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The Best Shoes for Holiday Travel

Now that the holidays are among us, it’s time to discuss what shoes you’ll be wearing as you travel to see your family. Don’t think that it’s okay to just wear sandals or heels – all that driving or flying can really take a toll on your feet. We are here to make sure your feet aren’t hurting by the time the New Year rolls around!

The Best Shoes for Holiday Travel

Decide on a Basic Type of Shoe

You’ll have to bring at least two pairs of shoes for any trip you go on—sturdy shoes for walking and everyday use, and a pair of sandals for warm weather or nasty showers in budget hotels. To find what’s best for you, think about how you’re going to be traveling, whether it be by foot, public transportation, or car. You also need to consider what activities you’ll be participating in.

Casual Footwear

  • Casual shoes are classics that go well with slacks or skirts. These shoes have leather uppers and smooth outsoles. Some also have heel counters for stability and arch supports or anatomically contoured foot beds and padded collars. They’re the best option for travelers who tend to stay in urban environments and want a shoe that combines style and comfort.
  • Rugged walking shoes provide more support and stability than casual shoes, but are too lightweight to handle hiking or trekking. Rugged walking shoes are well suited for most adventure travel since many styles have watertight construction and outsoles with good traction. Some feature midsole shanks for extra stability. They’re also suitable for casual attire.

Active Footwear

  • Outdoor cross-trainers have the fit and feel of an athletic shoe with a rugged outsole. Most have gel, air bladders or other structures for extra cushioning. Uppers are constructed with synthetic leather and mesh to let you feet breathe. These shoes are good for walking, light hiking and every day use, but they lack adequate stability for heavy-duty hiking or trekking.
  • Running shoes also have some extra cushioning. Some styles offer motion control with heel counters or medial posts made from rigid materials for additional support. You may look like a typical tourist in running shoes, but they are comfortable for long days on your feet. If you’re a runner and plan on bringing running shoes when you travel, they can also work for everyday use.
  • Walking shoes are athletic-looking shoes that provide cushion and support for heavy-duty fitness walking. These shoes are great for those who plan to be on their feet quite a bit when traveling and won’t be going off-road. However, they don’t have enough support or stability for hiking on trails.

Hiking Boots

  • Day-hiking boots provide more support than outdoor cross-trainers and are intended for walking and light hiking without a heavy pack. They’re typically constructed with all leather or a nylon mesh and leather combination for ventilation and comfort. This makes them less supportive than other options, but better suited for light-on-your-feet adventure travel.
  • Backpacking boots are perfect for on- and off-trail hiking with light backpacking loads. They’re typically made with leather or fabric/leather uppers for durability and water protection. Many also feature moisture-wicking linings to keep feet dry, and durable carbon rubber lug outsoles for traction. Backpacking boots are probably the most versatile for travelers who will be doing a good amount of trekking and city touring. They offer more support than day-hiking boots and lighter than extended-backpacking boots.
  • Extended-backpacking boots are all-leather boots made for multi-day hiking trips with moderate to heavy backpacking loads. They offer a good amount of ankle and foot protection and are designed mainly for rough terrain with stiff and supportive midsoles and many times, steel or plastic shanks. Because these boots are so heavy, they are not appropriate for casual travel or for someone who would be staying mostly in urban areas. If you’ll be backpacking with a heavy pack for a long amount of time, though, these boots offer the greatest support.


  • Casual sandals focus on comfort and style with leather uppers.
  • Land sandals are made for more rugged use. Some feature compression-molded rubber outsoles for durability. They’re not as attractive as casual sandals, but they work well for just about any travel situation.
  • Water-sport sandals are sporty styles that have nylon straps and durable, rugged outsoles. Many have extra cushioning for shock absorption in the heel. Some extra features may include antimicrobial treatments or neoprene pads on the straps. These sandals are great for any water-related activities or use in dirty showers.
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