Balding Beards is reader-supported. When you buy through external links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
A man should never take footwear for granted when he travels, but he has to choose wisely. For one, there are limitations on how many shoes he can bring with him, as well as determining the right shoes for every occasion.
Furthermore, not all shoes are great for travel, which is why we want to focus on the best travel shoes for men – including the Ecco Men’s Soft 7 Sneaker , our top pick among many great options.
We’ll discuss what to look for when buying shoes for travel, as well as some general tips that will help make your trip more comfortable and less stressful.
Let’s start with some buying tips.
|Ecco Men's Soft 7 Sneaker||Check on Amazon →|
|Allen Edmonds Men’s Strandmok Oxford Shoe||Check on Amazon →|
|Birkenstock Boston Clogs||Check on Amazon →|
|Vivobarefoot Men’s Ra II Classic Oxford||Check on Amazon →|
|Sperry Men’s Authentic 2-Eye Boat Shoes||Check on Amazon →|
|Merrell Men’s Burnt Rock Travel Suede Hiking Shoe||Check on Amazon →|
|Altra AFM1884A Men’S Vali Sneaker||Check on Amazon →|
|Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Hiking Boot||Check on Amazon →|
|Skechers Men's Segment The Search Slip On Loafer||Check on Amazon →|
Before you buy: 8 Things to consider when purchasing travel shoes
The right pair of footwear will enhance your travel experience and help make it a pleasure. The wrong pair? Well, an easy way to spoil your trip is walking around with a pair of foot-killing kicks.
That’s why it’s important to choose the right shoes for travel wisely, and the following suggestions should help.
1. Destination is important
The travel shoes you choose should pair well with your destination. That’s pretty obvious for certain trips, i.e., you wouldn’t bring a pair of hiking boots with you, if you’ll spend most of your time strolling through a city. Or a pair of sandals for a winter trip to a cold climate.
Not only should you consider your destination but also the types of activities planned. You may divide your time between city sightseeing and spending it in nature, or perhaps your trip is business-related, and you need to choose your footwear accordingly.
The fit is it when it comes to footwear. It doesn’t matter if you have the right shoe for the occasion, destination, or activity if your shoes are uncomfortable. There are several ways to ensure that you get the right fit, including:
- Try on shoes in the late afternoon or early evening, if possible. Feet naturally swell during the day, and a new shoe that has a snug fit when you try it on in the morning may be too tight later in the day.
- Wear, or bring with you, the type of sock that you’ll wear with your new shoes when you travel.
- Have your feet sized by a professional whenever possible. You may be surprised to find out that your feet have slightly different sizes – which isn’t uncommon at all.
- Take them for a test drive. Once you’ve settled on the right size, spend several minutes walking around the store to get a true sense of how they fit. Is the toe box too tight? Does the heel slip? Too narrow? Too wide?
- Read the reviews of others when buying shoes online. Size varies from manufacturer to manufacturer; a size 9 in one brand may be a half-size different in another.
- When in doubt, choose a shoe that’s snug everywhere, but not too tight, and provides enough room to wiggle your toes.
3. Function & Performance
Consider all the variables when choosing a men’s shoe for travel.
For instance, determine whether the shoe’s sole is appropriate enough – and durable enough – for your activities. Or, maybe it’s essential that the shoe is waterproof. Read reviews to gain a sense of a particular shoe’s overall comfort rating.
It never hurts to look for a shoe that serves multiple functions, either. Some shoes provide enough support to handle a bit of hiking in nature but still look fashionable enough to wear for casual occasions in the evening, such as a night out at a favorite pub.
A quality shoe won’t weigh you down when you travel (or incur excess baggage fees) but must be durable enough to handle whatever activities you have in store.
Let’s face it: how a shoe looks is important, too. While you shouldn’t sacrifice fit and comfort for appearance, you still want to look good, not necessarily like an obvious “tourist” because of your footwear.
