Comfort and style: These are the shoes we’re packing for summer travel

Wo,an packing shoes for vacation

You’ve been there, haven’t you? Packing for a trip. Staring at the pile of shoes you want to take with you. The only things standing in your way are 1) the limited room in your carry-on, and 2) the cost of checking a larger bag. Add to that the probability that at some point during your trip you will have to schlep that heavy, shoe-filled suitcase up several flights of steps. (Looking at you, Venice.)

Packing the right shoes for a summer vacation is a delicate balancing act, especially as a woman over 60. We want footwear that provides the comfort and support our feet need to keep up with all the walking and activities our trips entail. But we don’t want to sacrifice style and end up looking frumpy or elderly–especially if we’re going to Paris or Rome.

The conundrum: too many or too few shoes

I’m guilty of having packed seven pairs of shoes for a two-week vacation in the country. (French country, but still…) and my suitcase needed a professional weightlifter to carry. But I feared that if I packed too few, I might find myself in painful shoes or with outfits that didn’t quite work. This conundrum often leads me to throw in too many pairs “just in case,” creating a mess that takes up valuable space in my luggage.

After years of travel, however, my fellow editors and I have developed a formula that limits packing to three shoe types that masterfully blend comfort, support, versatility, and on-trend style. But needless to say, they do not include impossibly high heels.


Sandals with great arch support have undergone a style revolution in the past few years. We like the touch of metallic in some styles, as well as a sophisticated range of colors and textures that remove them from the image of Himalayan trekking shoes you might have imagined.


Back in our backpacking days we were limited pretty much to deck shoes or penny loafers. Flats have been reimagined, though, and many styles have both the support needed for walking and enough flair to be worn for nice casual dining or destinations.

Beach/bath sandals

Pack a pair of flip-flops that can take you to the pool and protect your feet in the shower, should that concern you. They should be light weight and able to pack flat. Flip flops also can be worn to casual restaurants with cropped pants or a summery dress. If you forget to pack a pair, rubber flip flips probably can be purchased at your destination. I picked up a pair at a gas station in Turkey that are still my favorites. So, you never know.

A final caveat

Take only well worn-in shoes. If you have to buy new ones, leave enough time to break them in before your trip. And whether your shoes are old faithfuls or a new purchase, pack Band-Aids–the large, clear kind that will cover you heal and smaller ones for your ankles and toes. Seriously. You’ll be glad you have them.

16 pairs of shoes we would pack (but only 3)

From sporty sandals to dressy flats and everything in between, we give you a glimpse of the shoe styles to pack so you can stay fashionably comfortable all vacation long.


Naot Krista Sandals

Naot Krista Women's sandals

Pewter leather upper with rhinestone details along the strap can be worn in daytime or for a casual evening out. Hook-and-loop strap for easy on and off. Suede-rapped, cork and latex footbed molds to the shape of the foot for a unique fit. Part of the Naot® Elegant Collection, which runs as a narrow width. Color: Pewter and, $149


Mephisto Women’s Dominica Sandal


Mephisto lizard sandals

A sporty sandal with a relaxed look in a neutral color that can be worn with almost anything.  Enjoy unparalleled comfort thanks to the shock absorber in the outsole and its soft-air midsole, which help to reduce impact from walking. The adjustable adhesive straps ensure a perfect fit. Its real leather lining guarantees superior quality and comfort.  Color: Brandy. Available on, $288.


Naot Kayla Sandals

Naot Kayla sandals in sage

The Naot® Kayla three-strap sandal is crafted from a natural leather to keep the foot fresh and features an adjustable quarter strap with a hidden hook-and-loop closure. Its cork and latex footbed and flexible, shock absorbent sole are designed to encourage a natural and correct posture and enable the foot to move gently and continuously. The Kayla sandal is from the Naot® Elegant Collection, which runs as a Narrow-to-Medium width. Available in a variety of colors, this one in Sage. You will find a selection of Kaylas at, $139.95


Naot Peyton 

Naot Peyton

The beautiful and comfortable Naot® Peyton sandals have a natural leather upper and straps that have an elastic inset for easy slip-on wear. Naot’s anatomical supports distribute the weight of the body equally over the entire foot, massaging and releasing pressures caused by other parts of the body. Color: Latte Brown Leather/Mirror Leather/Brown Leather Combo. Find Naot Peytons at Zappos, $149.95


Naot Hero

Mixed metallic sandals with wedge heel

The wedge-heeled Hero is part of Naot’s Fantasy collection, which runs at a narrow-to-medium width. The strappy leather uppers boast a subtle hook-and-loop closure at the instep for a secure fit. The mixed metallics give daytime linens a polished look and can dress up an outfit for evening. Anatomic cork and latex footbed is wrapped in pampering suede and molds to the shape of the foot with wear. Color: Soft Silver Leather/White/Gold Leather Combination., $169.95


