7 Best Walking Shoes For Europe

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7 Best Walking Shoes For Europe
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If your next stop is Europe, you need a suitable pair or two of shoes that are great for exploring cities, tourist destinations, and even beaches. Fitting for long travels and all-day wear, we’ve listed for you a comprehensive selection of highly-rated Europe walking shoes for the trip.

Depending on the season or European cities you’ll be visiting, there’s an ideal shoe for you. Check out our selection of waterproof shoes for the rainy parts of the region or lightweight designs for more flexibility and comfort.

With plenty of walking shoes in this category, buying the right pair can be a bit daunting. To narrow down your choices, we’ve tested and ranked best Europe walking shoes. Learn more about our top picks by clicking on each of the shoe links.

How we test walking shoes

From mesh tops ideal for beach walking to leather and orthotic-friendly designs, we’ve carefully vetted, tested, and thoroughly reviewed all the models on this list for your convenience. 

Here are the phases involved in the selection process:

  • We invest our money and time to test all the walking shoes suitable for European travel.  This ensures the independence and objectivity of our reviews.
  • We walk at least 10,000 steps in each shoe to make our in-depth reviews and final verdict. We pay attention to the model’s real-life fit, comfort level, cushioning, flexibility, support, weight, durability, traction, and more.
  • We subject the footwear to long hours of lab testing. We collect data other than the on-foot feel, but also the actual measurements and evidence-based results from our tests.

Best overall walking shoes for Europe

On Cloud 5
88
Good!

What makes it the best?

Strolling around Europe is a magical experience in itself, but what elevates this further is an amazing pair of shoes that makes each step fantastic. After spending hours testing the On Cloud 5 in the lab and on our feet, we found the On Cloud 5 to be the ultimate partner for travels around Europe. What we found particularly enchanting was its long-hour-friendly cushioning, its lightweight build, and its flexible sole. 

We put the On Cloud 5 to work in lengthy walking sessions to simulate maximizing every minute spent while traveling. We found it to be an extremely comfy shoe even as the miles piled up. We couldn’t get enough of it! We then checked its midsole’s hardness in the lab to see what makes its cushioning great. It’s 4% firmer than the average walking shoe, placing it in a great spot. This translates to a very balanced walking experience, granting the comfort of soft shoes while not being too squishy.

Even with the amazing amount of utility derived from the On Cloud 5’s cushioning, it still felt unbelievably light, which is great to fight off fatigue. Its weight of 8.4 oz (238g) is a whole 0.9 oz (26g) lower than that of the average walking shoe.

Plus, going from each step to the next with the On Cloud 5 felt soooo satisfying. We looked into this further by testing its flexibility. We secured the shoe by its tip and bent it using our force gauge to measure the force it exerts when bent at a 90-degree angle. From this, we found that it’s 35% more flexible than the average shoe. This makes the On Cloud 5 one of the most flexible shoes we’ve tested across all categories!

While the On Cloud 5 proves to be a reliable partner in general, it doesn’t do so well against stones and debris. They simply get stuck in the On Cloud 5’s grooves. We don’t recommend this shoe if you don’t want to deal with that.

Pros

  • Perfect for all-day wear
  • Unbelievably lightweight
  • Can do low-impact workouts
  • Amazing in-shoe feel
  • Very breathable
  • Super easy on-off
  • Great flexibility
  • Regular laces are added
  • Sustainable materials (44%)

Cons

  • Not for wide feet
  • Lacks durability
  • Outsole catches pebbles
Full review of On Cloud 5

Best walking shoes for all-day wear in Europe

Hoka Transport
82
Good!

What makes it the best?

The number one Europe walking shoe for all-day wear is Hoka Transport and here’s why: it's an absolute feet haven! We loved how Transport kept us comfy, supported, and protected from all kinds of pains, from blisters to fatigue, even for round-the-clock travels. 

Rubbing and chafing never became an issue on our trips with Hoka Transport. When we dissected the shoe in our lab, we realized that we owe its comfort to the generously padded interior. We even measured the tongue’s thickness as 7 mm, which is 3 mm more padded than the average.

Underfoot, Hoka Transport is so divine. In our lab, we pressed our durometer to its midsole and we were amazed at its 21.9 HA softness which is also 25.5% softer than average. While it has a superb level of softness, it didn’t overwhelm our feet with squishiness, rather it provided us with a hint of firmness, perfect for more than 12 hours of Europe tour!

Also, the midsole didn’t harden up so badly when we stuck the Transport into our freezer for 20 minutes. While its softness changed by 43.2%, at a recorded hardness of 31.4 HA, it was still 20.9% softer than the average. This also makes Transport perfect for Europe snowfalls. Inversely, though, it isn’t so ideal for hot weather. We confirmed this in our smoke test, in which a minimal amount of smoke escaped, scoring only 2/5 for breathability. 