Besides, there are other reasons why you don’t want to look like an obvious tourist, including that you may be an easy target for scammers and would-be thieves.
How well a shoe “breathes” – its ventilation and ability to keep your foot cool, dry, and cozy – is another important consideration. Some shoes incorporate microfibers that wick sweat away from your feet. Mesh uppers usually earn high marks for breathability.
Leather, suede, and canvas are the most common materials used in shoe construction.
Leather has plenty of visual appeal, is durable, and generally porous enough to offer some breathability.
Suede is a staple of men’s casual footwear, while canvas shoes (such as sneakers) are popular in spring and summer, although certainly not limited to those seasons.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra for a shoe that fits and looks good, but a high price doesn’t always indicate a shoe’s overall quality, either.
Determine how much you want to spend before you buy and whether you’re willing to go beyond your budget if you find a shoe that offers everything you need.
Next, here’s a look at our choices of the best travel shoes for men.
The 9 best travel shoes for men in 2020
You’re often on your feet a lot when you travel, which isn’t a bad thing. Sneakers typically provide the kind of long-lasting comfort you need during your adventures, but not all sneakers.
Ecco’s Soft 7 Sneakers for men check all the right boxes, however, and can help make your travels more pleasurable and foot-friendly. A European shoe company, Ecco designs shoes that are comfortable for walking, as well as TSA-friendly.
The Soft 7 features a 100% nubuck leather upper that’s lightweight and has a soft feel. It also has a full anatomical last shape that makes for a comfortable fit that’s neither too tight nor too snug.
What’s nice is the Ecco uses different anatomical last for its men’s and women’s shoes, instead of just sizing down the men’s last to “fit” women’s sizes.
The shoe’s insole is removable and features Ecco’s signature comfort fiber system for increased air circulation and breathability.
The direct-injected synthetic outsole is durable, yet light and flexible, and offers all of the support you need during your travels.
Another thing we like is their casual style. They look great with a variety of clothing options and are nice enough to wear for every casual activity.
- Made from premium leather
- Features Ecco’s comfort fiber system in the insoles
- Airport friendly
- You’ll pay more for these shoes
All of the shoes we list in this review our comfortable, but Ecco’s Soft 7 Sneakers rise to the top. They have a lightweight feel and design that’s built for comfort.
If you’re a business traveler, your shoe needs are a bit different than someone who’s traveling for pleasure. You’ll probably spend a lot of time in meetings, seminars, conferences, and face-to-face meetings with important bigwigs.
That said, you need a shoe that fits the occasion – at least the “business” part of the occasion. The Allen Edmonds Men’s Strandmok Oxford Shoe has you covered with its classic style and design. It easily ranks among the best shoes for business travel.
Made from 100% leather, the Strandmok has a timeless style that borrows from the Allen Edmonds’ vintage Strand design.
It comes with new twists, however, including burnished nubuck – which is cowhide leather that’s brushed to give it the feeling of suede – and contains a plethora of natural oils that form an eye-pleasing patina the longer you wear the shoe.
The cap-toe oxford design features a decorative brogue and contrast stitching. It’s an excellent look that works for dressier and semi-casual occasions and is very versatile for travel.
The Strandmok also features a Dainite rubber outsole with a split reverse welt for extra stability.
The insole consists of Poron, a urethane cushioning material often favored by people with painful foot issues. The heel measures approximately 1 inch. It helps make the Strandmok one of the most comfortable and stylish men’s travel shoes.
Allen Edmonds has a long line of quality dress shoes, and it’s a list that makes it hard to single out one particular pair.
But the Strandmok offers excellent versatility for travel, and features a wider profile that makes them a great alternative to boots when temperatures start to drop.
- High-quality craftsmanship from a reputable company
- Decorative styling that’s hard to beat
- Multiple length attachments that suit whatever part of your face, head, and body that you’re trimming.
