When building a capsule wardrobe shoes can be one of the most challenging things to pack. Shoes are bulky and they often take up a lot of space, which can be a problem when you’re trying to pack light. If you’re someone who tends to overpack, you probably end up bringing way too many pairs of shoes. You may even bring some that you don’t even end up wearing on your vacation!
If you’re ready to tackle packing light, creating a capsule wardrobe including your shoes will be super important. Our tips will help you create space in your bag and help you think a little harder about your shoe choices so you don’t have to worry about your feet hurting while you’re walking the cobblestone streets abroad. Keep reading to learn how you can create an effective shoe capsule wardrobe for your next trip.
Want to learn more about creating a whole capsule wardrobe? Check out my post on How to Create the Ultimate Travel Capsule Wardrobe
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My pick for the Ultimate Capsule Wardrobe Shoe
I LOVE the Taos Star Sneaker and actually own 4 pairs of them in different colors. They are in almost every capsule of every trip I take. My flat feet really need supportive shoes, so most sneakers do not work for me. I actually brought these to my podiatrist and he could not believe how good the insole is. The Taos Star is the perfect pair of casual shoes for travel. You can wear around town, for travel days and for long days of sightseeing without your feet getting tired or sore.
Guidelines for Creating Your Capsule Wardrobe Shoes
Remember the rule of three
If you’ve read our blog posts before, you know that we’re all about the travel capsule wardrobe. When I pack my capsule, I only bring 3 pairs of shoes. It may seem like an impossible task if you’re planning an extended trip. But believe me, it’s totally possible as long as you give your shoe choices a little bit of thought ahead of time.
Be realistic about what shoes you’re actually going to wear
Yes, bringing those new statement shoes on your upcoming trip can seem like a perfect opportunity to showcase your purchase. But, it’s important that you be real with yourself about what shoes you’re actually going to wear on your trip. Styling different shoes can be an easy way of showing off your personal style, but when you’re traveling, you should focus more on function than fashion. And that’s not to say that you have to sacrifice style altogether. For traveling though, but comfort and versatility are the most important factors. For example, high heels may be one of your favorite styles at home, but heels are tough on cobblestone streets and long days of sightseeing. It’s really best to leave them at home.
Choose shoes in different categories
For our purposes, the main categories of shoes are casual, dressy, professional, and shoes for a specific purpose or event. In order to make the best use of all of your shoe choices, you should pick ones that are in different categories, not those that are all a similar style. For example, you might choose a pair of sneakers for more casual looks, a pair of sandals for the beach, and a pair of flats for the evenings or a lunch out.
If the weather is a bit colder and you won’t be going to the beach, some ankle boots or knee-high boots are classic options that work with a lot of different outfits, whether it’s skinny jeans or a skirt. However, no matter the season, you should always have a comfortable pair of cute sneakers that can be transformed from everyday wear into a cute nighttime look.
Pick shoes that work in more than one category
We mentioned above that the right pair of sneakers can work in more than one category. One thing that can ruin a vacation is blisters on your feet from the wrong shoes. A nice pair of sneakers will save you from this a lot of the time. You can also wear sneakers with a pair of jeans and a white shirt or a lightweight slip dress if you’re packing a summer wardrobe. A stylish pair of white sneakers is one of those timeless pieces that you should always have in your wardrobe.
When you’re using the travel capsule method, you mostly focused on versatile clothing items that mix and match. I also think it’s helpful to lay out different outfit combinations so you can imagine the finished product, including shoes, to make sure they all work together.
It is easy to just lay them out on your bed. Since I blog about packing, I actually do this on my computer – here is an example:
Example: Portugal Summer Travel Capsule Wardrobe and Outfit Ideas
Opt for a neutral or solid colors
This is a helpful guideline for packing any kind of clothing, but it works especially well when you’re trying to make smart shoe choices. Polka dots and bright colors can be hard to match with multiple outfits, and mixing and matching is a key part of the travel capsule wardrobe. If you do want to include some bold colors in your shoe wardrobe, just make sure that they work with more than one outfit, because like we mentioned earlier, it’s important that your shoes pair well with all of your clothing, not just a single outfit.
If you want to play it safe, stick with a neutral or basic color palette. Choosing neutral colors for your travel capsule wardrobe is a sure way to make sure that all of your pieces work well together. This is a tip that you’ll see often in our travel and packing guides. Many types of shoes in your shoe collection will already be a neutral color, especially work shoes and leather boots, so be sure to keep those at the front of your mind when you’re choosing your shoes.
Think about the activities, weather and season you’re planning
What is the perfect shoe capsule? It’s hard to say. I personally think it has much to do with what your activities, weather, and the season will be. Will you be hiking? Sightseeing? Going to the beach? Does your travel include business meetings or any special events? I am going on a trip this week that involves a wedding on a farm and the dress code includes boots. That is one of my three shoes for this trip, and I will incorporate that into my capsule shoe wardrobe! I am wearing a high-low combination dress with these darling boots peeking out. I am so excited!
Sample Capsule Wardrobes – Shoes for various seasons
The seasons can play into what shoes you need as well here are some examples of seasonal capsule wardrobe shoes.
Spring and Summer Season
Summer Shoes and your summer capsule wardrobe can be light weight and breezy, same with your spring shoe capsule. White sneakers, black flats and strappy sandals (that are supportive) are a great mix!
Fall Season into Winter
As the weather turns, you may want some boots, even rain boots, and maybe even black loafers. I change my sneakers from white to black with white trim to go with the darker wardrobe.
Many destinations that you travel to will require a fair amount of walking, so it’s important to make sure you have a pair of shoes that is going to be comfortable all day. Street sneakers, as we mentioned, are good everyday shoes, but if you’re traveling in warmer climates, a comfortable sandal is a great option as well. This way, if you are traveling somewhere where you might stop by a beach, you won’t have to bring a change of shoes or dust sand off your feet before putting your socks back on.
In the autumn in many places, the weather can be variable and you may find yourself dealing with fast-changing weather conditions. If this is the case, a pair of boots will be a great addition to your shoe capsule wardrobe, and make sure your feet are dry if you like strolling around under your umbrella.
Finally, prioritize comfort over everything else
We’ve mentioned this already in this post and in other posts in the past, but it’s worth saying again because it’s so important. Comfortable shoes are the key to a great vacation. In many places, walking is the best way to see the city, and that can be miserable if you don’t have the right shoes on. Wearing comfortable shoes doesn’t mean that you can’t still create stylish outfits, you’ll just have to do a little more planning when it comes to your outfits. Trust us, it’s worth it to have shoes that are comfortable.
FAQ: Capsule Wardrobe Shoes
Still have lingering questions about creating the perfect capsule wardrobe for your shoes? Keep reading to learn more about how packing light can work for you.
What is a shoe capsule?
A shoe capsule is a smaller collection of versatile shoes that you can pair with a variety of different outfits in your travel capsule wardrobe. These shoe capsules often include a wider variety of different shoes so you have different options while you’re away from home.
How many shoes should you have in a capsule wardrobe?
Our travel capsule wardrobe allows for three different pairs of shoes. We mentioned in the post above that you should choose a few different pairs of shoes from different categories, but that each pair of shoes should work with multiple outfits, that way you won’t have to have a different pair of shoes for every outfit.
How do you build a travel capsule wardrobe?
You can read more about how to build a travel capsule wardrobe here. No matter how long your trip is, we believe that you can pack light with the right set of tips and tricks.