The 15 Best Breathable Shoes for Summer of 2023 | by Travel + Leisure

Travel + Leisure / Marcus Millan

Breathable closed-toe shoes are a must for any warm-weather packing wardrobe: they’ll keep you comfy and cool no matter where your travels take you.

When shopping for breathable shoes, consider how you plan to use them, as different styles are better for different situations. Note, however, that versatile styles that can be dressed up or down will maximize your packing efficiency.

We asked podiatrists to weigh in on what to look for and what to avoid when choosing breathable shoes to help us round up the best options for women and men. Whether you’re casually touring around town or dressing up for work or an event, we’ve got you covered.

Our Top PicksBest Overall:Allbirds Tree Runners at NordstromJump to ReviewBest Lightweight:Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Dressy:Birdies The Goldfinch at Birdies.comJump to ReviewBest for Walking:Naot Adonis Sneakers at ZapposJump to ReviewBest for Work:Rothy’s The Point at Rothys.comJump to ReviewBest Slip-on:Amazon Essentials Women’s Knit Ballet Flat at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Overall for Men:Everlane Unisex Tread Bare Sneaker at Everlane.comJump to ReviewBest Lightweight for Men:Xero Men’s Crosstraining Shoes at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Dressy for Men:Dr. Scholl’s Sync Oxford at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Walking for Men:Skechers Gowalk 5 at AmazonJump to Review

Best Breathable Shoes for Women

Best Overall

Allbirds Tree Runners



View On NordstromView On Allbirds.comView On Dick’sWhy We Love It

Comfy, breathable, versatile, cute — and even washable. What’s not to love?

What to Consider

This shoe is only available in full sizes.

This smooth, breathable sneaker from carbon-neutral brand Allbirds is perennially popular for warmer weather, walking, travel — and everyday use. The upper is made from responsibly sourced eucalyptus tree fiber, and the shoelaces are made from recycled plastic bottles.

Plus, these are just plain cute, and available in 14 color options from classic white on white to standout hot pink. Just toss them in the machine on a gentle cycle to wash.

Price at time of publish: $105

The Details: Eucalyptus fiber upper | 5 to 11

Best Lightweight

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III


View On AmazonView On Vivobarefoot.comWhy We Love It

Super lightweight and breathable, these shoes were built for performance — and you get 100 days to try them out.

What to Consider

This stylized, barefoot-type shoe won’t be for everybody (but the trial period allows you to see if you like them).

This minimalist trainer is designed to allow feet to move in the most natural way possible, with a barefoot feel and lightweight construction. They’re foot-shaped (not toe-shaped), with a wide footprint for stability, and they’re extremely thin.

The vegan trainers are available in black, white, navy, and a standout neon yellow for safety. Plus, buying them is a low-risk proposition: you can try them at home for 100 days and return them for a full refund within that timeframe if you’re not convinced.

Price at time of publish: $160

The Details: Vegan, recycled | 5.5 to 11.5

Best Dressy

Birdies The Goldfinch


View On Birdies.comWhy We Love It

These flats are comfortable, versatile, and come in tons of colors and materials.

What to Consider

These tend to run both long and wide.

This pointed-toe flat is an ideal breathable shoe for summer travel: you can wear it sightseeing during the day, and dress it up for dinner, too. The footbed is ultra-cushioned for comfort, and they’re available in 14 colors and styles, from everyday suede to occasion-friendly velvet. Plus, you get a 30-day fit trial and free returns if they’re not for you.

Price at time of publish: $130

The Details: Available in suede, leather, or velvet | 5 to 12

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Best for Walking

Naot Adonis Sneakers


View On ZapposView On Naot.comWhy We Love It

These are equal parts comfy and cute.

What to Consider

These run big; if you typically wear a half-size, you should size down.

From podiatrist-recommended, kibbutz-made brand Naot come these sneakers made with a soft, flexible, breathable knit upper textile. They have a removable cork and latex footbed that’s ultra-comfortable for all-day wear, plus a lightweight and durable rubber and foam sole.

Price at time of publish: $160

The Details: Knit upper | 4 to 11

Best for Work

Rothy’s The Point


View On Rothys.comWhy We Love It

These polished-looking flats go with just about everything — and they’re fully machine washable.

What to Consider

These shoes don’t stretch much, so make sure the fit isn’t too snug on the first wear. (And they run slightly small, so you may want to order a half-size up.)

This fan-favorite shoe comes in dozens of colors and prints so there’s something for every style — and every work-appropriate occasion, (but you’ll find tons of other ways to wear it while traveling, too).

The pointed-toe flat has a classic silhouette, is completely comfortable, sustainably made — and the best part? They’re fully machine washable so they’re like new whenever you want them to be.

