Summer travel can present a unique set of challenges, not the least of which is figuring out what footwear to pack. If you’re going no further than the local beach or lake to catch some hammock time, a comfortable pair of sandals should do it. But if your vacation plans include sightseeing, public transit, dining out, etc., keeping your feet happy in the heat requires some planning.
What To Pack? My Footwear Guidelines
- When planning your travel wardrobe, always start with the shoes.
- Whatever footwear you choose should fit snugly, without being tight. If your feet slide around too much in your shoes, your legs will tire more easily, and you might be more likely to trip or stumble. But you don’t want them so snug that they can’t accommodate some heat-related swelling.
- You’ll want enough thickness and cushioning in the soles to maintain comfort when walking on a variety of surfaces. And pavement gets hot…a thicker sole provides a little more insulation.
- Shoes with good arch support will allow you to spend more time on your feet in comfort. And flats aren’t necessarily best; I find a low heel most comfortable for all-day walking.
- If your feet are prone to swelling, look for styles that allow adjustment. Buckles, laces, even velcro can allow you to adjust the fit for maximum comfort throughout the day.
- Unless you have a genuinely format event to attend, leave the heels and dressy shoes at home.
- Look for styles that fit into your definition of “smart casual” and can go from day to evening. These will be most versatile.
- Wear any shoes you plan to pack for extended periods before you go. Be sure there are no areas that pinch or rub. Sometimes even well-worn-in shoes may create “hot spots” over time.
3 Styles of Footwear For Summer Travel
While you do want comfortable and supportive shoes, you don’t want anything that’s going to look too heavy for lightweight summer clothing. Or cause your feet to swelter. (For sneakers and other closed shoes, I find a pair of no-show socks in moisture-wicking fabric keeps my feet cool and comfortable.) If you will be visiting sites or locations that require regular removal of shoes, a style that slips on and off easily may be beneficial.
Above: those Eileen Fisher “Sport” shoes have become my go-to travel sandals.
Some people don’t like to travel with sandals, but in warm weather they’re a must for me. Look for supportive soles, adjustable straps and a look that appeals to you. In very humid climates, you may find a nubuck or fabric insole is more comfortable than a smooth one.
I generally prefer slip-on styles, but if your feet tend to swell or you have other fit issues, you may find laces a better choice. The old “rule” about not wearing sneakers in Europe no longer holds, just steer toward more sleek styles.
Loafers and Mary Janes
Probably the easiest styles to transition from day-to-evening. Look for sufficient padding and support.
What shoes are your “go-to’s” for warm weather travel?