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Get Comfortable: the Best Footwear for Your Vacation Type

Between navigating gargantuan airports and hitting each “must-see” spot in your foreign-city guide, there’s no avoiding the substantial amount of walking you’re likely to do while traveling. If you’re wearing the wrong shoe, constant walking isn’t just tiring or uncomfortable––it can be downright debilitating.

To ensure you’re focused on your travels rather than on your throbbing feet, here’s what to look for in the perfect shoe for your upcoming vacation, including a few of our favorites.

Staying Comfy (and Dry) on Sandy Beaches

It’s no secret that the best way to traverse a beach is in classic flip-flops or on just bare feet. But when constantly moving from water to land (especially if that underwater terrain is rocky, murky or generally unforgiving on your tender toes), slip-on water shoes are your best bet.

Our favorites:

For women: Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties

For men: Vibram Men’s Signa Athletic Boating Shoe

Scaling Mountains and Valleys

Your focus while you’re climbing should be on finding that next mile marker––not tending to screaming feet. When searching for the perfect hiking boot, traction and air-cushioning sole support should be your primary priorities. (Conveniently, however, our two favorites below are also subtly stylish.)

Our favorites:

For women: Merrell Solo

For men: Salomon X Ultra 2

Trekking Cobblestone City Streets

Between museums, street fairs and local coffee shops, you’re likely to rack up miles when touring cities. With so much on your itinerary, you don’t want to take time out to find a bench and rub your blistered toes and aching arches.

For men and women, stick to a sneaker or loafer with ample arch support and padding. And don’t be afraid to splurge––your tired feet will thank you later.

Our favorites:

For women: Women’s New Balance for J.Crew 620 sneakers

For men: Cole Haan Men’s 2.ZERØGRAND Laser Wingtip Oxford

Painting the Town

When traveling abroad or within the States, at least one four- or five-star dining experience—complete with picture-worthy get-up—is a must. But between late dinners and hitting up the local music scene, you can’t afford foot fatigue, so being comfortable is as important as looking stylish.

For women, wedges with ample padding and a heel under 3 inches will give you the most support (so save those ultra-cute stilettos for a night back home). On the men’s side, a classic loafer with thick insoles should help you last the night on your feet.

Our favorites:

For women: Aerosoles Partnership

For men: Allen Edmonds Men’s Strand Cap-Toe Oxford

Embarking on Snowy Adventures

Similar to hiking boots, snow boots are made for trekking in extreme terrains. The big difference is in the padded insulation, sturdy build and height, because the last thing you need while taking in majestic, snowy wilderness is to slowly feel your feet go numb.

For both men and women, make sure to look for a boot that extends several inches higher than your ankle with rubber soles for protection and waterproof linings.

Our favorites:

For women: Sorel Women’s Caribou Boot

For men: Kamik Men’s Blackjack Boot

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