Packing Light – Footwear

I’m very excited to announce the launch of a new and beneficial category on my website; Packing Light. This category was designed to help you make your backpack lighter and smaller so that you can better manage your belonging while you are abroad.

It took me many years to have my travel pack evolve from 80 liters down to only 31 liters. If you want to get you pack down to a similar size, then there are many things that you must consider when buying stuff for your trip. Within each post under Packing Light, I will select a different item and explain why I have chosen it for my journey, and the pros and cons of that item.

I understand how frustrating it can be when trying to decide what to bring for a long 3-6 month trip overseas. I’ve been struggling with this for over a decade because I’m very focused on only packing the essentials to make my pack small and light.

The truth is that you will always find that you have packed unnecessary things. Packing too much stuff is perfectly reasonable, and I figure that as long as you learn and remember the next time, then it’s all good! If you read my posts under this category then hopefully you can learn from my many mistakes.

I put a lot of thought into what to bring on my journeys. I will break the topic of Packing Light down into several different blog posts due to its abundance of information. I would like to think that I got packing down to an exact science but there will always be room for improvements!

The items in this photo are examples of what I use for footwear on a typical 3-6 month backpacking trip. Every item is compactable and of good quality.


I will start with what kind of shoes to pack. I like to take black runners that are durable, but yet compactable. The reason why I like them to be compactable is so that they can fit into my backpack giving me the option of using my flip flops on the days that I’m traveling.

Having the option of using flip flops is especially important when going to hot places like Asia. Your feet can get very hot and uncomfortable when you’re on buses with no air conditioning in hot countries.

I prefer to wear black shoes when I travel because they tend to stay cleaner longer, and if you have a semi-formal event to attend then dark shoes will appear to look more dressy with a black pair of pants, and a button shirt. I will elaborate on this more in a future post about what type of shirt to bring.

The shoes that I chose for my next big trip are classified as light runners.The advantages of these kinds of shoes are their compact ability and their quick dry properties. Through my experiences, I found that if you are going to be traveling to a tropical place, then you will eventually get caught in a tropical downpour! If this happens, you will be happy with this type of footwear. Some disadvantages are that they can become uncomfortable faster than regular running shoes, and they do not provide much ankle support.

If you decide to go with this kind of footwear, then I would suggest using the shoes for a couple of weeks before your trip to make sure that you won’t have any problems. You will also need to use thin socks so that your feet can fit into the shoes properly. They are designed to wear with bare feet or with light socks. I have used this type of footwear for my last four long trips abroad. I used Merrell water shoes on my previous voyage, and they were durable enough for everyday walking and some hiking.

But please keep in mind that these type of shoes will only last about six months of constant use because they are made from thin materials. I think it’s a small price to pay for the big convenience.

It’s important for a shoe to have a collapsible heel so that it will be compact enough to fit into a small bag.
I will carry either my shoes or my flip-flops in my backpack when I’m going from place to place. And of course, I will be wearing the footwear that is not in my pack. As you can see in the photo above both the shoes and the flip-flops are compactable.


The socks that I use when I travel are thin and made from bamboo. I prefer this type of material because it dries fast, it is durable and light. Bamboo fiber is also a very hygienic. Clothes made from bamboo stand out during those times when you get stuck taking a 24-bus that has no A/C in a hot country. I have found that bamboo clothes will outlast clothes made from cotton, as far as hygiene goes. Also, if you use shoe powder with your socks, your shoes will stay fresher for longer.

I usually bring three pairs of bamboo socks for a 5-month trip. Each night or every second evening I will hand wash, and hang my socks to dry. If you want to compress your big pack down to a small more manageable backpack like mine, then you will need to limit the number of clothes that you bring. Therefore it will be necessary to stay on top of your laundry! It’s not very convenient. However, neither is carrying a big heavy pack. I think the extra work is a small price to pay to enjoy the freedom of carrying a small light backpack.

Bamboo socks, with a small bottle of shoe powder.


I always put each shoe or flip flop in a pouch so that I can keep the inside of my backpack clean. I keep my footwear in the back of my pack near my laptop.

I usually pack my shoes or flip flops in the last sleeve of my 31-liter bag.

What you have just read is one of the several posts that I will be writing on Packing Light. I hope this post inspired you to put some more thought into packing lighter and smaller for your next big adventure!

Do you have any cool tips of your own to share with us on Packing Light? If so, then please feel free to write about them in the comment section below. If you would like more free tips on how to travel cheap, then you can visit my website Thank you for visiting

Tyler England


Do you want to keep up to date on the latest ways I've found to travel cheap? Sign up for my newsletter and receive the newest blog posts.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.