We don’t realize the profound effect our feet have on our wellbeing until they hurt. In a matter of moments, a blister the size of a pencil eraser can completely ruin our ability to weave in and out of bustling crowds, and a cramp under our arches means we can no longer stand to see a concert’s headlining act. According to a study from the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, foot pain is the cause of up to 30 percent of doctor visits — and we all know how tricky it can be to seek medical attention while abroad.
Once you switch over to expert-approved shoes, you’ll find it infinitely easier to see all the world has to offer. Here are 8 walking shoe options to help put your best foot forward while you travel.
Mesh uppers mean plenty of breathability on those sweltering days, while a shock-absorbing midsole protects your knees from the impact of the concrete. Since you can’t predict the weather, be sure to use a suede protector before you bring these out into the world. “They’re great for people with over-pronated (flat) fee because they help the foot from collapsing,” said Ashley Mosseri, doctor of podiatric medicine candidate at Barry University. “I wear Saucony now and I love them. They hug my foot.”
Mosseri said you should look for something primarily with solid support and cushion, making these throwback kicks the ideal way to give your feet some TLC both in the style and comfort department. Their signature ENCAP® technology midsole cushioning blends durable polyurethane and pillow-soft ethyl vinyl acetate, a material that has been scientifically proven to reduce pain and improve gait cadence in patients with arthritis.
While these might feel more heavy and dense on your feet, according to Mosseri, they provide solid support perfect for all kinds of rocky, uneven terrain and crowded shopping malls (because your feet will inevitably get trampled by fellow tourists). “For hiking, there is higher chances of twisting an ankle as oppose to walking so I recommend wearing a very sturdy pair of running shoes or hiking boots like these,” she said.
We all secretly dream of attracting the attention of international street style photographers, and these could definitely do the trick. Mosseri called these “stylish and comfortable,” given their air pockets on each side that are basically a fan for your feet.
Thanks to lightweight fabric and sturdy support, these provide all-day endurance so you actually make it through your itinerary. “The cushion is to accommodate the responsiveness when you’re doing long activity,” Mosseri said. For those long nighttime walks, the Clifton’s bright colors add visibility.
These heels were made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll help you do — with minimal pain. “Heels are a bunion’s worst nightmare, but for a night of minimal walking, they’re not the end of the world,” she said. Here, an elastic ankle accommodates any natural swelling after a few hours on a two-inch heel.
Sometimes you just need something to slip on and off between dips in the ocean with no buckles to slow you down. “Flip flops are good for beaches but for long walking? Not so much,” she said. They aren’t completely off-limits, however. If you’re not flat-footed and you’re comfortable in them, Mosseri said they’re a good option.
“[These] wrap around the arch unlike those stringy ones from Old Navy and the cork arch helps distribute the weight in the foot,” said Mosseri.