Over the last year we’ve scrambled through sand dunes in Peru, trekked deep into the Amazon, and hiked through some of the most remote island destinations on earth. We’ve wandered through the desert, rappelled down buildings, and trodden on the ruins of ancient Incan civilizations. So we’re fairly well versed in what to look for in a good travel shoe.
Because let’s face it – flights, accommodation and tours might be the holy trinity of travel planning, but finding, buying and breaking in good shoes is equally as important. No-one has ever enjoyed a trip while their feet were blistering and sore.
So we’ve put together a list to guide you when picking your next pair of travel shoes. You shouldn’t compromise on any of the following features. Over the years we’ve come to realize it’s essential to find a shoe which incorporates them all.
Our list has been inspired by the shoes we are currently wearing from Jambu. A collection of adventure designs for both the great outdoors adventures and urban excursions, Jambu have been sending us their footwear to review for the last two years, and we absolutely love their shoes. As a rule of thumb, when looking for a good travel shoe, make sure it has all the same features of footwear from Jambu.
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A Great Travel Shoe Will Be …
The most important thing when considering a travel shoe is comfort. Comfortable feet are happy feet. Impractical shoes guarantee you’ll have a terrible trip.
You need shoes that you’re comfortable wearing all day, because when you’re traveling you don’t often change them. And one of the biggest keys to comfort is to break them in. Dance around your house, wear them on a weekend staycation before your big trip; make sure you purchase your shoes a month or two in advance to allow yourself plenty of time to break them in.
My personal favorite is the Montana from Jambu (below) – it’s a woven criss-cross flat, made using Nubuck and shimmer suede. It has 2 inches in height with a half inch platform. It also has a hook and loop closure for easy entry with a side goring for extra comfort. The memory foam footbed provides all day comfort while the outsole is there for superior grip.
Comfortable walking shoes for travel are easy to find, but you should also look for a few other things:
Appropriate for Your Destination
You would think that this was a straight forward tip, but would be surprised at how often travelers rock up to a destination with inappropriate footwear.
Match your shoes to the destination and activities you’ll be undertaking. For instance, a pair of flats isn’t appropriate for trekking through long grass in the Amazon. And vice versa, a pair of heavy-duty hiking boots is probably overkill for walking down Fifth Avenue in New York.
Planning to wear one pair of shoes makes it much easier to pack for a trip. Those six just-in-case pairs usually add up to the most weight in your luggage, and it’s fairly rare that you end up switching shoes throughout the day while traveling anyway.
If the same kicks can take you effortlessly from shopping to a 6-hour walking tour to dinner, without giving you blisters, you’re set. Aim to keep your shoes simple and lightweight.
The key to a shoe that is truly versatile is in traction and durability. Look for something which has traction and toughness to conquer any terrain. We love the Jambu collection for their “All Terra Traction”. Non-marking and partially recycled compressed rubber outsoles mean superior traction and durability which makes them suitable for outdoor adventures and urban excursions at the same time.
It’s a sad fact, but sometimes it rains on holidays, and even if your forecast is for clear skies, there are always exceptions to weather patterns, especially if you’re traveling during transitional seasons.
A little bit of wet weather shouldn’t stop you from sightseeing, but walking around with wet, soggy feet will probably make you want to. So make sure you’re set with the best waterproof shoes for travel that you can find.
We obviously recommend Jambu – their SATRA certified waterproof styles protect your feet from the elements by keeping water out, and the materials are treated with protective fibers that guard against the penetration of water. All styles feature the use of water drainage ports and quick drying materials to help resist water.
Cooling / Airvents
When you’re shopping for a shoe for travel, keep in mind that you’re probably going to be wearing it all day, every day. Make sure you look at designs which regulate airflow to your feet and help wick away moisture, keeping you cool and dry.
This goes to comfort, and versatility, as will mean that they’re suitable for wear throughout a number of different altitudes and climates. But your travel companions and those sitting near you on a flight will also appreciate that you’ve not brought the smell of feet back with you.
When push comes to shove, comfort is more important than fashion, but hell, some of us want to look cute too! Fashionable walking shoes for travel do exist, and after finding something on trend, you won’t be tempted to travel with impractical shoes.
I’m currently wearing the Slyvie Women’s Leather Boot from Jambu. The Sylvie is the perfect combination of style and comfort for a travel shoe. Made using leather and vegan textile, the woven elastic and buckles provide interesting detail while making the shoe a breeze to slip on.
There’s a two and a half inch heel with a 1 inch platform which make it easy to be on your feet, and the memory foam footbed is going to keep you comfortable all day. The All Terra Traction outsole provides you with superior grip.
One of the biggest emerging travel trends is a focus on responsible travel, and that applies to the products we choose too.
Choose a shoe like Jambu which are made from compostable, sustainable materials while providing the same comfort and quality standards. Jambu take their dedication to the environment one step further in that all their designs are Vegan friendly too. No animal products are used, yet there’s no sacrifice on comfort or quality standards.
We Recommend Starting with Jambu
Going off our rule of thumb, when looking for a good travel shoe, you should make sure it has all the same features of footwear from Jambu. So you may as well start by browsing their collection first!
We have not been paid to promote Jambu. Their shoes are the definition of comfort, and we’ve been wearing them for the past two years for our adventures throughout great outdoors, and on our urban excursions too.
Designs are defined by customer needs that allow them the freedom to explore and have great adventures on their own terms in comfort that is uncompromising. There’s an easy readiness to the function and a friendly ease of wear. The company’s greatest mission is to create outdoor-inspired shoes with on-trend fashion elements.
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Jambu provided complimentary shoes for review. The fact that each of their designs are comfortable, versatile, appropriate for all destinations, waterproof, stylish, and eco/vegan friendly absolutely influenced our opinion of the shoes.