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. He prefers a slower pace to his travels to explore destinations more in-depth and to get a feel for what life is actually like there. When he’s not writing, he’s usually off exploring trails with his fiancée, Kaitlyn.
You want to be able to exercise while on the go. I get it. So, here are the best packable running shoes for your next trip to keep you fit 💪.
Staying fit while traveling is important, and having a pair of packable running shoes is crucial.
You’re sitting a lot, your sleep schedule is off, and hotel breakfasts suck.
Finding some regularity with exercise is crucial. But fitting a pair of lightweight running shoes, travel workout shoes, or packable exercise shoes in your luggage can be difficult.
Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.
Note: There are affiliate links in this post. I am not paid to promote products or experiences, but I may get a small commission if you buy. All money goes into making the website better. So, if you support The Travel Runner, thank you.❤️.
What are the best packable running shoes?
I’ll split this into packable road shoes and trail shoes.
Your road shoes are excellent to double as a pair of walking shoes to explore. Just ensure you have a way to clean them, or else people will smell you coming before your plane lands.
Trail shoes are excellent for use as hiking shoes as well.
If you plan on heading to national/state parks, backcountry, or any outdoor area, having a pair of trail shoes is excellent for switching between a slow or fast pace.
So, plan for what you’ll do, and you’ll be ready.
Best road packable running shoes
If you’re running on the road, you want something light and flexible. You don’t have to worry much about protection. Mostly, you just want comfort in a lightweight form.
(If they’re eco-friendly, that’s cool, too)
The best road packable running shoes:
1. Asics MetaRacer
The Asics MetaRacer is meant for race day if you can’t tell by its name.
And that’s why it’s such a lightweight shoe and one of the best packable sneakers for travel. It’s super lightweight and flexible if you’re looking for a foldable running shoe.
The downside is you sacrifice some cushion. But if you’re planning on running shorter distances for your workouts, the MetaRacer will be perfect. Plus, it has a carbon-fiber plate, so you’ll feel the bounce it gives you with each step.
A little pricier, but a great compact running shoe.
2. Hoka Rincon 3
Don’t let that pillow of padding fool ya. This shoe is one of the best travel workout shoes you can buy.
The upper of the Rincon folds easily, making the shoe collapse and taking up less space in your bag. Plus, for the amount of padding, the shoe is one of the best lightweight sneakers for travel.
And they make for a great pair of packable walking shoes. They’re comfortable, so you’re feet won’t hurt at the end of a long day exploring.
You won’t even feel these shoes in your bag, weighing just above seven ounces!
If you want a shoe with some cushion for longer runs on the road, the Rincon 3 is a great option.
3. Saucony Kinvara 13
It’s not only one of the best packable shoes but also one of the best running shoes, period.
The Kinvara series is found on runners’ feet more than blisters. And it doesn’t hurt they look pretty cool, too. But, because of their lightweight materials and size, these shoes can be easily stashed away in a backpack, suitcase, or even a big purse!
The Kinvara series is great for distances up to around a half marathon, so keep that in mind.
4. Brooks Ghost 15
This may seem a strange choice, given this shoe is slightly larger than other options.
But, if you wear this shoe on the plane, you have no issues with weight or size. They’re one of my favorite pairs of travel shoes.
Let me explain.
I took a pair of my Ghosts (an earlier — and heavier — version) to Thailand. I knew I’d be wearing flip-flops when I wasn’t running. So, I wore my Ghosts on the plane as my “walking” shoes and bought a pair of flip-flops once I was there.
So, if you’re headed somewhere warm, simply wear your running shoes on the plane.
And with the Ghost 15’s, you get an excellent shoe for that.
5. Adidas Ultraboost 22
Adidas shoes are one of the best running shoes for travel packing.
The Ultraboost foam is like memory foam that provides maximum comfort. But it doesn’t sacrifice energy in return for that comfort. You still get the pop when pushing off your foot, and it keeps your legs rolling for miles.
Plus, the shoe features a tight upper that hugs your foot. These are excellent for being collapsible and saving you space.
Plus, they look great. So, they’re great for wearing out while you’re exploring. Then come back, and they’re the perfect packable gym shoes.
Best trail packable running shoes
Okay, so if you’re running on the trails, you want to maximize lightness and protection. Or, maybe you’re also looking for a pair of trail shoes to wear on the pavement.
If you plan on hiking, put the hiking boots, ankle boots, and ankle supports away. Trail running shoes are the best way to hike.
They provide a perfect blend of comfort and support and stay lightweight so you can move quickly without getting tired.
The best trail packable running shoes:
1. Altra Lone Peak 6
The Altra Lone Peak is consistently one of the best-rated trail running shoes. It helps it’s also super packable.
