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One Step At A Time: The Best Shoes For Backpacking

This is a guide for what types of travel shoes for backpacking you will need depending on where you are going.

For many people, the shoe part of the packing is one of the areas neglected the most, a process that leads to unpleasant blisters, sore feet, and achy joints. 

The Best Shoes For Backpacking

While luggage space may be limited, with proper planning, you will easily find room to pack your favorite shoes or sandals, such as the Birkenstock NZ sandals and the ultimate pair of hiking boots for an epic adventure.

Proper Selection is Key

When packing for any trip, you must be aware of space and weight limitations. No matter how long your trip may be, there is a finite amount of luggage you can take. These limits become more restricted when embarking on a backpacking trip. 

Shoes are going to be a bulky addition to your pack and add unnecessary weight when chosen incorrectly. Therefore, it is vital to critically evaluate your footwear needs based on your destination, planned activities, and the length of your trip.

This will allow you to narrow down your choices to one or two incredibly versatile pairs of shoes that will safely and comfortably carry you on your travels.

Overall Best

The best shoes to take on a backpacking adventure are the pair that does it all.

It is unlikely you will be restricted to just one pair of shoes in your luggage, but choosing an option with maximum versatility allows you to save weight and space, or maybe pack an additional pair of shoes if you know for sure you will need another pair for different occasions.

The North Face Hedgehog 3 hiking shoes are going to tick every box on your must-have list and are one of the best shoes for backpacking. The outside material is made from polyurethane-coated leather and a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane that protects your feet well.

Furthermore, the abrasion-resistant and breathable mesh lining eliminates any unwanted movement or rubbing. Not only are they affordable, but their immense versatility and elevated comfort will make this one of the best purchases you could make for yourself.

You want to get a pair that is reasonably durable to last you for your trip.

Waterproof & Lightweight

If lightweight and waterproof are two of the biggest needs in your footwear choice, then the advancement in travel shoe technology is going to help out a lot.

Many big-name shoe brands specializing in hiking and walking shoes have invested the necessary resources into developing lightweight, sturdy, comfortable travel shoes, ideal for those with minimal space who don’t want to compromise on wear. 

Shoes made from merino wool, with waterproof properties, are not only incredibly breathable and fast-drying, but the wool serves as an antimicrobial agent.

This will aid in preventing your shoes from smelling over time but makes them less ideal for trips through Europe during winter. Go the extra step and look for options with shock-absorbing soles for the complete package.

The Freedom of Sandals

While you may not be a massive sandal-wearer in your everyday life, you may be surprised at how much you can utilize a sturdy pair of sandals.

Many beaches around the world are rocky, so having a reliable pair of sandals that can be worn while taking in the views, casually strolling around town, or worn in hostels is very advantageous. 

Choose a pair with a robust rubber sole and waterproof upper straps that are made from quick-drying materials equipped to handle both salt and freshwater.

When space is limited, having a pair of sandals that can do everything will be a surprising game-changer.

Walking Must-Have

Not all backpacking holidays involve any form of hiking. In fact, for many, their extensive walking comes from exploring cities, navigating various forms of public transport, and taking cross-country journeys across continents.

Maximum comfort for all-day sightseeing escapades is vital for keeping your backpacking trip on track. 

When looking for the ideal shoe, there are various features worth considering. A sturdy and comfortable rubber sole will keep your feet cushioned and protected, while the excellent traction is perfect for balance and grip.

Lightweight variations are better for long city walks, and waterproof capabilities will keep you protected against all weather.

Old School Sneakers

Regardless of where you have chosen to travel, it is highly likely that you will have time for social occasions.

Whether you are planning to grab drinks with friends or go for some late-night dancing, having a pair of versatile shoes that can be dressed up or down will be a good option.

Old-school Vans skate shoes fit this brief reasonably well. Their versatility and low-key formality make them ideal for social events, while the canvas fabric and rubber soles make them comfortable for walking around town and easy to clean.

Additionally, they will take up a small amount of space because they are lightweight and minimalistic.

Hot Climates

When taking a backpacking trip to hot, tropical climates, don’t be surprised if you spend nearly 50% of the trip either barefoot and on the beach or at one of the many beachfront restaurants and bars where simple slip-ons are more than sufficient. 

But for the other half of the time, when you want to explore the surrounding wilderness, visit neighboring cities, or immerse yourself in high-adrenaline activities, you need a reliable pair of shoes that can cover all your bases.

Your best selection will be lightweight for easy packing, waterproof, easy to clean, and breathable to keep your feet well-protected from the natural elements but still allow adequate airflow in the hot temperatures.

Backpacking Shoes

Selecting the right shoes for backpacking is an essential aspect of ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable journey.

Your choice should align with the type of trip you’re taking, the activities you’ll engage in, and your personal preferences.

This advice should help you in getting an idea of what to get for your trip.

For more backpacking advice take a look at these 5 tips for backpacking in the rain.

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