If you’re planning a trip to Europe and thinking about what to pack then you’ll most certainly be wondering what to wear on your feet. Finding the best travel shoes for Europe is an essential step in your packing process. It can be hard to find stylish walking shoes for Europe that will keep your feet comfy after a long day walking cobblestone streets, perusing boutique and marvelling at museums. On an average day sightseeing in Europe you could end up walking over 20,000 steps! Your number one priority should be comfortable walking shoes for Europe that will also look good.
So, what are the best walking shoes for Europe? I’ve put together a my picks for the best shoes for traveling in Europe, for whatever season you’re visiting in and wherever your travels take you. I’ve picked several different European walking shoes from summer sandals perfect for wandering Rome to ankle boots for rainy days in London.
Having lived in Europe for 2.5 years and traveled extensively throughout the continent, I know which travel shoes for Europe should be in your suitcase.
What You'll Find in This Post
Stylish Walking Shoes for Europe
I’ve listed the best shoes for walking around Europe in a table so you can take a quick look at them. Keep reading this article to find out why they’re the best shoes for Europe and what combination of them your should pack for your trip.
What to look for in comfortable walking shoes for Europe
- Arch support
- Cushioned sole
- Minimal heel
- Seasonally appropriate
- Destination appropriate
- Lightweight & packs easily
How many pairs of travel shoes for Europe do you need?
You should need a maximum of three pairs of shoes for your travels. Depending on the season, I recommend:
- Summer – take a pair of sandals, sneakers and pair of flip flops if you’re visiting the beach
- Spring – take a pair of sandals, ballet flats or loafers and sneakers
- Fall – take a pair of ballet flats or loafers, sneakers and ankle booties if you’re headed to Northern Europe or the UK
- Winter – take a pair of sneakers, ballet flat or loafers and ankles booties
If you’re going over two seasons, like spring and summer, then take the fourth pair of shoes needed to round out your shoes for walking around Europe.
Tips for Picking the Best Travel Shoes for Europe
Ballet flats vs loafers – which to choose for your flat?
Choose the most comfortable flats for walking in Europe for your foot type and the type of support you prefer in a shoe. Ballet flats are super comfy for some but other women, particularly with higher arches or who need arch support, prefer a loafer with a bit more substance. Ballet flats are so convenient to pack though and can work great for day or evening.
Why you shouldn’t pack heels
Heels are not appropriate shoes for Europe vacations. They’re heavy if your’e trying to pack light, they don’t work well with cobblestone streets and you just won’t need them if you pack stylish walking sandals for Europe, cute ankle booties or a nice flat.
Why ankle booties work best for fall / winter
Here’s a hot tip: In wet weather, tights dry a lot quicker than jeans or trousers so wearing ankle booties with tights and a dress/skirt will keep you drier in wet weather in Fall and Winter.
Which shoes to pack and which to wear on the plane
Wear your European sneakers to the airport and on the plane for comfort and pack the other two pairs in your luggage. If you’re traveling with carry on only and trying to cut a few pounds from your bag, wear your booties through the airport instead of packing them. You can change them at the departure gate once your bag has been weighed. (Many airlines weigh carry on baggage in Europe and allow you a max of 10 kgs / 22 lbs.)
Bring the right socks & insoles
For your ballet flats, loafers and even some sneakers, I recommend packing low profile socks like these. They help keep your shoes from smelling and make it easier to wear the same pair of shoes over back to back days.
Break your shoes in before you trip!
Good walking shoes for Europe are ones that you’ve already broken in! If you buy a new pair of comfortable shoes for traveling in Europe, wear that at home for a few days or weeks before your trip starts so you know they work for you. You will be on your feet a lot so comfort is essential.
Best Walking Shoes for Europe 2019
Sandals for Spring/Summer
Here are my picks for the best walking sandals for Europe. Comfortable sandals for walking in Europe are a must if you’re traveling in the spring or summer. The best women’s walking sandals for Europe are lightweight, easy to pack but still stylish enough to go with all your outfits.
All sandals aren’t created equal however and you need to pick comfortable sandals for Europe. Cheap “clacky” fashion sandal just won’t do when you spend 8+ hours sightseeing on cobblestone streets in the heat. A pair of good walking sandals for Europe will have arch support, cushioning in the sole and comfortable straps that hold your feet in for hours of sightseeing. All the brands I’ve chosen below are quality footwear brands that you can rely on for comfortable supportive shoes.
I think the best sandals for European travel are a pair of leather gladiator style sandals. In my experience these are the most comfortable walking sandals for Europe because they give support to your feet and still look good. As mentioned above, sandals are a great evening shoe for your Europe trip. Leave the heels behind and wear a pair of nice sandals on spring and summer evenings instead. The best sandals for traveling Europe are ones you can wear day to night.
Ballet Flats & Loafers Year-Round
Choosing the best flats for walking in Europe is the hardest pick for me. Do you go for a ballet flat or a loafer? Either are good walking flats for Europe but which you choose depends on your own personal preference.
Foot shape plays a big part in choosing the best flats for traveling Europe. Women with higher arches don’t generally find ballet flats comfortable so a loafer would be the best flats for walking around Europe if you need that arch support.
For women who can wear them, ballet flats for walking in Europe are a great choice because the flat, comfy and easy to pack. We’ve listed some of the best ballet flats for walking Europe below. Just make sure the ones you choose are comfortable for your feet and a versatile color that go with all your outfits.
Sneakers are the best walking shoes for travel in Europe and you should pack them in your suitcase whatever the season. If you know you’ve got a long day of sightseeing ahead of you, like a walking tour of a city, then make sure your feet are as comfortable as possible. Sketchers Go Walks are my favourites and if I could only pick one pair I’d select these as the best travel shoes for Europe.
It might seem strange to see two pair of wool sneakers on here but these are all the rage amongst lightweight packers. They are very lightweight, cool in summer and warm in winter. I know several people who travel only with this style of shoe and love it.
Many people think that Europe women don’t wear sneakers but they actually do wear smart, stylish sneakers with casual outfits. For a tourist, sneakers for Europe are a practical choice. The best sneakers for Europe are ones that are stylish and not too sporty looking (so not your regular running shoes.) Here are some of the best sneakers for traveling Europe:
Ankle Boots for Fall/Winter
A pair of good walking boots for Europe are essential for fall and winter travel. Ankle boots are the best boots for traveling Europe because they take up less space and weight in your luggage than tall boots. European boots need to be comfortable and something you can wear all day for sightseeing.
When choosing the best walking boots for Europe, pick a pair that goes with all your outfit choices and has a low heel. Comfortable and stylish walking boots for Europe look great with jeans or dresses & tights. Here are my picks for the best boots for walking around Europe:
Got a Questions on the Best Shoes for Traveling in Europe?
If you got a question about picking the best travel shoes for Europe then let me know. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have on picking stylish walking shoes for Europe. Leave me a comment below or join our Facebook group on how to Pack Like a Pro and ask your questions there!
For more tips on what to pack for Europe see these posts: