Good Design Travel Shoes: Keen, Merrell, ECCO & More

Good Design Travel Shoes: Keen, Merrell, ECCO & More

Maxwell Ryan
Apr 7, 2016
(Image credit: Nora Taylor)

We've all seen that person on vacation. Lost expression, fanny pack and, of course, sandals with socks. If you know you're going to be walking around a lot, the last thing you want is a shoe that will kill your feet, but you also don't want to be that guy. We've rounded up a few comfortable and stylish options from hiking boots to flats, that you can toss in your bag knowing you'll look and feel good. Let us know where you're headed and what you'll be packing!

Of course, when it comes to a totally pain free walking experience, there's more than chosing the right shoe. The Savy Backpaper outlined a few more things to consider before setting off:

Tips For Comfort

  • Quality Socks – A lot of people spend a lot of money on shoes then throw on a pair of cheap socks, but quality socks are just about as important as the shoes. A good pair of socks will help prevent blisters, stop odor, and keep your feet comfortable. For more information about socks be sure to read our article about our favorite socks for travel.
  • Support & Insoles – Make sure your shoes have the proper support for your feet. A quality pair of insoles can make shoes and boots much more comfortable and they add extra support to flats.
  • Match Shoes to Destination – This seems like a no-brainer, but you need to match your shoes to when and where you’ll be traveling. A pair of flats isn’t appropriate for trekking through Iceland and pair of heavy-duty mountaineering boots probably is overkill for walking the streets of Paris.
  • Break In Shoes – BREAK IN YOUR SHOES! Ok, I said it. Purchase your shoes a month or two before your trip and make sure you wear them a lot before you leave.

Hiking Boots

If you want a hiking boot that doesn't scream hiking boot, Palladiums are your new go to. Stylish and versatile, the Pampa boot is waterproof so you can confidently kick around during the rainy season. Available in four colors, you can easily find a boot that fits your style. And don't just take our word for it, the French Foreign Legion is also a fan.

KEEN, known for their hiking gear and outdoor friendly travel shoes, have a wide variety of boots to choose from. The Voyageurs have enough support and protection to hit the trail, but are lightweight enough to take on a less rugged excursion. As one of the Zappos reviewers said, "I just spent four days walking around Disney World in these. They were very comfortable and supportive. They also breathe well — a big plus in the Florida heat."

These well made and visually interesting shoes are perfect for day hikes and longer walks on rugged terrain. "Winner of Backpacker magazine's 2015 Editors' Choice Award, these women's boots will have you moving fast in comfort with highly breathable and waterproof Gore-Tex Surround protection."

Casual Shoes

These gorgeous leather slip-ons are Sabahs, an occasionally hard to find but always worth it, brand. These shoes, inspired by designer Mickey Ashmore's trip to Turkey, are handmade in Gazianstep. You can learn more about the brand here.

Super cute, easy to slip on and off at the security line (ugh) these shoes are great option for when you don't want to sacrifice style. They look great with dresses, skirts and pants and have a "Low-to-the-ground midsole design promotes a natural foot position for a barefoot-like feel."

These sporty shoes that also scream summer are worth investing in even if you're just kicking around your own city. "Lightweight as it is stylish, this sporty yet streamlined silhouette is finished off with our Grand.OS technology in a ridged outsole."

While the Gosling Step may not immediately look like a Clarks shoe, it is still designed for comfort while being fashion forward. It is a lightweight, breathable shoe with Clarks Cushion Plus. What's Cushion Plus you say? "The triple-density Ortholite footbed delivers targeted cushioning where you need it most."

Totally preppy? Sure. But there's a reason these shoes are a perennial favorite. Easy to dress up or down, they scream leisure in the best way possible. The Fleck Canvas shoes come in three summer friendly colors that are dock-ready. "The original boat shoe in a rugged canvas upper is lightweight and breathable, with all the durability needed for an adventurous lifestyle."


It wouldn't be a vacation post without sandals would it? While there are a million and one sandals to choose from, ranging from a pair of Corona sandals you can get at Walgreens to a pair of leather Guccis, we're focused on comfort. Merrell's is a brand that excels at crafting comfortable and supportive shoes, and these neutral sandals include grip technology so you can feel confident taking them off of the beach.

I know for some people Birkenstocks have a "Portlandia" vibe that they wouldn't associate with vacation. But when it comes to sandals that treat your feet well, Birks are hard to beat. "You walk, the shoe molds to your foot. The shape of the Original Birkenstock Footbed enables body weight to be distributed evenly over the whole foot, providing it with optimal support."

And if you just want to keep it simple, you can always toss in your favorite running shoes.

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