Best Digital Nomad Shoes for Comfort and Versatility on the Go

There’s more to working behind a screen in the best digital nomad destinations and a high step count - like it or not - is almost always part of the game.

My daily step count currently averages 10,000+ over the last 6 months with a personal 24-hour record of 46,573 (I’m particularly proud of that). I couldn’t have completed that in a pair of Oxfords or Brogues.

Instead, as digital nomads, we are somewhat limited in our shoe choices.

They need to be packable, versatile, stylish, and above all, comfortable. A little like Cinderella, there’s only one shoe (or a handful, in our case) that fits the bill. They are, however, not made of glass.

In this article, we’ll walk you through our top digital nomad shoe recommendations for full-time travelers. We’ll explore everything from hiking sneakers to barefoot shoes and cover everything you need to consider before investing in digital nomad footwear.

Top Shoes for Digital Nomads: Our Top Picks

1. Adidas Ultraboost Light

(Men's and Women's)

Best Allround Shoe for Digital Nomads

Adidas Ultraboost Light
Key Specifications
  • Type: Running sneaker
  • Material: Recycled, sock-like upper
  • Support Features: Neutral fit, 10mm drop, ultimate cushioning
  • Outsole: Continental Rubber
  • Other Features: Light BOOST technology
  • Designed for long-distance days (0 - 42+ Km)
  • Grippy Continental Better Rubber outsole
  • A wide range of colors and styles
  • Available in men’s and women’s sizes
  • Not available in multiple widths
  • Not appropriate for dressier occasions

The Adidas Ultraboost Light is our top pick for the best shoes for travel for digital nomads.

Available in men’s and women’s models and a plethora of styles, the lightweight running trainers are a nomad's dream. A 10mm drop gives fantastic roll and Light BOOST technology offers unrivaled energy return - great for long-distance runs or high-mileage sightseeing.

As a relatively chunky running sneaker, the runners may not be best suited for dressing up. However, with a black/black colorway, you may get away with it!

2. Altra Lone Peak 8

(Men's and Women's)

Best for Hiking

Altra Lone Peak 8
Key Specifications
  • Type: Hiking sneaker
  • Material: Ripstop mesh
  • Support Features: Natural foot shape fit (roomy toe box, 0mm drop, moderate cushioning)
  • Outsole: Maxtrac sticky rubber
  • Other Features: Altra EGO midsole foam, multiple widths available, waterproof model available
  • Altra’s trademark natural foot shape fit
  • Grippy Maxtrac outsole is perfect for trails
  • Multiple colors and variations
  • Available in both men’s and women’s sizes
  • Maxtrac sole is best suited to trails over cities
  • Few discrete colorways - not appropriate for dressier occasions
  • 0mm drop requires an adjustment period

A minimalist blend of trail running and hiking shoes, the Altra Lone Peak 8 for men's and women's are our favorite shoes for digital nomads with a love for the great outdoors.

The Lone Peak’s are a 0 drop shoe with Altra’s trademark foot shape sole. This means your feet remain in the position that they should be naturally. For the trails, this - combined with the Maxtrac sole - offers plenty of grip.

The only downside lies in the colorways of the shoe. They’re all very vibrant - fine if you’re only wearing them on the trail. But take a pair of neon sneakers into an upmarket cafe and you’ll feel some eyes on your feet.

3. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

(Men's and Women's)

Best Barefoot Shoes

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III
Key Specifications
  • Type: Barefoot sneaker
  • Material: RPET, polyester and polyurethane
  • Support Features: Barefoot shoes with the Pro5 Puncture Resistant sole
  • Outsole: 2mm performance outsole, 100% synthetic rubber
  • Other Features: Waterproofing, breathability, quick-dry, etc.
  • Versatile barefoot shoe (can be dressed up or down)
  • Vegan, recycled materials
  • Lightweight and easily packable
  • 100-day trial available
  • Requires a break-in period
  • Not suitable for trails/hiking

After recently celebrating its 10th year in business, Vivobarefoot’s mission is far from a secret - the company is everywhere!

The brand offers versatile barefoot shoes with neutral colorways to suit everyday life. The Primus Lite III is maybe their most popular model and has earned our title of the best barefoot shoes on the market.

Available in men’s and women’s sizes, the Primus Lite III takes care of almost every scenario - minus hiking/trekking. Barefoot shoes do, however, require a break-in period. If you can handle the barefoot feeling, they offer the perfect gateway to stronger, healthier feet.

4. Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed


Best Sandals

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed
Key Specifications
  • Type: Sandal
  • Material: Nubuck leather, cork with integrated latex foam cushion
  • Support Features: Anatomically shaped, two individually adjustable metal buckles
  • Outsole: EVA
  • Other Features: Soft footbed, timeless design
  • Soft footbed (cork with integrated latex foam cushion) offers unrivaled comfort
  • Highly versatile (can be dressed up or down)
  • Available in narrow and regular widths
  • Lightweight and easily packable
  • Requires a break-in period
  • Not a waterproof sandal
  • Oiled leather requires upkeep

Travel shoes don’t get more relaxed than the iconic Birkenstock Arizona but for digital nomads, we recommend the soft footbed model.

A little pricer than the standard Arizona and without the waterproof properties of the EVA, the oiled leather soft footbed is our favorite Birkenstock model. Why? Because the oiled leather means they’re versatile enough to wear anywhere, the soft bed means they’re comfortable enough to wear anywhere, they’re easy to pack, lightweight, and super stylish.

They would be perfect if they were waterproof (and if the outsole was good enough for trails). But you can’t have anything and we’re more than happy to settle for the next best thing.

