Best Travel Running Shoes Cover

7 Best Travel Running Shoes [Lightest & Packable Options]

Written By: author image Kyle Cash
author image Kyle Cash
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.

Published:

Looking for the best travel running shoes? Here are the best packable running shoes including Hoka, Nike, and Brooks for your next trip.


I’ve been running and traveling for over seven years now.

And as a travel runner, there’s nothing worse than lugging around an extra pair of shoes you may not use. Or, even worse, finding out the shoes you brought aren’t ideal for the terrain you’re running on.

And that’s where the hunt for the best packable running shoes started for me. I needed something lightweight that wouldn’t take up much room, but could also double as a pair of casual shoes to explore a city or area when I need them. And, most of all, I needed them to be versatile for different terrains that I experience when I’m running while traveling.

And, at this point, there isn’t a brand’s shoes that I haven’t tested.

So, that search helped me create this list of travel shoes. You’ll find a mix of road shoes and trail running shoes on here. But I’ve aimed to include only trail shoes that could be a crossover between road and trail.

So, let’s dive in.

Disclosure: Just a heads-up, The Travel Runner earns a little commission if you buy through some links here, but it won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks for your support!

Like this post? Save it for later! 📌

What to look for in a travel running shoe

Choosing a travel running shoe feels like a super time-consuming process.

After all, you don’t want to end up with a shoe that doesn’t fit in your bag or fit your needs. So taking the time to weigh out what’s most important to you vs. what isn’t is worth the time.

A runner looks out over the Grand Canyon in a pair of travel running shoes

With that said, though, here are a few things to look for to make the process faster:

  • Lightweight design: A lightweight shoe is easier to pack and reduces fatigue. Keep it minimal to save yourself pain later (figuratively and literally).
  • Packability: Look for shoes that can be compressed or have a compact design, making it easier to fit in your luggage.
  • Comfort and cushioning: Good cushioning is essental for comfort, especially on unfamiliar terrain.
  • Breathability: Breathable materials keep your feet cool, dry, and helps reduce odor. And you don’t want them stinking up the rest of your luggage, right?
  • Versatility: If you’re like me, these shoes aren’t only being used for running. I’m exploring, doing other activities, and more in addition to the running. So it’s important for travel running shoes to be versatile.
  • Support and fit: A secure and supportive fit prevents injuries and increases comfortability. And both are crucial while you’re traveling.

You don’t have to check off all these boxes. But keeping these in mind while you’re shopping will help narrow down the perfect travel running shoe for you.

7 Best travel running shoes

1. Brooks Ghost 16

Best Overall
Brooks Ghost 16

Experience the new men’s Ghost 16, featuring lighter cushioning, enhanced breathable upper, and 67.3% recycled materials. Perfect for road running and walking with soft cushioning and smooth transitions.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Brooks Ghost series are my best overall travel running shoes every time.

They’re comfortable, durable, and they look good when you’re wearing them casually. And that makes them a great balance between comfort and practicality.

The Ghost 16 have its DNA Loft v2 cushioning, which delivers on the comfort but still gives you a responsive shoe for short or long workouts. Plus, they’re breathable thanks to its mesh upper. So your feet will look and feel good no matter if it’s on a plane or a running trail.

They’re also durable. I’ve personally worn pairs for longer backpacking trips — having them on my feet for hours of exploring and running — and they hold up fantastically. They can even do some light trail running depending on the trail.

I currently use the Brooks Glycerin 20’s (which have a similar style to the Ghost). I switched from Brooks to try other brands. But, after trying others, Brooks has a loyal follower in me.

So, if you need the ultimate travel running shoe, this is my top choice.

Pros

  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Breathable upper
  • Packable

Cons

  • High heel drop
  • Midfoot can run a bit tight

2. Hoka Rincon 3

Best Running and Walking Shoe Combo
Hoka Rincon 3

Experience the Men’s HOKA® Rincon 3, a lightweight running shoe at just 7.4 ounces. Enjoy max cushioning, quicker acceleration with an updated Meta-Rocker, and ultralight, breathable vegan materials. Perfect for long-distance runs.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Don’t let that giant stack height fool ya — the Hoka Rincon 3 are one of the best pairs of running shoes you can get.

The shoe is extremely lightweight and minimalist, which makes it easy to pack. It has great breathability so your feet stay cool and the shoes stay dry (and don’t stink). And many travel runners with wide feet love the wide toe box.

But it’s not all about being lightweight and portable. 

It still has a responsive midsole, so you’ll get the pop you need underfoot, no matter the running terrain — treadmill, sidewalk, or dirt path.

While I wouldn’t recommend these shoes for trails or as a hiking shoe, they’re great for hours of walking followed by some road running.

Plus, at just over 7 ounces, you won’t even feel them in your bag. And you can’t go wrong with a pair of shoes that are comfortable out of the box — no break-in needed.

Pros

  • Lightweight and versatile
  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Great as a running and walking shoe

Cons

  • Not durable
  • Upper isn’t the most supportive

3. Saucony Kinvara 15

Most Popular Running Shoes
Saucony Kinvara 15

Experience natural speed and ultra-flexibility with our lightweight, vegan running shoe. Responsive PWRRUN cushioning and a PWRRUN+ sockliner ensure everyday comfort and performance. Perfect for speed and daily runs.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Saucony Kinvara is a shoe most runners are familiar with.

