I’m happy to be guest blogging for my friends at EuropeanMarket. As an avid traveler, I love comparing tips with Sue and Chris. When Sue and I were talking recently about shoes that let you walk European cities in style, we knew we had a hot topic. It turns out the EM team gets asked regularly for recommendations on comfy, stylish shoes that don’t make you look like a capital T “Tourist.”
Chris begs off this issue saying, “Men don’t care what they put on their feet!” But stylish women do care. So if you’re going running or hiking on your trip, by all means bring your running shoes or Merrells. But if you want to stroll the streets of Paris or Prague without sacrificing style, Sue and I put together this list of go-to favorites for the ladies.
The good news is comfy flats and menswear oxfords are on trend this year, and you’ll see them worn with everything, including skirts and dresses. We would have worn them anyway, but thanks for making us seem ahead of the curve, Fashion Industry.
If you’re going to be exploring all day, it pays to invest in quality footwear. While you may not find these styles at bargain-basement prices, your feet will thank you for taking such good care of them. (And I’m guessing happy feet = happy Sue = happy Chris.) Plus, with a little searching in local stores and at online retailers such as Zappos, Amazon, or Nordstrom.com, you can often uncover savings.
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Sue and I both love the wedge styles found in this UK brand. The flexible soles make for comfortable walking and the wedge heel never gets caught in cobblestones. Sue will be wearing her Yat ankle boots to Stockholm this January. I wore the lace-up Ylva through many a street market in Provence. We also like the vintage style of the Ydel.
Naots are known for their walkability, support and anatomical foot bed. I am completely enamored with the menswear styling of the wingtip Lako. It’s incredibly comfortable and lightweight, and the “volcanic red leather” version is versatile enough to step in where black, brown, or red might have tread. These work with a casual skirt or dress and look great with straight jeans worn cuffed.
Naot’s Kedma is another classic oxford. Two things make it less staid: the multi-toned leathers and the surprising range of colors, including chestnut, shiraz, and gray shimmer, in addition to black and brown. The textured beige pair reminds me of white bucks and would be great for spring or summer.
Nothing wrecks your shoes faster that wearing them in the rain for days on end. And who doesn’t hate wet feet? That’s why Sue loves the Ted Baker Chelsea rain shoes she picked up in London last year. They even pack up fairly small. The version Sue purchased isn’t available in the U.S., but the Liddied Studded Wellington is similar and even has some bling. Sorry in advance if it’s raining on your vacation, but at least you’ll make a splash in these.
If you’re going to bring tall boots, wear them on the plane to save room in your suitcase. And make them boots you can walk in all day long. We like the Hobart Buckle from Danish shoemaker ECCO. They pair well with leggings, tucked-in jeans, or a comfy sweater dress. (Of course, if you’re going to Italy, expect to come home with brand-new boots—so think ahead.)
Donald J Pliner
A pair of loafers from Donald J Pliner got Sue through Italy one summer. This brand has numerous styles that range from classic to edgy. We like the looks of the Rio loafer, with its comfortable lugged sole and tiny stones that add a little sparkle. The Riki or Riki 2 ballerina flat has a rubber outsole and heel cap that help it withstand wear and tear.
If you want to wear sneakers, running shoes aren’t your only option. The Freewheel from Teva is more supportive than a basic tennis shoe or flip-flop, and the washed canvas version looks great with a sundress or vintage skirt. Take that, running shoes.
Before You Go
Break in your shoes before you head on vacation. Try them with added insoles such as Superfeet, which I’ve loved since they were recommended by a physical therapist. Several of these shoes have insoles that slide out and could be replaced by the stabilizing pads of Superfeet (or similar brands). And, of course, look to europeanmarket.us for scarves, bags, and other accessories to complete your look!
Therese Maring is a writer, editor and friend of EuropeanMarket. She has hiked hill towns in Italy and biked in France, all with a single suitcase and carry-on bag. She manages to look fairly stylish once she changes out of her bike shorts and cycling shoes.