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One unexpected issue that many travelers discover once they get to Europe are the cobblestone streets. Find out how and why to choose the best walking shoes for Europe!

 


Best Travel Shoes for Europe

Written by: Niki Landry


 

 

Table Of Contents

 

 

One of the charms of visiting many European cities is strolling through the authentic streetscapes. Old buildings, narrow alleys, and picturesque towns make for lovely photos, but often come with a pitfall: the cobblestone street.

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Wearing the Naot Sabrina sandals in Lisbon

 

My biggest piece of advice is to choose function over fashion. Really? Yes! The last thing you want is to allow pulsing, injured, or tired feet prevent you from enjoying the trip of a lifetime.

While great to look at, stone streets aren’t always the easiest to walk on and can make for sore feet even if you don’t normally have discomfort. Depending on the city, these streets can also be hilly, slippery when wet, and uneven.

Pair this with the miles of walking you’ll do and your feet may be screaming by the end of the day. It can be hard to keep your feet feeling perfectly content when you’re walking all day, but with the tips below, you can take to the streets like a local and survive the days!

 

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Wearing Skechers slip on sneakers in Paris

 

When choosing the correct footwear to traverse stone streets, make sure your Europe walking shoes include these features:

 

  • Adequate foot support
  • Cushioned supportive insole
  • Rubber sole with ridges and/or grooves
  • Style (a bonus)

 

 

At the end of this article, you’ll find a complete survival guide on how to choose comfortable travel shoes for Europe, but first, let’s take a look at our list of the best shoes for walking on cobblestones:

 

 

Comfortable Sandals for Europe

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Zappos | Söfft

 

Söfft Mirabelle Sandal

 

In the summertime, nothing beats a sandal, but it’s important to find something fashionable and supportive. As much as I love a simple slide-on sandal, they aren’t the best for long days and walking uphill.

Sandals are the most comfortable shoes for traveling in europe in the summer, particularly in destinations with hot weather such as Rome, where the heat is absolutely overwhelming. If your feet swell in the heat, wearing enclosed shoes might feel torturous. 

I highly suggest shoes with an ankle strap and cushioned sole like the Söfft Mirabelle Sandal. Leather straps also make for a more comfortable fit as opposed to a stiff, man-made upper, and they also help protect your shoes from sliding off on the cobblestones.

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Nordstrom | Zappos

 

Naot Sabrina Sandals

 

TFG’s editor found the Naot Sabrina sandals to be the most comfortable sandals ever! She wore them to walk non-stop through Italy, Switzerland, France, and England on a fast paced 2-week trip. You can see her wearing them in the pictures above and read her full trip report with everything she packed here.

They’re easy to slip on and off and have cute silver hardware on the side of the elastic ankle straps. The footbed molds to your feet, which comfortably allows you to keep hitting the pavement even when your legs want you to stop. 

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon

 

Vionic Kirra Sandal with Arch Support

 

Sightseeing in Europe is a serious workout! Get ready to walk until you drop. Well, hopefully with the tips in this post we’ll help you avoid that! We just want you to be prepared with the best and most comfortable shoes possible for your European adventure.

Opt for shoes with arch support like the Vionic sandals shown above. This is one of the most popular walking sandals for Europe and pretty much almost any other destination.

Please avoid slip on or slide sandals and definitely no flip-flops. Aside from comfort, it’s very easy to twist your ankle on the uneven streets so a secure shoe is a must.

 

Read this post for a full list of the most comfortable walking sandals!

 

 

Comfortable Slip Ons for Europe

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Zappos | Kohl’s | Nordstrom

 

Dr. Scholl’s Shoes Madison Sneaker

 

If you prefer a closed-toe option, then slip-ons, oxfords and loafers may be more your style. Look for slip on sneakers like the Dr Scholl’s Madison that offers insole support and cushioning.

Not only do they offer moderate support, they are available in over a dozen colors in sizes from 5-11 but some styles offer wide widths, too. You can always add an insole to some shoes to adjust for your own comfort level. 

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon

 

Skechers Go Walk Joy Walking Shoe

 

When you’re searching for the best shoes for traveling in Europe, keep in mind that you might be walking 5 to 6 miles per day. You will be exhausted when you’re done exploring the beautiful cities. For that reason, thousands of travelers swear by Skechers walking shoes such as the style shown above.

Nothing beats the Skechers cushioning when you spend all day standing and walking. These tend to be the preferred option for problem feet!

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon

 

Vionic Splendid Kani Slip-on Walking Shoes

 

For slip-ons with orthotic arch support, Vionic has the best choice. Readers say that this brand is the best with one stating, “I have about four pairs of Vionics and love them all. They are super supportive and comfortable.”

No matter what shoe you choose, it’s extremely important that your shoes be broken in and comfortable to avoid soreness and blisters. Always pack bandaids and moleskin, just in case.

 

Tip: Pack a pair or two of these no-show socks to wear with your low-cut shoes.

 

 

Comfortable Sneakers for Europe

 

 

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Shop: Allbirds

 

Allbirds Wool Runners

 

Let’s get one thing clear: sneakers are incredibly popular in Europe. Many travelers worry about being pegged as a tourist because they’re wearing sneakers. but that just isn’t the case anymore.

