Raise your hand if you're a chronic over-packer. Got a hand up? Mine is also waving in solidarity for my fellow suitcase-stuffers.
Which is why I'm taking notes from this TikTok #TravelHack made by a woman who reports to have backpacked through Europe with only *three* pairs of shoes. Yes, you read that right—just three pairs of shoes for four months of adventuring, including strolling city streets, showering in hostels, and dancing in European discos. My anxious, "Am I forgetting something?"-self could never...
In her recent TikTok, creator @Samandherbackpack (Sam) walked viewers through the exact styles she crammed in her pack on a solo trek around the continent. (Proof you really don't need to bring six pairs of shoes on a week-long vacation...) "These shoes are the best," Sam wrote in her caption, before showing off the sneaks. "Make sure not to bring more than three pairs of shoes since they're heavy."
@samandherbackpack Reply to @steele.your.heart These shoes are the best! Make sure not to bring more than three pairs of shoes since theyre heavy 😥 #backpacking #solotraveler #backpackingeurope #solotravel #travelgoals #backpackertips #packingtips ♬ original sound - Sam
Unsurprisingly, the three shoes she relied on were from reliable brands known for making shoes that can be for worn on month-long adventures to simple grocery store runs alike. They're comfortable, sturdy, and supportive, and if they can survive rocky Italian beaches and kayaking in Croatia, they'll survive your day-to-day, too. But if you do have a summer vacation in the works, take a tip from Sam and pack lightly. Find her exact three styles, below.
The "life changing" shoes Sam dangles in front of the screen appear to be the Teva Midform Universal ($60) in black, a mid-height flat-form waterproof sandal. "A lot of the beaches I found in Europe are rocky," she says. "So you can wear them to the beach, in showers at hostels, and out with a cute dress."
These hardy sandals look almost identical to the Original Universal ($55), only they're a smidge higher, designed with a 1.25-inch EVA midsole. The upper straps are totally waterproof, made from a quick-dry recycled poly webbing that can handle salt and freshwater alike. But it's the versatility we love most. Especially when you need to pack light, having a sandal that can do it all (and is easy to Velcro on and off, to boot) is a game-changer.
Buy them here:
Of course Hoka One One sneakers got Sam through four months of backpacking—they're practically luxury mattresses for your feet. In the video, she shows off a worn pair of black Gavioto 4 ($170) that got her through an average of 15,000-25,000 steps per day, so you know they're the real deal. "These saved my feet," she says in the TikTok. "They're really comfortable and supportive."
Our team confirms Hoka sneakers are, indeed, unmatched in comfort and support. They're the same shoes our Senior Commerce Editor, Gina Vaynshteyn, uses to walk her dogs three miles a day. Similarly, they're the same brand our previous Deputy Editor of Brand Initiatives, Ali Finney, praised for making the, "most cloud-like shoe" she ever slipped on. Walking, training, hiking, traveling—you'll be hard pressed to find something the super sneaks can't do, which is what makes them a must-have in every wardrobe.
Buy them here:
Will the classic Vans Old Skool ($70) sneakers ever go out of style? We think not—It's been a fan-favorite since 1977, with no end of support in sight. Turns out, they were Sam's "fancy" shoes ("You can't fit heels in a backpack, don't try") that she wore through Europe's nightclubs and discos.
While Vans are traditionally a skate shoe, their versatility make them ideal for dressing up or down, depending on the occasion. They're made from canvas, meaning there's arguably not a ton of support in the upper, so if you're going to be walking long distances, aim for the Hoka. But if you're short on packing space and want a low-key shoe that can take you to drinks or late-night dancing, the Old Skools are an excellent option. Lightweight, minimalist, and durable against spilled drinks, you'll want to rock for the next 50 years.
Buy them here:
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