Deciding what type of shoes to pack for any trip is a bit of a nightmare. Shoes are bulky, often heavy and, if you pack the wrong ones, they are a waste of space at best and a cause of sore feet at worse. Packing travel shoes for Italy is ever harder: famous for fashion, Italy makes you want to look good and stylish but its ancient streets and sightseeing opportunities require comfortable and sensible shoe-wear.
So, what shoes should you pack for Italy to hit the right note in fashion and comfort?
In this guide, we share our selection of the best shoes for Italy so you can be comfortable and stylish in all seasons and beat the cobblestones!
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Choosing the best pair of travel shoes for Italy is not easy. These are our top picks to stay comfortable on cobblestones and stylish at all times
The best shoes for Italy: how to pick
The type of shoes you pack for Italy depends largely on the type of trip you have planned and the season.
If you are just going to the beach for some summer sun, light sandals are probably all you need.
If, however, you want to make the most of the many sightseeing opportunities Italy, you may need versatile shoes that can go from day tonight and keep your feet safe.
These are our tips for picking the best shoes for Italy.
Choose rubber soles
In Italy you are likely to do a lot of walking and shoes with cushioned rubber soles are the best to keep your feet comfortable and protect you from hard steps on cobbled streets and city pavements.
The best one are thick enough to offer good cushioning but also flexible enough to somewhat adapt to your foot: a good walking shoe bends at the ball of the foot rather than along the arch, so this is something worth checking when buying a new pair or when packing tour bag with shoes not tried and tested yet.
Italians are fond of stylish sneakers (see below some of our favorite sneakers for Italy) so they are the perfect choice if you want to walk without looking like a tourist.
Fashionable Italy may lead you to believe you need heels to go out as a woman but this is not the case. High heels, especially very high and slim ones are not that common as they tend to snap on uneven roads and may severely hurt you.
Lower heels or wedges are the way to go if you want to gain some height.
Save flip flops for the beach
An American friend of mine used to joke that you can always spot an American in Rome because they are the only ones who wear flip flops in the city. I am not sure this is the case but what is true is that flip flops are not usually regarded as city wear.
Italians love sandals for the summer but we usually prefer leather ones.
Unless you have good flip flops that can somewhat cushion your step, I do suggest you embrace the Italian way and leave them for the beach only: long hours walking on rubber are unlikely to do good to your joints and they are super unpleasant on cobbles!
Don’t forget to pair your shoes with feet friendly accessories such as good quality walking socks and ballerina liners!
The best shoes for Italy in winter
The best shoes for Italy travels in the coldest months are those that keep you warm and dry as well as comfortable. Italy sees rain in the winter, sometimes very heavy, and especially in the North you will be happy to have boots that can keep your feet and calves warm.
These are some of our favourite models.
If you are unsure about weather in the North in winter, have a look at the Milan temperatures as a guide
Ankle boots are very versatile and popular with Italian women. They can be worn with trousers and skirts and they will protect you from the rain and ankle strains.
They come in a huge variety of colours and heights and they may well be the only shoe you will need in Italy in winter.
Blondo Ankle boots
Comfortable and stylish, Blondo ankle boots are great for walking all day and come is several models. Check their selection of materials, shapes and heel height here.
Toms Ankle boots
Toms ankle boots have a bit of a heel so you need to gauge if they are the right choice for you. However, you are likely to find that it sturdy enough to be comfortable for walking. Check colours and prices here.
Tall boots came back into fashion in Italy many years ago and never left again. They are annoying to carry on you travels as they cannot be easily packed but if you can wear them on the plane, they can be very comfortable for walking and can easily go from day to night.
This, or you can make buying a new pair of boots your mission while in Italy: leather goods here are amazing!
To maximise comfort, I like to go for soft ones that will not rub at the ankles if worn for long hours.
Unless you suffer the cold severely, usually lined boots are unnecessary. Do bring a pair that can take rain if you can as in Italy when it rain, it pours!
Stylish sneakers are exceptionally popular in Italy and especially in the last few years they have exploded as a real fashion statement.
I personally love them and find them the best shoe to walk all day and go sightseeing. They are the go-to shoe for the young and, in appropriate colours and shapes, are now widely accepted as footwear for pretty much all generations.
The ones to go for are the fashion ones rather than running ones. In winter, favour those that will keep you warm and avoid those made of material that can get ruined in the rain.
Runners are brilliant on Italy’s hard cobbles but they do not usually stand the rain so in winter it is wise to bring a second pair should you find yourself soaked or facing a full day of rain showers.
The best shoes for Italy in summer
High temperatures in summer will make you want to reach for sandals and the best ones to pack are those that come with a rubber sole and cushioning for walking.
Finding comfortable sandals can be a challenge: the prettiest ones often have many straps and laces and while they do look very ‘Italian’, they can also cut into your skin and become literally a pain to wear.
Best sandals for walking in Italy
Good sandals for walking in Italy in summer are those with a cushioned sole and not too high a heel. Some of our favourite brands are
Ecco Damara Sandals
Ecco Damara sandals are a good, versatile choice for walking in Italy. Check models and prices here
Birkenstock are not to everyone taste but they are excellent walking shoes and are popular in Italy with tourists and locals alike. You can check colours and models, with or without a back strap here
Ahnu sandals are super cute and excellent for walking. I particularly like the ones with cages toes both for their look and extra protection. You can check prices and models here
Plaka flat sandals
Plaka makes great travel sandals. Comfortable and versatile, they are the best to go from city to beach and come in a variety of colours and shapes to suit most feet. Check them here.
Sketchers Cali wedges
I got this exact pair of sketchers last year and they have been one of my best purchase to date. Great for walking and versatile, they bring you from day to night and are super comfy. Check price and colours here.
The best shoes to travel to Italy in spring and fall
Spring and fall give you the wider scope in terms of shoe fashion. The temperatures at these times are usually mild and despite the chance of rain especially in April and November, you can expect a reasonable amount of dry days.
These are my go to shoes for Italy in spring and autumn.
Adidas breathable sneakers
I love how breathable and lightweight Adidas summer sneakers are. While they do have a sporty look that will not work with all outfits, they are so comfortable I often travel with them as my only pair of shoes.
Yosi samra ballerina flats
I don’t love ballerina flats for walking but adore them to go out. Yosi Samra makes lovely ones that are comfortable and super flexible.
Sketchers walking slip on shoes
A good option if you wan to the comfort of a sneaker but a less sporty look are slip on walking shoes. Try Sketchers sport fashion sneaker or their ‘Go walk‘ shoe range for the most comfortable experience.
I hope you enjoyed our selection of favourite travel shoes for Italy. Safe travels!