Traveling light may be the most convenient and practical way to go, but traveling or not, don't we all always want to put our best foot forward - literally? I think so!
The real question is, can we travel light and still look great? Of course! It’s all about selecting the right pieces to make the travel cut and, more precisely, about investing in the right pieces in the first place.
The first thing that comes to mind when traveling is comfort footwear. Athletic shoes, ballet flats and flip flops may be the first options that pop to mind. But let’s see why it’s okay or even preferable to ditch these options.
By definition, athletic shoes or sneakers are made for specific physical activities in mind. Running shoes with their additional sole support are made for strong ground impact, tennis shoes are made with flexibility in mind, and high tops for additional stability intended for basketball players. While on holiday, a good pair of workout or running shoes might make sense to have on hand for those who don’t intend to ditch a daily workout. But a great workout is always possible without the athletic shoes in activities such as Pilates and yoga. And even in more gym-style workouts, working out barefoot is actually recommended especially in activities such as strength training, jump-roping and Tabatha for example. Being barefoot forces the muscles and joints to work more, helping you to gain foot strength and improve your posture and balance. So, can we ditch the athletic shoes and make space for something better in our suitcase? Surely!
Let’s move on to the ballet flat, a shoe adopted from traditional lace-up ballet dancing shoes. These are a classic option in many shoe closets with variations such as the Mary Jane that include a strap across the top vamp (the top part of the shoe). They are simple, go well in moving from day to night, flat - so should be comfortable, and may seem like a good option to include in your traveling shoe selection. But in reality, they provide little support and have no arch system to absorb the pressure on the feet while walking which can lead to knee, hip and even back problems. So, are we are leaning towards ditching the ballet flat as well? I think so!
And flip flops, who wouldn’t pack a pair of flip flops while planning for a wonderful summer vacation? By the pool or for casual daily wear, what may seem like practical Y-shaped strap slippers, usually made of plastic or rubber, are actually just as bad for your feet as ballet flats. They lack the arch system and support needed for your feet and limit your feet from functioning optimally. Wearing flip-flops to go from the pool to your sun-bed or around the spa might be fine, but that’s about it!
So, what kind of shoes are the best shoes for travel?
Here are some options:
Traditionally, moccasins are a heel-less shoe made of soft leather where the sole may be hard or soft and flexible. In a soft-soled moccasin, the sole is brought up the sides of the foot and over the toes to join a U-shaped piece on top of the foot. They are sturdy enough for walking while being plush enough for comfort, especially when of natural leather.
The Rana Cheikha iconic Medan Moccasin is a great option in the moccasin family. They are created of a one-piece genuine calfskin construction with two rubber pieces incorporated to the sole to enable outdoor use. They are great to go from day to night and definitely one made to make the travel cut.
Oxford, Derby & Monk Strap Shoes
The classic oxford and derby shoes are a lace up shoe with a low heel (toe cap versions considered more formal options). The difference lays in the lacing, whereby closed lacing is characteristic of the oxford and open lacing of the derby. This means that the laces of the oxford are sewn under the vamp and close at the bottom of it, while in the open derby system, the shoelace eyelets are on top of the vamp allowing the shoe to lace up looser than the oxford, which also makes them a better option for wider feet.
The Monk Strap shoe is similar in shape to the above two, however close with a wide strap across the vamp instead of with laces.
All three are great travel options, as long as they have been worn in and made of a supple leather. They support the foot well and look great in a variety of situations, being worn casually with a pair of jeans of more formally with a skirt or great pair of pants.
The Ain Oxford is a version of the classic oxford that is a sublime travel option. It is comfortable with enough support for walking and of course stylish enough to look great with just about anything.
Platform & High Heel Shoes
Platform shoes (that can be sandals, closed shoes or boots) feature a heel and thick sole to elevate the entire foot off the ground. They are more comfortable than the high heel since the foot is less arched.
A high heel, on the other hand, is any shoe with a heel that exceed 1 inch and can vary between a thin stiletto heel to a chunky block heel.
For a fancier travel shoe, a low block heel is always great option. It is a comfortable intermediary between wearing a more casual platform and a painfully (although great looking) stiletto. Plus, they can be a more flexible option when styled correctly when moving from causal to formal wear. Check out the gorgeous Dinieh 5cm Block Heel option in black or cherry and you’ll see why!
A sandal is basically a sole that is strapped onto the foot, a low-cut shoe that closes at the ankle or any type of slipper and is always a must for summer travels. We have already established that the flip flop is a go-to no-no for summer strolls, and instead would advocate for a much more comfortable and well-made leather sandal. These can be of any type and range from slip-ons to strappy sandals, gladiators, or ankle straps. They are a much more elegant option, can go from casual to semi-casual, look great and are better for your feet too. The entire Wander by Rana Cheikha collection is created on that basis - elegant slides that will keep you walking for hours while you discover the hidden street of your favorite summer cities.
Ankle & Knee-High Boots
Boots are shoes that extend to the ankle (the ankle boot or bootie) or beyond like the knee-high boot that extends to the knee and originally created for horse riders to protect the riders from mud.
Boots are a great travel option as they give a good amount of support in covering the foot, ankle and different heights of the leg. They are a great option for any season, even summer - who doesn’t want to look like a rock-star in a pair of ankle boots and summer dress or high wasted shorts? Check out the favorite Rehan Ankle boot that works beautifully across the seasons and should definitely be in any traveling selection, big or small.
Now that you know what kind of shoes are best for travel, enjoy your trips while looking shoe-fabulous in a selection from the Rana Cheikha and Wander Collections. And always remember to use our guides that include Travel the World with Your Best Shoes and How to Keep Your Shoes Shinning to make sure they’re always looking great!
Signing-off: The Shoe Advisor