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It’s pretty hard to travel without trainers so we’d suggest starting with them. Add a pair of flip flops or sandals for beaches, hot weather or dirty showers and you could be done with just those two. Any further footwear requirements will be dictated by your gap year plans.  Obviously if you’ll be trekking, or walking in the mountains then a pair of decent walking boots will be on your list, but don’t forget to wear them in before you set off to avoid those blisters. You’ll find the same walking boots could be just as useful if you are carrying out construction work or other manual work such as that on conservation projects.


What to consider when choosing your gap year footwear

We could provide you with a list of exactly which shoes we would take with us, but we think it would be more useful to give you a list of things to consider for yourself. So here it is:

Which shoes do you normally wear?

If you only ever wear trainers or sandals then that’s unlikely to change whilst you’re away (although we’d still recommend flip flops and potentially walking boots as mentioned above). If you are particularly fond of wearing heels you may want to take a pair with you for any occasions when you are going to be smarter.


Will you be working whilst you’re away?

You may need additional shoes for work if you know you’re going to be working. That might mean practical shoes such as walking boots; smart shoes suitable for wearing with office clothing; or just an additional pair of trainers to make sure you have something clean to wear.


Do you find it hard to buy shoes?

Rather than overpacking, we would recommend packing the minimum number of shoes for your gap year as you can buy more shoes whilst you’re travelling if you have the need. The caveat to this is that you may struggle to buy shoes if you have specific requirements. For example, if you have particularly large feet and are travelling in Southeast Asia or South America, you may find it difficult to find appropriate shoes.


Have you got time to break new shoes in before you go?

If you haven’t got time to break in new shoes, we would recommend that you take existing shoes with you rather than buying something new. Ideally you would buy any specific walking boots with enough time to break them in gradually before you go.


How heavy are your shoes?

Don’t take your heaviest shoes with you if you can avoid it. Carrying them around whilst wearing flip flops isn’t fun!


One final thought

Don’t forget that you when you pack your shoes you can fill them with things so that space in your luggage isn’t wasted. Especially true of bulky walking boots – the perfect place to store your socks!




    gap year safety training course

    JUST £100



    if bought at the same time as a TravelAid subscription