- Sizing may run a bit large
The Strandmok has a fresh look that maintains the best parts of its traditional lineage. It’s great for travel, because it’s appropriate for a variety of occasions.
Birkenstock is synonymous with comfort, and their Boston Clogs offer all the comfort you’ll need while you travel.
Featuring a unisex design – which, admittedly, isn’t the most stylish – the Boston Clogs are all about function and comfort.
The upper features a suede shell and an adjustable strap that makes it easier to find just the right fit for your feet, while the EVA outsole is flexible, durable, and shock-absorbent.
The footbed is of the original Birkenstock design, i.e., it helps to distribute your body weight evenly over the whole foot while offering superior support.
And, like all of Birkenstock’s products, they’re made from durable materials that should last you a long time.
- Supreme comfort
- Supportive outsole that’s very flexible
- They provide cushioning for the entire foot
- Sizing runs large
You’d be hard-pressed to find more comfortable travel footwear than Birkenstock’s Boston Clogs design. They’re well-cushioned and very supportive.
Barefoot, or “minimalist,” shoes are the choice of many men, including those who ascribe to the school of thought that regular shoes cause all sorts of leg, ankle, and foot problems, despite their manufacturers’ best intentions.
“Barefoot is best,” say minimalist advocates, and if you have to wear shoes (which, well, almost all of us do), then at least wear barefoot shoes.
Not that going sockless in a favorite pair of shoes will go over well at your next business meeting, but if you can get away with it, why not?
A more casual environment, like when you travel, is another reason to go sans socks, and a shoe such as Vivobarefoot’s Men’s Ra II Classic Oxford is a classy option.
Vivobarefoot has a nice line of minimalist shoes, and the Classic Oxford earns high marks across the board. It has a smart lace-up design that helps make it an appropriate shoe for more formal occasions.
They’re ideal for the business traveler who needs a nice-looking, multi-functional shoe during working hours but something that’s casual enough for evening activities.
The Vivobarefoot Ra represents the second generation of the brand’s minimalist work shoe. It has a new, synthetic, outsole and a wider toe box – a toe box that at least one reviewer said is wider than any other shoe he’s tried.
You won’t experience any pressure on your toes with the latest version of the Ra.
The Ra’s leather upper comes in brown and black and has a traditional oxford look. There’s some debate as to whether these shoes are a bit too casual for a suit, but there’s no question of their appropriateness for business casual settings.
Additionally, the shoe’s sole is ultra-thin, which makes it extremely lightweight and flexible. You shouldn’t wear the Ra on rough terrain, but it does provide plenty of urban comfort.
The sole also has a puncture-resistant layer that makes it even more protective than a standard sole found on many other shoes.
The Ra’s insole is thin and made of leather, while the shoe also comes with a removable footbed that makes it easier to get a custom fit. The heel is a bit flatter than on the original Ra design.
Something else that we like about this shoe is its flexibility. There’s little, if any, resistance to the movement of the foot, and that’s not surprising from a company dedicated to making shoes that fit a person’s natural gait.
- Good for business casual and casual settings
- Very lightweight
- Flexible design prevents agony of the feet
- Toe box makes the shoe look a bit big
Vivobarefoot is a top player in the minimalist shoe world, and with good reason. Their Ra II improves upon an already excellent shoe, and it’s good for many occasions as you travel.
It’s hard to beat the Sperry 2-Eye boat shoes when it comes to casual wear, and the brand has been for the last 80 years or so.
If you plan to spend any time enjoying casual activities – including during a business-oriented trip – then pack a pair of 2-Eye boat shoes. You won’t be disappointed.
The original boat shoe, Sperry’s Authentic 2-Eye shoes still has many of the same features that made it an instant hit in 1935.
As its name suggests, it was marketed originally for men who spent a lot of time on boats and who needed a shoe that wouldn’t slip and slide on a wet deck.
