Squeezing in an extra pair of travel shoes can be a science—especially when you’re traveling light. Know where to look, though, and you’ll find ultra-packable, and even stylish options for both men and women.
Here are eight pairs of shoes—from boots to flip flops—that pack small and deliver big.
If sleek slides and affordable folding flats are your style, Yosi Samra is your brand. Find different styles, colors, and patterns of packable summer and fall women’s shoes. Pack away some spare flats or flaunt open-toe sandals that will fit in any carry-on, available with dual soles similar to Tieks, standard flexible soles, or a stylish espadrille bottom.
topo ST-2 Sneakers
The secret to packable, durable exercise sneakers is mesh—which makes up the entire upper part of topo’s ST-2 running shoe. These lightweight sneakers collapse flat down to their 16-millimeter soles, so you can slip them in at the bottom or side of your bag. The soft material creates a sock-like fit that makes for comfortable exercise, running or trekking.
It never hurts to have a back-up sandal for when your new travel shoes give you blisters. Sporto’s flip-flops are a truly foldable sandal thin enough to fit in a small purse or pocket and come in a small pouch. They’re soft for comfort, yet also water-resistant.
Sanuk Oxfords and Slip-Ons
Full coverage that collapses flat is the perfect combination for spare walking shoes—and Sanuk has a flat-packing option for both women and men. The women’s Bianca Oxfords and men’s Vagabond Loafers are great for casual exploring or relaxing, and both come in an array of colors.
Xero Shoes Barefoot Sport Sandals
If a lightweight summer shoe with a barefoot feel is what you’re looking for, consider Xero’s flexible deconstructed sandals. They pack easily and can serve multiple functions. Adjustable straps and textured soles make these sandals secure enough for walking and jogging. They can also double as a simple water shoe for adventure activities like fishing and kayaking.
Packing winter boots is arguably the toughest travel feat, but cold trips no longer have to involve lugging heavy boots. Pakems low- and high-top boots are lightweight, packable variations of water-resistant snow boots that are perfect to throw on for chilly camping, frigid fishing trips, or even just a long plane ride. They pack flat and can stow away without taking up much space. While they might not replace heavy-duty snow boots, they can stand in for clunky boots in plenty of travel situations. Plus, they’re affordable.
Chaco Men’s Hiking Shoe
Bringing sturdy hiking shoes no longer means wearing them in transit to save packing space. Chaco Outcross shoes are lightweight and feature a collapsible heel and sturdy rubber sole. The breathable outer material will keep your feet dry on hikes, and an adjustable bungee closure keeps them secure.
Cole Haan Ballet Flats
Business travelers and city walkers, rejoice. Foldable ballet flats don’t need to be flimsy—Cole Haan’s Tali Bow ballet flats are durable and versatile ballet flats, with dual rubber soles that provide support while still allowing the shoe to compress flat. They come in different colors and prints, and are all made of durable leather. They’re not exactly a bargain, but they will last a lot longer than most foldable flats.
Women’s Outfits to Wear
Women’s Casual Outfit for Bali
Women’s Outfit to Wear with Travel Sandals (no shoes)
Women’s Cute and Casual Outfit from Nordstrom
Women’s Comfy Outfit to Wear on the Airplane from Nordstrom
Women’s Outfit for Walking the Great Wall of China
Women’s Amazon-Based Comfy Outfit for a Flight 1
Women’s Amazon-Based Work Business Casual Summer Outfit
More from SmarterTravel:
- Walking Shoes You Won’t Be Embarrassed to Wear in Public
- 7 Shoes That Are Good for Your Feet, According to Doctors
- 5 Worst Shoes for Travel
SmarterTravel Editor Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her on Instagram at @shanmcmahon.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2016. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.