I love to travel. For a time, it was my sole job—writing about the places I’d experience. Now, it’s still a part of my job, and one that brings me incredible joy. The thing that doesn’t bring me joy? Deciding what to pack. I’m a carry-on-only kind of gal, and anyone who’s packed a smalls suitcase knows that the biggest obstacle is (logically) the bulky items. And one of the bulkiest items is, without a doubt, footwear. But I think I’ve cracked the code when it comes to footwear that serves many purposes—and one you can wear right on the plane. Overtime, I’ve come to find that the best travel shoes are Chelsea boots.
From desert trekking to volcano climbing to nights out on the town, a close-fitting ankle boot is versatile as heck and perfectly fitted to do pretty much anything. I’ve traveled to over 30 countries and have made my way through pretty much every terrain and climate, and a Chelsea boot has never failed me.
Because I have flat feet, I tend to add some arch support inserts into said boots for extra support, but going for a boot with a slight heel (like a Chelsea boot) and arch support in general is super important for foot health. “Wearing a completely flat boot is not good for the foot because it can cause plantar fasciitis and provides no support for the arch,” Yolanda Ragland, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist, foot surgeon, and founder of FixYourFeet.com, previously told Well+Good. “Wearing a boot with a heel that is too high is not good because you can wind up getting pain in the ball of the foot—you’re increasing your chances of ankle sprains and plain-old stress in the foot in general.”
With that in mind, here are some of my personal favorite Chelsea boots that will save you foot pain (and carry-on space).
Hush Puppies Hadley Boot — $130.00
Hush Puppies is one of my favorite brands, since they’re so supportive. These feature their bounce support technology, which cushions the foot, and are made with water-resistant materials to keep your feet dry. The soft leather also feels great—no blisters here.
UGG Markstrum Boots — $150.00
I’ve replaced these UGG boots (with another pair) one time after years of wear. They’re perfectly weather-proof with a foam footbed, and feature extra treading for both a stylish look and actual, great help while walking on uneven terrain.
Vionic Karsen Boot — $180.00
Vionic is a podiatrist favorite, and these boots are a great example of why. With amazing arch support, they hold up in any weather condition and have a secret side zipper for better fit.
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