Heels that keep you secure as you explore do exist. Okay, they might not be your first choice for a night out on the town if you prefer sky-high stilettos or strappy naked heels. But they work perfectly well for traversing cobblestones in Cuenca, hopping into a gondola in Venice, or walking off that of coq au vin with a midnight stroll along the Seine.
Sometimes it seems like travel and heels go together about as well as airplanes and thunderstorms or jet lag and early morning meetings. But for those who like to travel in style (and boost their height by a few inches), travel-friendly heels are out there.
A few mandatory requirements for a woman in motion: the heel must be block, platform or wedge, so as to ensure gravity is on your side. The design should hold your foot steadily in place so you can’t step out of it, Cinderella-style, as you dash from adventure to adventure.
Given those parameters, here are the zhuzh-iest ones we could find, in size order from shortest to tallest.
A Wee Block Heel
With a wee block heel measuring just 1.25 just inches off the ground, Alexandre Birman Vicky Vinyl 30 is the shortest heel you can possibly wear and still feel statuesque. The halo style ankle strap with buckle closure keeps you secure and the lightly padded leather footbed keeps you comfy. The on-trend transparent vinyl detail and open-toed silhouette with knotted accent, well, those just keep you cute.
The Retro Platform
Measuring in at 1.75 inches once you account for the platform, the DORY TERRA by Chie Mihara serves up a flirty 1940s retro vibe in rust velvet. The ankle strap with adjustable buckle closure will keep you steady as you go as you roam the streets of a new city after an elegant dinner.
The Bigger Block Heel
This 1.75 incher comes with all sorts of travel-friendly bells and whistles. The water-resistant Noa by Taryn Rose has a built-in “antimicrobial memory foam footbed with energy return and shock absorbing foam.” We’re not sure exactly what that means but we’re sure the chunky heel and rounded toe will leave you on solid ground.
The Ball Heel
A tweed pair that adds a little preppy to your steppy, the JAGGAR slingback combines a 1.75-inch wooden ball heel with a pointed toe and tweed check pattern that all come together to make the perfect heel for Paris.
The Kitten Heel
A two-inch mule that straps you in with a big, bold bow, these Botkier Pina Kitten Heel Mules are highly walkable yet refined. In six colors including Hot Pink for those who crave attention and Rosewater for the understated.
The Rubber-Soled Heel
The Block Heel With a Twist
Coming in at a smidge over two inches, the Cube Twist Sandal by 3.1 Phillip Lim dishes up gold Nappa leather luxury with a steady block heel and twisted straps at the front that keep you secure as you explore.
A Waterproof Wedge
The Ankle-Tie Sandal
At 2.5 inches, Vince’s Dunaway Leather Ankle-Tie Sandals are Italian-made with a leather sole. The knotted straps, ankle ties, and a block heel ensure you’ll get where you’re going with no drama, except for the kind stirred up by these gorgeous shoes.
A Cone Heel With Cushion
Three inches is such a happy height for a heel. I.N.C.’s Gavi Strappy Cone Heel Dress Sandals holds your foot in place with three straps while the cushioned insole with memory foam sock provides shock absorption every step you take.
For the Cha-cha Traveler
A three-inch satin heel for traversing a new place? We know this may seem out there, but keep an open mind. If you’ve ever taken a ballroom dance class or salsa danced, you may have noticed the pro dancers were wearing a throwback-looking shoe with a flared heel and double ankle strap. Turns out a shoe that works for salsa, samba, rumba, and the cha-cha-chá also works for—you guessed it—getting around in when you travel. We searched Amazon for the least cheesy looking dance shoe and we chose this red, satin Kai-Road model. And who knows, these heels might just inspire you to take a dance class wherever you’re going. (We suggest samba in Brazil for Carnaval.)
Four Inches of Fun
At an altitudinous 4.3 inches, the Lora Wedge Slide by Schutz serves up some serious height. The ultra-thick woven jute heel, platform sole and leather cross straps counteract the sky-high dimensions to make them eminently walkable (not to mention sexy.)
The Rainbow Platform
At a towering five inches, the Alice + Olivia Josiey Rainbow wedge heel is coincidentally the same length of your passport, which seems like a sign to us that they should come with you on your next jaunt. While it’s taller than most travel gals we know would dare to go, it made the list for its 1.75-inch platform. Those of us who are adroit in shoe math know that really makes them only 3.25 inches in reality (kind of).