How to pick the best travel shoes for your trip

Shoes. The stuff of legend and lore: Cinderella had endless trouble because of her glass heels and Dorothy was nearly vaporized for her ruby red slippers. From the Birkenstock to the Manolo Blahnik and the Converse high top there are endless footwear choices and opinions for the walk through life. Many of us aren’t willing to sacrifice style for comfort—but fear not. There are great options that will allow you to have both while minimizing any unforeseen trips or falls.

Choosing travel shoes can be tricky because you have to pack wisely: stuffing your shoes with socks and underwear will only save you so much space, and comfy shoes for travel are a must. Try to always wear your bulkiest pair (likely boots or running shoes) on the plane, train or bus when you are heading to your destination. This will free up valuable space for your other travel shoes.

Because wherever you go, you will almost certainly need more than one footwear option. You want to be prepared, because it’s inevitably those trips where you are sure that you will go from hotel room to pool and back, that you find yourself hiking up a mountain in nothing more than flip flops. Ouch. You want to be prepared! There is a lot to be said for good arch support, and lace-up running shoes.

When travelling it is paramount to have good shoes for walking all day. People’s preferences vary around types of soles—some prefer rubber, others leather. Regardless of what you choose, know that a good shoe with a well-made sole can make all the difference between an amazing day of sightseeing in a foreign country, and hobbling along on blistered feet after a trek along the Great Wall of China. Know your itinerary in advance, and be realistic and practical when you are packing. The Las Vegas strip is incredibly long; think marathon, not sprint, if you are planning to casino hop and wear the best walking shoes you have. Cobblestones in Rome are the perfect place to catch a stiletto heel and wind up face first in the Trevi Fountain—so be thoughtful about footwear on your outings.

Travel is as much about the journey as the destination with the most frequent purpose of travel being exploration- something that requires an open mind, an open heart and comfortable shoes! Walking is the best way to explore a new city and get a feel for its soul. When you’re packing your bags consider terrain, activities and ensuring you’re comfortable and confident. The worst place to wind up on a trip is the emergency room with a broken ankle. Even if you are covered by travel insurance it will sure put a crimp in your plans.

For men and women, a good rule of thumb for one- to two-week trips (unless you are doing a polar trek) is three pairs of shoes: running shoes for working out and all-day walking tours; a pair of comfortable and supportive flip flops or sandals for beaches and around your hotel pool; and, a versatile, classic and comfortable loafer for dressier occasions.

As stylish as they may be, high heels are best left for business meetings and weddings at destination. And, if you happen to have a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes, your health must meet the stability requirements of your policy and you must follow medical directives related to foot care or your travel insurance claim may be denied.

Orthotics are a key support mechanism for many people, so make sure to pack, or even better, wear your orthotics while travelling. Long airplane rides and bus excursions can also be hard on your lower limbs. Ask your doctor if compression stockings or support hose might assist with circulation and well-being. Stretching and getting up every hour or two is also a great way to keep blood flowing and prevent swelling in the feet and ankles.

Travel is often exciting but it can be unpredictable—unforeseen delays mean people are often rushing to catch a plane or train. Racing through airports and train stations with steep staircases and slippery floors can be treacherous if you’re not wearing good shoes. Plan well for your trip and be mindful of unfamiliar terrain so that you can make the most of your adventure.


Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

IMPORTANT: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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