When it comes to beach trips, shoes are probably one of the last items on your list to check off. Isn’t it enough to just wear your worn-out flip-flops? And there are so many other more important purchases to think about, such as beach towels, swimwear, and even a cooler to keep your food and drinks at the ideal temperature. However, you should reconsider your packing list priorities. Beach shoes are often overlooked, but they can make all the difference. Consider the following: hot sand, pebbly shorelines, water activities that necessitate footwear — all the more reason(s) to put your feet first.
A few things to consider when selecting the best beach shoes for your trip: They must be waterproof, lightweight, simple to put on and take off, and most importantly, comfortable. Walking through hot lava (see: sand) is difficult enough; don’t complicate matters with your footwear.
The best beach shoes for women on this list are ideal for walking from the car to the sand, playing in the waves on the beach, or even taking a deep dive into the blue ocean waters. You’ll find what you’re looking for, whether it’s easy-to-wear slides or perforated sneakers that are breathable while still protecting your toes.
Beach footwear shopping is very different from regular footwear shopping. A day spent at the beach exposes you to more elements.
The sand may be scorching hot, the pier may be slippery and wet, and broken rocks may lurk beneath your feet (and don’t even get me started on the sanitation of public restroom floors).
With all of this in mind, it’s critical to be picky about the quality, material, and features of your footwear.
As you read through this list of the best shoes for beach vacation, consider the following questions.
What to look for in travel sandals for the beach
1. Do you require something that is environmentally friendly?
If you’re walking on the pier, wading over rocks, or strolling along the beach, look for footwear with good traction to keep you from slipping.
If you intend to participate in water sports, you’ll want something that stays on your feet better, such as water sandals or water shoes that cover the entire foot.
When walking on slick rocks, these shoes provide more stability. They will never come off in the water while still allowing air and water to pass through.
2. Are you looking for something trendy?
If you prefer to spend your beach vacation sipping margaritas at a beachside bar rather than participating in high-octane water sports, fashion may be a top priority for you. In this case, you can forego ostentatious features in favor of improved design and ornamentation.
You’ll almost certainly be walking on the sand while splashing around in the water, so look for the best travel sandals that look great while being beach-friendly.
Fortunately, there are many options for these types of sandals, and I’ve listed some of my favorites below!
3. Do you have any particular concerns?
If you have flat feet, wide feet, or bunions, you should buy sandals that will keep your feet comfortable throughout your vacation.
Keep in mind that you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet as you navigate the beach or boardwalk, so choose travel sandals that provide both comfort and support.
Now that you know what to look for in the best beach travel sandals, it’s time to find the perfect pair for you!
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The 5 best shoes for the beach vacation
1. Rubber Flip-Flops
When considering what to pack for a beach vacation, this is an obvious no-brainer! That being said, flip-flops (or “thong sandals,” if you prefer) aren’t always as practical for the beach as we might think. So, if you’re going to the beach in flip-flop sandals, keep the following tips in mind:
- Bring a simple thong or slide that can be fully immersed in water and does not contain any loose baubles, glitter, or ornaments that may wash or become loose.
- Make sure the upper fits snugly around your foot and that the outsole has some traction to allow you to walk easily on sandy and wet slippery surfaces.
- Bring a pair made of non-absorbent materials with you. Allow me to explain: I have a pair of flip-flop sandals that I love to wear in and around Toronto, but the top is made of terry cloth. When I took them to the beach or pool, the upper part absorbed the water and took an eternity to dry. So vexing!
- These are the shoes you will most likely wear on your beach vacation, so make sure they can withstand a beating. Sand is called “rough” for a reason!
- Always bring an extra pair in case one breaks or you lose one to the wind! It’s also a good idea to have an extra pair for use as slippers in your hotel room.
2. Light Sneakers
Sneakers may not be your first choice when deciding what to bring on a beach vacation, but they are always, and I mean always, a good idea. Why? Because it’s always a good idea to bring one closed-toe shoe when traveling. Even when packing for a trip to the beach! You never know what the weather will be like or what your actual needs will be when you arrive, so it’s always a good idea to have a few options. Other reasons you might want to wear running shoes:
- Travel in a nutshell. In my opinion, light, breathable sneakers are a must-have for the actual travel portion of your trip. Three reasons.
