What shoes to wear when on holiday?

Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras

OF ALL the things that you will be packing into your suitcase, shoes will be one of the  most important. Let’s face it, you will be spending most of your time on your feet. It could be a walk to the pool or along the coast, hiking up a mountain, sightseeing or needing something classy for an evening out.

No strict rules apply here

Whether you are a man or a woman, there’s no strict rule as to how many shoes you should take. Me being your average bloke, I would probably just take the shoes that I am wearing plus a pair of trainers wrapped up in a paper bag. My Mrs, meanwhile, would probably take about four pairs, but most people opt for the “three pairs of shoes” rule. That is two pairs of functional and comfortable shoes, and one pair for a more dressier or formal occasion.

 General tip – comfort comes above everything else when it comes to buying shoes

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But before you consider buying a pair of shoes, check this out:

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  1. Make sure the shoes fit your feet in length, height and in width, and you have at least 0.5cm toe space. According to the German Shoe Institute 80 per cent of Germans buy shoes that don’t fit – women go for too small, and men too big. Soft leather is good. If the shoe rubs, don’t buy it. If the store assistant says “they will widen over time” or “they will wear in”, don’t buy them. If you do, your feet will suffer.
  2.  If you are buying shoes on a hot day, your feet might swell, so size and shape may be different. The best time to buy shoes is in the evening, perhaps go for a little walk to give your feet a “working temperature”.
  3. Go with a manufacturer you can trust. This means you know about the quality of the craftsmanship and where they have sourced their raw materials. A manufacturer you can trust.
  4. Check the insides to see if there is lining. Some cheap shoes don’t have lining, so are not that comfortable to wear.
  5. Comfort also comes with flexible sole. That means you have to do the ‘bending test’ where the heel and the toe area can reach each other in the form of a V. Getting that is a must!
  6. Wearing high heels can be fun and in moderation, but flat shoes are the most comfortable.
  7. Make sure your feet can breathe. Leather shoes are good because they absorb moisture. On average, people lose 0.1 cl (equivalent to a shot glass) a day.
  8. Try both shoes as right-handed people usually have a bigger foot and the same goes to left-handed people. As you get older, your size also changes, so be aware.
  9. Always carry some fabric plaster on you in case you get blisters on your feet. A roll of plasters is your best bet which you can cut to size with a small pair of scissors.
  10. Take an extra pair of laces in cases they break.
  11. For some people insoles may be necessary. These are useful for people with flat feet or other foot conditions.
  12. To keep your feet smelling fresh, it’s worth investing in a shoe spray.
  13. I always take a shoe horn with me – it makes it so much easier to put your shoes on, rather than fumbling around with your fingers.
  14. Don’t leave the shoe shine kit at home. Your shoes might get wet and discoloured, or in need of a polish. You will regret it.
    UNIONBAY Women's, Combat, Moto Boot, Lug, Bootie, Fall Fashion Ally
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Let’s take a closer look at what’s appropriate for what you are doing:


  • Cold destination- ankle boots, warm boots or mid-calf to knee-high ones. Good to go for a boot with some faux fur to keep you warm, a rubber sole to avoid slipping up, and a round toe, so that things feel comfortable.
  • Beach – sandals, white trainers reign supreme in the summer and comfy flats –or just something light for a quick dip or light sneakers for trekking
  • Gala or wedding – the party heel, plus comfy flats and lace-ups during downtime

How to pack your shoes

Put them in a plastic bag so that they don’t get scratched. You can also save space in your suitcase by stuffing socks and underwear into your shoes. Then place the bag against the wall of the suitcase. If it’s boots don’t bend them as that will leave crease marks. If they are too big then don’t put them in a suitcase.

My personal favourite is the white trainer. But make sure they are well worn as you don’t want to get blisters. Always good to wear some white socks, if you are a girl, then my wife would say they go nicely with frayed denim shorts or a boho maxi dress.

If you are inspired by the Grecian style, then opt for a flat sandal. It’s a step up from the flip flop and can help you navigate local streets and bumpy beaches.

Something cool by the pool is a pair of slick sliders. This is the easy option of saving your feet getting burned by the sun and not needing to lace them up. I like these driving shoes, which in my eyes look comfy and elegant as well.

However, if you are up for lace ups, then look no further than a block heeled lace-up sandal which looks good with a pair of rolled-up jeans or cropped wide-leg trousers. If you want to give your trainers a break on those long summer walks, then wear these.

For parties a small heel is what you need. Stilettos are out if you are planning on dancing all night. For dinner, this is the business, to be worn with a ruffled skirt, Bardot top or a pretty play suit.

Whatever you take with you, enjoy your holiday and please give us some feedback. If you are going to India and you are visiting the Taj Mahal, make sure you tip the boy to look after your shoes, otherwise you might end up walking barefoot back to the hotel.


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