Pros

  • Unbelievably comfy
  • Spacious toe box
  • Adequately cushioned
  • Superior traction
  • Reliable outsole durability
  • Easy to slip in and out
  • True-to-size fit
  • Easy to clean
  • Sustainable

Cons

  • Not great for warm weather
  • Squeaky during break-in
Full review of Hoka Transport

Walking shoes for Europe with the best comfort

Nike Motiva
90
Great!

What makes it the best?

We ventured through Europe, traversing diverse pavements and cobblestone streets, all in the embrace of unparalleled comfort provided by Nike's Motiva. We took the shoe to the lab and confirmed its leg-saving and heavenly ride through its unlimited cushioning, smooth forward transitions, and reliable outsole.

To make the most out of traveling to such beautiful destinations, we wore the Motiva to be able to last all day without any pain or discomfort. Its generous 34.9/25.6 mm cushioning makes long miles roll by with its pillowy goodness. Our durometer unveils a measurement that’s 40.0% lighter and softer than average. It also features unique waves underfoot to help even out the pressure.

Motiva has a prominent rocker that encourages forward movements with less effort. To maintain seamless transitions, the midsole needs a level of stiffness for the rocking effect. And true enough, our flex test reveals Motiva is 43.1% more rigid than the average walking shoe.

The outsole holds the perfect formula of toughness and traction, preventing any slips even on wet roads. With our durometer, we measured the rubber to be a highly dense 92.0 HC, 21.4% above average, promising it would last hundreds of miles.

Unfortunately, Motiva will only feel comfortable in cooler seasons as its thick and dense upper is unsuitable for hot weather.

Pros

  • Rocker makes for effortless walks
  • Audaciously plush cushioning
  • Out-of-the-box comfort
  • Very wide and stable base (for walking/jogging only!)
  • Durable and grippy sole
  • Amazing wear resistance in the upper
  • A Nike shoe that's NOT tight and narrow

Cons

  • Lacks breathability for hot weather
  • Sole develops wrinkles easily
  • Rocker takes time to get used to
Full review of Nike Motiva

Best lightweight walking shoes for Europe

What makes it the best?

The best lightweight walking shoe for Europe should be able to provide cozy comfort day in and day out. From testing the Allbirds Tree Runners in the lab and on the streets, we found that having it on our feet provides gratuitous amounts of comfort that makes them feel like home. What made this stand out is its padded insole and its flexible sole, combined in a featherlight package.

As we walked in the Allbirds Tree Runners through our battery of tests, we felt like we were above the clouds. For us, what made this happen was its padded insole. In the lab, we measured its thickness to be 7.2 mm which is a whole 30.9% thicker than that of the average walking shoe. Plus, its merino wool lining feels oh-so pleasant on foot!

What further adds to the Allbirds Tree Runners’ level of coziness is its amazing flexibility. On foot, it felt like we were going around barefoot! We tested this in our lab by securing the shoe by its tip in our lab and bending it at a 90-degree angle using our force gauge to measure the force it exerts back. Its flexibility of 12.2N makes it 36.5% more flexible than the average walking shoe.

Lastly, while we walked with the Allbirds Tree Runners, its amazingly lightweight build made us forget that we had it on in the first place. Its weight of 245g (8.6 oz), makes it 23.1% lighter than the average walking shoe.

Our tests with the Allbirds Tree Runners were conducted across a number of different surfaces. While it did well on dry surfaces, it didn’t do amazingly on wet ones. As such, we don’t recommend it for those who plan to travel to humid European destinations.

Pros

  • Extra comfortable interiors
  • Equally cozy in 40 and 85ºF
  • Can be worn without socks
  • Lightweight and packable
  • Flexible sole
  • Removable insoles
  • Easy to style
  • Machine washable
  • Sustainable design

Cons

  • No half sizes
  • Lacks arch support
Full review of Allbirds Tree Runners

Walking shoes for Europe with the best arch support

What makes it the best?

We walked along the cobble-stoned streets of Europe and discovered Arch Fit 2.0 offers the best arch support. Our lab results show it’s a highly supportive and stable platform without sacrificing comfort. Even those of us with flat feet and overpronation found it great for all-day wear.

Our caliper shows the tallest heel we’ve ever recorded — 39.2 mm. Even the forefoot is higher than average, leading to a 15.2 mm drop. We have tons of cushion for impact protection and the high drop protects us from ankle and Achilles strain.

While most maximalists are unstable, we felt steady thanks to the wide and firm platform. Its 114.5/90.0 mm width provides extra ground contact for surefootedness. We have no awkward foot movements since the cushion doesn’t collapse easily. Our durometer confirms its 30.4 HA foam is firm enough for support yet soft enough for comfort.

