Blizzard. You can also try to snag one of the limited edition colorways in Calm Teal or Calm Taupe.
- Lightweight: As the name suggests, the SuperLight Tree Runners are incredibly light, making them an excellent option for travel. They won’t weigh down your luggage or your feet and are easy to pack.
- Breathable: Made with a breathable eucalyptus tree fiber upper, the SuperLight Tree Runners keep your feet cool and dry, even in hot and humid weather.
- Comfortable: The SuperLight Tree Runners have a soft, cushioned sole that provides ample support and comfort, even during long walks or hikes. The shoe also has a removable insole that can be replaced with your own custom orthotics if needed.
- Limited durability: While the SuperLight Tree Runners are lightweight, comfortable, and durable for their style, they may not hold up as well as other travel shoes for harder-wearing activities over time.
- Limited support: While the SuperLight Tree Runners are comfortable, they may not provide enough support for travelers with foot or ankle issues. The shoe is designed for casual wear and light exercise and may not be suitable for more strenuous activities.
Overall, the Allbirds SuperLight Tree Runners are a good option for travelers who prioritize comfort and breathability and don’t need a lot of support or durability.
However, if you plan to do a lot of walking or hiking on your trip, you may want to consider a sturdier shoe with more support and durability.
Skechers GO WALK Collection
Skechers’ GO WALK collection offers a variety of options, from slip-ons and sandals to trainers and running shoes.
You’re bound to find a Go Walk look to suit you and your style of travel from the extensive choices available.
If you’re planning a European trip, the cobblestone streets can really hurt your feet after a while. Skechers are constantly voted by travelers as one of the most comfortable shoes for travel in European cities.
I’ve also found Skechers to have an excellent grip on wet cobblestones, especially in Portugal, where the cobblestones can be lethal.
Skechers Go Walk Massage Fit
The Skechers GO WALK Massage Fit model has a breathable upper mesh and a lightweight Hyper Burst Massage Fit wave midsole designed to massage your feet while walking.
Available in men’s and women’s sizes, in slip-on and lace-up models.
Skechers Performance Go Walk Massage FitTidal Mens Slip-On – Available in men’s and women’s.
Skechers Women’s Go Walk Massage Fit – Available in men’s and women’s.
Skechers Go Walk Arch Fit
The Go Walk range also addresses the problem of arch support. The Go Walk Arch Fit models provide extra support with the contoured footbed design – The patented Skechers Arch Fit insole system with podiatrist-certified arch support.
This range, with many styles, is available in men’s and women’s sizes.
On the downside, Sketchers don’t rank well in the design department. While they offer multiple solutions to keeping all kinds of feet comfortable and come in various styles in neutral and bright colorways, many people have mixed feelings about their appearance. I think Skechers have lost some of their style appeal over the years.
It’s possibly a case of taste or a case of sacrificing a little bit of fashion for function with these tried and true travel sneakers.
- Comfortable: The Skechers GO WALK collection is known for its comfortable design, with a cushioned sole and a flexible upper that moves with your foot. There are also models that address specific foot issues, such as arch support.
- Lightweight: The GO WALK shoes are lightweight and easy to pack. A plus if you need to take extra shoes to compensate for the casual style of Skechers.
- Affordable: Compared to other travel shoes on the market, the Skechers GO WALK collection is relatively inexpensive, starting at around $50. This makes them an excellent option for budget-conscious travelers.
- Lack of style: While the Skechers GO WALK shoes are comfortable and functional, they may not be the most stylish option for fashion-conscious travelers. The shoes have a casual, sporty look that may not be appropriate for specific settings.
- Limited durability: While the GO WALK shoes are comfortable and affordable, they may not hold up as well over time as other travel shoes if worn for more hard-wearing activities or continuous use over a long period.
Overall, the Skechers GO WALK collection is a good option for travelers prioritizing comfort and affordability over style and durability.
While they may not be the most fashionable choice, they are a practical and comfortable option for travel, especially for extended walking on uneven streets.
Ecco has over 60 years of experience in producing sustainable footwear, specializing in running and walking shoes. Enter the Ecco Gruuv collection. These shoes differ significantly from others on our list in style.
Unlike the popular mesh material most shoes sport for their upper, the Ecco Gruuv’s is made with super soft Nappa leather hand-crafted to perfection, offering a stylish finish. Perfect for those who prefer leather shoes teamed with comfort.
The leather upper looks good, but Ecco manufacturers also source it using sustainable methods. They use a patented EcoDriTan technique that reduces the chemicals incorporated in the leather tanning production process.
Besides color and material, the first thing you’ll likely notice is the squiggly two-way flex outsoles. They offer a unique and innovative design that provides grip and movement.
Ecco Gruuv also comes with soft elastic shoelaces to maximize adjustability and fit. If the shoes feel too constricting, the removable dual-fit comfort foam insoles allow for a customizable width.
Below the insole lies the soft PU midsole made with the signature ECCO FLUIDFORM™ construction to provide soft, flexible, fluid movement
You can pick between multiple colors, such as Limestone, Retro Blue, Violet Ice, White, and Black.
- Comfortable: The ECCO GRUUV sneakers are designed for comfort, with a flexible rubber sole that moves with your foot while gripping and a removable insole that provides extra cushioning and support.
- Stylish: The GRUUV sneakers have a modern yet classy design that looks great with various outfits, making them a versatile choice for fashion-conscious travelers.
