Packing fails. Essential footwear. Expectations vs reality and avoiding major backpacking blunders – here’s how I discovered the #1 best shoes for traveling.
On my first backpacking Eurotrip, my friend Chelsea and I brought a combined count of 12 pairs of shoes. Footwear contributed to about 1/3 of the weight in our luggage, which we were (at the time) convinced was entirely necessary.
Cute strappy gladiators? Perfect for Barcelona. Heeled suede black boots? Can’t go to London without them. Brown wedges I can sort-of walk in? They’ll be fine for a night out in Rome. And obviously I neeeeed these trendy platform sneakers for touristy biking in Amsterdam.
Thinking back, I cringe.
We were unaware of the level of absurdity we had reached until we were faced with carrying our packs up the mountains of stairs across Italy and Spain. We took a moment of mourning for the extra heels and flip flops we brought at the next garbage bin we found. And by the next set of steps we were totally over it.
I realized that the cute sandals I wanted to wear exploring Barcelona could be the same shoes I wore on a night out in Rome. And pretty much any other city too.
Not that I was ready to leave my footwear fashion inclinations behind, I just had to find something that was both comfortable/functional AND stylish.
Prayers were answered with TOMS.
Toms shoe brand has been the angel from travel shoe heaven. Not only are they super comfortable and durable, but they don’t look like you just raided the Lands End discount section at Sears.
And they offer far more than their classic slip on casual shoe – there are sandals, heels, boots, sneakers, flip flops, etc.
What makes me a long-term loyal fan to the Toms brand is the fact that they’re both environmentally friendly AND socially mindful.
The One for One program began as a shoe donation (one customer shoe purchase = one pair given to those in need) but it has grown to include the gift of sight, water, safe birth and bullying prevention services to people in 70+ countries around the world.
In addition to the charitable donations and activism, Toms offers a mix of consumer products with sustainable and vegan materials, including hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester. Even the packaging is 80% recycled and printed with soy ink (idk what that is but it sounds sustainable and dairy-free af..)
One of my favorite walking shoes of all time. They are supportive for your feet, breathable, and lightweight – great for long walks and for stuffing into your bag at the last minute! They hold up really well and are definitely durable – great value for money.
These are by far my favorite shoes I’ve ever bought from Toms. They are ideal for traveling because they are extremely lightweight and durable. I wear them on almost a daily basis, from hanging out in cafe’s…
…to walking around mountainside cliffs
These were sturdy but still very comfortable and again, travel friendly. They lay super flat in my bag and weigh next to nothing. The strap makes them more functional for walking, whether it be through waterfall parks….
… or just chilling in a hostel after a long day.
Sturdy stacked heels + ankle strap = safe for cobblestone streets
Plus, the soft cushion soles are very comfortable & the neutral colors are easy to match with any travel wardrobe.
Mules, hiking boots, clogs, and wedges. All kinds of style for all kinds of activities & seasons. Check out their newest collections now – perfect for summer vacations. Click the link above to shop now.
Any other Tom’s shoes fans out there?? Comment your favorite below!
Disclaimer: Please note that some links above are affiliate links – with your purchase, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I personally use and endorse all the products that I’ve listed and wholeheartedly recommend them. The opinions are my own – this post is NOT sponsored by Toms. Thanks for supporting Globalhales!