Appropriate footwear?

Dec 15th, 2012, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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The real question is how comfortable are you? I always found that when I've done my best with what I have then I can be comfortable.

If I'm comfortable in big white sneakers and black pants, then it will reflect in the way I treat others, not the way they treat me.
LSky is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 07:52 AM
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I want to repeat what nytraveler said. That you will do a lot of walking in Europe, maybe not 8 or 10 miles/day, but a lot. Europeans expect people to walk and to climb stairs. And then after a long day on your feet, you go to bed, get up and do it again.

So comfort is of prime importance. You're spending a lot of money. Concentrate on enjoying what you're seeing and doing, not on what others might -- or might not -- think.

In addition to St Cirq's testimony, you might like to read the inspiring trip report from a woman who has trouble walking but traveled to Europe on her own:
Mimar is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 09:35 AM
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Twenty years ago, I was told I would be pegged as an American if I wore my most comfortable footwear, my running shoes. I opted for comfort and never worried a second. I was able to walk all day, see the sights. And, yes, I am a proud American! ;-)
eastenderusvi is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 09:46 AM
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As someone who has traveled a fair amount, I would just like to say that the whole, "If you wear white tennis / running shoes, then everyone will KNOW you are an American" thing is grossly over-rated.

They are going to know, anyway -- Changing your shoes is NOT going to fool them!

Go with what works. Be happy and enjoy.

Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 10:20 AM
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"I will take the advice of wearing appropriate shoes to go along with a dress . . . "

IMO that isn't necessary. If you should use the braces when walking, that means using them whenever you are walking. When you are out and about. Even at restaurants, even at 'nice' restaurants, even at the opera, even . . . well you get the idea. I personally wouldn't risk leaving the braces off for the sake of 'fashion' - nor for your friend's comfort level.
janisj is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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I wouldn't consider your friend to be a friend any longer.
kerouac is online now  
Dec 15th, 2012, 11:17 AM
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Let's not be too harsh on kiv427's friend — she is probably well meaning, but another victim of the "white sneakers myth". I've never really understood why people are so worried about looking like a tourist, or looking like an American. More important (when in Britain) to remember to look to the right before stepping off the pavement into the street. ;-)
Heimdall is online now  
Dec 15th, 2012, 11:21 AM
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How do otherwise sensible people come up with these weird ideas?

5 minutes thought would surely convince your friend that there must be people in Europe with foot problems [and loads of other problems too.come to that] and they aren't banned from "loads of places".

wear what you feel happy and safe in - once you are here you'll find out that no-one cares what you are wearing, we just want you to have a good time.
annhig is online now  
Dec 15th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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Kiv427, not sure where your “friend” is coming from. Last summer I went on a tour to Paris/Normandy which included an older gal (frail but feisty) who wore a leg brace and used a cane. She did not let anything stop her.

When we arrived at the Eiffel Tower, our tour leader told us that no one could ascend the tower using a cane or walker. So this gal with the brace folded up the cane and proceeded to join the group. She just linked arms with her daughter and moved right along.

Enjoy your trip…
latedaytraveler is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 01:43 PM
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You can't imagine how excited I am for this trip & appreciate all your responses. I'm not as worried about anyone knowing I'm American as offending the locals by not being appropriate. In my friends defense, when she traveled is was for more formal events & she tends to lean more to fashion rather than comfort. I feel confident that Europeans will be just as ok with my maladies as anyone else. As far as walking, with these new legs of mine, 10 miles or up hills will be no problem, so I'm thankful for them. Thanks for the shoe suggestions but they won't fit nor work properly, so I'll stick with my running shoes.

Thanks again!
kiv427 is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 02:02 PM
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Why would any local be offended? You have nothing to worry about, so have a wonderful trip!
Heimdall is online now  
Dec 15th, 2012, 04:15 PM
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"I've never really understood why people are so worried about looking like a tourist, or looking like an American."

