Backpacking | The best shoes to pack for your travels
Whether you’re backpacking or flashpacking, it can be hard to know how much to pack when you’re heading out on your first big adventure. (Check out my girl’s packing guide to Asia and Australia) It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a backpack or a suitcase, we all have limited space and you only want to take what you actually need. I used to be the worst for over-packing stuff I just didn’t and wouldn’t ever need on holiday, but since backpacking and realising that if I over-pack it is more weight for me to carry, I’ve found it much easier to cut down. One thing that is always very important to think about when packing is footwear – it’s so easy to overpack when it comes to shoes and these quickly add weight to your bag. While you may want to take the prettiest shoes around – it’s important to think more about long-term comfort. Your feet are your heroes when you travel, they carry you everywhere and go through a lot so it’s important to look after them and to treat them to decent shoes that will help support them for longer.
If you’re not planning on backpacking or travelling long-term, you can still be thinking about your upcoming summer holidays and festivals which always deserve a new pair of cute sandals. I don’t know about you guys but whether I’m travelling or just at home, I’m pretty hard on my shoes and wear them to death, so I’m always in need of a new pair of trainers or flip-flops. I like to start my packing, or my summer by having a huge clear out – trying on all my old shoes to see what still fits and is still in good enough condition to wear – anything that doesn’t gets thrown in the bin or taken to a charity shop. This gives me more space to store any new purchases and helps me work out my shopping list.
What shoes should I pack for my holidays?
A traveller’s favourite – these are perfect for the beach, exploring a new place, partying the night away or even wearing in the scummy hostel showers. It’s worth investing a little bit into these instead of going for the cheapest possible as the materials will last longer and they will support your feet more. I currently have some rubber ones from Billabong which have great support and are not damaged by the water. Straw ones look cute but they quickly begin to smell and go mouldy when damp, and super cheap ones will quickly fall apart and can strain your feet when walking.
My favourite shoes for travelling – these are so useful for so many things. If you have a nice pair they are perfect for daywear as well as nights out, plus if you’re travelling in cooler places these are good for keeping your feet warm. If you’re as active as me when you travel – they are also great for going running, for hiking, climbing, cycling and exploring. I tend to travel with a sporty pair of runners for outdoor activities – my current ones are Nike trainers – and I also like to keep a pair of nicer trainers with me for everything else – these were previously Converse and are now Adidas trainers. I can’t recommend Converse enough for travelling – I spent two years travelling with a white pair which ended up filthy a lot but were always sparkling white again after the washing machine.
One summer essential you need to buy early is sandals. It’s easy to forget when backpacking that you might end up in some pretty smart places – I’ve gone for cocktails at the Hilton in Thailand and been dancing in glamorous clubs in Sydney. So you always want to make sure you travel with one dressy/smart outfit and either a pair of nice sandals or heels to wear with them. The debate of sandals vs. heels is a long one so I’ll summarise for you, but it’s up to you what you choose. Sandals are great because they can be dressed up or down – most of my travels have been just with a nice pair of sandals mostly just to avoid wearing flip flops or trainers. However, I do currently have a pair of small heels with me after being based in Melbourne for 5-6 months and enjoying lots of nights out in fancy bars and clubs.
It entirely depends on where you are travelling and for how long – for Asia I would recommend just sandals as heels are never worn. For Australia, you may want a pair of heels for the cities but then again, if you’re sticking to outback life and road trips you’ll much prefer some small sandals. It’s good to spend some time picking out the sandals you really want, make sure they are comfortable and have sturdy soles – I had some beautiful ones made for me in Santorini, Greece. Make sure you go for a neutral pair that work with everything from dresses and skirts to jeans and shorts – you want to create a capsule wardrobe that allows you to combine all elements in various combinations. Taking this approach will save you money, and reduce the clutter in your wardrobe.
Once you’ve picked out your favourite new footwear, make sure you spend some time breaking them in to avoid blisters when you’re on the road. Remember that in hot weather your feet will swell slightly, so it may be a good idea to buy half a size up if your shoes are already slightly tight, or break them in wearing socks to stretch the material a little bit further. The strappier they are, the funkier your tan lines will look so always remember to put sunscreen on your feet once you’re in the sunshine.