Price at time of publish: $149

The Details: Recycled plastic bottles | 5 to 13

Best Slip-on

Amazon Essentials Women’s Knit Ballet Flat


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

These flats are breathable, comfortable, affordably priced, and versatile enough to become a travel wardrobe staple.

What to Consider

This shoe runs large; consider sizing down.

These polyester ballet flats are breathable and classic, with tons of versatility and utility in a carry-on-only travel wardrobe. A faux leather sock absorbs sweat, and a padded insole has memory foam for major cushioning and comfort. They’re flexible, lightweight, durable, and soft, with a flattering round-toe shape — and they’re budget-friendly, too.

Price at time of publish: $26

The Details: Polyester | 5 to 15 (regular and wide)

Best Breathable Shoes for Men

Best Overall for Men

Everlane Unisex Tread Bare Sneaker


View On Everlane.comWhy We Love It

These comfortable and breathable shoes are super lightweight — perfect for travel and for wearability in the heat.

What to Consider

Note that this all-gender style is also available in women’s sizes.

This cotton canvas sneaker has it all: it’s super lightweight, soft, supportive, durable, and oh-so-comfortable. Plus, it’s sustainably made from recycled cotton canvas with a 100 percent natural latex rubber outsole and recycled trims. In fact, this shoe is the environmentally conscious brand’s lowest carbon-impact sneaker ever.

While it has a barely-there feel, it also has a noticeably cool look — especially the multicolor version with standout red and blue details. It’s also available in off-white or pale pink.

Price at time of publish: $130

The Details: Recycled cotton canvas | 4 to 11

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Best Lightweight for Men

Xero Men’s Crosstraining Shoes


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

These minimalist shoes are super lightweight and designed to promote good posture by mimicking a barefoot experience.

What to Consider

The ultra-thin construction could compromise durability.

These super lightweight and ultra-thin shoes are meant to mimic a barefoot experience (you can wear them with or without socks). An optional 2-millimeter insole lets you have less of a barefoot feel if or when you prefer it. The sole has a completely non-elevated heel to promote proper posture and performance. Wear them for a run, hike, or just around the city.

Price at time of publish: $95

The Details: 6.5 to 15

Best Dressy for Men

Dr. Scholl’s Sync Oxford



View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Belk.comWhy We Love It

These faux-leather oxfords have a versatile look that can be dressed up, plus a budget-friendly price point.

What to Consider

The vegan leather can be prone to tearing.

A faux-leather upper gives this shoe a dressier feel that goes right out of your suitcase to a meeting or event (the faux leather is fully synthetic and vegan). A soft neoprene tongue and collar hug the foot, and a round toe is equally roomy and stylish. Extra support under the toe, plus foam at the ball of the foot and heel keep these super comfy.

Price at time of publish: $85

The Details: Faux leather (synthetic) | 8 to 15 (medium or wide)

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Best for Walking for Men

Skechers Men’s Gowalk 5


View On AmazonView On ZapposView On WalmartWhy We Love It

These breathable and moisture-wicking walking shoes come in an inclusive size range, making them ideal for wide feet.

What to Consider

The highly cushioned sole may not feel supportive enough for all wearers.

These sneakers are ideal for walking — and plenty more. The breathable mesh upper has a ventilation effect that keeps them feeling cool, and the lightweight Goga Mat insole offers major cushioning (think: yoga mat). They’re also machine washable and easy to clean, and come in six neutral and versatile colors.

Price at time of publish: $65

The Details: 100 percent woven knit mesh fabric, synthetic upper, rubber sole | 7 to 16X (regular and wide)

Best for Work for Men

Snibbs Men’s Spacecloud Work Sneaker


View On AmazonView On ZapposView On Snibbs.coWhy We Love It

These easy-to-wear slip-on shoes are ideal for work as well as everyday wear.

What to Consider

These shoes run slightly small.

This sneaker is designed explicitly as a work shoe — for all types of work requiring you to spend a lot of time on your feet. Plus, it’s great for general lifestyle and travel wear, too. It’s vegan and sustainably made from almost 100 percent recycled materials. It’s also slip-resistant, water-resistant, and has a slip-on design with an adjustable lace option for ease and fit. This shoe is available in 11 color options.

Price at time of publish: $149

The Details: Nearly 100 percent recycled materials | 7 to 14

Best Slip-on for Men

Cariuma Men’s Canvas Sneaker


View On Cariuma.comWhy We Love It

We love the cool skater look of these effortless slip-ons. And for every pair purchased, the brand plants a pair of trees in the Brazilian rainforest.

What to Consider

Slip-on styles provide less opportunity for customizing the fit than lacing sneakers.

This sustainably made slip-on sneaker is effortless and timeless. The 100 percent vegan shoe is made of organic cotton with a natural rubber outsole. It’s slip-resistant, with a cork and foam insert for comfort. Plus, it comes in five colors, including neutral black, off-white, or gray, and standout rose or vibrant green.