Another main pillar of support is the rigid midsole. Our bend test shows it's 18.6% more resilient than average — just the right amount of stiffness for those who need heavy support. Fortunately, it doesn't feel overly stiff thanks to its flex grooves.

We found the upper suitable for cooler conditions (until 70°F/20°C) because we ended up with damp feet in the heat. We don’t recommend using this pair in the summer.

Pros

  • Amazing support for overpronation
  • Wide and stable platform
  • Tonnes of cushioning
  • Lighter than the Arch Fit 1.0
  • Perfect for all-day wear
  • Padded and cosy interiors
  • True to size and fit

Cons

  • Very poor breathability
  • Lacks durability
Full review of Skechers Arch Fit 2.0

Walking shoes for Europe with the best sock-like fit

What makes it the best?

Our optimal choice for a sock-like fit during Europe trips is the Skechers GO WALK 6. This walking shoe elevated our excursions with its comfortable one-to-one fit. Just like socks, it doesn’t bear weight, embraces our toes, and moves smoothly along with our feet, making it our standout pick out there.

Walking in Skechers GO WALK 6 is much like walking with nothing on our feet. We verified this weightlessness using our scale, which registered 8.78 oz (249g), 7.5% lighter than most walking shoes we’ve tried. 

The flexible construction of the Skechers GO WALK 6 is also what made us enjoy being in the shoe for a whole day of walking, as it enabled a fluid heel-to-toe transition. Indeed, when we tested for its flexibility with our digital force gauge, the shoe readily bent at 12.9N of force. This puts the Skechers GO WALK 6 ahead of the average by 35.5% in terms of pliability. 

While we measured the widest part of the toebox to be super close to the average at 98 mm, it didn’t cause any restriction to our feet. Thanks to the stretchy and sock-like upper of the shoe, it made our feet feel like hugged. However, we expected incredible air circulation given that the Skechers GO WALK 6 boasts a knit upper. As it turned out, it didn’t allow much air to enter as much as it didn’t allow much smoke that we pumped inside to escape. Due to this, we don’t suggest getting this pair if breathability is non-negotiable.

Pros

  • Pillow-like comfort
  • Cushioned for all-day wear
  • Amazingly lightweight
  • Surprisingly durable upper
  • Snug sock-like fit
  • Easy on and off
  • Super flexible
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Outsole lacks durability
Full review of Skechers GO WALK 6

Walking shoes for Europe with the best style

On Cloudnova
89
Good!

What makes it the best?

After our actual trip to Europe and a visit to our lab, we discovered that the best on-foot company with the greatest style is On Cloudnova. Merely looking at it tells why this one has the best design out there. Every detail is tied together, from its bootie construction and midsole flex grooves to its reflective elements and other minimal details. And wearability-wise, this shoe got us prancing in joy without feeling any smidgen of tiredness from traveling from morning to night!

While roaming around in Europe, we could stay out for as long as we wanted because the footbed is incredibly comfortable. In our lab, we found that the midsole hardness is 29.0 HA which is 1.4% softer than average.

Also, our feet bent with ease while wandering in the continent. Although our digital force gauge recorded a resistance of 29.9N, meaning Cloudnova is 58% stiffer than average, we rated Cloudnova 2/5 (5 as the stiffest) in our longitudinal and torsional flexibility assessment, as it bent significantly when we used our own hand strength. Plus, we found that the not-overly-pliable construction of Cloudnova, along with a wide base, helped in making the shoe stable. 

However, Cloudnova didn’t help us much during our strolls under the scorching sun. We subjected it to our smoke test, and it only scored 3/5 because its upper didn’t let much smoke get out. Because of this, we do not advise sporting Cloudnova for long hours during summer.

Pros

  • Perfect for all-day wear
  • Great travel shoe
  • Attractive design
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Fits well straight from the box
  • High quality
  • 10% recycled materials

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Sole catches debris
  • Mid-cut is not for everyone
Full review of On Cloudnova

Choosing the best walking shoes for Europe

Walking is an enjoyable and practical mode of transportation in most parts of Europe, so you'll likely find yourself on your feet for hours each day. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes can quickly lead to blisters, sore feet, and a less enjoyable travel experience.

on-cloud-5-lightweight

Here’s how to choose the best walking shoes for Europe that will keep your feet happy–allowing you to explore this walker’s paradise with ease and style.

Consider your travel activities

Of course, no European itinerary is the same. Looking at where you’ll be spending most of your time exploring is the best place to start when picking the best walking shoes for you.

Exploring cities

If your itinerary includes city exploration, you'll want walking shoes that are comfortable for extended periods of walking on pavement. Look for lightweight trainers with cushioning and arch support.