- Durable: The GRUUV sneakers are built to last, with a sturdy leather upper and a reinforced heel and toe.
- Price: The ECCO GRUUV sneakers are more expensive than some other travel shoes on the market, with prices starting around $150. While the price may be a barrier for some travelers, we believe these are an investment as the quality and durability of the shoe are impressive and ECCO has a solid reputation for comfortable shoes.
Overall, the ECCO GRUUV sneakers are a great option for travelers who prioritize style, comfort, and durability. While they may be a bit pricey, the quality of the shoe is worth the investment, and the modern yet classy design offers versatility so you can pack less.
Ecco Soft 7
Another noteworthy mention in the Ecco line is the Soft 7 model. Like the Gruuv version, Soft 7 boasts a leather upper with fine-crafted detailing.
The timeless design of the classic lace-up model works well with anything from shorts and jeans to dress pants, so you shouldn’t need to pack any other shoes.
Although, the Ecco Soft 7 sneakers are exceptionally lightweight, leaving more room in case you need extra shoes for a specific occasion.
The Soft 7 offers the ECCO brand trademark comfort, including flexible soles and a removable inlay sole to provide more width if needed.
They come in various colors and finishes to suit any style. The Soft 7 collection also comes in a range of designs if the classic lace-up isn’t for you.
- Comfortable: The ECCO Soft 7 sneakers are designed for comfort, with a soft leather upper that molds to your foot and a cushioned insole that provides extra support.
- Timeless design: The Soft 7 sneakers have a classic, timeless design that looks great with multiple looks, from shorts to dress pants, making them a versatile choice for travelers who want to look their best without having to pack multiple pairs of shoes.
- Durable: The Soft 7 sneakers are built to last, with a sturdy leather upper and a reinforced heel and toe. They also have a water-resistant coating that can handle light rain and spills.
- Price: The ECCO Soft 7 sneakers are more expensive than some other travel shoes on the market, but the quality and durability of the shoe are a worthwhile investment.
- Limited breathability: The Soft 7 sneakers are comfortable and durable. However, like the ECCO Gruuv, they may not be the most breathable option for hot climates.
Overall, the ECCO Soft 7 sneakers are a great option for travelers who want comfort, style, and durability. While they may be a bit pricey, the quality of the shoe is worth the investment, and the timeless design makes it a very versatile travel shoe.
Buying Guide for Travel Sneakers
Before purchasing your pair, you’ll want to consider factors like the shoe’s comfort, price, and durability, the activities you will be doing on your trip, and the climate of your destination.
This will help you choose the right sneaker for your style of travel.
Whether it’s a long day walking on cobblestones or a 15-hour flight, comfort is king when it comes to your travel footwear.
With this in mind, you want to look for features like breathability, cushioned paddings, and arch support. If you have wide feet, require a wide-toe box, or need ankle support, consider these factors when choosing a pair of sneakers for travel.
Think of travel shoes as an investment. Investing in a quality pair of sneakers can last you years of travel and use at home. Don’t scrimp if you can afford it.
A low-quality pair of sneakers can cost much more, especially if you have to replace them mid-trip.
But as we’ve shown, this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank for a quality brand with a solid reputation for making quality travel sneakers. Find shoes with the features you need but try to keep your budget flexible.
Durable shoes are a must, no matter the style of travel. The style and durability of shoes will vary if you are looking for city sightseeing shoes or sneakers suitable for more serious walking in nature. Consider the type of travel carefully when thinking about durability.
You want your shoes to last but also stay looking good for the duration of your trip.
As you browse for your next travel shoe, look carefully at the shoe sizing guides if you shop online. Even if it’s a brand you’re familiar with. Sizing can vary from model to model.
Measure your feet at the end of the day when they’re at their largest – think long periods sitting on a plane or long days walking. You don’t want your feet to feel restricted when they puff up a bit.
Width is also critical, especially if you have a wide foot. You don’t want to feel squeezed in the toe box or across the top of the foot.
Be sure to consider your foot arch as well. Check for shoes with good arch support if you have a prominent curve.
Weight and Space
In terms of weight and space, less is more. Wearing heavy shoes is like walking with a couple of free weights attached to your ankles. You don’t want to get overly bulky shoes that’ll make walking more resistant.
Lighter shoes are also better for packing. No one likes taking up the bulk of the weight allowance with shoes.
The same goes for space. Find flexible shoes that can compress in their given space.
When choosing a travel sneaker, look for comfort, durability, and versatility. The shoe should be comfortable enough to wear for long periods, durable enough to withstand frequent use, and versatile enough to go with a variety of outfits.
Lightweight sneakers can be a good choice for travel, as they are easy to pack and won’t weigh down your luggage. However, it’s also important to consider other factors like the activities you will be doing, comfort, and durability when choosing a travel sneaker.
Slip-on sneakers can be a convenient choice for travel, as they are easy to take on and off at airport security and can be worn without socks. However, it’s important to choose a slip-on sneaker with enough support and cushioning to keep your feet comfortable when being on your feet for extended periods or for walking long distances throughout the day.
While sneakers can be a good choice for casual walks and light exercise during travel, they may not be suitable for more strenuous activities like hiking. For hiking, it’s best to choose a shoe with more support and traction, such as a hiking boot or trail shoe, which may not be as practical for city sightseeing.
Yes, sneakers can be an excellent choice for sightseeing during travel, as they are comfortable, versatile, and stylish. Look for a sneaker with a classic design and a neutral color that will go with various outfits.