Price at time of publish: $79

The Details: Organic cotton | 5 to 13

Best Breathable Shoes for All Genders

Best Clog

Crocs Echo Clog


View On ZapposView On Champssports.comView On Crocs.comWhy We Love It

Unisex and available in an inclusive size range, these breathable and comfortable shoes are waterproof, too.

What to Consider

Not everyone is on board with the Crocs aesthetic.

This fully molded clog has ventilation ports for breathability, which also help shed water.  It’s super light (weighing just ounces), comfortable (a heel pad on the back strap adds extra cushioning), and easy to wear. They’re also water-friendly, buoyant, and can be worn in and out of the water without issue. Plus, they’re easy to clean and dry.

Price at time of publish: $70

The Details: Croslite | 6 to 12 (women’s sizes), 4 to 17 (men’s sizes)

Best Canvas

Vans Classic Slip-on Checkerboard


View On ZapposView On NordstromView On WalmartWhy We Love It

We love the look of these classic slip-ons that go with everything, and they’re easy to get on and off.

What to Consider

The slip-on style and waffle sole is ideal for everyday wear, but less of a performance shoe in harsher elements.

Van’s checkered slip-on shoes are nothing short of iconic, and can be worn by everybody – man, woman, and child. This breathable canvas shoe with a cool and classic checkerboard pattern has a slip-on style with elastic side accents for everyday, hands-free ease. Rubber waffle outsoles ensure solid traction for everyday city wear as well.

Price at time of publish: $65

The Details: Canvas | 5 to 17.5 (women’s), 7 to 16 (men’s) in regular and wide

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Best Casual

Teva Terra Canyon


View On ZapposView On Dick’sView On Publiclands.comWhy We Love It

This all-gender shoe is breathable, comfortable, and sustainably made — with a collapsible heel for easy on/off.

What to Consider

If you prefer an open-toe version, Teva has other styles that may suit you better.

This breathable sneaker has a classic look with an outdoorsy vibe for summer, with an upper made from cotton and hemp canvas. It slides on and off easily with a collapsible heel, and a microfiber lining feels soft against the foot. A recycled EVA top sole adds additional cushioning for optimal comfort, whether you’re at the campground or on the streets. They’re available in eight colors, too.

Price at time of publish: $80

The Details: Cotton, hemp canvas blend | 3.5 to 14 (men), 5 to 15.5 (women)

Tips for Buying Breathable Shoes for Summer

Consider the materials

Mesh or otherwise thin fabric uppers (such as lace or canvas) make for the best breathable closed-toed shoe options, says Tennessee-based podiatrist Dr. Emily Keeter. On the flip side, “any kind of rubber closed shoe or leather bound shoe is going to be the least breathable and will collect heat.”

Look for cooling features

Look for cooling elements such as extra ventilation, and special breathability features like mesh or cutouts. But be careful not to prize breathability over foot health and comfort.

Although you might be tempted to wear flip-flops for serious ventilation, avoid the temptation unless you’re actually on the beach, says North Carolina-based podiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Daughtry. “Flip-flops do not offer adequate protection or support for excessive walking or standing,” she says. “Wearing supportive athletic shoes is the best bet for comfort and support while exploring cities and going for hikes in beautiful weather.”

Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat types of shoes are good for hot feet?

The best breathable shoes for hot, sweaty feet are made with materials that promote airflow and air circulation. “Mesh or knit material is the most important factor to find as these materials will offer the best airflow and make the shoe more lightweight overall,” Daughtry says. “Many running shoes have a lighter midsole or cushioned footbed,” and these are also good things to look for in a summer shoe.

How can I make my shoes more breathable?

There are some easy and affordable home remedies you can try to make your shoes more breathable. For instance, try placing some baking soda or talcum powder inside your closed-toed shoes to absorb any extra moisture and help manage odor.

And don’t forget to wear socks: “Socks play an important role in helping to wick moisture away while cushioning and protecting the skin on your feet,” Daughtry says.

Keeter concurs. “Most people do not wash their shoes on a daily basis and therefore, that hot moist environment that you are creating by walking is going to become a perfect breeding ground for athlete’s foot and fungus,” she says. “I always encourage my patients to wear [a] thin sock at a minimum to protect your skin from any kind of bacterial or fungal element that inevitably might grow in your shoe.”

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Alesandra Dubin is a career travel and lifestyle writer and product reviewer. She’s also a frequent traveler with plenty of hard-earned packing experience. Alesandra spoke with Tennessee-based podiatrist Dr. Emily Keeter and North Carolina-based podiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Daughtry for their expert insights into choosing the most breathable shoes for summer.

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