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Last updated on 16th September 2021 by Lena
A city trip to Paris means inevitably that you’ll be on your feet all day long, and there is no bigger showstopper than uncomfortable shoes. But the question of what are the best walking shoes for Paris can be a tricky one.
Most people associate Paris with fashion – ok, and the Eiffel Tower. The image of the French fashionista that could be featured in Vogue magazine, just wearing her usual streetwear, is a very strong one. So yes, the bar is high, and it is not surprising that many visitors are wondering what are the best shoes to wear in Paris. A trip to Paris always means a lot of walking – and fashion and walking… That’s often not a very good match.
But did you know that Paris is actually a city where most people wear flats and sneakers?
Paris is a very walkable city and as most Parisians depending on public transportation, flats and sneakers are the most common shoe choice in Paris. Simply white sneakers like this model from Lacoste are a perfectly solid choice.
What are the best walking shoes for Paris? Which shoes should you pack that are appropriate for Paris? What kind of shoes are women wearing in Paris? Read on and know exactly what works in Paris. Know which shoes you need in every season!
What kind of shoes are Parisians wearing?
The Parisian everyday fashion is a combination of (intentional and well-placed) effortless, a lot of class and comfort. This does not only apply to their clothes but also their shoes. They are an essential part of the overall outfit and are picked accordingly. Check our packing guide for Paris if you need some inspiration on what to pack!
This means sneakers are not worn because they are comfortable, but because they complete a look. Be it to dress down a business outfit, to underline an effortless look, or because it fits the occasion. Hence, people are not wearing random sneakers in a random situation, it’s rather the opposite.
That sneakers are comfortable is simply a very good plus.
Best walking shoes for Paris
The good news is, you can leave all your uncomfortable high heels at home. Unless you plan something very special or will attend a sublime and festive event, you really don’t need high heels in Paris. Or any uncomfortable shoes, actually. When searching for good walking shoes for Paris, it’s enough to stick to a pair of simple white sneakers (click the link for options).
Most people are commuting and taking public transportation every day. Since Covid-19 and a bit before, many Parisians are navigating Paris by bike! Many Parisians don’t even own a car – not even a driver’s license! When you are living in Paris, you just don’t need it. The Metro is very convenient to travel from A to B without much hassle and as the Metro always involves some walking as well, you won’t see many ladies wearing high heels in Paris.
But what are they wearing instead? Let me give you an idea!
The best sneakers for Paris
That’s probably the best news for every Paris tourist: Sneakers are completely fine in Paris. Some years ago, I would have said that only cute fashion sneakers are acceptable, but in 2021 you really see all kinds of them in Paris.
Generally, all sneakers that I mentioned above are also acceptable in the evening when going to casual bars or restaurants. However, more sporty shoes like running shoes are better just worn during the daytime when exploring Paris. Just think about how you combine it. Slim jeans and runners? Works fine during the day. A summer dress and running shoes? Rather not.
To give you an idea of what kind of sportive sneakers, Parisians are wearing in their day-to-day, I will link a few below. Those models are also the most popular on the French Zalando site.
New Balance is also a brand that I see often in Paris. Many are wearing sportive models like the one in the picture, but also the New Balance classic sneakers are still popular click here to see the available colors.
The best flats for your Paris trip
There certainly should be a pair of simple flats in your luggage. I suggest bringing a pair of derbies or loafers. You could certainly bring as well ballerinas, however, I noticed lately, that they are not worn so much anymore. It’s still completely ok, but wouldn’t be my first pick anymore.
Classic brogues – the most versatile travel shoes
Brogues or Oxfords are great travel shoes – they can easily be dressed up and down, perfect for a day sightseeing but also for an evening in a fancy restaurant. They can be paired with jeans, slacks, and skirts and are also a safe bet during shoulder seasons. Click here for more models and choices.
Loafers – comfortable shoes for every situation
Just like brogues, a pair of classic loafers are insanely practical when traveling. They look good casual during the daytime, but also good with a dress or slacks for your evening program. Check here for more ore choice on nice leather loafers
Or you could just go with a pair of Doc Martens oxfords, my favorites!
