5 Must-Have Shoes for Your Summer Vacation

Packing for the person that you WANT to be on vacation instead of the person that you will be is not an uncommon theme when it comes to packing. Also not uncommon is being unable to visualize full outfits and, as a result, packing an unrivaled number of random clothing articles — which often never even get unpacked or worn while you’re there! 

Just as common as this issue, though, is the array of issues (both health and otherwise) that can come from carrying seven pairs of shoes in your travel bag. From the stress on your shoulder from struggling with your bulky heavy bag to the hot flashes that hold you hostage as you try to find an outfit amongst everything in your bag at the hotel — the reasons to pack light are endless. So veer toward versatility when it comes to your summer vacation shoes by aiming for styles like the selections below.

5 Must Have Shoes for Your Summer Vacation

Something Super Comfortable and Cool for Everyday Activities 

If you know your vacation will consist of lots of strolling, shopping and sightseeing, comfortable sandals will be your solution to doing it in style. Cute and comfortable sandals for women will effortlessly make you feel more stylish and pulled together — matching the vacation vibes both in ease and aesthetic! They are perfect for packing, perfect for pool days and party nights alike, thanks to how easy they are to dress up or down, perfect for any outfit and perfect for slipping into at spontaneous stops. So whether you’re drawn to simple slides, something strappy or utility sandals, aim for features that will take you far on vacation like the following.

  • Durable materials like leather or thick plastic to ensure they last all summer. With materials like this, they can even work as your water shoes. 
  • Quality stitching to ensure they don’t break mid-stride.
  • Flat but flexible soles for comfort and the capability to do some light adventuring.
  • Cushioned soles if you’ll be doing lots of walking as opposed to adventuring. Thicker soles with slightly more cushion will keep your feet far more comfortable when you’re strolling long stretches of asphalt. 
  • A thick, stretchy and soft strap (or straps) on top. This is crucial for comfort — and it doesn’t hurt that it looks super cute, either. This will hold your foot in place and stop it from slipping over the edge when wet or sweaty, and won’t hurt or mark your feet up in the process.

Something Dressy for Special Days and Events

While your sandals will be a one-step solution for almost any outing, wedges and espadrilles are famous vacation shoes and a favorite of the stylish for a reason. Casual enough for breakfast and cute enough for cocktails, this is a style that you can transition from day to night in easy and exciting ways if you want — but if you’re spending the morning poolside or basking at the beach and plan to go straight out on the town after, the transition happens naturally and doesn’t need any help. When it comes to finding the perfect espadrilles or wedge sandals for your summer vacation, consider features like:

  • Slide-in/slip-on because even though you’re on vacation, you still probably don’t have the time to spend (or want to spend all of your time) getting all dolled up to drag your feet in agony all night. Some of this time should be used to kick your feet up and relax — and it helps a lot if you can simply kick your shoes off when you step in the door or onto the sand and get to it! 
  • Low heel height is key when it comes to wedges or espadrilles that will take you from the sand on the beach to the slippery tile in the restaurant.
  • A thick, stretchy and soft strap (or staps) on top for all of the same reasons as your sandals above.
  • Lightweight is an easy characteristic to look past. After all, when you slip into extremely stylish shoes, it’s exciting and you may not even notice how heavy they really are. With that in mind, this is a style that’s notoriously heavy and clunky, so keep an eye out and make sure you listen to your leg muscles.
5 Must Have Shoes for Your Summer Vacation

Something Extra Supportive for Adventures

Even if you don’t consider yourself an adventurer, the fact that you’re off on vacation says that you have at least a little adventure in you. And once you find yourself in a different place, you’ll likely want to explore it a little! So whether you’re planning to do lots of walking, hiking, biking, exploring and adventuring or you stumble upon it accidentally, give yourself the ability to indulge in it. A simple pair of active shoes (from slip-on sneakers and Toms to sweet trainers) can do the work of your hiking boots without the added weight or extra storage space. That said, you need to know what to look for to achieve this and avoid another outdated and outrageously heavy pair of self-proclaimed athletic shoes.

  • Waterproofing may prove a little trickier to find in shoes than your usual hiking boots, but wonderful waterproof runners do exist (as do waterproofing sprays) and they should be invested in.
  • Breathable materials to get your feet dry no matter where the adventure takes you. Because even if you do get waterproof shoes, if you happen to have to wet-foot portage, fill your shoes with water or sweat a lot, it can only do so much. Luckily, that’s where breathable materials will come into play — drying out impressively fast. Along with this, more breathable materials will mean shoes that are softer, squishier and easier to shove into your travel bag.
  • Superior stitching through soft seams to avoid your shoes breaking apart as much as to avoid blisters.
  • Lightweight to lift over long distances (whether it be for the sake of your leg muscles when they are on your feet or the shoulder strain when they’re in your bag).
  • Good tread to tackle slippery waterfall rocks, muddy hiking paths, shifting beach sands and whatever else your vacation brings. 

Something Subtle and Stylish for Everything Else

Excellent for exploring the streets in style when it’s a little too chilly for your sandals, great for going out during the evening or night for a good time on vacation and perfect for making professional appearances at conferences and conventions, they are cute flats for women on the go! Even if you don’t plan to stay busy, you never know when you might need or want to pull yourself together a little more properly. But with flats being flexible enough to roll or fold up into your bag and light enough to not even notice they’re there, you can always have the option. When it comes to finding good vacation flats, consider features like the following.

  • Durable and dressy materials like leather or suede to ensure they can handle being rolled, folded and squished in your bag without getting ruined.  
  • Flat, flexible soles for the sake of comfort, the ability to do some simple adventuring and to give them a good roll or fold. 
  • A soft edge is essential if you’re buying your flats, especially for this trip. A stiff, hard or rough edge running around your foot will inevitably cause blisters until you break them in and soften them up. So unless you plan to spend some time in them before you go to break them in, then be sure to look for soft edges. 
  • Rounded toes will allow you to move all of your toes around more freely, instead of having them confined in a crammed pointed toe with no wiggle room. When you’re walking enough, this can make a world of difference. 

Something Submergible for Slippery (or Soaking Wet) Situations 

Water shoes, while you may not have worn them since childhood, will quickly become all-rounders for your vacation wardrobe if given the chance! For walks and hikes near water, the pool, lake and beach play days, festivals where shower access and shoe removal is limited and showers that you’re unsure about stepping into barefoot, water shoes will be your savior.

  • Good fit is imperative in every shoe, but water shoes in particular that are too big will leave you gushing and sloshing around uncomfortably, can come off completely with the weight of the water and can even pose a serious safety hazard if they’re big enough to get caught on something under the water.
  • Good tread to tackle slippery river rocks, shifting beach sands, forest paths and water parks — because we all understand “slippery when wet.”

Proactive Packing 

From your lightweight wedges to your foldable flats, each of these styles is as easy to pack as they are to pair, and will keep you perfectly comfortable no matter what activities you invite into your vacation — or how long you choose to stay!