Ode to Travel Shoes

If I can travel with just two pairs of shoes on a trip that includes the theater in London, tromping through a Ukrainian cemetery on a cold spring day, and going to the beach in Abu Dhabi – then so can you!

The best shoes ever. EVER.

These little beauties draw compliments when I wear them to the office with a skirt, yet are undaunted by the ankle-twisting paths of an African village. They’re right at home at a dressy British theater, yet sturdy enough to tromp through German vineyards or pound eight miles of Dubai’s never-ending pavement.

When I showed up at a fundraising 5K event this morning, everyone else was in athletic shoes. They looked at my feet with that eyebrow-raised-is-she-nuts look. “These are absolutely my best walking shoes,” I assured more than one person who seemed genuinely concerned over my footwear.

The shoes’ distressed-metallic look is equal parts trendy and forgiving of scuffs. The angled toe makes them dressier than your standard Mary Jane, but the ankle strap gives them a nice reliable feel (no sloshing around when you walk). Stylish, arch support—what more could anyone want?

I could easily travel with these as my only shoes … except for my personal rule of always bringing two pairs. And because I often see travel packing articles that advocate being prepared for every occasion by bringing multiple pairs of shoes, I feel compelled to offer my own travel shoe advice.

  1. Pack no more (or less) than two pairs of shoes.
    More takes too much room in your luggage (“pack light” should be your mantra). Less than two leaves you without a backup plan if a strap breaks or sole cracks. (You may be thinking “Yes, but I could get them repaired where I’m visiting.” True, but will you go barefoot while you’re waiting?)
  2. Never bring white tennis shoes (unless you’re going to a tennis camp).
    Traveling in Europe helped me discover that there are actually (gasp) comfortable walking shoes that are stylish. Wearing white tennis shoes brands you as an American tourist. Make it your goal to blend in as much as you can.
  3. Be willing to compromise on fashion.
    As much as I love these shoes, they’re probably not the stylish, strappy sandals one might wear to a cocktail party. But traveling is no time for single-purpose items of apparel. If you can’t wear shoes for multiple days or events they are not worthy of a place in your suitcase. Bring those strappy sandals if your trip involves nightly cocktail parties. Otherwise, the nice looking, but not exactly Vogue-approved, pair will do. (Of course, if you’re planning a destination wedding and are bringing a pair of shoes you’ll only wear with your wedding dress, I might relax the “no single purpose shoe” rule.) 😊

Good travel shoes are all about finding ones you love enough to wear over and over. But only two pairs.

(P.S. If you’re curious, these star shoes are Naot’s Kirei model. No, I am not associated with the company and get no kickback from advertising. I just love them.)


  1. gabriele goldstone on May 7, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for the good advice. Good shoes are a traveling necessity. I’m curious about your second pair…are they hikers or sandals?

  2. Carolyn on May 7, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Hi Gabriele – Well, it depends on the trip. On the London/Ukraine/Abu Dhabi trip I mention in the photo caption, the 2nd pair were black street shoes that I could wear socks with and would hold up to tromping through a muddy cemetery.

    On my travels last summer (Kenya and Germany), the 2nd pair was sandals because of the heat.

    On a trip to Greece where I was planning some actual on-trail hiking, my two pairs of shoes were sandals and hikers (I hadn’t discovered these love-of-my-life shoes yet. 🙂

  3. Brenda Chamness on May 9, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I’m intrigued! Can you share where you purchased them? Somewhere in the Seattle area?

  4. Carolyn Schott on May 9, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Hi Brenda,
    Yes, I found these at the Walking Company store in Seattle. But you can also buy them online. The Walking Company have my other favorite brand, Abeo, and I have some of the best sandals from there…tromped all over Germany in those last summer!

  5. Brenda Chamness on May 10, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks! Will look into it – heading to Japan in the fall 🙂