DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE DECIDING WHICH SHOES TO PACK FOR TRAVEL?
Here we are going to talk about three types of footwear that should get you through most of your travels, or even for everyday footwear and comfort. Even if you don’t travel, it is important to take care of your feet!
Upon my return from a six-month stay in Mexico, a friend presented me with a calendar that featured shoes – 365 pairs of shoes. The reason for the ‘shoe’ calendar is that she knows I like to collect shoe and hat items. Note: I do not collect shoes to wear, just different collectibles.
This got me thinking about shoes when travelling and how they can be a royal pain. Guys, you probably throw in a pair of sandals, running shoes and – maybe – a pair of dress shoes. But ladies, how do you choose between your half a dozen pairs of sandals, those cute Jimmy Choos, or your designer running shoes? Not easy, is it! After all, we know different outfits call for different footwear.
The more I travel, the more stuff I want to leave behind, tired of lugging suitcases crammed with clothes and footwear, not only taking up valuable space but racking up the limited number of pounds we are allowed to carry. These days, I am all about travelling lightly and I am sure you are too!
You wouldn’t think these would be such hard questions. Are you going to the beach? Are you backpacking across Europe? Are you hiking? This should really narrow it down, right? Of course, it should! But wait…what about the evenings? Going to dinner? Attending events? See, it starts to get complicated. You not only want comfort, but you want some style.
Let’s Start With Some Basics
For me, most of my travelling involves a beach somewhere. The good news is that even if I am going out in the evening, it is usually a casual gathering, ie. local restaurant or some local event – no need to dress in killer (and I mean that literally) shoes, especially if the event involves a lot of standing or mingling.
So I am going to suggest only 3 pieces of footwear for you. What? Only three? I can see you shaking your heads already. Just a quick note here…if you need special shoes due to foot/feet problems, then you should pack what you need to make your trip comfortable.
As noted before, men are happy with a pair of running shoes and sandals in most cases. Of course, they should also be aware of the comfort and make sure they fit properly. For example, my husband likes a sandal that actually has a covered toe part. We are including some comfortable walking shoes, exercise sneakers, and sandals for the men so please read on.
The Three I Suggest Are:
Exercise sneakers – a lightweight pair is good for packing
Sandals – with or without a heel (again, depending on the occasion)
Remember, these are just guidelines. If you are going on a hiking trip, then you are probably going to pack a pair of hiking boots.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Whether you are going to be hanging around an airport waiting for your plane or travelling miles and miles in your car, you want your feet to be comfortable.
Bearing in mind that you want comfort as well as style, let’s look at some tips on picking out good footwear.
Believe it or not, your foot actually expands during the day. Dr. John P. Fritz, Podiatric Physician & Surgeon, recommends the evening is best.
Take a tracing of your foot with you – shoes should not be shorter or narrower than your tracing.
If your footwear includes socks, then bring a pair similar to what you will be wearing. For sandals, this won’t be necessary (unless you’re one of those people who wear socks with sandals and in that case, we won’t go there).
Try and find a salesperson to help you by measuring your feet. Even though you may have done this a year or so ago, it is always wise to do this every time as our feet change as we get older and a lot of us have one foot larger than the other. Not only that but like me, you may also develop a bunion that has to be taken into consideration when trying on footwear.
Next, stand in the shoes, pressing gently on the top making sure you have space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe (about ½”).
Walk around a bit to see how they feel – because of my bunion, I have to be careful that the shoe/sandal doesn’t scrape and hurt.
Don’t worry if you have a ‘wide’ foot. Ask the salesperson if they carry footwear that are extra wide. You might have to shop around to find a pair.
Take note of how they feel. Do they have a sturdy sole with cushioning to prevent pain from sharp objects such as stones, pebbles, or sticks?
There are some keynote differences between running shoes and walking shoes, the main one being walking shoes are stiff and don’t flex well so are not suitable for runners or for those that fitness walk. However, fitness walkers and runners can usually find a running shoe that will accommodate both.
Comfortable Exercise Sneakers
When travelling, I like to take advantage of exercising if at all possible. Cross trainers are good for walking, exercising in the gym, or touring around. However, if your trip is for a particular purpose, say running a marathon, then, of course, you will want to pack the proper footwear.
In addition to proper fitting as noted in the Comfortable Walking Shoe section, some other tips to look for in an exercise sneaker are:
Lightweight – essential when packing in your luggage
A supportive shoe with a leather upper (durability) – if your feet sweat, look for something with breathable material
Extra heel support
Check out popular brands for reviews
A Comfortable Daytime/Evening Sandal
Quality comfortable sandals are important. Try to stay away from the flimsy flip-flops (I have been guilty of buying those, especially when in a hurry – my feet don’t thank me for this). Remember, if you are packing one good pair of sandals, it is worth your while to splurge a little.
Some tips to keep in mind when buying sandals:
Arch support (the bump in the centre of the insole) – This helps to maintain better alignment. A thicker sole, especially beneath the heel, is better than a totally flat one.
Bottoms – should be firm but flexible and provide some traction.
A little heel height is OK – Wedges are perfect because they give a little height but can be used to dress up an outfit; the chunky heel is steadier and easier to walk with than skinny heels.
Type of material – non-porous is best so they don’t hold water.
Straps – A sandal with a back or ankle strap will provide more support and keep your feet from sliding or trying to grip the shoe so it doesn’t fall off. Constantly gripping the shoe can cause bunions or hammertoes. Wider straps will provide more stability and prevent blisters.
