I have awful feet. My collapsed arches mean my feet ache easily. I also have weird shaped feet so I have a propensity for giving myself killer blisters.
And I’m just utterly clumsy so if I wear shoes without enough support I’m liable for falling over and landing on my ass.
I’ve found out the hard way that having the right shoes can make or break your travel experience. Nothing can keep you inside on a nice day, or prevent you from seeing as many places as you want than sore achy feet.
I’ve unfortunately missed out on many a great experience because of blister-covered feet.
“Picking the right shoes for travel is extremely hard. Especially when you want to pack light like I do.”
Shoes are often heavy and take up a lot of room, so you want to limit the amount of pairs you take, especially on long trips like the 15 month one I am about to embark on.
It has taken me a lot of trial and error to find the perfect travel shoes. I’ve spent lots of money on shoes that simply didn’t fit my needs.
I’ve had shoes that have given me killer blisters and after continued wear still won’t soften up.
I’ve had to throw shoes out because they have broken, not able to withstand the pressure travel puts your shoes through.
However after a lot of research I’ve found the perfect combination of shoes for my 15 month trip. I tested these in South Korea and they are definitely the best! Let’s just hope they hold up for the whole trip!
Pair Number 1: Ecco Biom Terrain Hiking Boots
I knew that I wanted a pair of hiking boots as my primary shoe for winter.
I wanted fully waterproof ones and I wanted them to be versatile enough to be comfy on a hike, but also to not look too stupid when paired with jeans or pants.
They needed to give support to my feet while also not making me look like too much of a backpacker.
“I spent hours and hours painstakingly researching hiking boots.”
The ones that were praised for being super comfortable, such as the Merrel Hiking Boots were also especially ugly. I also struggled with finding brands that are sold in shops in Melbourne too, as this was definitely not something I wanted to purchase online.
Finally, upon the recommendation of a blog post by Mapping Megan, I finally found the ECCO brand. I headed to their store in the city and completely fell in love with the ECCO Biom Terrains in the black and pink.
Despite a few blisters these shoes didn’t take a lot to wear in. I wore them while hiking in South Korea, and walking around Seoul and I can definitely say they are the perfect pair for me.
The plain black design with just the small splash of pink on the soles also means that they look pretty good with jeans and any of my winter outfits!
I got mine reduced for $220.
“They are Gortex Waterproof and made from Yak leather, which is three times as strong as cow leather. So I’m sure they will last!”
This is a discontinued line but ECCO is always releasing new hiking boots each season. They are definitely a brand I would recommend.
Amazon are currently selling a similar pair without the pricey Yak leather for around $100. You can find them here.
Pair Number 2: Merrell Hennas (Ecco Flash as an alternative).
For my summer pair of shoes I wanted cute sandals that were also going to be comfortable and supportive. In Europe, you tend to do a lot of walking!
Again I struggled with trying to find a combination of fashionable and comfortable.
Again the internet helped me out with this review of the Merrell Hennas on Her Packing List.
“Unfortunately after thinking I had found the perfect sandals, I discovered that the shoe had been discontinued.”
After a couple of weeks of having an eBay alert set for ‘merrell henna’, I finally found a brand new with tags pair in my size and the chocolate colour I wanted.
I did suffer from some serious blisters for the first few days I wore them, but now that they are worn in they are seriously the comfiest shoes I’ve found that isn’t an ugly hiking sandal.
If you don’t have as much luck on ebay as me, the next best thing I found is the ECCO Flash Sandals. The leather is especially soft so they are comfortable and come in some very cute designs.
They are more stylish, but less supportive than my Merrell Hennas. But unless you have my terrible feet, its probably a good trade-off to make.
Pair Number 3: Thongs/Flip Flops
Yes in Australia we refer to our flip flops as thongs!
These are an essential for any backpacking trip. They are great to wear in shared bathroom showers, for walking, for pool visits and especially for anytime you go to the beach.
Between losing thongs and breaking thongs, I’m up to my fourth pair of Havianas. I swear by them.
My current pair and favourite so far are these.
Pair Number 4: Butterfly Twists Foldable Flats
Yes I pack a fourth pair of shoes. Every other guide to packing light imposes a strict three pair rule.
However I found I needed something a little bit dressier, particularly given how stylish the Europeans are. I wanted some simple black flats that could be worn with stockings or plain socks in winter, or without in summer.
Many websites recommend Tieks but after reading many reviews criticising their durability, I couldn’t justify the $200.
I have the Butterfly Twists Olivia Foldable Flats. They fold up to virtually nothing, so I don’t really notice the extra weight of a fourth pair of shoes.
“More than that, these shoes are probably the only ones I’ve never had to wear in. I’ve worn them all night while partying and dancing and still no blisters!”
They are also nice and simple in plain black and thus can be paired with any outfit.
AT only $40 they are also a bargain!
How many shoes do you pack when you travel? Do you have some stylish and comfortable shoes for travel to recommend? Comment below!
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