Our intrepid editors put the summer’s hottest shoes to the challenge, wearing them over 100 miles to find out which ones are worth your money. Here’s how 10 pairs of walking shoes stood up to the ultimate traveler test.
ECCO Leisure Sneaker
100-Mile Review: ECCO’s new leisure sneaker is a lightweight, stylish take on the standard athletic shoe. This simple design is the ultimate white sneaker for summer—there are no logos or extras, so it’s easy to pair with any outfit. This has been my go-to sneaker for city travel this summer. I’ve logged up to 15 miles a day in these while walking around New York City on a weekend getaway and wandering on dirt paths in Washington, D.C. I’ve also rocked them in the office with a casual dress for many workdays in Boston, and they’re still going strong—and attracting compliments.
- Unique inlay sole technology allows air circulation and keeps feet cool.
- Cushy outsole makes these shoes comfortable for long walks.
- Easy to wipe clean.
- Glove-like upper molds to your feet.
- Tough to put on until they stretch out a bit in the upper (despite the pull tab on the back to help with leverage).
–Caroline Teel, Senior Editor, SmarterTravel
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Men’s
100-Mile Review: Although designed with the ardent runner in mind, Vivobarefoot’s Primus Lite also doubles as an excellent everyday travel shoe. With a larger size foot (size 12), I often struggle to find a sneaker that won’t take up all the real estate in my carry-on. This is where the Primus Lite shines: Not only is it the lightest weight shoe I’ve ever worn, but its flexible minimalist mesh construction allows it to fold into any corner of my travel bag. Putting them to the test hiking paths in the Berkshires and on the sidewalks of Chicago during recent trips, I’ve found that the Primus Lite provides solid support and comfort when trekking on both city and country courses.
- Ultra lightweight (4 ounces per shoe)
- Free form and foldable structure makes it easy to pack.
- Eco-friendly; made from recycled plastic and also vegan
- Knit design makes shoe breathable and flexible.
- Real barefoot feel
- Slippery when walking on wet surfaces.
- Short shoelaces that tend to untie easily.
- Sole is squeaky on certain surfaces (wood floors) until broken in.
–Ricky Radka, Airfare Analyst, Airfarewatchdog
Plae Crosby Flat
100-Mile Review: The Plae Crosby Flat is a versatile and super-comfy ballet flat that comes in a variety of colors and styles. After testing these shoes over an extended period of time—walking an hour to work and then wearing them all day—I recommend them for travelers needing a chic but supportive flat. I can easily wear these in office environments, but could also walk in them for a day of urban exploring. I’ve worn these shoes in Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles, and have traveled with them on two trips. My favorite feature for travelers might be the packability: Plae shoes are shipped in a reusable, compression-sealed bag that you can use to save space. The bottom of the sole has high-quality traction and the footbed is magical—seriously, you can still feel the ground but it’s like walking on a cloud.
- Lightweight and packable (foldable)
- Extremely comfortable footed and cushioning
- Easy to clean
- Competitive price point
- Can be spot cleaned
- Comes in a variety of color options and styles
- Need some time to break in.
- The linen style is not waterproof.
–Ashley Rossi, Editor, Content and Social Media, SmarterTravel
Saola Cannon Sneaker
100-Mile Review: The Cannon is Saola’s version of a sneaker, but with an eco-friendly twist. While the style itself is minimal and practical, it’s the materials used that make it stand out: recycled canvas, natural cork, 80 percent recycled PET (mesh), and bloom (algae) foam. They’re comfortable, lightweight, and the cork footbed is cooling, which is ideal for wearing in the summer heat. They didn’t need to be broken in first, which was great. I wore these shoes over a period of two months in major U.S. cities including Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles. I’ve worn them both on the plane and packed them easily in my suitcase as well as on a light walk in a rainy park. I wore them mostly with jeans, leggings, and maxi skirts and dresses. The style is more casual, but can still be worn in a business-casual environment.
- Can be worn without socks
- The upper part is easy to clean.
- Made from sustainable materials.
- Vegan shoe
- Did not need any time to break in.
- On hot days (and worn sockless) feet can get a little smelly.
- Not 100 percent waterproof
–Ashley Rossi, Editor, Content and Social Media, SmarterTravel
Rothy’s Slip-On Sneaker
100-Mile Review: Rothy’s Slip-On Sneakers are the beloved brand’s casual-stylish workhorse. They’re structured without being stiff at all, and they fit snugly (Rothys describes the fit as “socklike”) but not claustrophobically so. I was constantly amazed at how, while they weren’t super-soft inside, I could still walk sockless for miles—even on hot, humid days—without any hint of rubbing or blisters. At least in the first 100 miles, I noticed no smelliness, even though I was wearing them without socks 90 percent of the time (the shoes are washable, so if smells creep in, I know what to do). Style-wise, they’re very adaptable. I paired them with dresses, shorts, pants, and skirts, and always felt like they complimented the outfit—I never needed to sacrifice style for the sake of walkability.
- Machine washable sneaker and insole
- No break-in period; comfortable from the get-go
- Adaptable to a range of outfits
- Barefoot-friendly (and not stinky)
- Packable (upper can be mostly flattened)
- Not super-soft inside
- On hot days, they can get a bit sweaty.
