I’ve been a shoe-fanatic for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my parents awarded me a new pair of shoes for every exceptional report card that I received. I carefully selected my outfits around the shoe I wanted to showcase that day. I endured the blisters and swelling all for the greater good of the shoes. More times than not I put beauty over comfort. With age, I’ve learned to factor in the terms ‘practical’ and ‘durable’ when shoe shopping. This is of particular importance when selecting shoes to pack for a trip.
I’ve recently started a packing list for my upcoming trip to Stockholm in May. In the past, with every trip that I planned I considered shoes to be the easiest to pack. I’d throw in a few of every color and I am good to go, right? Three boots, two flats, a pump and a sandal later, my luggage is full before any clothing is even added.
I have since refined my method and now before I begin packing, I identify a travel color palette. Depending on the location, I try to stick with neutrals as they are easier to mix and match. I aim to only pack up to three pairs per trip, fewer if possible.
It is also important to keep the weather and geography in consideration during the time of travel. I try to be realistic when selecting shoes to include. The strappy open-toed pumps have no business being included in my suitcase for a trip to explore the cobblestone streets of Denmark in November. Keeping the Stockholm spring weather in mind, I rounded up a few of my most reliable shoes that I plan to pack with me.
For enduring mileage: Clarks desert boot
I love my Clarks desert boot. These boots serve as a supportive, reliable, and comfortable shoe. The chukka-style high ankle lends support to the entire foot. The thick rubber sole provides even comfort and is ideal for walking. I pack my brown beeswax leather Clarks every time that I travel, no matter the season. The neutral color offers a variety of pairing options for many outfits. For spring travel I like to pair with a light skinny jean cuffed at the ankle with a tunic top. This offers a casual look with the support of a sneaker or tennis shoe. I definitely recommend breaking these in before packing them for a trip. I found that the leather needs to stretch a bit to ensure maximum comfort.
For discreet comfort: Jambu Sofia wedge
For discreet comfort, I rely on my Jambu Sofia sandal. These wedges are lined with memory foam that translates to basically walking on a pillow. These are my go-to shoes for enduring long walks or extended time on my feet. The chunky wedge offers backup support on cobble stones and uneven pavement. Jambu’s take on the classic t-strap shoe design is modernized to offer style and comfort. The secure buckle keeps my foot stable and in-place affording me continued stability. The memory foam base molds around my foot each time I slip these on. The wedge heel offers a sophisticated look for a day or evening out. I have these in black pairing nicely with all other color combinations. During the day, I pair my Jambu’s with a white jean and a bright cotton t-shirt. For a night out, I pair the Sofia wedge with a shirt dress and chunky necklace. This wedge upgrades a casual outfit without sacrificing comfort.
For space saving: Tieks by Gavrieli
The Tieks ballet flats shoes are made for travel. The easy, compact shoe with split soles folds perfectly even in your carry on. The supportive ballet flats made of real Italian leather and foam cushion offers comfort that most other flats cannot. The nice thing about these flats is that they have a dedicated cushion support for both the ball and heel of your foot. Most other ballets include an unsupported, flat surface on the bottom. The other feature that I especially love in Tieks is the non-elastic backing. Some flats are tight around the heel and rubs against the Achilles. This is not ideal for extended wear. Tieks are non-elastic and offered a cushion for long-term comfort. I packed the taupe pair for my trip. This color is natural and can hide the dirt and scuffs that might naturally accumulate as I wander. I pair these with a light sun dress for early evening cocktails and appetizers.
I also never travel without my shoe bags and shoe pads. I picked up a few Cath Kidston shoe bags during my last trip to London. I can easily fit one pair of shoes per bag saving space in my luggage. The bags keep the shoes secure and mitigates the opportunity for dirt and grim to get on my clothing. I also recommend picking up a few sets of sole savers for extra padding and bring a set for emergencies. They are compact making it easy to throw in the shoe bags and neutral in color. I have two sets of foot petals for the ball of my feet in both black and lily. I always pack a couple of pairs of no-show socks also. I throw a pair in my carry on and slip them on during my travel so my feet are covered in the highly trafficked airport security area.
I have learned that I don’t have to sacrifice comfort or style when traveling. I also don’t have to look like a tourist when traveling just to ensure that my feet won’t swell up each night. Decide on your personal style and taste and take some time to do the research. Your most Instagrammable shoe can look great and feel comfortable all in one.
Many thanks to Jambu for sending a pair of Sofia Sandals for the purposes of review. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.
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