Obviously, there are more fashionable options than others, such as the popular All Birds sneakers shown above, but the bottom line is that it’s what you wear them with – and don’t forget that confidence is the key to style no matter what shoes you have on.

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Zappos | Walmart

 

Skechers Ultra Flex Salutations Sneaker

 

For fans of Skechers superior comfort, consider the low-key Salutations sneaker. It has a similar clean design to the All Birds including a discreet logo that doesn’t scream comfort shoe brand.

Keep the rest of your outfit minimalist and chic topped with a well-tailored jacket or coat. Your shoes won’t matter to anyone else and the best thing is that you’ll feel ultra-comfortable!

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Zappos

 

Taos Footwear Star Fashion Sneaker

 

Stylish sneakers like the Superga Cotu or Converse Shoreline are a popular option for women without foot issues. However, support and comfort is always a priority when it comes to travel. Shoes like Converse that you may have once been able to stand in all day for over 10 hours may no longer be comfortable if your lifestyle has changed over time.

Instead, opt for similar looking sneakers such as the Taos Star Fashion Sneaker. They offer hidden arch support while maintaining a classic design.

 

Bombas makes the best no-slip, no-show socks and we can’t recommend them enough!

 

 

Comfortable Walking Boots for Europe

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Shoes

 

Blondo Villa Waterproof Ankle Boots

 

For visiting destinations in the shoulder season or with unpredictable weather, a pair of comfortable, waterproof boots are a must for traveling in Europe. It’s essentials to have footwear that can handle all the elements and keep your feet comfortable, warm, and dry all at the same time.

The Blondo Villa boots shown above are easily the best women’s walking shoes for Europe in Autumn, Winter, and Spring. In fact, this is THE most popular travel boot in the entire TFG community! Our editor also raves about them. Read the full review!

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Zappos | Sorel | Moosejaw | Backcountry | Shoes

 

Sorel Emelie Chelsea Boot

 

To bear the brunt of cobblestones, look for options with a thick sole and cushioned interior such as the Sorel Emelie shown above, which can be used in both rain and some snow. It has a sturdy rubber sole, which is incredibly helpful offering traction on uneven streets and also when walking downhill on slippery floors. 

We’ll take a moment to note that some cities such as Paris or London can even experience rain in the summer. Always check the weather before your trip and opt for waterproof features whenever possible!

 

For more ideas, take a look at the best and most comfortable women’s waterproof leather boots as voted by TFG’s readers!

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Shoes | Macy’s

 

Sorel Cate Lace Up Boots

 

If you can find a pair that you can also wear at home, that’s always the best. Black ankle boots are ultra-versatile and are also a European footwear staple. They can easily be worn casually with jeans or leggings to sightsee and you can dress them up with tights and a dress, too.

Don’t forget about other neutral colors, too. Tan and brown are just as versatile as black shoes and add an element of interest to all-black outfits, too. The Sorel lace up boots shown above are available in a variety of different shades – you’re sure to find your perfect neutral!

 

Note: don’t be afraid of shoes with some heel. If they’re from “comfort” brands like the ones shown in this post, they’re heeled because they offer arch support. Here are some shoe suggestions if you suffer from serious foot issues such as plantar fasciitis.

 

 

Comfortable Ballet Flats for Europe

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon

 

Yosi Samra Samara II Flats

 

For the record, we really DO NOT recommend ballet flats as your sightseeing shoes. If you want a dressier shoe option, bring a packable pair like the stylish but budget-friendly Yosi Samra’s shown above. 

You can wear these for short periods of time such as in the evenings for dinner when your feet are swollen and you just want to have a change of shoes. They could also work as the shoes you fly in – just promise us you won’t try walking in them all day, please?

 

If you love ballerina flats and want to wear them for longer periods of time, try to choose a comfort flat like the ones featured here and here.

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: Amazon | Nordstrom | Zappos | Hush Puppies | Walmart | DSW

 

Hush Puppies Chaste Ballet Flats

 

The Hush Puppies ballet flats shown above are a good option for a dressy, versatile shoe on light travel days or evenings. They’re the readers’ top pick for travel flats. However, we don’t recommend you spend eight hours walking in them. Always look for a flexible sole, cushioned insole, and a soft upper that easily molds to your foot.

We’ll overemphasize that ballet flats are our least favorite option for cobblestones because they tend to offer almost no support. Trust us when we say that your feet will take a beating on those beautiful stone streets.

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Shop: AmazonNordstrom | Zappos | Dillards

 

Josef Seibel Pippa 07 Flats

 

It’s also important to note that some women don’t require as much support as others. One reader raves that her Josef Seibel ballerina flats were some of the best traveling shoes for Europe.

She said, “I love the comfort and look of Joseph Seibel’s black flats. I wore them while touring, walking on cobblestones, and going out to dinner and they still look great.” The ballet flats don’t look very stylish in the pic above, but TFG’s editor tried them on at Nordstrom and they were surprisingly cute!

 

 Take a look at our full list of the most cute and comfortable ballet flats for travel!

