Women's semi-stylish, comfortable shoes?

Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 10:46 AM
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I really wish there was a section on the forum called "travel attire" or something, where all these threads could be very useful.

ED???
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 10:49 AM
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Just returned from one month in Rome, Trastevere section. My best shoe coice?--Mephisto Round About. Does the work of an athletic shoe, but also has a Mary Jane-type dressier look with velcro strap across top and also around the back of the heel for snug excellent fit. Also, for Mephisto, very reasonably priced--around $130. My back-up shoes for extra comfort were my old trusty Merrells with the mesh top, but since they are a slip-on clog type, I felt a little less secure with them on the cobblestones. It really is best to have your heel secured and not slipping around on the back of your shoe.

To Fodorite friends: Trip report will begin soon, I promise.
 
Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:16 AM
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Timberland has some cute and very comfortable styles. One that I have is the Pacific Grove mary jane style, with criss cross velcro straps. They have a removable footbed and can even accommodate an orthotic.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:19 AM
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Here's another vote for Mephistos. I have two pairs that I've worn on my last three trips to Italy and I'll be bringing them on my upcoming trip to Paris. I also have a pair of the Cole Hahn's with the Nike Air support, which I'm considering taking.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:20 AM
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Another vote for Keens. I bought the Sydney II (a very simple MaryJane) for travel in October, and I'm still wearing them very happily!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:31 AM
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I'm going through this now with our upcoming trip. One suggestion I have is that if there's a Nordstrom near you--go there. Not only do they have almost every brand mentioned here plus some, they GUARANTEE their shoes! In other words--you can bring them back anytime if you're not happy.

Now, my problem is a I bought a pair of Merrill flat boots that I LOVE and are quite comfortable and look great with everything I plan to take (including 2 shirts), HOWEVER when I walked in them for hours in SF, I ended up with very sore feet. As much as I want to take them (and maybe switch off with my very comfortable Eccos or (gasp) silver Nikes (last time in Italy and Spain so many of the women were wearing tennis shoes I actually bought a pair of pink suede ones in Siena), I don't know that I can justify the luggage space! I guess I'll wait 'til I'm fully packed to decide, but really COMFORT is a big issue and you really need to know that you're not going to be miserable because you put "fashion" first. Believe me, I know from past experience!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:41 AM
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artlover, being a very light packer who likes to be as unencumbered as possible while travelling, I would never take a pair of shoes on a trip just because I like the way they look on my feet at home! Seriously...'tain't worth it, imo.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 11:54 AM
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I, too, love Zappos, but I've found them rather chintzy on sales lately.

I found the same pair of Clark's Artisan shoes that I was eyeballing on the web for half-price at my local Macy's department store. WOW!

I vote for Clark's too -- I am just not one for the obvious "I am a tourist; look at my clunky shoes." (I have big feet anyway!) The ones I picked out look like something I would wear anywhere, including vacation.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:21 PM
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All one can conclude from this is that we are all different! I have Ecco's that have left me hobbling in pain after a few hours; Clarks that I couldn't wait to rip off my feet after a short walk across town, and similar stories about many other brands mentioned here. The only ones that are reliable for me are Mephisto and Dansko (the Bay Bridge sandals, NOT the clogs). These two I can safely buy on-line (at a discount, from Sierra Trading Post). I have several pairs of each that I know I can walk comfortably all day in.

Everything else, I try to buy at Nordstrom, like Artlover. And I wear them in the store for 30 minutes or so before buying them. And even then, I've had shoes that I thought were fine in the store turn uncomfortable after a few hours on pavement.

So for Europe I only take shoes that have passed the test. And I pack very light with everything else so I can take at least three pair in summer: one each of Dansko and Mephisto sandals, and the hiking boots I need for the mountains. In winter or early spring when it is cold, I don't need the hiking boots, but take flat ankle boots made by Ariat. They have a carbon-fiber shank and gel midsole, and are great for walking.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:41 PM
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How do you ladies when packing light, solve the problem of casual day walking shoes and then possibly in the evening something dressier with which you might wear with a skirt or dress, and yet still be comfortable enough to do some walking in ...?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:57 PM
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I have been reading all these posts on comfortable shoes but cannot possibly pay the (IMO) the high prices for some of these brands. Does anyone know of a shoe that is under $60 that are comfortable? I am a flip flop Floridian and the thought of enclosing my toes in some of these shoes is frightening! I desperately need comfort and style for our May trip to France. Any ideas?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:58 PM
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Should the question be? I weigh X pounds, what shoe will be comfortable for uneven European paths?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 12:59 PM
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normal--You can get quite a few of these nicer brands for less at places such as DSW stores or online at Sierra Trading Post.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:00 PM
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Another vote for Mephisto ALLROUNDERS !
They come in about 20 colors.
 
Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:03 PM
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RE packing light, I take 2 pairs: one comfort walking sandal and one dressier but also comfortable sandal (a Dankso maryjane if the nights are cool).
I'm wearing one pair, so I still have no problem just taking a carry-on.
I'm partial to Clarks (Artisan and Privo lines) and a recent convert to Keen. Easy Spirit sometimes makes something cute enough and are cheaper.

RE cost, that old adage you get what you pay for is true when it comes to shoes. I have 5 pairs of Danskos because they last forever and are comfortable. Everytime I buy cheap shoes they end up in a thrift store or landfill anyway.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:03 PM
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We are all different!! I wear heels all day here, I wear heels all day there. There is a happy medium between form and function, although I probably lean a bit toward the former (ha). I live in a city and hate to drive, so I walk a couple miles a day in my heels. In fact, the only flats I own are flip-flops and running shoes and I don't have a single pair of pants or jeans short enough to be worn with flats. I considered tailoring some jeans so I could wear ballet flats, but after being 5'8" for so long, I don't like losing the 3 inches I do always keep a pair of flip-flops in my bag in case one a shoe turns out to be a bad egg (or to spare a pair from weather), but I ran a mile (in good time) in a pair of beat-up sky high heels to prove to my husband that it could be done. For me, any shoe that truly fits is comfortable regardless of heel height.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:13 PM
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i feel your pain ladies, literally. or i did. i started searching for comfortable yet stylish shoes for my upcoming trip to paris (in april) last october. after hours and hours of shopping i have since bought and returned 1 pair of eccos, and 3 pair of aerosoles. i also bought a pair of primos (clark's) that i'm stuck with now even though they kill my feet because i wore them outside the house. i then gave up for 3 months. this past saturday i finally purchased a pair of josef seibels. open back with about an inch heel with lovely padding in the insole. so far after a couple of days i'm pain free. in case you have feet like mine, what i needed was a pair of shoes with no seam that hit my bunions (from years of ballet), the seam is up the middle, wide enough in the front, a one inch heel, soft leather and padding in the insole to cushion my feet. they are open in the back but not clogs per se, but i don't think that will be a problem. perhaps i'll go test them in the french quarter tomorrow.

here's hoping they work for me in paris. there's nothing worse than aching feet when you want to go, go, go!

i don't know if this helped anyone, but it sure felt good to share my story. and to know that i'm not the only person out there for whom the "perfect" shoe search was such a frustrating mission!

bonne chance!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 01:33 PM
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Next time you are in France, check out Arche shoes. They are very comfortable and quite stylish. (Although not cheap -- generally 130 euros and up -- but I think for most of us aching-foot sufferers it is worth it!) They're sold all over France including 8 or 10 Arche stores in the Paris area. Though it's mainly in France, there also are some outlets elsewhere in Europe and a few in New York.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 02:11 PM
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Dansko "Lolita" is back! Google it for a picture, or go to Nordstrom.com.

Think strappy sandal meets comfort sole.

The shoe salesman at Nordies told me it is one of their all-time best sellers, but was unavailable in black for awhile. Now it's back, and even better---the black has a dark-colored footbed, which won't show the dirt. But I kinda like the dark brown too. . .
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Old Mar 22nd, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Normal,
The sketchers I mentioned were purchased at DSW for under $60, but I noticed they can also be ordered from the Zappos website. I can't speak for the other brands, but they seemed a little expensive to me also. I bought two pairs, one a mary jane style in black and one more of a tennis shoe but not as bulky.

If you look at the Zappos website, the mj's I bought are a black version of the Luxe...couldn't find the exact version. They also have a similar version called biker-sightsee.
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