Outdoor adventures

For outdoor enthusiasts planning hikes or nature walks, opt for hiking shoes or trail running shoes that offer added durability, ankle support, and a sturdier outsole. These shoes will keep your feet protected on uneven terrain.

hoka-transport-outsole.JPG

Key features to look for

Whether you will mostly be on mountain trails, cobblestone paths, or city streets, one thing is certain: your feet will be spending a lot of time in your shoes. As a result, comfort, fit, versatility, and durability all become important features to look for in walking shoes for Europe.

Comfort and fit

Above all, prioritise comfort and proper fit. Your walking shoes should have enough room for your toes to move comfortably, while providing a snug fit around your heel to prevent slipping.

allbirds-tree-runners-fit.JPG

Look for shoes that are lightweight, breathable, and flexible upper construction, with well-cushioned and stable midsoles.

You want shoes that are both protective and supportive while walking, while still being comfortable and lightweight for long train rides and afternoons spent in airport terminals.

on-cloudnova-review

Versatility

Many shoes are made for walking, and it is easy to tell. They feature sporty, athletic colorways that don’t always look great in non-athletic contexts. The best walking shoes for Europe have more versatile and well-rounded designs, relying on neutral colours and low-profile features.

Durability

Since you'll encounter various surfaces, durable shoes with good traction are essential. This will help prevent slips on wet cobblestones or rocky paths.

You also don’t want to have to replace your shoes mid-trip, so investing in shoes from reputable brands with excellent build quality will ensure your footwear is up for the rigours of walking-intensive adventures.

We perform a series of durability tests on each shoe to test its limits.

Walking shoe styles and aesthetics

Many walking shoes are decidedly unfashionable, but the best walking shoes for Europe don’t sacrifice form in the name of function. It's entirely possible to find shoes that are both comfortable and stylish. When picking shoes that pair well with any outfit, you should prioritise:

Neutral Colours: Choose walking shoes in neutral colours like black, grey, or beige. Muted earth tones, like blue and green, can also work well. These colours are versatile and easily complement a variety of outfits.

Minimal Designs: Bulky midsoles, deep lugs, and high-cut, thickly padded ankle collars are great for more rugged hiking or trail running but tend to be overkill for most pedestrian pursuits. The best walking shoes for Europe are well-cushioned, supportive, and comfortable, but with streamlined and minimal designs that forgo some of the bells and whistles of hiking shoes to balance performance with versatility.

allbirds-tree-runners-lightweight.JPG

Europe walking shoes: brands to look for

Some brands do a better job than others at putting out stylish and high-performing walking shoes well-suited to European travel. These are a few of our favourites.

On: innovative Swiss engineering

Swiss brand On is renowned for its innovative technology that combines cushioning, responsiveness, and sleek Swiss design sensibilities. Their comfortable and supportive CloudTec soles are perfect for long days of exploring, while their refined aesthetics look as good in a French bistro as they do on trails in the Alps.

Hoka: ultimate cushioning

Hoka is a trailblazer in maximalist shoe design. Walking shoes from this French brand–like the Hoka Transport–offer unparalleled cushioning, making them an excellent choice for those seeking comfort during extended walks and long travel days.

Allbirds: sustainable comfort

Allbirds specialises in sustainable footwear made from eco-friendly materials. Their Tree Runner shoes are among the best walking shoes out there. With uppers featuring breathable and thermoregulating merino wool, they are extremely lightweight, comfortable, versatile, and stylish–everything you would want from a walking shoe for Europe.

FAQs

Can I wear running shoes for walking in Europe?

Running shoes can be a comfortable option for walking in Europe, especially if they provide the necessary support and cushioning. However, running shoes are designed to encourage propulsive and efficient motion–many do not offer the same lateral stability and all-day comfort as walking-specific shoes.

Nike-React-Infinity-Run-3-in-shoe-feel

Are waterproof shoes necessary for Europe?

While waterproof shoes can be beneficial in wet climates or during unexpected rain showers, they're not an absolute necessity. It's a good idea to consider the types of activities and season you’ll be visiting before deciding on waterproof footwear.

What's the difference between hiking shoes and regular walking shoes?

Hiking shoes are specifically designed for outdoor adventures. They offer features like lugged outsoles, robust ankle support, rock plates, and heavier materials to handle uneven terrains.

merrell-moab-3-review.JPG

A hiking shoe is likely to be overkill if you are mostly exploring cities and towns in Europe.

Walking shoes are more suited for urban exploration or light trails and may not provide the same level of support and protection you would want on more technical terrain.

Can I wear sandals for walking in Europe?

Sandals with appropriate arch support and cushioning can be great for walking in Europe, especially during warmer months. Although they may be more comfortable in warm weather, they do not provide the versatility, protection, and durability you get from the best walking shoes.

Author
Laci
Laci
Laci is a contemporary dancer turned shoe aficionado. She is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to athletic shoes, size conversions and details people nitpick about footwear. She keeps the RunRepeat content gears turning 24/7. And she walks 20miles/week.