- You may be leaving from a snowy, cold location (like Canada, yay) and don’t want to freeze your toes off.
- planes, trains, and automobiles can all be cold. It was really, really cold! And number three? Sneakers will protect your feet and toes from serious injury during potential travel mishaps such as luggage/cart toe rolling and foot stomping by other, unaware passengers (let’s blame children primarily for this one, shall we?
- Yes, stylish running shoes are not only a great idea for the actual travel portion of your, well, travel, but they will also come in handy during related activities. This is self-evident if you want to go to the gym. Maybe most of us are too lazy and would rather lounge on the beach all day, but wouldn’t it be nice if we had the option if our mood shifted (or we felt mighty guilty of those 3 servings of chocolate cake the night before!?). And don’t forget about those rainy days that may keep you away from the beach for hours at a time and into the weight room.
- Excursions: Is there an excursion you haven’t considered that will require you to wear comfortable/closed-toe shoes for long treks? Or you didn’t realize rock climbing/tennis/other activities were available (for free!) and you wanted to participate? All the reasons why you should bring your running shoes on your next beach vacation!
3. Wedge Sandals
Of course, no leisure vacation, no matter where it takes place, should be complete without a fashionable and fun pair of high heel shoes. Unless, of course, you’re going on a safari or climbing Machu Picchu!
Packing a walkable high heel with a wedge for your next beach vacation is a great idea because they’re an easy way to dress up even the most basic outfit, so you’ll be ready for a romantic dinner or a fun night of dancing to show off your legs! Not to mention, with the 70s trend in full swing, they’re a simple way to keep your look current and stylish.
But, given the nature of a beach vacation and the variety of “grounds” you’ll be walking on, I’d recommend a sandal with a wedge and even some sort of platform, preferably made of a woven, breathable material like canvas or raffia (better for breathability in tropical climates). I prefer cork and weave heeled wedges because they are more resistant to scrapes and scratches. If you prefer leather or suede, make the straps smaller so your feet don’t get too hot and sweaty. High-heeled espadrilles are also a good option!
4. Fancy Flat Sandals
Because flip-flops just aren’t going to cut it sometimes, people. Our high heels aren’t either. Perhaps our legs are tired from too much lounging, or perhaps certain locations aren’t conducive to a higher height? What do you think?! Including a fashionable flat sandal on your beach vacation packing list is always a good idea to keep your footwear options open. And, unlike thong sandals, a fun, trendy flat sandal will not make you look like you just stepped out of your lounge chair. It’s also a great shoe for going for a walk in the nearby city without looking like a tourist. I recommend a sandal because hot climates and closed toe shoes do not mix!
So, which trendy flat sandals should you get your hands on? It’s all about statement flats this season, and if you didn’t snag the latest style from last Spring/Summer season, you’ve got plenty of options in the sale section right now! I’d recommend a chunky sporty chic slide or sandal, or a sexy lace-up or gladiator sandal, depending on your personal style. You can’t go wrong with either an eclectic shoe that is comfortable or a style that laces up at the ankles at this point! I prefer the latter, but to each his or her own.
5. Water Shoes for the Beach
This is a shoe type that is frequently overlooked when packing for a beach vacation. You never know what activities or conditions you might encounter, just like with sneakers. And if you don’t do your homework ahead of time, you may be unpleasantly surprised. For example, not all beaches in the Caribbean or elsewhere in the world have only powdery white sand. Some beaches are dark, coarse, and rocky, such as those on certain Costa Rican beaches or the pebbly beaches of Nice, France, to name a few. And your feet might not appreciate it.
But, if you don’t want to spend the money on a pair of water shoes, water socks are a great alternative that are even lighter and easier to pack. These are essentially tough socks with shoe-like rubber outsole grips. Water socks or shoes are recommended for a variety of sports, including kayaking and wakeboarding.
Instead, why not bring a Teva style sandal? Because they are open, they will not protect you from pebbles, rocks, glass, or spikey coral. On certain terrain, it’s also a good idea to have your entire foot covered and protected. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry about any loose securing velcro fastenings, or any fastenings at all!
I hope that after reading this, I’ve alleviated your concerns about what to pack for a beach vacation! I know that adding these 5 shoes to my beach vacation packing list (and, eventually, my suitcase) makes my pre-trip life a little easier. So, wherever you’re going, have a wonderful vacation!
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