Today, many, many men wear boat shoes for all kinds of activities, including as casual wear that’s ideal for travel. That’s no surprise considering their comfort and versatility.
They pair well with a lot of casual clothes, including jeans and shorts, and look great for casual evening encounters even if you’re not on the road again.
Something else that the Sperry 2-Eye boat shoes has retained is its classic moccasin-style look. It’s a style that’s nothing short of iconic when it comes to footwear, and it’s also fully functional for a variety of reasons:
- The shoe has a razor-cut wave-siping sole that’s good for wet and dry traction.
- They feature a 360-degree lacing system that helps provide a snug, but not tight, fit.
- It has an Ortholite insole that helps keep your feet comfortable.
- They have a shock-absorbing EVA heel cup for added comfort and stability. It also has a beveled outer heel.
- They look good in casual and business casual settings and look great when paired with polo shirts, khakis, and chinos.
- They’re made of genuine leather and hand-sewn for durability.
- Still relevant after all these years
- Classic design and look
- Superior traction and stability
- The heel design isn’t to everyone’s liking
It’s hard to go wrong with a shoe that continues to stand the test of time. You’ll like it because of, among other reasons, its versatility, which makes it an excellent shoe to take with you when you travel.
If exploring the great outdoors is a main reason you travel, then you need a shoe that holds up to the rigors of often unpredictable terrain.
But you may also want something with versatility – such as one you can wear on the trail but also for strolling around in a more urban environment.
If so, you should check out Merrell’s Burnt Rock Travel Suede Hiking shoe, which the folks at Merrell describe as “credible in the city, incredible in the woods.”
The Burnt Rock features durable construction, which is nothing new by Merrell standards, as well as an attractive design that makes it a good choice for many casual occasions as you travel.
The Burn Rock consists of 100% imported suede leather, an M Select GRIP outsole that provides durable traction and grip when you need it, as well as a Kinetic Fit Base with a removable contoured insole for flexible support.
You needn’t worry about arch support with this shoe, either; in fact, one Amazon reviewer said the arch offered too much support. To each his own, but we think it’s a shoe that earns high overall comfort ratings.
The upper also has a breathable mesh that helps keep your foot cool during all of your travels.
Another reason we included the Merrell Burnt Rock on our list is that it requires minimal break-in time. It’s always a plus when you can go from box to pavement – or trail – without the often-frequent stiffness.
- Good for the trail and the pavement
- Excellent support
- Concern that the rubber toe cap may peel off over time
The Merrell Burnt Rock Travel Suede Hiking Shoe combines durability, comfort, and style in a shoe that’s suitable for a variety of terrains and occasions.
The Altra Vali Sneaker’s appearance stands out among the rest, which is why we think it’s among the most stylish walking shoes for travel. It’s also good for other activities, not just for strolling around while enjoying the sights and sounds of your travel destination.
While we love the Vali Sneaker’s versatility, we also include it on our list for many other reasons, including:
- It features a sleek, knit upper and cushioned midsole that offers the kind of comfort that makes it ideal for everyday wear.
- The upper includes an engineered knit mesh that’s both breathable and stylish.
- The Vali Sneaker’s BLOOM insole foam (a new addition to its construction last year) contributes to its overall comfort. Additionally, the insole is made from algae biomass that helps lessen the shoe’s carbon footprint.
- It has a roomy toe box that makes it easier to walk in your natural stride. You won’t notice any pinching around your toes.
- You’ll appreciate the cushiony feel of the Vali Sneaker’s EVA midsole. It helps make this shoe ideal for spending a long day on your feet.
- The full rubber outsole provides plenty of traction on various types of terrain.
But back to the Vali sneaker’s versatility. While it’s suitable for everyday use, including in business casual settings, it even serves as a decent workout shoe. It’s hard to go wrong with this shoe if you plan to do a lot of walking when you travel.
