What Shoes to Pack for Paris

Zero-waste minimalist shoe guide Paris France
Isabel Marant sneakers. Celine loafers.  Louboutin espadrilles. Jimmy Choo 'Youth' boots. Ferragamo 'Vara' pumps. Christian Louboutin heels. Vara pumps also available secondhand at 25 Janvier, 97 Rue Vieille du Temple.

Here's what I've found after years of walking here and combing through peer-reviewed orthopedic studies- if you're coming to Paris on vacation, you only need two pairs of shoes. Residents need three (not including specific use shoes, like running shoes or hiking boots). In the fall and winter, pack ankle boots; in spring and summer, sneakers or espadrilles, depending on your style. Your feet will feel good after hours of walking on sand and cobblestone, and you won't look like a tourist.

Contrary to popular opinion, Parisian women do wear sneakers all the time. Stan Smiths are the most popular, but you'll see New Balances and Nikes everywhere. One ethical, sustainable option that wicks away sweat and absorbs odors is Allbirds, made from durable, comfortable merino wool. Experts recommend investing in a supportive "city shoe" with 1-2 inch shock-absorbing heel (not Repettos or Tods- they wear out fast!). I like Salvatore Ferragamo's Vara pump, found for $12 at a thrift store in Cleveland. They come in four widths and are great for walking, even during rain. Don't bother with rainboots, nobody wears them. Same goes for calf length or knee high boots.

Suede in any form is popular in Paris- to remove stains, rub shoes with a piece of bread. The best part of buying secondhand, apart from the cost-per-wear savings? Shoes are already broken in, ready for use. For natural, plastic-free shoe care, click here

Paris to Go


  1. wonderful blog. one thing I love about a good cobbler is they can rip off a scuffed high heel and put on a nice new one and restore the rest of the shoe. Also can even change the heel height on a boot! Thank you for this blog. Joanne

    1. Hi Joanne, you are so sweet! I love that about a good cobbler as well. I haven't tried changing the heel height but I may do that someday! Thanks again!