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Style Guide: The perfect designer shoes for travelling


It’s a dilemma all travellers, male and female, are familiar with: which shoes should you take on holiday? As one of the bulkiest items in your luggage some tough decisions are in order. Can you bare to prioritise practical sandals over strappy heels? Is three pairs of sneakers too many? And are your favourite leather boots really worth the blisters after a day sightseeing?


To make sure you’re putting your best foot forward on your next holiday we’ve sourced Australia’s most fashionable shoe designers and asked them to share their favourite footwear with us – as well as which travel destinations they were made to be worn in.

Habbot Studios 

Who they are: A luxury range of leather shoes made in Italy and designed in Melbourne by Annie Abbott. The sleek brand incorporates quirky twists of unusual materials and colour in classic shoe patterns.

What inspires them: According to Abbott, the materials are always the starting point for each new line. Travelling to a leather and textile fair in Milan twice a year, the designer scours tanneries and textile houses for stand-out materials that form the basis for each new collection.

Which shoe to pack: Habbott’s 'Smoking' lace-up boot in black velvet with navy glitter spots is the perfect combination of comfort and style for gracing boulangeries in France. “It's surprising how much inspiration I can glean from a plate of petit fours!" says Abbot.

Volley 

Who they are: Volley is an Aussie brand that has its roots in tennis, as well as surfing and skating. High-grade suedes and leathers form the basis of this uber-urban company's latest footwear collection.

What inspires them: Clean lines, playing on Volley’s tennis heritage, individualism and Australia's easy, relaxed way of living.

Which shoe to pack: The high-leap Hairy Suedes should definitely make the packing list for a trip to Rome. The simple, fuzzy hi-tops were made for stomping around the ancient cobblestone streets; they’re the type of shoe you can venture off the beaten path and get lost in.

Mary-Kyri 

Who they are: Created by the designer of the same name in 2006, Mary-Kyri’s high-fashion shoes have since graced the feet of prestigious celebrity royalty such as Kylie Minogue.

What inspires them: Mary-Kyri is fascinated with the unique shapes and lines found in architecture around the world. Think skyscraper heels and intriguing cut-out windows with seductive views of arch and ankle.

Which shoe to pack: Elisav, Mary-Kyri’s signature design, is a timeless shoe created eight years ago. The biggest seller’s "perfect combination of uniqueness, femininity and comfort", makes it the ideal choice for boating around the Greek islands – one of Mary-Kyri’s favourite sources of inspiration.

Maya McQueen 

Who they are: Iconic shoes designed for a busy Australian lifestyle by talented duo Mardi McQueen and Domenique Nestel.

What inspires them: Nestel is influenced by the most unexpected places. “Colour and texture ideas can come from the beautiful glossy coat of a Weimaraner or the perfect charcoal grey on a black cockatoo”, she says.

Which shoe to pack: You’ll feel right at home in Berlin wearing the brand’s Charlie brogue in white. “We’re all about women on the run; our shoes need to look great and be functional. Women in Berlin today are stylish, edgy and have a great way of combining classic vintage with strong modern pieces.” Nestel explains.

Squire Shoes 

Who they are: Known for putting coloured footwear on the men’s shoe map in Australia, the Squire Brothers are the brains behind a brand that is all about instilling comfort in an aesthetically pleasing package.

What inspires them: Squire’s uses their exclusive clientele as its chief inspiration, creating shoes for affluent, fun-loving people who don’t know when their day will start and finish. “We design for an individual that is prepared to enjoy their every situation”, say the brothers.

Which shoe to pack: The Squire Brothers’ favourite footwear for jaunts to England is the Squire Tryant. “British fashion can be both practical and elegant”, explain the brothers. With its pleasing silhouette and shallow toe, it’s a great option for the stylish streets of London.

Nina Armando 

Who they are: Nina Armando shoes are recognised for their strong fashion appeal, as well as for being perfectly contoured, colourful and easy to wear. The eponymous designer started the brand in 2005.

What inspires them: Travelling the world and paying attention to local fashion trends, season colours, listening to customers’ needs and incorporating all that information into each new collection. “We love to travel to Brazil. Brazil is what our brand is all about.” says Nina. It’s no surprise then that this is where the shoes are made.

Which shoe to pack: “It’s very hard to pick a favourite as every shoe is unique in its own way,” says Armando. But it’s hard to go past her strappy sandals for a samba session in Brazil. The inclusions of semiprecious stones make them perfect for a glamorous night out in Rio.

Jamjam 

Who they are: This Queensland-based company designs and sells an amazing range of flat leather sandals in Australia. The handmade footwear is constructed from quality leather and embellished with crystals and beads.

What inspires them: The boho designs are inspired by what the designer recognises as gaps in the shoe market: stylish shoes that are quick and easy to put on! Which shoe to pack: Jamjam’s barely-there, leather Maya sandal is ideal for travelling because it goes with everything. Pack a pair for your adventure to India so your feet remain cool and calm amidst the sensory overload.


Choosing the right footwear for your holiday maximises both packing space and pleasure. And with travelling firmly embedded in Australian DNA, it’s no surprise many of our established shoe designers are finding inspiration from trips to their favourite countries. When thinking about your next holiday destination make sure to plan from your feet up with the right pair of shoes from Australia’s top designers.