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

My cozy chelsea boots outfit traveling carryon only from London to Paris on the Eurostar (similar style)

 

How to Choose the Best Walking Shoes for Europe

 

Bring no more than three pairs opting for shoes that match all your clothing. Learn more about how to create a capsule wardrobe with just three pairs of shoes!

Pack one pair for sightseeing (walking), one pair of any special activities you have planned, and then a third pair to either dress up your outfits or one that’s appropriate for a change in weather.

These are the best shoes for sightseeing in the cold and these are the best shoes for sightseeing in the heat. Black ankle boots like these are the most recommended shoes for Europe when dealing with either cold or mixed weather.

 

Please read these posts for more Europe travel shoe inspiration:

 

Please note: ballet flats are a popular travel shoe option when you want a dressier look but they are NOT recommended for long hours on your feet sightseeing.

Choose one of these cute and comfortable walking shoes instead – they’re the options most recommended by our readers!

 

 Tip: Packing cubes make the perfect shoe bags to protect your luggage from dirty shoes. Take a look at other shoe bag ideas here

 

 

best-walking-shoes-for-europe

Wearing Naot Sabrina sandals in Italy

 

Keeping Your Feet Happy

 

In addition to the best shoes for Europe, there are a few steps you can take to keep your feet happy on your trip:

 

BREAK IN YOUR SHOES. The most important thing you can do for your feet is break in your shoes before your trip. As one reader says, “My advice to all: walk tons in the shoes you plan to wear. Do NOT take any shoes you can’t do 1-2 miles in.”

Some of the best shoes for traveling Europe may have a rough break-in period, and you don’t want to endure the pain during your travels. If you break them in at home, you can wear them for shorter intervals and give your feet a break.

PACK MORE THAN 1 SIGHTSEEING SHOE: Additionally, it’s helpful to pack a few shoes for Europe and switch them out throughout your trip based on your activities and destinations. 

As one reader says, “The main thing I try to do is switch up my footwear. I try not to wear the same shoes two days in a row, that way pressure points and painful areas are distributed differently each day,” while another adds, “I like to have different shoe options too. I find changing it up is the best thing for my feet.”

One reader swapped between two shoes and kept her feet happy. She says, “I just got back from two weeks in Italy, rotating between a pair of Hartjes XS lace-ups and Keen Rose sandals. I walked between 7 and 9 miles a day in really ferocious heat and never had a problem, and am truly grateful for both of those pairs of shoes.”

TAKE IT EASY AT THE END OF THE DAY. And lastly, give your feet some love when you are resting and sleeping for the night. A reader shares, “I married a man who spent his youth backpacking, hiking and doing survivalist training. 

On our long trips, we sleep with our feet elevated slightly on the pillow or two. It helps your feet recover and reduces swelling. I’m always shocked how much of a difference it makes!”

 

 

Product Comparison Chart

 

Here’s a quick overview for each of the best walking shoes for Europe:

SHOE STYLE PRODUCT 1 PRODUCT 2 PRODUCT 3

Comfortable Sandals for Europe


    In the summertime, nothing beats a sandal for traveling, but it’s important to find something fashionable and supportive.

Söfft Mirabelle Sandal


    Check Price

Naot Sabrina Sandals



    Check Price

Vionic Kirra Sandal with Arch Support


    Check Price

Comfortable Slip Ons for Europe


    If you prefer a closed-toe option, then loafers, slip-ons, and oxfords may be more your style. These three styles come with insole support and cushioning, but you can always add an insole to an existing shoe you own.

Dr. Scholl's Shoes Madison Sneaker


    Check Price

Skechers Go Walk Joy Walking Shoe


    Check Price

Vionic Splendid Kani Slip-on


    Check Price

Comfortable Sneakers for Europe


    Stylish sneakers are always a good option for any city streets and some of the best walking shoes for Europe.

Allbirds Wool Runners


    Check Price

Skechers Ultra Flex Salutations Sneaker


    Check Price

Taos Footwear Star Sneaker


    Check Price

Comfortable Boots for Europe


    For visiting destinations in the shoulder season or with unpredictable weather, a pair of ankle booties are the best walking shoes for Europe. They're great for keeping your feet warm and dry, but are also a European footwear staple.

Blondo Villa Ankle Bootie


    Check Price

Sorel Emelie Chelsea Boot


    Check Price

Sorel Cate Lace Up Boots


    Check Price

Comfortable Ballet Flats for Europe


    They're my least my favorite option for cobblestones because they tend to slip off the back of the foot and rub, especially on narrow-footed women, but it may be necessary if you need dressy options without a heel during your trip.

Yosi Samra Samara II Flats


    Check Price

Hush Puppies Chaste Ballet


    Check Price

Josef Seibel Pippa 07 Flat


    Check Price

 

 


What do you think are the best walking shoes for Europe? Please share below!


 

For more ideas on walking shoes for Europe, please read:

 


 

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Author Bio: Niki is an interior designer and artist from Louisiana. In addition to her design work, she writes for local and online publications sharing her experiences and passion for travel. Niki is currently adding stamps to her passport while building her design practice, Niki Landry Designs.