5. New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13

(Men's and Women's)

Best for Running

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13
Key Specifications
  • Type: Running sneakers
  • Material: Breathable mesh upper
  • Support Features: Rocker profile, 6mm drop, enhanced midsole cushioning
  • Outsole: Solid rubber outsole
  • Other Features: Breathable, reliable, performance-focused
  • Versatile, lightweight running shoe
  • Supportive and comfortable on 10+ mile days
  • Multiple widths (Standard, Wide (2E), and Extra Wide (4E))
  • Available in men’s and women’s sizes
  • Few discrete colorways - not appropriate for dressier occasions
  • More expensive than others listed

Not only are the Fresh Foam X 1080 v13’s comfortable shoes for walking, but they’re fantastic neutral running sneakers for both men and women.

I’ve been searching for the perfect pair of runners for some time after landing on the Fresh Foam’s, I think I’ve found them. They’re a neutral running shoe with a 6mm drop with the maximum cushioning in the Fresh Foam lineup. They’re available in both men’s and women’s sizes, in multiple colors, and - and this is the big one - multiple widths.

If you’re as unfortunate as I am - and have hands for feet - the Fresh Foams are some of the only runners on the market to accommodate that Extra Wide (4E) fit.

I’m wearing these as I write this - and have done as my only shoe over the last two months. I run in these, travel in these, head out to restaurants in these - everything. I’ll buy another pair after they’re done and wear those into the ground, too.

6. Teva Original Universal

(Men's and Women's)

Best for Water

Teva Original Universal
Key Specifications
  • Type: Sandal
  • Material: Molded EVA midsole, heel, and arch, REPREVE polyester yarn
  • Support Features: Easy hook-and-loop closure, molded EVA midsole, robust EVA footbed
  • Outsole: Rubber
  • Other Features: Quick-dry, Treated with Life Naturals to fight bacteria
  • Quick-dry polyester yarn
  • Made from vegan, recycled materials
  • Multiple colorways and styles (original, slim, midform, and flatform)
  • Men’s, women’s, and children’s sizes available
  • Requires a break-in period
  • Not appropriate for dressier occasions

The original Teva’s are a super versatile and hard-wearing sandal that you can rely on.

Favored by long-distance thru-hikers, the waterproof sandals have earned cult status among those who use and abuse their gear. They're ultra tough, uber comfortable, won’t break the bank, and they’re waterproof - they’re perfect for those beach days.

The Teva Original Universal sandals are made from recycled, vegan materials and are available in men’s and women’s sizes. They do, however, require a break-in period and - if you do have to dress up - may be best left in the suitcase!

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How We Picked Our Best Digital Nomad Shoes

Comfort & Support

High step counts go hand-in-hand with exploring new places. A comfortable, supportive shoe is essential for digital nomads.

We’ve searched for shoes with high levels of cushioning and great arch support to give great energy returns and prevent foot pain on your travels. But we’ve also targeted minimalist barefoot shoes that encourage the natural foot shape and help build strong, powerful feet.

Packability & Lightweight

If you’re planning on packing multiple pairs of shoes (I always recommend at least two) the weight and bulk need to be a consideration - just like any digital nomad essential.

For me, a pair of running trainers is a non-negotiable and a pair of heavily cushioned runners will stay on my feet for the majority of travel days. My second pair will always be a lightweight, easily packable pair (minimalist trail shoes, barefoot sneakers, or sandals) that can be carried without taking up excessive space or adding too much weight.

As much as I love them, there’s no space for walking boots as a digital nomad. Trust me, I’ve tried.


In a perfect world, we digital nomads would have five pairs of shoes - each with a specific job. A pair for hiking, another for jogging, one pair for dressing up, another for dressing down, and, of course, one for the beach.

But multiple pairs take valuable space away from the pack of a digital nomad. In the real world, we can only bring two (maybe three) pairs of shoes on a trip - therefore they have to serve multiple purposes - they have to be versatile.

Grouping shoes into multiple categories is the best way. Finding a single shoe that covers all bases in the gold standard. We’ve looked for shoes that you can use every single day for the majority of activities, experiences, and scenarios.


The most expensive shoe doesn’t always equal the highest quality - great travel shoes can be found without buying from the top shelf.

There’s no need for carbon-plated race shoes for city walking as a digital nomad - it’s overkill and a total waste of money. Sure, some specialist shoes will offer specialist benefits - but they’ll also come with specialist price tags. But it’s not a linear correlation for an improved personal experience.

Instead of picking the most expensive, consider what kind of shoes you’ll need and what kind of budget you have. You can pick up a great pair of sandals for a lot less than a competitive pair of runners!

Climate & Activities

Buying trail running shoes for a month in Tokyo is not a smart move. Buying sandals for a 6-week Thai island-hopping trip is.

Different climates and activities require different footwear. Think about the destinations you want to go to and the activities that you’re hoping to complete. Chances are there’ll be a specific type of footwear to suit.

Personal Style

Finding shoes that you really vibe with can be difficult as a digital nomad. I, for example, would exclusively wear Vans - right up until I finished my first backpacking trip.

Vans look great and suit my style, but the blisters from those high-mileage days are just not worth it. Instead, I’ve now opted for a pair of cushioned runners that I love. My style may have changed, but I still wear shoes that I love.

We’ve aimed to find digital nomad shoes with a wide range of colors and styles available. Shoes are super personal and finding a pair that is both practical and stylish should always be a priority - otherwise, you’ll hate slipping them on each morning.

Ready To Get Your New Pair of Digital Nomad Shoes?

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