Comfortable Women's Walking shoes

We are planning a trip to Scotland and The Orkneys and I am looking for comfortable walking shoes that will do for city walking as well as the countryside.
Any suggestions?

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
3553 posts

Everyone has their own idea of comfortable shoes... so whatever you do, buy them early and break them in. I wear mostly skirts when I travel so if the weather is cool, or it is winter I wear Haflingers. They are wool, so keep my feet warm and I very rarely wear sock, even in winter. In warmer weather they are never too hot for me. In summer I wear Birkenstocks and I am usually the only one who is not complaining that their feet or legs hurt after hours of walking. Not the most fashionable, but my back and knees are more important. I did see that Haflinger had some new sandals on line and they have the same cork bottom... I might have to get a pair and change up my summer shoes. I only take one pair of shoes on every trip.... it's whatever I am wearing and I wear them the whole trip.

Posted by Alexandra
Houston, TX
57 posts

On this topic - I recently saw shoes from the brand CC Resorts (an Australian company, formerly Cloud Comfort Shoes). They are super-light weight, and made with elastic bands for stretchiness. Many fun colors. I tried a pair on and they were extremely comfortable, but since they are so flexiible I wondered whether they are supportive. Anyone have experience with these shoes?

Posted by Linda
Hendersonville, NC
84 posts

I use the web site and shop from the comfortable catagory. They have every brand and reviews so you can get a feel how the shoes will perform.

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
721 posts

I use websites that offer free return shipping, order several pair, walk around my house to decide which one works best, then send the others back. I just discover that my Keen sandals and a pair of Puma that worked two years ago now give me hip and knee pain. Merrill and Eccos still seem to be O.K. I've also learned that Teva rest too high on my foot and bother my ankle and that, since my feet tend to swell, elastic straps don't work to well. My point is, try stuff out to see what works for you.

Posted by Jan
Spokane, WA, USA
151 posts

For cool weather travel, my Mephisto oxfords can't be beat! I wore them two weeks straight in China last fall, and they were super comfortable (from day 1 -- no break-in period was needed) and cute, in black with shiny toes and heels. I hiked up Yellow Mountain in them, and wore them in the cities of Nanjing, Guilin and Shanghai. They were kind of expensive, but worth it. I never had sore feet, legs or back, and always felt stable.

In the summer, I wear my Taos sandals all day every day when traveling, super comfortable, cute. I always get a sturdy sole, adjustable top straps, and must have ankle straps so they won't fall off at an inopportune moment. My Taos have carried me through Istanbul, Ephesus, the Greek islands, Venice, Rome and more. I also like my Mephisto fisherman sandals to go with pants. I wore mine to visit the pyramids in Egypt, climb the Acropolis, and wander the ruins of Ephesus. I pack light, just one carry-on size bag plus a small airplane bag, so I wear one pair and take a dressier pair of sandals for evenings, and some kind of compact running shoes.

Good luck on your search. I am always on the lookout for the perfect travel footwear!


Posted by Jane
Sapulpa, OK, USA
510 posts

SAS! I wear mine for everything, including miles of walking. I have several styles, some more casual that others. They are actually made in the USA and come in a great range of sizes and widths (I wear 11 Wide, so finding good shoes used to be a problem.) They have oxfords, sandals, loafer-type shoes with a bit of a heel, and even what we used to call tennis shoes. They run about $150 a pair, but our local store has sales twice a year. Highly recommended.

Posted by selkie
300 posts

My beloved Ecco loafers are finally starting to show some significant wear after about ten years, so I've been auditioning new comfy shoes lately to see if I can find something I like more. Found some, um, colorful Dansko clogs at an outlet center last week, and they kept my feet happy for a round trip walk between A&F terminals at ATL (long layover, and I didn't just want to park myself at a gate) while fully loaded with carry on luggage like a pack mule. So I might have a keeper there. Though I did get into a conversation with the store clerk, who was bemoaning that Danskos just don't fit her feet right, so Your Arches May Vary as with any brand.

Posted by Diane
Westford, MA
103 posts

Ariats carry attractive leather slip on shoes. Mine are in black. They hold up well against the rain and cold, and have some style to them.
I also love New Balance black leather laced walking shoes. These are (2) main pairs of shoes for the UK, and shoulder season travel.

Posted by Karen
508 posts

I really love Merrells and have several pair. They are really comfortable even for long days of walking, and they last a long time. For me, they really don't have a need for a "break-in" period. For summer, I even have a pair of Merrell sandals that are cute and comfortable for a lot of walking. However, I would suggest like others have to try wearing your shoes around the house before deciding what to keep. I know someone who bought Merrells on my recommendation, and they did not fit her feet well.

Posted by Christi
Whitsett, TX, United States
904 posts

SAS as well - they originally started with making shoes or nurses - on your feet all day - they have mastered support & comfort. They do make several styles now that do not look like nursing shoes and some nice and oh so comfortable sandals. I actually buy one model of sandal and carefully cut the heel straps off so I have a slide - not a fan of sandals that strap on. The first time I showed the owner of my local shoe store that carries them my "customization" I thought she was gonna stroke out right there! They are definitely on the higher $$$ end but well worth it.

