The Traveling Shoes Saga

When I got pregnant (and experienced the first trimester from HELL!), I thought I would say bye-bye to traveling for a while. However, after a while, I regained my strength to do mostly anything, including globetrotting, thank God :)

After a successful trip to Bali, husband and I are currently planning for another trip. This time, the destination is overseas and our daily walks will be longer and more challenging. Therefore, a solid pair of traveling shoes is a must!

Before pregnancy, I never give much thought about traveling shoes. In fact, my criteria for them are just these:

  • Stylish. Why? I don’t know. I notice most Indonesians (including me) would rather suffer than not look stylish when traveling, especially abroad. Probably because we always we have this constant awareness, “The photos are going to be all over my Facebook / blog / Twitter, you know!” LOL.
  • Flat and comfortable. However, over experience, I realize we need to be more specific with the term ‘comfortable’. A simple flat shoes with no in-soles and arch support may seem OK for walking on the smooth, marble floors of an air-conditioned mall for 3 hours. However, it can turn painful when used for walking on cobblestones, under the sun, for days. The result could be this:

After days of walking around Czech Republic, in a pair of Massimo Dutti flats that I thought would be comfortable enough

Now, being a pregnantzilla, I am much more rempong in determining the right shoes for me. For my upcoming trip, I’ve searched everywhere for that perfect pair. After a while, I’ve concluded several types of good walking shoes, which I’m going to share with you.

The Canvases

Lace-less canvas shoes are great for city traveling in non-winter weather. They are practical, comfortable, and although they’re not Salvatore Ferragamo, they’re stylish enough, even for the pavements of Paris. At least, it’s definitely not as ugly as the huge tennis shoes that American tourists seem love very much (why people, why?)

I recommend brands such as Bensimon, TOMS or J&M for summer city travelling. Those brands carry lightweight, flexible, comfortable canvases with versatile, chic styles.

Who says TOMS is boring? They even have glittery ones!

J&M

Bensimon, some say the Converse of Parisienne

The downside of canvases is they get dirty quickly, and the dirt is hard to wipe off. The solution is to pick darker colors. I don’t like blacks, because they make me look like a kungfu master, so I’d go with reds, navys, or cute patterns.

The many styles of TOMS

Celebs in their Bensimons

I do not recommend Converse shoes, though, because those things are heavy for me! And they often come with laces, which I really can’t be bothered with when traveling.

The Flats

For chic shoes that won’t make you look like a tourist, flats can’t go wrong. Sadly, I still haven’t had good experience with them, especially ballet flats. The ones I’ve tried so far are so limp, thin and fragile that after a while, they made walking on cobblestones feels like walking on fire. I just don’t believe common flats are designed for traveling that involves miles of walking, you know? However, if you can get a quality ballet flats that are flexible and with cushioned in-soles, like this pair from J.Crew, great! Report back to me on that one, OK? ;)

Try to find durable flats, such as from Hush Puppies or GEOX.

A couple of pairs from GEOX Lola collection. Cute and incredibly soft! Trust me, I’ve tried them.

If you want something that won’t burn a hole in your wallet, try finding a pair from Comfort Plus by Predictions or Dexflex by Dexter. They are cheap, have soft cushions, with pretty chic styles. I even got myself a nice pair of Dexflex that is exactly like Hanzky’s! I haven’t tested their durability, though.

The same ones like Hanzky bought on her umroh trip ;)

What’s that? Crocs, you say? Sure, why not. Crocs are no longer synonymous with ugly, gardener shoes, as they now have a plethora of styles in their collection. Too bad, rubber materials hurt my feet. However, I heard Crocs and socks are a combo made in heaven (haven’t tried it, though).

The Beach Footwears

Standard favorites are rubber flip-flops, such as the ever-so-versatile Havaianas (I love the ones with the back sling! I never found them anymore) or even cheap Swallows. But if I want to imagine myself being a French Riviera tourist—instead of a plain, old Bali tourist, for example—I’d wear Birkinstocks. After all these years, I still love their classic, boyish look, solid quality, and ergonomic footbed.

Birkinstock

The downside of Birkies is that they can be a little heavy. Another cute option is espadrille shoes, such as the ones from Soludos. Their lightweightness would be perfect for walking on sands and around the beachtown. Plus, I love their prints. Just don’t get them wet!


Soludos espadrilles

The Winter Shoes

For this, I’m actually going to need help from you, experienced readers  :) I’ve actually never tried any ‘winter shoes’ i.e. boots. I just couldn’t find a pair that is comfortable and stylish enough for my short, thick calves! Even when I had to endure the -1 Celcius degrees Beijing weather, I still relied on my sneakers and thick socks. No boots.

Other than that Beijing trip, I’ve never experienced any other harsh winter weather. Therefore, my non-boots shoes did just fine, so far ;)

So tell me, what’s a great walking boots for winter traveling? Uggs? Or the famous Hunter Boots, which the Queen herself wear? What about Redfoots that are foldable (great for packing!) and have velvet lining?

This Uggs made me laugh – there’s a poodle on my calves!

And does it have to be boots at all? What about sport shoes with thick socks? My Puma is warm enough and they’re great for vigorous walking! (also, check out the awesome Vivo Barefoot).

In Conclusion,

Walking shoes for traveling, for me now, must be more than just comfortable. All in all, they have to be:

  • Flats, no elevated soles.
  • Sturdy. Remember, you’re not (only) going to walk on marble mall floors! Don’t forget the sharp stones on pavements ;)
  • Flexible, and have cushioned in-soles.
  • Preferably have arch support.
  • Preferably with no laces.
  • In my perfect size. Not too big, not too small. I don’t want to be bothered with paddings.
  • Well broken-in.
  • Stylish. Hey, the photos are STILL going to be uploaded all over my Facebook / blog / Twitter!

So what are your favorite footwear for traveling? Share them with us!

TOMS is available at 707 Aksara Kemang and The Goods Dept, Plaza Indonesia
J&M is available at Metro Department Stores
Vivo Barefoot is available at Linea stores
Comfort Plus by Predictions and Dexflex by Dexter are available at Payless