Whether you’re heading out on your honeymoon, a family vacation or are going away on business, your footwear is one of the most important things you pack. Chances are, you’re going to be on your feet a solid portion of the time you’re away, so if you’ve packed the wrong shoes, you’re in for an unpleasant experience.
Here are 10 tips to help you pick (and pack) the right travel shoes.
Comfort is at the basis of your footwear choice. Anyone who’s ever had to walk a mile in uncomfortable shoes can tell you – no matter how good they look – it’s torture. This is why you should always buy shoes you know you can manoeuvre in (so no stilettos if you’ve never worn them before!). It also means you should make sure you break-in your kicks before you hit the road.
For most of us, packing a pair of shoes for every outfit isn’t an option, which means you’re going to want to pack shoes that are versatile. A low-heeled pair of pumps can easily transition from day to night, as can ankle boots, over-the-knee boots and ballet flats. Pack shoes you can wear in multiple situations, with multiple outfits.
Choosing more robust shoes is particularly important if you’re going to be walking a lot on your trip, so backpackers, listen up! You may think you can climb Kilimanjaro in your trusty flip flops, but you don’t want to be blowing a sandal enroute. There are many designers who create fun and fashionable quality footwear that’ll hold up on long treks, so you won’t have to sacrifice style.
Packing should always be a consideration when you’re thinking about buying travel shoes. Unless you really are scaling a mountain, backpacking or taking a walking tour, you probably don’t need big, bulky hiking boots.
Same goes for more formal footwear. Got a destination wedding? Then sure, pack a pair of killer heels for the big day, but stick to sandal variations or sneakers for the rest of trip. They don’t take up much space, and you can wear them from beach to bar, and still look stylish.
If you’re headed to Orlando on for a short business trip, you probably won’t need your snow boots, right? Buy and pack shoes that suit the reason for the trip. This will save you money on shoes you won’t wear, and space in your bag.
Many people try to get all their belongings in an overhead bag so they don’t have to check their luggage. Fair enough, but just be aware of the overhead weight limit, and don’t choose to bring shoes that are going to tip the scales.
This may not be a consideration for some travellers, depending on the destination, but in general, it’s best to avoid shoes in colours that will show dirt and grime if you’re going to be wearing them a lot.
Going to Aoulef, Algeria? Then you probably don’t need rainboots. But if Big Bog, Maui is on your itinerary, then you’re going to want pack them. It’s important to account for the weather when selecting shoes for a trip, and to pack accordingly. Check out the forecast before leaving to make sure you’ve got what you need.
Not all feet are created equal. Be sure you’re buying shoes that take care of your tootsies. Different types of feet require special considerations, so take them into account before you buy so you don’t waste your money.
If you have fallen arches, for example, buy shoes with support, or can accommodate supports. Have feet that are different sizes? Don’t try to cram the bigger one into smaller size. It’s generally better to buy for the bigger foot – if there’s not too much of a size discrepancy. You can buy pads for your feet if the size difference is more than 0.5 and less than 2 sizes. (More than that, and you’re looking at custom orthotics.)
Shoes can take a beating on vacation, so bring a backup pair. Even if it’s just a pair of flip flops that can get you to a store to buy a more suitable replacement, you don’t want to be left without anything to protect your tender tootsies.
Don’t let your footwear put a damper on your trip. Take these 10 tips to heart, and keep your feet – and your travels – happy.