Posted by Caroline
Upland, California, USA
3 posts

I'm constantly searching for the perfect walking shoe myself. I find that some shoes seem comfortable, but after a few hours (especially if they are the soft and cushy type like Clarks) my back and legs start to hurt. I absolutely cannot wear Birks or Mephisto because of my low foot arches--those cork soles and high arches kill me. The most important things I've learned with walking shoes is: make sure they are big enough. I usually buy about a 1/2 size larger for vacation because my feet swell so much. And I've learned that foot pads, like Dr. Scholls, are my new best friends. With foot pads (I especially like the gel ones) I can improve the feel and comfort of just about any shoe I own.

Posted by Alyson
Chicago, IL, USA
425 posts

My Ecco and Merrell oxford-style walking shoes are ideal for walking all day with no problems. However, I have yet to find the perfect waterproof walking shoes.

Posted by Andrea
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
674 posts

Last May we also traveled to Scotland and Orkney. My Clark's Wave Walk shoes were perfect for the journey. Lots of support, and the suede like exterior added a bit of warmth. Not waterproof, but water resistant. And not overly expensive! I love them and will definitely purchase more.

Posted by blairelizabeth25
Los Angeles, CA
8 posts

I think Tieks make great walking shoes for city sight seeing. I wouldn't take them out hiking, but Tieks are seriously so comfortable. I wore them the whole time I was sight seeing in NY and DC. No break in period and I can wear them for hours without any pain at the end of the night. Not only are they super comfy, but they are also very pretty flats that you can wear to go out for a nice dinner as well as for sight seeing. They are made of Italian leather and have a wide variety of colors and designs to choose from so you're bound to see something you love! I personally have Cardinal Red and Romantic Blush. Hopefully this helps :)

Posted by Mark
Freehold, NJ, USA
19 posts

I prefer Finn Comfort Shoes. Toe box has ample room. I have purchased both shoes and sandals and all provided the support and comfort I needed when walking on European cobblestone , Great Walk of China, dirt paths in So.Africa and Australia. Have worn Finns since 2005 and don't travel without them. has free shipping both ways. Try Finns and Zappos, you'll be glad you did.


Posted by LaRae
511 posts

I get a pair of new balance walking shoes in black leather. Waterproof them and have never had sore feet walking all day long. Nike airsteps also work very well when it's not raining.

Posted by Claire
Sacramento, CA - Calif, United States
283 posts

Depending on the time of the year you are traveling, I have always worn Chaco sandals. I have a high arch and these have it. I have walked all over Rome with these. I did not have much with the toe loop style, however. Other than Chacos I like Keen lace ups. They are waterproof. When we traveled in the winter to Paris and Germany, it rained a lot and I had two pairs of Keens and alternated them and they got really wet but dried overnight and are still great shoes.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
6030 posts

I have a pair of slip on Sketchers Go Walks. They are very comfortable. I took them on a 2 week trip to the East Coast last year. I had worn them a lot, but not for the kind of walking we do while traveling. I got shin splints while walking around Washington DC, which was very painful. It was definitely those shoes, because when I wore my sandals I was fine. I still wear them, but I won't be taking them to Europe with me. Whatever shoes you decide on, walk the kind of distances you will walk on vacation to be sure they are okay.

Posted by grtsmile
1 posts

Allow me to join the conversation late and add my vote for SAS shoes. My husband strongly recommended a pair for my first trip to Europe last year. I bought the SAS model Free Time in the charcoal nubuck (suede). My husband water-proofed them for me and for 3 weeks I wore them every day with wool knee high socks. My feet never hurt. When I came home I bought a pair of their sandals that I wore nearly every day. These are amazingly comfortable shoes and I have tried them all. I now own about 5 pairs of these shoes and love them. Make sure you are well fit! I think the shoes are wonderful.

Posted by klevannelli
5 posts

I love wearing my dansko or sanita clogs if I'm on my feet all day. My knees and back are thankful.

Posted by dittosw
5 posts

Another vote for try them out for your own comfort. I ordered a pair of the extremely well rated Mephisto Laser and they cause me outright pain. Unfortunately I didn't figure this out until I'd walked a couple miles in them, so I can't return them. I did try them with different insoles- more pain. So I'd suggest you start trying out shoes well in advance, and test them out in the store or at home as much as you can before buying. Good luck!

Posted by hp67
1 posts

The cc resort shoes match the Bernie Mevs I wore all last summer and am wearing again this summer. I bought several pairs and love them. Wore them all throughout Disneyworld last June. They look flimsy but have memory soles and they are wonderful.

Posted by crystald
27 posts

I am a fan of Danskos, but with warmer weather, they just don't look quite right :(

I found the Merrell Proterra Vim Sport on Zappos that I have found to be comparable in structure, and they're cute without full pant legs (in an outdoorsy type of cute).

Good luck finding the right fit for you!

