In all of my experience with travels and packing lists, there is one thing that stands out to me the most. Packing shoes is not easy. It’s never easy for any kind of trip, but especially not easy for trips with multiple activities and climates. Today I’m sharing some of my best tips for how to pack shoes, and how to choose your shoes for travel, along with sharing some examples of shoes you should pack for different kinds of trips.
Baggu Zipper Bags are an absolute favorite for packing.
Limit how many pairs you pack.
Before you even think about where you’re going or what kind of shoes to pack, you need to set a hard limit in your head of two pairs of shoes, max. I promise there will be very, very rare situations where you ever need more than two. Depending on where you are going and what activities you will be doing, you will want one pair that is more flat or casual, and another that can be more dressy. Either way, you do not need more than two, including the pair you wear for travel. Wear one, pack one! I love these Baggu Zipper Bags to help keep the bottoms of the shoes from touching my other clothing.
Think about the planned activities and season.
Planning ahead is obviously a good skill to have for when you travel light, because if you know what the things you can predict are going to be (activities) you have less to worry about with what you can’t (weather). Try to figure out what kind of activities you will be doing on the trip. Are you hiking? Are you going to attend a wedding or fancy dinner? Do you need to work out? Can you do an alternate workout that doesn’t require a change of shoes while you’re away? My favorite is the Sculpt & Burn Ballet Beautiful workout. No running shoes required! It will also be good to know the season of where you’re going. I packed the shoes above for Winter in Paris (note I packed the two above, not three like is on the list!), but I might have packed different shoes in the Summer or if the weather was warmer.
Color coordinate with your other packed items.
Because I use my travel light grid system when I pack, I know what outfits I will wear ahead of time. I know which bags I’m packing, and for the most part, which clothing I’m packing. Try to pick your shoes based on what will go with the majority of your outfits. If you’re a bags and shoes must match sort of person, it’s pretty obvious that you shouldn’t pack a brown bag and black shoes.
Below I’ve put together some possible shoe combinations for different types of trips and climates. I hope you find the examples helpful, and remember that if you don’t own or want to buy the exact pairs of shoes, you can always find something similar in your own closet. I never advocate to shop for a single trip.
European City Winter
A pair for walking, and a fancier pair.
Warm Trip to Mexico
A pair near the pool, and a pair for walking.
Adventurous Trip to Iceland
A pair for hiking, and a pair for exploring cities.
Tropical Caribbean Escape
A casual sandal and a waterproof pair for those unexpected downpours.
Summer Glamping Trip
A pair for hiking, and a more campy pair
Winter Ski Trip
A pair for snow, and a pair for lounging.
Formal Spring Wedding
A nice pair for the wedding, and a pair you can actually walk in.
Shop the Post:
Do you have any tips for packing shoes when you travel?