- Unique design and appearance
- Great for when you’re on your feet all day
- Excellent grip and traction
- Some users don’t like how the heel fits
The Alti Vali Sneaker serves a variety of functions and is appropriate for many types of occasions. They’re comfortable enough for all-day wear, which is saying something.
To some, a vacation spent sightseeing in a popular tourist destination ranks low on their to-do list. For many folks, the world and its abundance of natural wonders makes traveling while exploring the great outdoors the only way to go.
If you fall into the latter group, you need a shoe that can handle the terrain, so to speak, and we think the Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot is among the best shoes for adventure travel.
The GTX is a hiking shoe that’s functional, whether you’ve planned a day hike or a weekend backpacking.
While they qualify as a hiking “boot,” the Renegade GTX is attractive enough that you could wear them out on the town in the evening, as long as you pair them with the right kind of jeans (not skinny jeans, because they’ll look too clunky).
The GTX also has plenty of great features to warrant a spot on our list, including its nubuck leather and fabric upper that’s durable enough for a wide array of outdoor adventures.
It has a traditional lace-up system that helps provide a secure fit, while its Monowrap frame is lightweight and reduces the boot’s overall weight while also offering excellent lateral stability.
What else? You’ll also like the GTX’s waterproof, seamless Gore-Tex lining and a comfortable midsole that provides excellent shock absorption and support.
There’s also a climate-controlled footbed that’s breathable and will keep your foot cool, even during long hikes in warmer weather.
We talked earlier about Vibram outsoles, including about how effective they are for outdoor shoes, and the Renegade GTX features a Vibram Eco Trac sole for superior traction.
Experienced hikers who’ve spent time on all types of terrain say the Renegade GTX is comfortable and durable enough to hold up to the rigors of consistent, strenuous use.
Few things are more aggravating than developing a blister on a long hike, but the GTX helps to protect your feet, so you can keep on trekking without impediment.
- Ideal for outdoor adventures
- Excellent traction and stability
- Few, but may be a bit bulky when compared to some other hiking shoes
The Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX is a great shoe for outdoor adventurists. It’s comfortable, stable, and able to handle long hours spent on the trail.
Skechers earns plenty of gold stars for its lifestyle footwear for men, women, and children, and deservedly so. Its shoes cover a lot of ground, not just on foot, but also for versatility.
The men’s Segment Search Slip-On Loafer is a good all-around shoe as well as one that’s ideal for travel. It comes in a classic, no-frills design, and offers superior comfort, whether you’re exploring a new city, going to work, or running errands on the weekend.
The Search Slip-On design features contrast stitching, a padded collar, and an inset pull-on tab at the tongue that makes it easier to slip in and out of the shoe. There’s also dual-side elastic gores that help with taking the shoe on and off.
But travel shoes also need to be comfortable and Skechers doesn’t fall short in that category, either. The Search comes with a gel-infused memory insole that’s easy on the feet and absorbs shock nicely.
The upper consists of 100% leather with reinforced stitching that contributes to the shoe’s overall lightweight feel. Then again, Skechers has a strong reputation for producing shoes that offer all-day comfort, even if you spend most of your day on your feet.
- A durable rubber sole provides the traction you need on a variety of surfaces.
- The gel-infused insole cushions the foot while providing ample shock absorption.
- Casual loafer design makes it suitable for a variety of occasions and wardrobe choices.
- Some reviewers say that sizing runs large.
The diverse Skechers product line covers a lot of bases, including comfortable men’s shoes for travel. The Segment Slip-On checks all the right boxes whether you’re exploring a city or going about your typically busy day.
Tips for traveling comfortably, no matter your destination
While there’s no one way to travel that fits everyone’s needs – variables such as destination, the reason for the trip, and personal preference come into play.
After all – there are things you can do to make your life easier no matter where you’re headed, or the reason why.
The following travel hacks will help relieve some of the stress of travel planning while also helping you to pack efficiently.