Posted by Danielle
Oak Park, MI, USA
42 posts

I spent two weeks in Italy last year and wore two pairs of comfort sandals the whole time: a $115 pair of Abeos, from The Walking Company, and a $20 pair of Yuu sandals, from JC Penny. I truly couldn't tell you which was more comfortable, but this year, I got a new pair of each, for the trip I'm taking back to Italy in September. They both felt perfect on my feet, and we were walking miles and miles each day, on cobblestones, up hills, over rough terrain and occasionally in some wet areas. So if you want to look slightly more fashionable than walking shoes will allow, I suggest these sandals. They are amazing!

Posted by Marie
Atlanta, GA
85 posts

You will need to experiment to get the right pair of shoes for your feet. I always put my travel shoes through what I call the dog walk test. I walk my dogs 3-4 miles a day over cobblestones and irregular sidewalks and through all sorts of weather. If the shoes are comfortable for several consecutive days of dog walking, then it's a pretty good bet that the shoes will will be good candidates for travel. I have noticed that some shoes will be comfortable only for the first mile or two. You really need to walk several miles on multiple days to make a proper assessment.

My favorite walking/travel shoes are the Merrell Jungle Mocs. I have been able to walk as much as 12 miles a day in them with never a hint of a blister or discomfort. They don't make a great fashion statement, but they can really go the distance.

I also often travel with a pair of Naots for evenings and dressier occasions. The Naots are lightweight and easy to pack, sturdy, and super comfortable.

I would also like to add that good socks are almost as important as good shoes. I wear merino wool hiking socks -- either Smartwool or the REI house brand -- almost year round. (My pedicurist always comments on what good shape my feet are in, and I think that the good socks have a lot to do with that.)

Posted by kathrynclancy88
1 posts

I prefer to wear sports shoes or sandals for traveling, it is more comfortable and reliable for me…..

Posted by jaynem1990
1 posts

you need first to confirm what exactly shoes type you need for having trip to Scotland and The Orkneys.

Posted by claudiakates
3 posts

Hi Ren,
I visited Scotland last month and toured around the city very comfortably wearing my nike air max 90. They are really very comfortable, cool and also very cheap.

Posted by Carole
Tallahassee, FL
143 posts

I have been reading this thread for awhile now. Our first trip to Europe starts in April 2015 and of course I was wondering what type of shoes to wear. The first step I believe is to make sure you know your actual size. I never had my foot professional measured and when I did I was two sizes to small. So any shoe that I would have picked would have caused problems. I purchased a new pair of New Balance walking shoes then (around August) and love them. We do Disney World often and my feet would be killing me by the end of each day and by the end of the trip forget it. Since I got the correct size I no longer have problems. So definitely looking forward to my trip in April with the proper size shoes. Also just got some New Balance Mary Janes for dressing up.

Posted by JenC
Houston, TX
110 posts

Another thing to remember is that shoes have a life span of x number of miles (varies by shoe). So Carole, if you bought shoes in August and have done a bunch of walking in them prior to your trip in April, you might need to replace that pair at some point prior to your trip to get the best experience. Obviously not just the week before because you want to be able to break them in a little. But the shoes will wear down over time and they will not be as supportive as when they were new. Any shoe store that spends time with you, measuring your foot and checking your gait should be able to tell you if your shoes still have some life.

Posted by Wray
Boston, ma, usa
518 posts

I did find Ecco shoes comfortable, but by the end of the day the bottom of my feet were terribly sore. Consequently, I switched to Clarks for everything. My favorite of these for travel, city and countryside, are the Waves. I also have their low hiking shoe, but I had to buy that pair in England. Nonetheless, it is all about your feet and what they like, not anyone else's. We are all so different.

Posted by tavapeak
45 posts

I have hard-to-fit, large feet (for a gal). I've had the best luck with SAS shoes for travel. I take SAS laceups (black nubuck) for winter, and the black Captiva sandal for summer. That Captiva is so comfy, and looks nice enough for most events. I usually take both in any season, actually. I take a backup pair of Teva sandals in summer.

Posted by Barb
Andover, MN, USA
219 posts

I have hard to fit feet and very little/no natural padding on the ball of my feet so I need a thick insole - preferably a removable one. I have had Sketchers Regae Rasta sandals for several years - 4 pair. They fit my narrow feet well with a fabric thong and an adjustable instep strap and fantastic cushioning. I've worn them for miles of walking all over Europe. I just hope they continue to make them. I have ordered them direct from Sketchers (free shipping) as well as from Zappos or DSW. I also find the Clarks In Motion black leather lace-ups are fantastic for miles of walking.

Posted by Bluewaterquest
Bay Area
12 posts

I walked 60 miles in two weeks, every day in Clark's In-Motion shoes, wearing Smart Wool peds, and with Spenco Gel Heel inserts. I was tired from a long day, but nothing hurt or ached. Highly recommend. I got them at Macy's. And they look great, not "hiking" looking. They're about 65 U.S., regular price. I've been walking in them for the last couple months back at home in my daily walk, and they're still great.