Improper sandals can lead to foot, knee, and ankle pain as well as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the bottom of the foot that connects your heel bone to your toes) which can cause severe heel pain.
Now for the fun part – SHOPPING!
WOMEN’S WALKING SHOES
VIONIC WOMEN’S WALKER
If you are looking for a sporty look as well as comfort, the Vionic Women’s Walker is recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, M. D. and features Orthaheel technology for support and stability.
*Racing-stripe lace anchors for a sporty and classy look
*Orthaheel technology for support, relief and stability
*Removable contoured insole with arch support
*Recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D.
*Leather and synthetic upper
OLUKAI PEHUEA SLIP ON
Slip into casual comfort with these classic breathable shoes featuring elastic goring at vamp and a removable dual-density footbed.
*Versatile Drop-In Heel for functionality
*Elastic goring at vamp
*Breathable mesh upper
*Textile upper and lining/rubber sole
*Removable dual-density footbed
MEN’S WALKING SHOES
L. L. BEAN COMFORT FITNESS WALKING SHOE
True to size, these shoes are designed to bring comfort and support perfect for urban walks.
*Removable, cushioned insole
*Leather and textile upper
MEPHISTO WALKING SHOE
These beautiful shoes are handcrafted with aniline-dyed grain leather for comfort and durability. Resoleable so you get your money’s worth.
*Leather upper and lining
*Padded topline and tongue to reduce pressure points
WOMEN’S EXERCISE SNEAKERS
NIKE METCON 5 TRAINING SHOE
Who says you can’t have it all? Whether you are looking for speed, optimal form for squats, or durability, the Nike Metcon 5 is a stylish shoe that you will be proud to own.
*Optional Hyperlift insert under the heel – great for squats
*Stability, cushioning and uninhibited range of motion
*removable cushioned insole
*Flywire cables integrate with laces for secure, flexible lockdown at the midfoot
TONY BURCH GOOD LUCK TRAINERS
Sporty, suave, and comfortable, these chunky sole trainers are a favourite; embellished with a logo.
*Leather and textile upper and lining
MEN’S EXERCISE SNEAKERS
RINCON 3 RUNNING/TRAINING SHOE
Ideal for running or training, these have excellent cushioning, a fit that is secure in the midfoot and breathable in the forefoot, and streamlined comfort.
*Removable cushioned insole
NIKE WAFFLE TRAINER 2 SNEAKER
Stylish, sleek and low ,this sneaker will remind you of the 70’s and will fit right in your collection. It sports and upper of crisp canvas framed in soft suede.
*Leather, textile and synthetic upper/textile and synthetic lining/
*Square nubs on the tread for tracking
CLARKS®MARITSA LARA SLINGBACK SANDAL
These beautiful sandals come with cross straps to shape the front of a comfortable slingback sandal ramped up slightly on a retro-inspired rocker platform with a grippy rubber tread. Excellent reviews.
*OrthoLite® cushioned footbed
*3” Wedge heel
*Adjustable slingback strap with hook-and-loop closure
*Leather upper and lining/synthetic sole
*Available in 5 beautiful colours
OLUKAI OHANA SANDAL
These beach-ready flip flops are handcrafted with a water-resistant strap and quick dry-lining. With 1500 reviews, you can’t go wrong.
with wet/dry traction
*Molded anatomical EVA midsole with ICEVA drop-in footbed
*Synthetic upper/textile lining/rubber sole
*Variety of colours and sizes
ECCO ‘YUCATAN’ SANDAL
Very comfortable sport sandal, lined with neoprene for a secure fit and polyurethane sole which offers durable comfort and support. Excellent reviews.
*Lined with neoprene for a secure fit
*Polyurethane sole for durable comfort and support
*Seal of Acceptance by American Podiatric Medical Association
*Adjustable hook-and-loop closures at toe, instep and ankle
*Leather and textile upper
OLIKAI OHANA FLIP FLOP
Not only are these sandals classy looking for the beach, but they also offer comfort with a cushioned anatomical footbed. Easy to care for, these sandals have excellent reviews.
*Cushioned anatomical footbed
*Machine washed for easy care
*Synthetic upper/textile lining
We are sneaking in a couple of boots just in case you like to top off your outfit with a pair of boots instead of sandals.
WOMEN’S BLONDO VALLI 2.0 WATERPROOF BOOTIE
A Nordstrom exclusive, these stylish boots have been updated to ensure comfort and flexibility for year-round wear.
*4” inch shaft
*Side zip closure; elastic gore inset
*Removable cushioned insole
*Leather upper/textile lining/rubber sole
MEN’S TIMBERLAND PORT UNION WATERPROOF CHUKKA BOOT
Great for summer wear, these waterproof boots are not only stylish but offer SensorFlex and an OrthoLite® footbed for comfort.
*Waterproof Construction and leather
*SensorFlex and OrthoLite® footbed for comfort
*Leather upper and lining
Note: In most cases, these shoes can be shipped to Canada, U. S., and Mexico.
I think you can agree that it is important to buy proper footwear and be kind to your feet. Sizing and quality are important but you don’t have to break the bank to get them. The bottom line is that you want the best shoe that you can wear all day or evening in comfort and style. Even if you have to splurge a little, you will be glad you did.
What shoes have you packed for your trips? Were you happy or would you have done something differently? We would love to hear your comments.