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Traveling Light: Favorite Travel Shoes for Women

It’s inevitable.

As soon as I mention that I only bring a carry on suitcase when I travel somewhere, no matter the length of the trip, I hear it from almost everyone.

“How can you do that? I mean, the shoes alone would take up all the space in my carry on bag.”

I get it – I totally do. I’ve succumb to the promise of excess, and all the “must-haves,” and what if I have nothing to wear? I’ve been there – it’s stressful – and I’ve decided it’s no longer worth it to carry around my life in my suitcase while traveling. I took my first trip to Europe with my grandmother in my senior year of college. We each checked two large suitcases, carried on a bag, and brought a purse. Less than halfway through the trip, we each packed up our largest bag with all of our shouldn’t-haves, and shipped both all the way back to the USA.

That, and add in the fact that checking a bag can cost upwards of $50 or more, and it’s never been more worth it to be a light-packer.

So how do I do it? How do I keep my carry on bag from being filled with shoes? I carefully choose the ones I bring. For most trips, I only bring two pairs; every once in awhile a third pair sneaks in if I feel it is necessary. I check the weather, I search street-style photos, and I take a look at the color palette of the clothes I’m bringing (most often it’s gray, white, and black). I think about how comfortable my shoes are to walk in – if I’m getting blisters after a few hours at home, my feet are going to be dying after walking ten miles on cobblestone streets. I’m sorry to say, unless it’s a road trip and we have space in the car, heels are always out. Here are my five most reached-for travel shoes, awarded the honor because of their comfort and because of their adaptability to most situations.

Nude Ballet Flats [Best for: Dinners out, getting caught in the rain (they’re waterproof!), hitting the tough city pavement]
Black Loafers [Best for: Dressing up or down, exploring the city, blending in with the local professionals]
White Sneakers [Best for: European cities, long days of walking, cool-girl vibes]
Black Chelsea Boots [Best for: city- and country-walking, rainy days (also waterproof!), cool nights, toughening-up an outfit]
Snow Boots: [Best for: cold, snowy days]

So what’s missing? Heels (but you already knew that) and sandals. The sandals are missing from my list as I haven’t had much need for them on the rocky Mediterranean beaches, and because they don’t tend to be as safe when walking on cobblestone streets. I do have my eye on pairs from Everlane, Nisolo, and FASHIONABLE however for when the time comes.

Shop the post:

Cole Haan Manhattan Waterproof Ballet Flat.

Everlane Modern Loafer. First time at Everlane?  Start here!

White Leather Converse All Star.

-Cole Haan Evan Waterproof Short Boot (no longer available).  Similar style.

-Avalanche Snow Boots from Lands’ End (no longer available). Similar style.

Do you have any suggestions for women’s travel shoes? Let us know!

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