It is silly but I'm a lot more worried about wearing ugly shoes.

Enjoy your trip kiv427. You won't offend anyone. Spend your time learning a few words in the local languages.
LSky is offline  
Dec 15th, 2012, 09:12 PM
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I'm learning French right now and hope to be fairly fluent by the time I leave.
kiv427 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2012, 07:24 AM
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Good for you kiv! I've been trying to learn French for years but so far every time I speak French someone will say, "let's just do this in English."
LSky is offline  
Dec 16th, 2012, 08:28 AM
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LSky - we must go to some very different places. We stayed at a B&B in Brittany last year which had a single breakfast table so we all ate together and none of the other guests spoke any english at all, nor did our hosts.

our french got a very thorough work-out!
annhig is online now  
Dec 16th, 2012, 09:39 AM
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annhig, I've only ever been to Paris. Of course, I practiced French and can write it, so I carried a notepad in case things got hair because my pronuciation is terrible.

People were very nice and helpful. There were a few times when I had to speak very slowly. I am always impressed how patient people can be with a stranger and how helpful.

I'm fairly good with German and love it when that gets a workout It's so much fun isn't it?
LSky is offline  
Dec 16th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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LSky - when we first went to Paris more years ago than I care to remember, I found that very few locals would speak anything other than french, even if they could, as a matter of principle. Now they are much more relaxed about it, in fact Paris is becoming more like the rest of Europe where trying to get them NOT to speak english is a struggle, IME.

I think that you would have more chance to practice outside Paris, especially in the countryside.

also like you, i suspect, my german is better than my french, so i tend to get a better chance with that, and as for the italian, I'm pretty good til someone talks back!

kiv - good for you. in the case of non/miscomprehension, a smile goes a vey long way. and there are few people in France who will not appreciate it if, when you enter a shop, you say "bonjour" and pepper your speech with "merci" and "s'il vous plait". [forgive me if I am teaching y granny to suck eggs, BTW].
annhig is online now  
Dec 16th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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I always try to learn a little of a language for any country I travel to, and if it is a language I like and might find useful, I study more. However, one can't become fluent in any language in six months. So it is nice to learn a little, but it won't be any problem in Paris, so many people speak English, at lest the ones a tourist typically deals with in the center. I've been going to Paris about 30 years and even 30 years ago, it seemed to me a lot of waiters, hotel personnel, etc. wanted to speak English rather than letting you speak French. And I was there to study French at the Sorbonne, although I didn't know it as well as now, but I wasn't incompetent. I can understand not wanting to plod along with someone who only knows a few words, that would be difficult and time-consuming. It is a lot easier to speak it without interruption (if a foreigner) outside Paris, but not in Paris.
Christina is offline  
Dec 16th, 2012, 11:01 AM
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In case you get stuck, there's google translate for smartphones and tablets.
You write it in English, it translates to whatever language you choose.
Works great at places like the TIM store, where you can ask questions like, How could I possibly have used up 5 gb of data already? And how can I buy some more? Worked for us in southern Italy!
sundriedpachino is offline  
Dec 16th, 2012, 11:07 AM
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"I'm pretty good til someone talks back!"

OH Yeah! LOL

Last Spring we were in a small town in Germany and the parking machine wasn't working. A young couple was getting out of their car so I asked in German what I should do after explaining about the machine. She said in German that I should write on a piece of paper "ANKUNFTSZEIT" with the time and put it on the dashboard. That's when I lost it and cried out in English, "I've never even said that word!"

She laughed and said, "Ah! English! I was wondering what language you spoke!" Her husband saved the day and had an extra ANKUNFTSZEIT and gave it to me. It has become one of my prized souvenirs of all time.

I didn't think people minded when I murdered their language. They didn't seem to be patient with the effort. If someone approaches me in English, I don't mind helping them in Spanish. It improves my Spanish and gets them on their way a little faster.
LSky is offline  

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