Vionic Awaken Recovery Sandal

Supportive sandals in red

Red is the new neutral–it complements neutrals as well as white and black. And these sandals not only bring a pop of color, they feature Vionic’s advanced recovery system, with adjustable straps and a massaging footbed  High-traction rubber compound outsole offers improved traction and durability. The footbed features contoured arch support, with shock-absorbing cushioning, deep heel cup to provide stability, and forefoot flexibility. Color: Red leather. Find them at, $125


Cole Haan Cloudfeel Espadrille II 

Cole Haan flat espadrilles

A classic espadrille that doesn’t feel like one. Cole Haan’s CloudFeel Espadrille II has a Stitchlite™ upper that stretches, ventilates, and supports your foot, over a cushioning EVA midsole wrapped in jute. Color: White/blue/teal/chocolateAt, $89.95


Talbot’s IZZY Espadrille Flats

Talbots gold toe espadrille

A classic linen upper makes Talbot’s Izzy espadrilles an instant go-to. Easy slip-on style features a sleek cap toe. Memory foam footbeds offer irresistible comfort. Heel and arch padding for extra support. Flexible outsole for improved stability. Color: Natural/gold. Find the Izzy espadrille’s at, $99.50


Diegos Black Leather Belen Espadrilles 

Diegos black wedge espadrilles

The elastic bands on the DIEGOS® black leather Belen espadrilles make them very easy to slip on. Soft padded insole has been hand sewn to the soles to provide higher comfort.
Flexible high wedge sole made of jute thread and recycled textile fibers from Barcelona.  Spanish soft leather. Made by hand in Spain.  Color: Black leatherFind Diego Belen espadrilles at, $89.00.


Alexis Leroy Closed Toe Slingback Espadrilles

Alexis Leroy wedge espadrilles

Round jute-cap toe espadrilles are a popular and versatile choice for sightseeing, shopping, dining, and other casual occasions. The soft padded memory foam foot bed slingback style are easy to wear. Flexible rubber outsole. Color: Apricot. (Other colors available.) Find these espadrilles on Amazon, $32.99.


Vionic Women’s Kensley Slip-ons


This modern loafer looks good and feels good with every step, thanks to the lug sole tread that provides lightweight wear. Made with premium materials, it is fused with Vionic Shoes VIO MOTION technology, which ensures exceptional stability, cushioning, flexibility, and arch support in an orthotic insole. Color: Natural raffia. Kensley Slip-ons can be found on, $135.


Born Nerina Penny Loafer

Born penny loafers

The Born Nerina penny loafer features a supple American leather upper with penny strap across the vamp and moc toe design for a classic appeal. Hand-crafted construction provides long-term wear and premium look.  Hand-finished American leather upper, removable synthetic-covered insole with cork-infused midsole. High traction, flexible & lightweight rubber sole. Color: Cognac. Find, $119.99


Adidas Sambae Shoes

Whit adidas Sambae shoes

We are fortunate to live in an era where white sneakers are the fashion statement ne plus ultra, seen everywhere from New York to Paris And while there are plenty of choices, Adidas OG Sambas have been the trainer of choice for those who care about such things. For good reason. They are chic yet at the same time offer flexible support and durable construction.

The  OG Adidas Samba recently got a refresh with the new Adidas Sambaes. The Sambae is a more premium version of the Samba, with a buttery-smooth leather upper and thick, platform gum rubber outsole Color: Cloud White/Wonder White/Off White. Find Adidas Sambae shoes at, $110.


Aetrex Maui Orthotic Flips

Black patent slides

Aetrex Maui! orthotic flips have an arch support made from UltraSky™ injected EVA to provide extreme cushioning, shock absorption and durability. The toe post is specially designed with super soft foam to keep your toes comfortable all day long. Color: Black gloss. (Other colors available.)  Available at


FitFlop Iqushion Ergonomic Flip-Flops


Fit flops

FitFlop flip flops have ultra-light, super sleek cushioning that’s ergonomically shaped for all-day comfort. Made from air-foam that retains its cushioning, bouncing back after each step, even on long walks. Color: Bronze. (Other colors available.) FitFlops are available on for $25.82.


FARM Rio Birds and Palms Flip Flops

Havianas Farm Rio birds flip flops

For sunny destinations these tropical print flip flops from Havianas and Farm Rio will look stylish by the pool or on the beach. Cushioned footbed with textured rice pattern and rubber sole. Color: Dark Purple (other colors available). Find them at, $38


OLUKAI Ohana Women’s Beach Sandals

Olukai turquoise flip flops

The classic Ohana women’s sandal from Olukai is water-resistant with a smooth drop-in footbed for the perfect anatomical fit. The compression-molded EVA midsole with smooth drop-in ICEVA footbed provides an anatomical fit for sustained all-day comfort. Color: Blue Mist/Black (Other colors and patterns available.)  Olukai Ohana sandals are sold on Amazon for $75 to $99. 


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