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lalalacheesejah May 28th, 2010 06:33 AM

Shoes in the UK
Traveling next May or June in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

I plan on mostly stickin to cities/places that have pavement of some sort or other. I do, however, want to see a good deal of country, like the Scottish low/highlands.

I know I must bring one pair of good walking shoes (sneakers). Here is my question: should I bring a pair of ecco walking sandals or hiking boots?

I feel that maybe I should bring walking sneakers and walking sandals. Boots too heavy?

Christina May 28th, 2010 06:57 AM

I don't know exactly what to recommend, can just say that I was in the Scottish highlands (or maybe lowlands, not sure), but was just walking around a bit at some sites, I didn't really do any serious hiking. So my regular walking shoes were fine. However, as I do have hiking shoes, if you are serious, you need more than sneakers for real hiking. There are summer hiking shoes, I have some, they aren't big heavy boots, but they are still more substantial than sneakers. I don't consider sneakers good walking shoes, but I know a lot of people do. I just don't take them, I take real walking shoes which are leather and look better than sneakers so I can actually wear them with pants. They aren't attractive enough or the right style to wear with anything but pants, but I personally would never in a million years wear sneakers except for sports.

Now I'm assuming you mean those big clunky white athletic sneakers. I do wear low sneakers that are various colors, etc., and more stylish and like regular casual shoes, but I suspect you don't mean those as your good pair of walking shoes that you would consider for hiking. I might be wrong, though.

I think it depends how active you intend to be in the country.

lalalacheesejah May 28th, 2010 07:02 AM

No, I don't mean white althetic sneakers. Can't stand 'em!

I don't plan on going on real hikes. Maybe just a few scenic strolls. At the most I intend on walking around ruins and stuff. Which is why I don't know if hiking boots would be ideal, especially since most of my trip will be within the confines of cities.

sap May 28th, 2010 07:14 AM

Lala: Did you have something like this in mind? To me, this looks like a cross between a hiking boot & tennis shoe. I have a similar pair that I only use for more serious walking since I find traditional hiking boots too bulky. Walking sandals may work for you in some locales, but not as much for going up & down hills.

sap May 28th, 2010 07:22 AM

People who are blessed with trouble-free feet can get away with heels and more stylish shoes, but for serious city walking, I prefer something like this for support.

BigRuss May 28th, 2010 07:30 AM

Sandals implies open-toe, partially to completely uncovered foot. That's daft: it's the UK, it rains. Often.

jent103 May 28th, 2010 07:46 AM

I would get something with good traction (rules out most athletic sneakers), good support, and ideally that's water resistant. However, I would not bring hiking boots unless you're doing some serious trekking. Too heavy and unnecessary if you don't have ankle issues. I've been just fine with a pair of Keens; check out Merrells as well. I like these, and the ones sap linked to are super comfy (my roommate has a pair I wish I could steal!).!dark%20citron

sap May 28th, 2010 07:54 AM

jent103, I really like that Madrid ballerina in black! It seems like it would be really versatile. I'm thinking of buying a ballerina walker next time as the strap on the mary jane walkers I usually use tends to irritate after a few hours. My only concern is whether the ballerina has enough arch support. These days, I usually lean toward the Keen, Merrell, or Mephisto shoes for travel, but I can sometimes find the same type of thing at LL Bean on sale.

nytraveler May 28th, 2010 08:26 AM

I think hiking boots are overkill (and really heavy to carry) for most country walking you will do. And keep in mind that even in cities you will need sturdy waterproof walking shoes - so you'll want something that will be suitable for pavements, plus something appropro to wear in the evening.

jent103 May 28th, 2010 08:34 AM

sap, the reviews on seem to be mixed - some say there's good arch support, some say there's not! Guess it depends on your feet and what you like. The one pair of Keens I have has decent support but not tons (as opposed to Chacos or something). I assume they're all similar, but I don't know for sure. (Shoebuy and Zappos have free shipping and returns, if you want to try them out.)

lalalacheesejah May 28th, 2010 08:52 AM

BigRuss, I know it sounds silly, but I don't mind walking in the rain in sandals, especially if they are a good walking pair.

I was hoping everyone would say no to the hiking boots because I don't want to carry them around if they aren't necessary.

I would plan to use my sandals on more dry days and/or in cities. And sneakers in wet weather and if I'm going to be in the country all day.

But I don't really know what I'm gonna do yet...this is all just posturing ideas.

griz_fan May 28th, 2010 09:53 AM

Look for a class of shoe called trail runners. I picked up a pair for my trip to Ireland next month. Good on pavement and off the beaten path, these shoes are very comfortable. Mine are even Gore-Tex to help keep the rain out. Also, the offer great traction and a sturdier sole than regular athletic shoes. They seem to be a good combination for the type of use you described. has some, but they are readily available at any store with an extensive selection of outdoor shoes.

amelie May 28th, 2010 12:44 PM

I wore my Clarks sandals all over Scotland last summer. But it only rained one day we were there out of three weeks (still shocked). I don't think you need hiking boots, just comfortable shoes or sandals that are sturdy and don't kill your feet too fast.

carolyn May 29th, 2010 06:17 PM

I see that you mentioned Ecco sandals. I swear by my Ecco lace-up walking shoes and would think they would work better for your purposes than sandals.

suze May 31st, 2010 01:52 PM

No I would not bring heavy hiking boots on a summer trip to Europe that did not involve extensive hiking.

What I have always packed and works perfect for me is: 1 pair athletic sneakers (white is fine) to use as walking shoes + 2 pair of comfortable sandals + 1 flip flops.

Rosa_Mundi May 31st, 2010 04:08 PM

Great advice on shoes here at Fodors. :)

I posed the shoe question for my own trip and, after fabulous advice, wound up purchasing a pair of Keen 'wear around' shoes in black (so comfortable! Only had to wear them a few times before they felt completely 'broken in' and ready to go!).

Also taking my heavier leather walking shoes that are water resistant and have better tread, as well as a pair of flip-flops for showers or whatever.

Just going with a carry-on and a purse or I probably would have packed another pair of shoes (and then, knowing me, never worn them). :D

lalalacheesejah Jun 1st, 2010 05:48 AM

Yeah I have decided to buy this pair of Keen sneaker things. And MAYBE also a pair of closed toed Rieker shoes that are more appropriate for nicer places; they don't look so athletic.

suze Jun 1st, 2010 06:25 AM

lala~ Shop as soon as possible. so whatever you pick gets worn a bit before the trip, test them by wearing 8+ hours at a stretch & doing lots of walking. Doesn't matter the brand, you just don't know if a shoe will be travel-worthy without giving it a good solid test at home first.

rosa~ You just don't know if you might have worn that one more pair of shoes or not. I know for myself I really like to change shoes half way thru a day, and definitely not wear the same ones for days in a row. My feet appreciate the change.

Rosa_Mundi Jun 1st, 2010 03:11 PM

Suze- true! If my feet aren't happy then the rest of me isn't either... hmmm...

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