The 11 Best Travel Shoes (And Which To Bring on Your Next Trip)

Jess took the time to make a definitive list, so you don't have to.
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There are two kinds of families in this world: Those that check bags, and those that carry on. I come from a checked bag family (we like options when we're away!), so it was quite the transition when I started traveling with my boyfriend, who came from a carry-on family and insisted that there were times I could, and should, downgrade my luggage.

Through years of what I'd call "efficiency training," I can easily pare down clothing before a trip (using mainly monochromatic pieces), but shoes are where it gets tricky. They take up a lot of space, and tend to be the most regretted pieces that I pack if they go unworn—so I've given my strategy a lot of thought over the years. Below, I've outlined the only shoes you should consider packing, and a guide to selecting the only three pairs you need, no matter where you're heading:

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Save: Sam Edelman Loraine Loafers ($120) or ASOS New Look Chunky Loafer ($42)
Splurge: Gucci Jordaan Leather Loafers ($730) or Tory Burch Adrien Loafers ($358)
Wear with these socks: Madewell Two-Pack Ankle Socks ($17) or GANNI Classon Dots Socks ($20)

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Save: Superga 2750 Cotu Classic Sneakers ($65), Adidas Originals Women's Gazelle Sneakers ($80) or Veja V-10 Leather Sneakers ($150)
Splurge: P448 John Sneakers ($250), Golden Goose Superstar Leather and Suede Sneakers ($425) or Common Projects Original Achilles Sneakers ($410)
Wear with these socks: Emma Ankle Socks ($18) or Uniqlo Women Sheer Footsies ($10)

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Save: Sam Edelman Tinsley Chelsea Rain Booties ($55) or Everlane Rain Boot ($75)
Splurge: Hunter Boots Original Refined Chelsea Booties ($145) or Blundstone 068 Chisel Toe Chelsea Boot ($185)
Wear with these socks: Plush Rolled Fleece Socks ($18)

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Save: Everlane Modern Buckle Sandal (on sale $55 - $74), Steven Greece Sandal ($80) or & Other Stories Square Toe Woven Sandals ($99)
Splurge: ATP Atelier Ceci Buckle Slide ($350) or Carrie Forbes Salma Raffia Slides ($300)

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Save: Tony Bianco Brazen ($167), Free People Nicola Heel Boot ($178) or Topshop ARCTIC Low Ankle Boots ($140)
Splurge: AEYDĒ Lou Suede Ankle Boots ($360) or Jojo Waterproof Boot LA CANADIENNE ($498)
Wear with these socks: Wolford Velvet 66 Socks ($30)

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Save: Zara Round Wide Heeled Sandals ($40), UO Piper Thin Strappy Heel ($29), Free People Gabby Block Heel ($128) or Sandro Velvet Heeled Sandal ($148)
Splurge: Schutz Luriane Sandals ($170), Veronica Beard Olympia Sandals ($450) or Stella Luna Indispensable d'Orsay Pumps ($325)

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Save: Everlane Day Glove ($115) or Margaux The Demi ($145)
Splurge: Mansur Gavriel's Vegetable Tanned Ballerina Flat ($195) or The Row's Lady Di Suede Ballet Flats ($795)
Style it with: Literally anything. That's why they're the perfect travel shoe!

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Save: adidas Originals Falcon Sneaker ($100) or Nike Classic Cortez Trainers ($70)
Splurge: A.P.C. Running Mesh Sneakers ($310) or Nike Epic React Flyknit sneakers ($150)
Wear with these socks: STANCE Uncommon Training Socks ($12)

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Save: Topshop Justify Slingback Shoes ($68) or Kaitlyn Pan Genuine Leather Two Tone Block Heel Slingback Sandals ($85)
Splurge: Miista Canar Block Heel Slingback Pumps ($295) or GANNI Bow Kitten Heels ($280)

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Save: Topshop Geraldine Block Mules ($120) or Schutz Keilla Kitten Heel Mules ($72)
Splurge: By Far Tanya Suede Mules ($370) or Rag & Bone Beha Mules ($425)

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Save: Allbirds Wool Runners ($95) or Teva Original Universal Sandal ($50)
Splurge: Birkenstock Arizona Birkibuc Sandal ($100)

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If you're going to the beach, bring: Sandals, running shoes, and go-anywhere heels
If you're traveling to Europe for a week, bring: White sneakers, booties, nude flats
For a bachelorette in Vegas, bring: Go-anywhere heels, booties, and sandals
If you're hiking Yosemite for a few days, bring: Running shoes, waterproof boots and those not-so-chic shoes
If you're wine tasting in Napa, bring: White sneakers, booties, and mules
For a quick business trip, bring: Loafers, go-anywhere heels, nude flats
If you're taking a road trip for a few days, bring: Sandals, booties, and the not-so-chic shoes
If you're attending a good friend's wedding: Slingback shoes, go-anywhere heels, nude flats
If you're heading home for the holidays: Booties, loafers, or sneakers (...since slippers aren't on the list!)

P.S., Here are Emily's tips and Leslie's tips for packing a carry-on!