Boots – great for winter and shoulder seasons
If I would have to pick, I would say that ankle boots are the 2nd most favorite shoes of the Parisians – after sneakers. You see them so much on Paris’ streets. Especially in winter and during the shoulder seasons spring and autumn they are a great alternative to loafers.
They are as versatile as loafers and derbies, but more appropriate for colder weather. They look great with slim jeans but also with skirts and dresses.
Waterproof ankle boots for rainy winter days
If you travel to Paris during December, you will be surprised to learn that it’s not the coldest months, but the wettest! Autumn is not much better and waterproof boots can help you a lot to keep your feet dry and warm, when doing sightseeing in Paris. The ones from Blondo are my favorites, but the Chelsea boots from Sorel are nice as well
If you are traveling to Paris in Winter or early spring, it might get cold, but you really don’t need to worry about snowproof boots. Snow is extremely rare in Paris. I live here for 15 years already and I experienced serious snow twice.
Chelsea Boots – the indispensable!
With a pair of Chelsea boots, you simply can’t do anything wrong in Paris. They are appropriate for the cobbled stone alleys, they are matching nearly every outfit, and they are comfortable but not as casual as sneakers! Click here for more choice!
What shoes should you not wear in Paris?
We covered what shoes to wear in Paris, but what shoes should you not wear?
Honestly, don’t worry about it! Really. No one cares what you’re wearing and the best shoes for walking in Paris are the ones you’re comfortable in! I have by no means the intention to tell anyone how to dress in Paris, it’s rather a recommendation on travel shoes that are great for Paris based on my day-to-day observations on what Parisians wear. If you don’t care about this, wear whatever you like and that makes you feel good.
This being said, there are still some shoes that you won’t see in Paris:
Uggs – it’s just not a thing in Paris. You see them from time to time in Winter, but that’s about it. They are certainly not the best shoes for Paris.
Flip-flops – nope, unless you are at a swimming pool
Spike heels – even though women wear of course high heels in Paris, especially in business areas and very fancy locations, but it’s by far not something you see everywhere. Especially when you are traveling to Paris to explore the city – just think about all those cobbled stoned roads! Heels are simply not the best shoes for walking in Paris.
What shoes for Paris in Spring (April, May, June)
Spring in Paris is somewhat unpredictable. It can be freezing – or really warm, or anything in between. I know, that doesn’t make it easy if you want to know what shoes to wear in Paris, right? If you visit Paris in spring, you best bring a pair of ankle boots or Chelsea boots, or alternatively some derbies and of course a pair of sneakers. But depending on when in spring you come to Paris, something warmer – or summery may be appropriate.
Shoes for Paris in Summer (July, August, September)
Summer is finally time for sandals and open shoes – and people are wearing flats! Everything bling-bling is a no-go in Parisian fashion, and sandals should be as simple and plain as possible. A good example are those slingback sandals from TOMS and these classic flats.
But even a pair of Birkenstock is completely ok for sightseeing! They are actually quite fashionable! I wear mine all summer – it’s not just me in case you wondered haha. A few years ago many wore the Gizeh model, but I noticed that since a couple of years it’s rather the Madrid and Arizona Models.
They are definitely good to wear during the day and for casual evenings. Depending on the location, you even could wear them when going to the restaurant.
Shoes in Paris during Fall (October, November, December)
If you’re visiting Paris in the fall, it may be chill and rainy. Streets might be slippery due to the foliage, especially on cobbled stone. However, it can happen as well that you have wonderful Indian summer weather. Either way, it’s not the time for sandals – nor winter boots. Like in spring, you are all set with a pair of flats that you can dress up or down and a pair of sneakers.
Best shoes for Paris in Winter (January, February, March)
Winter in Paris can be pretty chill. And rainy. There might be even snow. Well, snow in Paris stays usually for a couple of hours before transforming into an ice-cold grayish slush and honestly, it’s rather rare that there is any at all. However, as there is not much worse than walking around with wet and cold feet, travel to Paris with some winter shoes. Personally, I like the waterproof shoes from Blondo, the ankle booties are super cute and practical in winter!
It’s still completely appropriate to wear sneakers on most days, though, but I advise you to pack something warmer just to be on the safe side.
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