Packing the shoes you need
What shoes you bring with you when you travel is very much dependent on your destination. It’s not hard to see why; after all, you may not need your hiking boots on a business trip (unless you’ll have a lot of extra time on your hands).
Efficient packing means, in part, packing only what you need, and the same rule applies for packing your shoes. In some cases, you may only need one pair of business shoes and one pair of casual shoes.
If you’re traveling for pleasure, however, bring what you need – sandals, sneakers, a casual pair for evenings on the town, etc. – but don’t overdo it. Shoes can take up a decent amount of space in your carry-on or suitcase, so plan accordingly.
It’s helpful to make a list of all of the activities planned for your trip. If you plan on working out in the hotel or resort gym every day, then by all means pack training shoes.
If you’ve had the same plan on previous trips, but never got close to the gym other than walking past it on your way to the beach or favorite nightclub, then think twice about adding bulk to your suitcase with shoes you won’t use.
The bottom line is this: most people only need two pairs of shoes when they travel, three at most. More doesn’t always mean better.
How to pack your shoes
There are a few schools of thought regarding the best way to pack your shoes. The most common suggests that you place your shoes at the bottom of your suitcase or carry-on. If nothing else, doing so protects your clothes from dirt on the bottom of your shoes.
You also can pack your bags in a large resealable bag, which makes them easier to access once you arrive at your destination. Or, if your shoes are too big to fit in a bag, you always can bind two pairs together with a rubber band or twist tie.
The Travel Security Administration (TSA) recommends that travelers pack their shoes at the top of their suitcase or any checked bag, so they can easily access them if further inspection is needed.
If you pack your shoes in an unchecked bag, it’s best to lay them on their sides whenever possible. Lay one shoe down in your luggage and then place the other so that the heel is at the top of the first shoe.
Another way to save space in your luggage is to wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane (or train).
Also, if you buy new shoes specifically for a trip, do yourself a favor and break them in first before you leave home. There’s no need to risk blisters on your first day of sightseeing.
That said, you also should pack first aid for your feet, such as adhesive strips that prevent blisters or medication that heals raw spots on your feet.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
Many people have endured the frustration of rushing out the door, boarding a plane, and realizing that they’ve left an important item at home. You can avoid the hassle, however, with a bit of prior preparation, which should include:
- Laying out your essentials the night before, especially if you have an early morning flight.
- Always keep your ID, such as your driver’s license and passport (if needed) in a place where you won’t forget them in the morning. Make sure that you have your wallet and the credit cards you’ll need for travel. Also, don’t leave home without a charger, or chargers, for your electronic devices.
- Packing with intention: create a packing list that includes all of the activities you have planned for your trip that will help you decide what clothing you must bring with you. Doing so can help you from randomly filled your luggage with items you may not need, and for helping you not to leave anything
- Don’t wait until the last minute to do your laundry.
Your focus needs to be on planning and alleviating the stress of traveling, so wash essential items of clothing three days before your trip begins. You’ll leave yourself time to run clothes to the dry cleaners, if necessary
Use a Dopp bag to store your toiletries
A Dopp bag, or travel kit, is an indispensable tool every man needs. Rather than scattering your toiletries in your suitcase or carry-on randomly while gambling that your favorite cologne won’t leak all over your favorite dress shirt, pack them in one bag that will:
a) help contain spills
How we chose the best travel shoes for men (2020)
Among the primary reasons for choosing the shoes we did for your list was variety.
Rather than exclude a certain type of footwear – such as sandals and hiking shoes and boots – we wanted to include a variety because the right shoes for you, and your destination, may not fit someone else’s needs.
We also considered style, because there’s no reason to settle for a comfortable, travel-friendly shoe that stands out in a bad way, as well as other factors, such as traction, versatility, and overall comfort.
No matter how stylish they may look, they need to fit comfortably for long periods.
How about you? What are your favorite shoes for travel? Why do you like them? We always welcome your feedback and suggestions.