It uses more of a mesh upper that is light but also durable. When packing the shoe, the upper collapses well to save tons of space.
On the trails, the shoe is equally fantastic.
The lug depth is great for various trails, the low-profile midsole protects your foot but gives you a good ground feel, and its foot shape is super comfortable. Plus, the shoes have a wide toe box for anyone who hates when their toes get squished.
It’s hard to beat the Altra Lone Peak 6 as one of the best packable trail running shoes.
2. Salomon Sense Ride 4
Salomon shoes are known for being lightweight.
And that’s why they’re (arguably) the best travel running shoes. They build shoes to be quick and agile but to perform on various surfaces.
(They’re also my favorite travel trail running/hiking shoes.)
The upper compacts down to create a lower profile in your backpack. So, it’s great for packing away in a suitcase or backpack. And, just like the Lone Peak, it’s one of the top trail shoes every year.
The Sense Ride 4 is no different.
Some people don’t like the lacing system, and others love it. So check your preference before you buy.
Great traction, lightweight, and comfortable. Plus, it’s an excellent hiking shoe.
3. Brooks Catamount
The Brooks Catamount is as light as air.
This shoe was built to go fast, and that’s why it’s one of the best packable workout shoes. Plus, it offers great comfort with its midsole.
The rubber outsoles are light and are good for moderate trails. If the trail is muddy or messy, I’d avoid it with the Brooks Catamount. As far as packing, it’s fantastic. The upper collapses easily in a similar fashion to the Sense Ride.
A great, packable running shoe.
4. La Sportiva Bushido II
The La Sportiva Bushido II is great if you’ll be hiking in some rugged areas.
The grip of the Bushido is unmatched, so you won’t have to worry about slipping on rocks or loose terrain.
Plus, it compresses down to a lightweight package. This size makes it easy to store in your bag without taking up much room. Plus, when you want to pick up the pace, the Bushido is ready to help.
Enjoy this shoe.
5. Saucony Peregrine 12
The Saucony Peregrine series consistently wins “Best Trail Shoe of the Year” awards across various websites.
And that’s because it has a perfect blend of comfort, grip, style, and weight.
Coming in with such a small form and lightweight materials, the Peregrine 12 is perfect if you want to get some quick miles on the dirt wherever you travel. Plus, it still looks great while you hike.
Because, let’s be honest, hiking boots aren’t the most attractive.
Are running shoes good for travel?
Yes. If you find the right pair of running shoes, you can travel with running shoes.
A better option (which I use) is to travel in my running shoes. You free up space in your bag and reserve room for other items you may need.
A great tip for road and trail runners:
Wear your road shoes as a pair of walking shoes and running shoes.
Then, you can pack your trail running shoes into your bag or latch them onto the outside via a carabiner clip.
I did this on an 8-week European trip, which worked well for me.
If you bring trail shoes, you can also use them as hiking shoes. So, you cover exploring the city in your road shoes and trails (running or hiking) in your trail shoes.
You can swap out your shoes with exercise shoes or other shoes if you prefer a different activity.
It’s about how you pack your bag 🎒.
How do you travel with running shoes?
The answer is simple: just wear them on the plane, bus, train, or car.
If you want to pack them, just make sure you keep them in the center of your bag. This helps distribute the weight evenly.
But first, you have to choose your shoes.
Choose your travel-friendly running shoe
The most important shoes to look at are the lightest shoes. If you want a packable running shoe, it has to be as light as possible.
This means light and flexible uppers and midsoles. But that doesn’t mean you want to skimp on durability, protection, etc.
Find a balance between them based on your needs.
I’ll get into the best options in a moment, but here are some things to consider:
- Does your shoe have a snug fit? The better the fit, the more space saved.
- Are your shoes water-resistant? Decide if this is important for you.
- Does your shoe have a sock-like upper? These shoes are more packable.
So, after you’ve found your shoe, how do you pack it?
Pack your running shoes
You may think this part is simple. Just throw them in your bag or suitcase, and you’re off.
But you want to maximize space here.
Here are a few tips for packing your shoes to get the most space possible:
- Compress the upper of your shoe, and lay the shoes together as they come in a shoe box.
- Use a shoe bag, if possible. It keeps your shoes contained and dirt away from your other stuff. Plus, you can compress these easily.
- If you have a backpack, put your shoes in the center of your bag when packing. It distributes weight more evenly across your back.
Now that you’ve packed your shoes, let’s cover the best running shoes for travel.
It’s hard to find shoes that are good for running and traveling.
But they exist.
Hopefully, this post helped you find your perfect pair of packable running shoes. But don’t stop here. If you’re headed to Europe, check out the best backpack to fit your new shoes perfectly.