Have shoes, will travel

One day, I will be one of those smart, savvy travelers with the single carry-on roller and a small purse as I zip through the airport. That day is not today!

I am a notorious over packer. So much so, that just the thought of packing for a trip can sometimes bring about a slight bout of anxiety. In an effort to get to that state of packing Zen above, it’s best to address the issue from the ground up … literally, the shoes.

Shoes take up the majority of the space for me. So if I can make smart shoe packing choices, this should help alleviate the bulging, heavy bag syndrome.

The purpose of your trip will indeed help determine your footwear needs. The length of your trip will play a role as well, but if you make the right shoe choices, a few pairs can get you stylishly through an entire week just as easily as a weekend!

Shoe packing rule #1: only pack one pair of the same type of shoe. This sounds pretty straight forward, but it’s an easy trap to fall into. In fact, a quick perusal of my suitcase right now would reveal two pairs of wedges for a trip to the beach.  I convinced myself that they were different enough to justify both pairs, but clearly I only had my over packing self to convince. Lesson learned.

Shoe packing rule #2: each pair of shoes should work with at least three looks. Yes, it’s an arbitrary number, but if you’re asking your favorite black trousers or pair of jeans to pull multiple shifts, why should your shoes be exempt? Resist the urge to pack just that one special pair of sandals that are perfect with that dress you plan to wear to dinner one night, but that don’t work with any other outfit you’ve packed. I try to decide on the pair of dressier heels that I’ll pack, and then select my night time looks based on the shoes.  Side note: I have a pair of ridiculously high Gucci sandals that are basically the quintessential vacation shoe. They basically scream dinner at Prime 112 in Miami. The only problem is … they are as heavy as they are high. So if and when I pack them, they are the base of my packing tree and the clothes are merely limbs!)

Shoe packing rule #3: this one is more of a packing rule. Try everything on together to get an idea of how well your suitcase contents will work together.  How many of us have packed a dress to wear with a pair of sandals not realizing that the heel height of the sandals would turn a demure shift dress into a thigh grazing mini? Just me? alright then, but it’s still a good idea just to make sure that you can indeed wear that comfy pair of ankle boots with jeans, a dress and under your black pants for a meeting.

Shoe packing rule #4: travel in style AND in comfort. Make sure at least one of the pairs in your bag or preferably on your feet while in route is a comfy, easy to remove pair. Lately, a nice ballet flat has been my go to travel shoe. They’re lightweight, a neutral metallic bronze that go with anything and easy to kick off before I go through security. And the pair that you have on your feet doesn’t count towards the number of shoes you’ve packed!

Three is the magic number…

As a general rule of thumb, three pairs of shoes can suffice for most trips regardless of length. With each pair working with at least three different looks, you have a nice variety of options to choose from when you arrive at your destination. And if that extra pair of heels gets thrown in there, I won’t hold it against you. I’ll still be lugging my carry-on through the airport regretting that extra pair of wedges I packed at the last minute!

Safe travels,


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