Nothing is more important than good foot care and knowing what shoes to wear for travel. We’ve got essential advice along with some strong opinions in this article.
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Taking care of your feet is priority number one and goes hand in hand with getting in shape and ready for walking. The most important thing to do months before you go is find a good pair of walking shoes and break them in. You should be wearing these shoes for at least a month if you consistently work out in them or more if you are only wearing them casually. The last thing you want to do is limp around with blisters or aching arches. I look for shoes that have good arch support, a sturdy sole and are comfortable. Stay away from flip-flops, Tevas, and Crocs. While these are easy and initially comfortable, your feet will be aching after a day’s walk across cobblestones. I do bring a pair of flip flops if hitting the beach but never wear them all day long. I made that mistake long ago in Venice and ended up struggling with the pain of plantar fascitis for over a year. Don’t feel like you have to wear Nike’s either (although tennis shoes in all colors can be spotted everywhere in Europe these days); there are plenty of great shoes that won’t make you look like a tourist. Expect to pay a little bit and stay away from bargain stores with cheaply made shoes. Remember this will be money well spent and an investment in your trip, a small price to pay when considering your other costs such as your flight and accommodations.
What Shoes to Wear
If you have a Walking Company near you, this is a great place to start. If you live in a smaller town like I do, Zappos is an amazing company with excellent return policy and an extremely wide selection of shoes. They have high quality shoes from many good brands. What works for you will depend on your feet. I personally swear by Birkenstocks. I know, none of us would ever be caught wearing Birkenstocks ten years ago, but I am a converted Birkenstock believer. Make sure you take time to break them in, as the leather straps tend to stretch slightly and the foot bed forms to your feet. I also fell in love with Keens two years ago and they are always in my suitcase. They are comfortable, casual and fun. Other great options include Clarks and Josef Seibel. I have worn and loved these both in the past.
Again, even the best shoe is going to cause you pain if not properly broken in. So regardless of WHAT you buy, make sure you are putting them on and walking in them as much as possible.
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