The worst shoes for travel

When travelling, it’s important to pack light and right, but it’s easy to get it wrong. From thongs to ballet flats and even your trusted Converse, there can be serious consequences and a lot of uncomfortable mornings if you don’t pack right for your feet. Here’s a list of the five worst travel shoes (and their better replacement).

These are everyone’s go-to holiday shoes. They’re easy, cheap and save space in your luggage.

But if you want to wear them beyond the pool, they can cause foot pains and diminish shock absorption. They’re even a safety hazard because they lack grip.

wearing thongs

The alternative: Sandals with a small heel (available for men and women). They offer arch support and can be heel-cushioned for that extra comfort to make walking around feel lighter.

wearing sandals

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Ballet flats
While these shoes are far more comfortable than heels, experts note that they lack the arch support necessary for travelling if you’re always on the move.

ballet flats 

The alternative: Look for ballet flats with a small heel, or look for smaller wedge heels that offer support for both the ankle and the Achilles heel. Or, you can simply save those flats for a dinner or an event when walking isn’t on the agenda.

ballet flats with heels

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Pointed toe-shoes
While these pointy dress shoes have made their fashion comeback, this type of footwear can crush your toes, causing blisters, hammertoes and bunions as well as all-round discomfort.

pointy shoes

The alternative: Opt for a dress shoe with a wide, rounded toe box instead of a point, to allow your feet some breathing space. There are plenty of classy heels for women and dress shoes for men that don’t come with pain attached.

round toe shoes

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Converse and sneakers
While Converse sneakers can look great, with a variety of colours and styles, their flat heel can cause anything from tendonitis to stress fractures, especially if you’re using them as active wear.

converse couple

The alternative: Shops such as Athletes Foot offer fantastic active shoes created specifically for travel. Brands like Brooks and Ascent have loads of basic styles that support your whole foot and allow you to be comfortably on-the-go all the time.

walking shoes

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Great for rain, even greater for bacterial growth. Gumboots’ moist environment is a breeding ground for fungus, not to mention the constant rubbing and heaviness of these shoes.


The alternative: Ditch the non-breathable rubber for regular boots that are water resistant (available for men and women). Look for a boot that protects against water, but is also light and flexible and provides support for your stride.

hiking boots

And while they say beauty is pain, there is no need to damage your feet for the sake of one pair of shoes.

What’s your favourite travel shoe?

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