–Christine Sarkis, Deputy Executive Editor, SmarterTravel
Arcopedico Leta B Sneaker
100-Mile Review: The Leta B from Arcopedico is not just a shoe, it’s a whole foot experience. The first few days I wore them, I discovered new muscles in my feet; and then, when I wore other shoes, I noticed how unevenly I distributed weight as I walked. The shoe’s lightweight and breathable upper portion keeps it comfortable all day (with or without socks), while the shoe bed is designed to allow weight distribution across the entire foot. The slim profile and multicolor side panels makes them a versatile accessory that instantly add style to any outfit. From jeans to skirts and dresses, the adaptability of these shoes can help streamline a packing list. The combination of style and comfort has made these shoes my new go-tos—from day-to-day errands to all-day excursions, the Leta Bs have kept me comfortable while racking up the compliments.
- The white part requires regular cleaning.
- Feet might need an adjustment period while building up new muscles.
–Kathryn Sarkis, Freelance Writer, SmarterTravel
Keen Women’s Terradora EVO Mid
100-Mile Review: The Keen Terradora EVO easily transitions from trails to streets. The Terradora functions like a rugged trail boot, but with its stylish look and plush body, wears like a comfortable high-top sneaker.
It’s been my experience that most trail boots do too good of a job with ankle support, often choking and constricting ankle movement. The Terradora, however, has an Achilles cushion panel that provides just enough support without impeding ankle movement.
Three very important features a hiking boot needs is traction, odor-control, and water-resistance. I’ve easily clocked more than 150 city and hiking trail miles in them—run in rain, skipped in puddles, and hiked in them—and I can confirm that indeed, the built-in technology used for each concern is effective.
- Easily cleaned exterior
- Excellent Achilles support that doesn’t impede movement
- Stylish look that easily goes from trails to streets
- Removable shoe insert (in case you want to swap or clean the insert)
- Could do with greater cushioning in the balls of feet and heel areas
–Patricia Magaña, Senior Editor, SmarterTravel
Cole Haan Cloudfeel Espadrille
100-Mile Review: The Cole Haan Cloudfeel Espadrille are on-trend flats with a cushioned and supportive foot bed thanks to the espadrille sole. While they come in sandal form, I chose to test the closed-toe version so I could wear them everywhere. I tested them in China as well as on a trip to Central California, where I was walking on long farm tours and through shopping districts for hours on end. These shoes got many compliments, and they were reliably comfortable enough that I kept reaching for them time after time when I knew I’d be walking. They even performed well on dirt roads and in grass since the rubber outsole is durable and the thick espadrille protects the leather outer from the elements.
- Comfortable footbed lives up to the “cloudfeel” name
- Comes in open-toed and closed-toe versions
- With no side vent, shoes can get sweaty when worn without socks.
–Shannon McMahon, Editor, News and Features, SmarterTravel
The Adidas SC Premiere
For those struggling to choose the right variation of classic white tennis shoe, the SC Premiere by Adidas falls somewhere in the Goldilocks range of several popular styles. Squint and it’s a less grandfatherly version of the Reebok C 85, similar to a Nike Air Force 1 but without the bulk.
Fans of the classic Adidas Stan Smith model may find the SC Premiere to be a good style transition to something a tad more sporty but just as versatile.
I purchased these to wear on a two week trip from California to Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and New York, allowing myself a couple of weeks to properly break them in before shoving off. Fresh out of the box, the fit is snug and the leather uppers of the SC Premiere are incredibly rigid. While the interior and footbed are comfy from the start, the rest of the shoe will require a little wear before softening up. That’s pretty typical of most Adidas styles.
Given how much these stretch, you’d be wise to go down a size. I normally wear a 12 or 11.5 in other sneaker brands, but a 10.5 in Adidas.
My feet stayed surprisingly cool during long walks through Savannah’s muggy summer streets. And though it rained plenty, the SC Premieres miraculously never seemed to absorb a drop. If you’re doing a lot of intensive walking, you might consider a pair of insoles as these don’t provide much in terms of support, as I discovered in New York.
- Versatile style that goes well with everything
- Can be easily cleaned
- Surprisingly breathable even in hot climates
- Takes some time to break in
- Footbed offers little support
- Interior cushioning seems to flatten out quickly
- Easily slippery on slick wet surfaces
–Tracy Stewart, Airfare Analyst, Airfarewatchdog
Sorel Campsneak Slip-on Shoe
100-Mile Review: Slip-on sneakers are a travel must-have, so I was excited to find this pair that are soft and totally waterproof, especially because love Sorel’s winter boots. However, I was disappointed to find I could barely wear the Sorel Campsneak shoes—the back of them are so painful because they’re puzzlingly constructed with a stitch all the way around the mouth of the shoe. At first use, they seem supportive with a slightly soft foot bed. But they run very narrow, and after a few hours, the rough back of the opening caused me blisters and I had to stop wearing them altogether. Hopefully the next iteration solves the issue, which I’ve seen other users complain about online.
- Unusually narrow footbed
- Painful seam
–Shannon McMahon, Editor, News and Features, SmarterTravel
What to Wear with Comfy Shoes
Women’s Casual Outfit to Wear with Travel Sandals (no shoes)
Men’s Casual Outfit to Wear with Travel Sandals (no shoes)
Women’s Outfit to Wear with Travel Sandals (no shoes)
Men’s Outfit to Wear with Travel Sandals (no shoes)
Women’s Comfy Outfit to Wear on the Airplane from Nordstrom
Men’s Comfy Outfit to Wear on the Airplane from Nordstrom
Women’s Cute and Casual Outfit from Nordstrom
More from SmarterTravel:
- 14 Best Shoes to Wear in Europe
- Lightweight Shoes Perfect for Packing
- 10 Best Travel Sandals for Summer
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