Packing Shoes For Paris. Tips And A Season By Season Guide.

Packing shoes for Paris

Generally speaking, people find packing shoes for Paris a difficult task. This is the conclusion I’ve come to after numerous conversations with fellow travellers.

Time and time again, I’ve been told how tricky it is to decide on which shoes to take and that it is hard to find comfortable shoes for travel.

But packing shoes for Paris – or anywhere else in France for that matter – doesn’t have to be daunting. Just follow a few simple rules and you’ll be sorted.

Packing Shoes For Paris – Tips

  • Don’t overpack shoes. They are heavy and they take up heaps of valuable luggage space. Put some thought into what needs to go with you – don’t leave it to the last minute to decide on shoes, or you might throw in more pairs than you’ll really need.
  • And, on a similar note, make sure the shoes you choose match with everything. There is nothing worse than lugging a pair of shoes all the way to Paris and then barely wearing them because they only complement one outfit. My trick – choose your shoes at the outset and build outfits around them.
  • Go with the flat option first. Yes, throw in a pair of heels if you feel you must, but don’t underestimate how ‘Parisian’ your flats will be. Remember, this is a city of cobblestones and Metro stairs. Seriously, your heels may not get a look in (this is especially true for those of us who work in the corporate world. Once the holiday vibe kicks in, heels could be the last thing on the planet you feel like wearing). Although I could never have imagined doing it, I’ve even worn flats to a three Michelin starred restaurant and felt like I’d nailed the dress code.
  • Check that your choices are comfortable enough to walk or stand in for long periods of time. Test this before you leave home. Don’t assume that because shoes are flat they will automatically be comfortable. And don’t think that comfortable shoes have to be ugly – yes it will take some research, but there are lots of flattering, fashionable and comfy shoes out there.

Shoes For All Seasons

  • Spring = Super comfortable ballet flats or ankle boots. Sports style shoes have also become very popular over the last few years and are great if you plan to cover a lot of ground. Colours for spring can be a little more lighthearted – although you still want them to be suitable for all occasions.
  • Summer = ballet flats or sandals. For a long time I didn’t consider sandals suitable ‘travel attire’. Eventually though, I got around to thinking about what I wear in Melbourne in the hot weather. And I started to pay attention to the Parisians – all of whom seemed happy to hoof it around their city in strappy footwear. The signs were clear – sandals had to show upon my packing list. My favourites are a very versatile, silver pair.
  • In Winter, it’s all about beautiful boots. Whether the height is ankle or knee, boots will work for you morning, noon and night. And they look great with frocks or jeans. Black is the standard, but tan or oxblood are nice too.
  • Autumn = A similar shoe wardrobe to Spring. Cute ballerinas, sports shoes or your trusty ankle boots again.  Go for neutral colours for maximum ‘matchability’.

Do you have any tips for packing the right shoes for Paris? Or are you one of those travellers who finds it difficult? Either way, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

Photograph taken by Carla Coulson, 2015.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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10 thoughts on “Packing Shoes For Paris. Tips And A Season By Season Guide.

  • Taste of France

    French women are crazy about sports shoes these days. Stan Smiths and Converse at the top of the list, but also Nikes (think Roshe) or New Balance. The “cool” styles are the ones that aren’t for sports, with flat soles–i.e., no ergonomic bump under the arch, heel detail or flared-out heels that are typical of running shoes. They are more streamlined. You think, oh, the tourists and the locals are all wearing sports shoes, but you can still spot a tourist from three blocks away by their shoes because they aren’t wearing the same sports shoes.
    As someone with bad feet, I welcome the sports shoe trend, but I don’t wear the same shoes for working out as for going to town.

  • Alisa

    And let’s not forget that shoes can be bought in Paris, and are a wonderful souvenir!
    Janelle, when you say ‘sports shoes’, what do you mean? could you post a photo or two? Do you mean trainers? or keds? or what, exactly?

    • Janelle Post author

      Yes, and what is a trip to Paris without a little shoe shopping??? Alisa, Taste of France covers it well in the previous comment. They are not shoes for actual sporting activity (apart from walking) but the ‘cool’ styles. Converse have been popular for a while now, but Stan Smith’s and New Balance are certainly seen regularly. My version are a pair of Nikes – very simple black with white detail (soles and Nike logo). As Taste of France suggests, you wouldn’t wear the same shoes on the street as you wear to the gym!!

  • Alisa

    Thanks – I saw the former comment just after I clicked mine to send – the lesson from that is to always read all the comments first! Very helpful.

  • Nat Lanier

    Thank you so much. I love any topics related to shoes. For me I could never get away with packing light on shoes. I agree with you on cute ballet flats. Luckily, many newer styles are more comfortable (with more supporting cushions and more securing straps). I love the ones with wider coverage on the toes (besides it feel much more secured walking around on them). For a day with lots of walking, I always pack some light but comfy socks with me (in my purse), they do come in handy when your feet get really tired. I have tiny feet and did find some cute small shoes (better yet, on sale) in some unexpected boutiques in Paris (off of rue Saint-Honoré). I also like packing several cute pairs of high heels for going to dinner. 🙂
    P.S. We, American, also love those “Sketchers Go Walk” shoes. They are very light, comfortable, inexpensive and pretty cute. They are great for walking around the city casually.

      • Taste of France

        I have four pairs of Go-Walks. Love them. I wore a brand-new pair for a week in NYC and never got a blister. They are a good example of the silhouette of “cool” shoes–the sole is completely flat, without a notch for a heel.
        You can buy them in France for about 3 times the U.S. price.

  • Anna

    I so appreciate this article, since we will be in Paris for several days (after a river cruise) in July! Our previous trips have been in autumn and winter, so packing for summer will be quite different. Thanks, especially, for the idea of choosing shoes first, then building the wardrobe around them!

  • Kathryn Bechen

    Hi Janelle, I found your blog somehow and have really enjoyed all your tips and ideas! I have been seeing many people online buying Tieks ballet flats these days and am going to try them next time I buy ballet flats, but at $175 minimum per pair, they are cost-prohibitive for many people — or at least more than one pair. But people love them, and they are SO cute and colorful! I have been having good luck with the Jing Jing ballet flat this year from VivoBarefoot and the black ballet style goes with everything and was very welcome after two years with a painful foot condition that made walking difficult — which led me to the barefoot shoe movement. Anyway, thanks for your beautiful Paris blog! A European trip is on our bucket list and although I have never been to France, my husband and I value beauty, order, and aesthetics and history of all kinds so we live a similar lifestyle in the U.S. that incorporates those things and I blog at about it if you like to read about Southern California. Anyway, thanks for your nice blog and pix!