essential-holiday-shoes.pngIf you're getting ready to go away on holiday in the next few weeks, lucky you - you might get to see some sun! But don't forget you'll be needing to make some very different footwear decisions when navigating the beach-to-bar lifestyle, so now is the time to ensure you've got all the shoes you need.

We've picked out the five essential beach holiday shoes with some examples of where to find each this summer. We've considered the all-important factor of weight for your hold luggage, as well as styles that won't take up too much room. Let's get packing!


1. Flip Flops

Don't wait until you get to the beach to buy a pair of flip-flops: they'll probably be over-priced and are unlikely to be as well made as those you'll pick up at home. Also, they're the lightest shoes around, so it makes sense to stash a pair (or two) away in your luggage.

There are so many fun flip-flop styles to choose from this year you're likely to struggle to make a decision, but it really depends what floats your flip-flop boat. iPanema always have some innovative styles and their current collection is no exception: including the Gisele Bundchen Hot Sands range. There's always Havaianas for a massive range of stylish flip-flops in every colour of the rainbow, and we're increasingly fond of Beach Athletics, whose gel-based flip-flops massage the soles of the feet like nothing else on earth!

2. Everyday walking sandals

At home you can get away with trendy-looking flimsy sandals that you can kick off in the office if your feet begin to blister, but if you want to do any sightseeing or exploring of the countryside, comfort and support are all-important. Remember your holiday is about you having fun, so don't worry too much about being 'bang on trend' at every turn!

That said, there are plenty of foot-friendly walking sandals out there that we'd be more than happy to venture out in. Clarks is a great brand to check out for this purpose, particularly now they have a sale on. Check out their tri-coloured Surf Legend leather sandals for a great bargain: at 50% off they are just £14.99.

Alternatively you could just go for some specially designed walking shoes from a camping shop: you may be surprised to find that they are not all super frumpy! This Birkenstock-like style from Merrell is pretty cool. Otherwise, your Swedish Hasbeens or Birkenstocks will do the job nicely if you own a pair.

Check out Skecher's Cali range for a particularly lightweight and comfy sandals range with style in mind!

3. Evening shoes

It's a good idea to allow yourself at least one smart pair of evening shoes with a heel that you can pull on if you book a trip to a fancy restaurant or drop in on an event that might have a dress code in place. If you're off somewhere really hot you won't want to go too dressed-up, so find a pair of dressy sandals that will work on bare legs and will also squash up nice and small in your luggage.

4. Espadrilles/casual shoes

Don't bother packing a chunky pair of trainers - they'll only take up room and you're unlikely to want to wear them on holiday unless you feel the sudden urge to do some circuit training. A lightweight pair of canvas shoes is a must, however: you can wear them with any of your casual gear and they're a good compromise between completely flimsy flip-flops and full-on shoes.

Espadrilles are a particularly good choice: designed to be worn in a warm climate they are also lightweight and uber trendy at the moment. We love the styles on offer at Toni Pons, particularly if you like a bit of a wedge, and Soludos is one of the hottest brands out there right now making the traditional shoes in fashion forward patterns. Alternatively Office is still running it's brilliant two espadrilles for £15 offer.

If you've got a pair of TOMS shoes we're sure you'll already be planning on packing them: it's hard to live without your TOMS once you're used to them!

5. Wedges

Wedges are the hottest summer style of 2012, so don't go without a pair to be seen in! They're a good halfway house between scruffy sandals and more formal going-out shoes, so you might find you can wear them in the evening, as well as en route to lunch or popping in to the bar. A comfy pair is like a dream come true as you get all the benefits of heels without the discomfort - so if you've found a pair you love, be sure to make space for them in your suitcase. The more floral and decorative the better - or you could go 50s-beach holiday polkadot glam...