Spring until late fall is ideal for a European vacation, and the best way to see most Old World cities is on foot. Touring museums, churches and galleries; poking around in craft shops, taking photos in a cobblestone alley, hunting for a café or trattoria off the beaten path. Are your feet aching yet?
Well not to worry because fashionista Aliceann Toole has this look at the best walking shoes for Europe or wherever else you might travel to this summer.
The secret to successful walking, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic, is a pair of comfortable well-fitting walking shoes. They suggest a fairly lightweight shoe with good shock absorption like Merrell’s Enlighten Eluma Breeze Flat. (Don’t you love the mesh detail and the gorgeous perwinkle color? There’s lot of other modern shades too.)
When it comes to comfort, the shape of your foot and the height of your arch are considerations since the lasts, or forms used as patterns, differ widely based on the shoe design.
Many over 40 women must also address bunions, neuromas, prior injuries and other foot and ankle issues.
Like the search for a perfect pair of jeans, getting a walking shoe with a great fit is unlikely to happen unless you march yourself into a store – perhaps several stores – to try on a variety of shoes.
If you must order online, be ready to return selections that don’t run true to size or don’t fit your particular foot well. To get the best fit:
- Go shoe shopping at the end of the day when your feet are widest.
- Try on shoes with the type of socks or liners you plan to wear with them.
- Have both feet measured and if they are different, go with the larger size.
- Bring a pair of well-worn shoes to a fitting – a professional sales specialist can tell a lot about how best to fit you from the wear pattern.
Hundreds of walking shoe styles are available, but is there one you would consider wearing into Versace on the Via Venetto or Fabregé on the Rue Saint Honoré?
Let’s look at some of the options:
1. Sleek and Sporty Walking Shoe
Another offering from Ecco which is very popular is the BIOM Lite Mary Jane. Weighing in at a mere 7 ounces it is one of the best shoes for walking around Europe. It features an anatomical fit and comes in 2 beautiful colors: warm grey/moonrock and black/dark shadow.
One user reported walking in this shoe for three weeks in Italy, often without socks, with no blisters or other discomfort.
Many report the strap makes this shoe very solid, but if you prefer no strap there is a BIOM Lite Ballerina Flat with no strap which is very comfy and attractive. They come in this pretty silver color. Also in black and a stunning Coral ( teaberry).
Tourists love these type of open top shoes, as the traditional runner top styles are hot and not as flexible on the foot when you are walking. Another hot seller? – The Merrell Mimosa . It comes in cocoa and black. Also check out the similar Merrell Mimosa Fizz which has a more fabric and mesh look and comes in lighter neutrals.
2. Casual /Dressy, works Anywhere Ballerina Flat
A personal favorite, and one that actual users rate highly, is Ecco’s Angel Bow Ballerina flat. Women who reviewed these lightweight shoes said bought them because they wanted cute walking shoes for Europe they could wear both day and night. They wore them to walk extensively in Paris, Nice, Madrid and rural Spain.
3. Comfy Dance Like Walking Shoes
If you’re ready to really think out of the box, barefoot running and walking have been researched extensively and shown to naturally improve your gait and carriage, develop strength in the muscles and ligaments of your feet, legs and hips.If walking ancient sidewalks and streets barefoot doesn’t entice you, minimalist footwear is available.
Check out Vivobarefoot’s soft dance-like shoes . They also one of the best walking shoes for Europe women rave about. Wearers call them “a tetanus-free and socially acceptable way of appearing barefoot in public.” Above is the Vivobarefoot Jing Jing model, available in several great colors.
4. Classic Boat Style Walking Shoe
A more traditional option is this cute and very lightweight Skechers On the Go Unite boat-style shoe. It receives good reviews from users who wore them to walk miles in Europe. The preppy styling works well with a skirt, polo shirt or blouse with a sweater tied around the neck, as well as jeans and casual trousers – think khaki. The shoe is available in some fresh color combos like this tan and neon orange.
5. Typical “Sneaker” Walking Shoe
In the end if you really just want a good old-fashioned walking shoe then this is probably what you have in mind. This is what most of us picture when we think ‘walking shoe.’ABEO’s 3650 Mesh Athletic was developed and tested at Stanford University with a patent-pending midsole designed to reduce knee stress, knee pain and the progression of osteoarthritis.
It is very lightweight and comes in three color combinations.You may choose a shoe like this for comfort and good support, but, sadly, not for fashion. They are not the most stylish walking shoes for Europe, so when you wear this type of shoe with jeans or a skirt, focus attention to the top of your figure. Wear a great outfit with interesting accessories so that the shoes are (pardon the pun), just a footnote.
So the verdict in our fashion vs. function question is in: Your shoes won’t be statement pieces if you’re well dressed and well-groomed. And you will feel perfectly comfortable crossing the threshold of the most chichi establishment during your travels. What have you found are the most stylish and comfortable walking shoes for Europe? I’d love to know.