I have terrible feet. I did not know this until last fall, when I found out that some persistent heel pain was actually plantar fasciitis, which I didn’t even know you could get if you weren’t a runner. Turns out, I’ve also been wearing terrible shoes.
Around this time, I was planning a monthlong trip to Europe, where I knew I’d constantly be on my feet. I started looking at lists of travel shoes and was disappointed to find espadrilles, heels, ballet flats, and sneakers—nothing that was a do-it-all kind of shoe. I wanted to pack one pair, not seven. So I set out to find the best shoes for the traveler who wants to bring one or maybe two pairs on any adventure abroad.
I didn’t quite find the single “unicorn” pair of shoes I was looking for, but I did get pretty darn close. Here are the best, rated on a scale of one to five horns, where one is a one-trick pony and five is a magical, versatile unicorn.