We’re getting ready for our big summer trip. We do a lot of walking on our vacations, so having shoes that don’t hurt is crucial. That is easier to say than to achieve for me. I’ve got wide feet, a high instep, and a Morton’s neuroma (basically a bundle of nerves between the first and second toe inside the foot that screams if it gets squished). I also am at the point in my life where I am simply not ready to suffer for beauty. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to look good, but I’m just not willing to sacrifice comfort for looks. I want a compromise. All of this presents a challenge when finding good travel shoes. Here are my criteria:
- Comes in wide or double wide
- Does not pinch my toes together
- Has a very solid cushion on the ball of the foot
- Is not hard, rigid, rough, or sharp anywhere
- Has some give
- Has room for my high instep
- No heels. I can’t walk in heels
- Offers the comfort of a sneaker without being a sneaker
While this is a long list, you would think it would be achievable, particularly since there are quite a number of companies that now specialize in travel shoes. For some reason Clark’s and Tevas never fit my feet, so I don’t even bother to try those on anymore. Birkenstocks hurt my feet. Dansko clogs are fantastic for standing, but not for walking long distances, so they don’t work for travel for me.
In the past, Propet was my savior. I always buy Propet athletic shoes and those still work for me, but all of their “fun” shoes have been redesigned so now I’ve got issues with them. The past few weeks have seen a flurry of Zappos boxes at my door and I also made a trip to the Easy Spirit store as well as Famous Footwear. I continue to fall into the trap of a shoe that feels fine at home, but when I take a walk, about halfway through I realize it’s not going to work. The result is I still have no shoes I feel 100% comfortable with. This is the tale of 8 shoes. And let me be honest, I know I sound like a crazy, uber-picky lunatic, but there is nothing worse than trying to spend an entire day walking in shoes that hurt or give you blisters.
First off are my trusted white walking sneakers. They’re comfortable and I can go long distances in them. However, I want to look somewhat decent in Paris. Therefore, they are being packed to wear in the countryside but not in the city. Next up are the shoes that saved my butt last summer.
These blue shoes are Propet Travel Walkers. I wore these all over Italy. They are lighter than my sneakers, more breathable, and at least are not glaringly white. Fantastic. Except one shoe leaks up through the sole when it rains. So I wanted to buy a new pair.
Which brings us to the Propet Travel Walker IIs. Yes, they changed them. I had to order a double wide in this and they made the toe cap a little bigger and of harder plastic (see how it’s shiny?). Therefore, my big toe rubs against it. I am certain I will get a blister if I wear them for a full day of walking.
These blue suede shoes were last year’s purchase. They’re comfortable, but aren’t perfect for a full day of walking. The bottom of my foot rubs and gets irritated. I can wear them with one of those little nylon stocking footie things and do ok, but it’s just not ideal.
The black Skechers are also from last year. I’ve turned to these shoes when my bad foot really hurts because they are well-formed and keep everything in place. They’re not good for long treks though. Too tight.
These black Mary Janes with white soles are Propet shoes. Cute, light, breathable – everything good that the Travel Walker I had, however they have the same toe cap as the Travel Walker II and thus my toe rubs when I walk.
In an attempt to expand my horizons, I ordered these Easy Spirit Escape shoes. They had everything I wanted. I wore them around the house for a day and was pleased. Then I wore them on a walk and I realized that in the right shoe (my problem foot) the inside of the toe part of the shoe is coming apart, so it catches my big toe and pulls. Only the right shoe is defective. Unfortunately, by the time I realized this, I could not get a replacement in time. Interestingly, the shoes that Zappos sells are apparently old styles because this is no longer sold at my local Easy Spirit store.
I went to the Easy Spirit store anyhow, hoping to find something – anything. My apologies to the saleswoman who brought out about 20 different shoes for me to try on. By the time we were done she thought I was the pickiest person she’d ever met, I am sure. I ended up buying these shoes. I had buyer’s remorse after the fact. They are low cut in the back, like a mule or a clog and so when I walk, that slaps against my foot. I can’t imagine dealing with that during a full day of walking. I also realized when I got home that they really do look like sneakers. Sigh.
So where does that leave me? Honestly I don’t know. I am packing as I write this and I will probably bring several of these shoes along. I will likely give in and wear my Travel Walker Is since they are so comfortable and if I get wet, I get wet. The new flapping Easy Spirits will likely come also and the blue suede shoes. And there is no doubt my white sneakers will be packed. I wish I had cute shoes to wear in Paris. Maybe next year I’ll find something cute and functional. If you have wide and difficult feet what brands work for you for travel shoes?
Update: I ended up taking the white Propet sneakers, black Skechers, blue suede shoes, both Easy Spirit shoes, the blue Propet shoes from last year, and a pair of sandals to wear to dinner. I determined that the white Propet sneakers are making my hip click – I’ve been wearing them for 6 months without a problem but they must be worn out, so those stayed in the suitcase. The Easy Spirit Escape shoes cut into my heels and gave me sores. I wore them for several days and I couldn’t get past it. The black Skechers are not good for walking, but I wore them a few times at night to dinner when my feet hurt. The blue Propet shoes worked ok, but irritated one toe so I couldn’t wear them every day. The new Easy Spirit slides at first made my toe hurt, but eventually became broken in. They were probably the most comfortable, however after several days of wearing them without socks they smelled pretty badly. The blue suede shoes are comfortable but don’t have a lot of padding on the bottom, so they aren’t ideal for tons of walking. They were great for days when we weren’t walking all the time though. The end result? None of these were perfect.
We’re getting ready for our big summer trip. We do a lot of walking on our vacations, so having shoes that don’t hurt is crucial. That is easier to say than to achieve for me. I’ve got wide feet, a high instep, and a Morton’s neuroma (basically a bundle of nerves between the first and … Read more