It’s one of the lightest running shoes (coming in at just over seven ounces for men’s and women’s). Its breathable upper keeps your foot dry in different weather conditions. And because it’s so compact, thin, and flexible, it’s easy to fit in your suitcase if you need to pack them.

But where it shines is its versatility. It excels at every run distance — from quick morning jogs to longer runs. And they look great, which makes them one of the best walking shoes, too.

I don’t recommend them for trail runs (even light trails). The outsole doesn’t have much grip, so they’re not ideal for dirt or rocks.

Pros

  • Lightweight and packable
  • Versatile
  • Eco-friendly

Cons

  • Not durable
  • Less cushioning compared to others

4. Salomon Ultra Glide 2 — Best trail running travel shoes

Best Travel Trail Shoe
Salomon Ultra Glide 2

The Ultra Glide 2 is an ultra-cushioned trail shoe designed for mixed terrain and long-distance comfort. Lightweight and adaptable, it’s perfect for 2-3 runs per week, with maximal cushioning and a 6mm drop.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Salomon trail shoes.

And the Salomon Ultra Glide 2 (and previous iterations) are my all-time favorite trail running gear. The combination of comfort, fit, and speed is the perfect combo for me.

And while they’re more “clunky” compared to the other shoes you find on this list, they’re easily packable. I’ve gone on multiple trips with only a carry-on and these fit easily in my small suitcase.

Plus, the shoe features a low lug depth. So, you can run on trail or road with comfort. And the cushioned midsole is great for short or long runs.

If you get a pair of trail shoes form this list, these are the ones I choose. And I can’t recommend them enough.

Pros

  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Secure fit
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Breathable
  • Heavier than other shoes

5. Adidas Ultraboost Light

Best Athletic Shoes
Adidas Ultraboost Light

Experience the Men’s adidas Ultra Boost Light, featuring a flexible Primeknit and Forge 2.0 upper. With a 30% lighter Boost Light midsole offering 4% more energy return, achieve your best in plush comfort and support. Perfect for all distances.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Adidas isn’t as popular of a name for running shoes, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be your go-to shoes.

And the Adidas Ultraboost Light are a pair of lightweight shoes that are perfect for travel. The BOOST cushioned midsoles give runners a great balance between energy return and cushion. And the wide footbed and grippy outsole make it versatile enough for road or treadmill running.

And I’d be lying if I didn’t think these were some of the best looking athletic shoes you can get for your travels.

Like some of the other shoes, I’d recommend sticking to the road or treadmill with these. These shoes weren’t made with the protection for roots and rocks like a typical trail shoe is.

Pros

  • A lot of cushion
  • Durable
  • Great walking and running shoe

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Fit issues

6. Nike Free Run

Best Lightweight Shoes
Nike Free Run

Experience the Nike Free Run 2018, perfect for short runs with a barefoot-like feel. Its stretchy, sock-like upper hugs your feet, while the innovative sole adapts to every movement. Lightweight and packable for on-the-go runs.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The Nike Free RN was the first shoe I used as a pair of travel runners.

The shoe is SUPER minimal with a near barefoot feel. And that makes them lightweight and breathable. Both of these features make them an excellent shoe for packing. They even have grooves in the outsole, which makes for a comfortable run and makes them easy to bend or fold to pack.

You can also wear these sneakers everywhere. It’s a gym shoe, exploration shoe, and can even be a formal shoe depending on the dress code. The slip-on style is also comfortable and easy.

The main downside is the midsole and outsole wear out pretty quickly. So you may have to replace them quickly depending on use.

But, if you need the lightest and most packable pair, this shoe offers the best options.

Pros

  • Lighweight and packable
  • Breathable
  • Barefoot feel

Cons

  • Not durable
  • Not great for long distance running

7. Altra Lone Peak 7

Best Road-to-Trail Shoe
Altra Lone Peak 7

Discover the Men’s Altra Lone Peak 7, the ultimate trail running shoe. Featuring StoneGuard™ and MaxTrac™ technology for superb protection and traction, and a springy Altra Ego™ midsole for unmatched comfort. Perfect for any trail distance.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Trail runners love the Altra Lone Peak.

It’s a zero-drop shoe (which means from the heel to the midfoot to the forefoot is all the same height). Plus it has a wide toe box, which promotes more natural movement.

And its durability and traction are fantastic (arguably the best on a shoe).

Best of all for travel runners, it’s super lightweight and flexible so it’s easy to pack. I’ve even seen travelers wearing these on planes. So that’s an extra option to save even more space.

But, if you’ll mainly be hitting trails, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice.

Pros

  • Comfort and fit
  • Versatile
  • Can be used on roads or trail

Cons

  • Moderate protection
  • Traction issues in wet conditions

Which lightweight travel running shoe will you choose?

And that’s all! Any of these options are great choices, so hopefully you found one that suits your needs.

If you did, let me know what one you chose in the comments and why it fit your situation! I’m sure other travel runners would love to hear the reasons. And now that you’ve got your shoes, it’s probably time to start packing.

So, check out my guide on how to fold clothes for travel to ensure you’re maximizing your space.

Last, if you’re on social media, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for more traveling and running information! And join The Travel Runner community to get all the tips and tricks straight to your inbox using the form below!


author avatar
Kyle Cash Owner
Kyle is the writer behind The Travel Runner. He’s a full-time traveler and adventurer who’s visited over 20 countries, including places like Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam, and Albania.