Best Shoes for Summer Travel

Caroline Morse, July 16, 2015
Fares from Washington DC:

    Hot-weather travel can cause a packing problem—you want footwear that won't contribute to your sweatiness, but flimsy flip-flops just don't give you the support and protection needed to walk around all day. We've rounded up 15 shoes (for men and women) that will keep your feet happy and you looking and feeling cool.

    Aerosoles Ideal

    Ballet flats are ideal for hot weather outfits, as they can pair well with casual or dressy looks. This pair from Aerosoles is a much better choice for urban trips than other similar ballet flats, due to unique features like a memory foam insole and a diamond pattern that disperses friction away from the foot.

    Rockport Sebert

    Nothing says preppy summertime fun like a good boat shoe, but the cheap ones you'll find at Target or Old Navy definitely can't stand up to the rigors of travel. Invest in the Rockport Sebert instead, which has plenty of foot-friendly features. Think: A padded collar and tongue to prevent blisters, easy-to-clean leather exterior, a mesh insole that dries fast and lets your foot breathe, and a cushioned heel to protect against impact.

    Sperry Top-Side Laina Sandal

    Looking for something that can rock a beach or resort vacation? Sperry Top-Sider's Laina is perfect, because you can wear it on the boardwalk or out to dinner. The one-inch wedge gives a little extra height without hindering your walking, and the cushioned foam footbed keeps you even more comfortable. Sperry is one of our favorite shoemakers, thanks to their nautical details that work well in wet climates—like this sandal's patterned outsole that offers great traction.

    Vionic Conner Casual Slip-on

    We love slip-ons for airport security, but many of these style don't have any support, so they're not good for walking further than your gate. Orthaheel Vionic Conner shoes come equipped with a podiatrist-designed biomechanical orthotic footbed to help you walk for miles. They're so good for your feet that they have the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance, and are clinically shown to help relieve heel and knee pain.

    Vionic Minna Ballet Flat

    Vionic is a company that really knows what's good for feet—its Orthaheel Technology naturally aligns your feet and can reduce over-pronation. Its Minna Ballet flats are easy to pack and perfect for flying (thanks to their slip-on design), and will work with dresses, skirts, or jeans. We love the included, removable microfiber-covered EVA orthotic insert, which feels plush, but offers sneaker-like support.


    Tieks flats have a cult following amongst travelers, and it's easy to see why—not only do these shoes fold flat to fit in a purse, but they are insanely comfortable. These versatile flats have an advanced foam cushion to keep your feet happy all day long, plus a cushioned back for softer support on your Achilles tendon. The signature Tieks Blue soles are non-skid and supportive, and the flexible outside is made from your choice of 100 percent Italian leather or vegan textiles. Each shoe is carefully crafted—one pair takes over 150 steps to be made, and when you wear a pair, you'll feel the devotion that went into them. Tieks come in a great range of colors and designs, and are super fashionable—you can wear these around Europe and not stick out at all.

    Ahnu Mount Tam Air Mesh Oxfords

    Long, sunny summer days are perfect for hiking, but designated trail shoes can take up too much space in your luggage. Try Ahnu's Mount Tam Air Mesh Oxfords, which can pull double duty on outdoor adventures or city walks. The special Numentum Hike technology gives you stability and support, and the breathable mesh upper is designed to allow air circulation that prevents your feet from getting sweaty.

    Astral Mary Jay

    Tubing, white-water rafting, and lounging in swimming holes are all great summer activities, but you're really going to want water shoes for all of them. Astral's Mary Jay shoes are perfect for any water-based activity (even if it's just a walk on the beach). The instep strap keeps your shoes on no matter how rough the water is, and the high-friction rubber soles keep you stable on slippery surfaces. The nylon fabric is pretty indestructible, dries quickly, and cleans easily. Best of all, they weigh just 4.93 ounces, making them a cinch to pack in a beach or carry-on bag.

    Merrell Moab Ventilator

    Serious hikes in serious heat need the Moab Ventilator. These shoes live up to their name, with an open-window venting mesh upper design. You'll stay cool (and fresh, thanks to the odor-preventing lining).

    Earth Bellweather

    Earth Bellwether flats will work for a business trip or while exploring a new city. They look polished, yet hide a super-supportive interior, with a cushioned footbed and reinforced arch support.

    Crocs Crocband Flip

    Okay, Crocs get a bad rap for their um, "bold" look. But, people who work on their feet all day long swear by them. That's why we like the sedate-looking, unisex Crocband Flip. These look like normal sandals, but have all the comfort features that make Crocs so great: like a massaging footbed, odor-resistant properties, and quick-drying material. Bring them to the beach—they even float!

    Teva Terra Fi Lite Sandal

    Lightweight and low-profile, Teva TerraFi Lites are the perfect multi-tasking summer shoe. They've got padded straps, anatomically shaped EVA topsoles, odor-preventing properties, and trademarked "Spider Rubber" outsoles for unbeatable traction.

    ABEO B.I.O.system Alea Neutral

    Dollar-store flip-flops are left in the dust by the ABEO B.I.O.system Alea Neutral, which are digitally fit to your foot to give you a custom sandal, designed to support your foot. This system carries a stamp of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

    Ahnu Maia Sandal

    Our readers love Ahnu's shoes for travel, and the company's Maia sandal is a great pick for summer, thanks to its antimicrobial microfiber suede-wrapped footbed, elastic-fit heel cup, and is light weight.

    Superfeet CARBON Insoles

    Want to keep your existing shoes but make them better for your feet? Superfeet's premium carbon insoles are an easy way to upgrade any shoe. The biomechanical shape structured heel cup stabilizes and supports the foot. Put these in everything from ballet flats to business shoes and walk a little easier.

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    READ THE ORIGINAL STORY: Best Summer Shoes for Travel by Caroline Morse, a SmarterTravel contributor.

    Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

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