Does anyone have experience walking on the uneven terrain in Italy wearing either the Ecco Aspina sneaker or the Ecco Soft 7 sneaker? I’ve tried both on, both are comfortable, but I’m not sure the Soft 7 can handle as much of the cobblestones as the more rugged Aspina. I’m not going to do true hiking but from everything I’ve read I’ll need a shoe that can protect my feet just walking around sightseeing. Or is there another shoe I’m overlooking? I’m also interested in comfy sandals so pls weigh in and help me make my decision!
I can not comment on those specific models, but I usually wear Ecco shoes. NO matter if I am wearing Ecco or another brand, I wear an orthotic insert from The Walking Company which saves my feet in Italy, France, Switzerland, and even here in Oregon, whether hiking or walking on uneven surfaces, sand, rocks, etc. If you have a Walking Co. store near you, a suggest a visit. Great consultation.
I've worn Ecco Yucatan sandals for years on trips and love them. Sometimes I wear socks with these sandals. A pair is usually good for 3 or 4 trips--the sole is incredibly good and the arch support is a must for me.
If you are worried about navigating in towns and cities, either of these, assuming they are well broken in will do. You’ll see locals wearing ordinary shoes, business style often, and, in the evening particularly, young women in stilettos (I don’t know how they do it). Anything more than what you are considering and you’ll be into hiking boots which I’ve seen on tourists. But unless you are getting out on unpaved trails, it’s overkill. I hiked much of the Cinque Terra in a pair of well worn Nike running shoes. As for sandals, good fit without straps that rub you is what counts. ECCO does make great sandals but I find they, ahem, stink when used on extended walking days in the heat. My favorite brand is GEOX http://www.geox.com/en/technology/breathable-shoe/?page=1. They really do breathe but not always easy to find them to try on.
Another vote for the Ecco Yucatan sandals.
I've had mine for years and they never seem to wear out! I wear them on European trips as well as at home.
I add a Dr. Scholl's arch/insole because I have high arches and want to prevent the recurrence of plantar fasciatis.
They aren't dressy but comfort is most important for me.
I'm going to encourage you to visit a Walking Company store. Ecco is not the only brand of shoes or sandals that might work for you. I swear by Abeos. I have both sandals and Mary Janes. Neither are for long days of walking or standing anywhere. They are for after that day is over.
Sidebar: most of the people you see on the street in nice shoes are not tourists so they don't need the same kind of footwear we need.
Last summer, in Italy, I wore Saucony sneakers. They were great everywhere except going up and down the steep slopes in hill towns, regardless of the nature of the surface.
It's not overkill for me to wear these Ahnus with or without my Walking Company orthotics. The ankle support they provide, along with the Sockwell Circulator socks I wear with them make a huge difference in keeping me going for hours on my feet.
I hope it won't be overkill to wear these Teva Delavina boots on my trip to Scandinavia this coming summer. They are higher than the Ahnus, and I will have to break them in a bit.
You don't say how old you are or when you will be in Italy. Those details could make a difference in what you choose for your feet. Having said that, I wore boots and shoes very similar to the ones I wear now for 4 months on my first trip to Europe when I was about 30. Anytime I've tried anything more fashionable, it's been a mistake.
The best shoe, regardless of brand, is one that best fits your foot. While we swear by the ECCO brand neither one of us would wear anything else, it is because we have the best fit. I use the track 25 low and wife is the Aspina Low GTX. A feature we like is that they are waterproof. Not water resistant - that means nothing.
I wore my Ecco Soft 7’s on the tour of Sicily in November and they were tested quite a bit. Lots of cobbles, stony paths, uneven surfaces. Passed every one with flying colors. Ecco makes a great, versatile and comfortable shoe. The 7’s replaced my 6 year old Ecco’s that gave up the ghost in Vicenza on my previous trip. 😢
Last year I did the RS 21 Day Best of Europe tour in September. We traveled to many places with different terrain, and in various weather conditions (including snow). I wore Ecco BIOM Venture GTX shoes for most of the trip. They were very comfortable, provided good support, had good soles for all types of surfaces, and were waterproof. I wore all leather Teva sandals that had good traction and support on the warmer days. It's always best to break in your shoes before your trip, regardless of how comfortable they are. The type of sock you wear can make a difference too. Both Ecco and Walking Company are great stores. I also like REI. The sales clerks can direct you to the type of shoe that is best for the activities you will be doing.
Take a look at Keen sandals. I swear by them. Own 2 pairs. Use the Newport ones for hiking the trail above the Griffith Observatory here in LA. Well worn but remain sturdy after 4 years of daily treks. The Whisper I wear to work. LOVE them. Recommend them.
I wore the Ecco Aspina to Portugal. I found it was really good on all those little uneven marble cobblestones. Didn't try on the Soft, but don't feel it looks as supportive somehow. I always take about 3 pairs of shoes as I'm prone to blisters, but really had no problem with them. Might be able to drop to 2 shoes for my next trip
I have wide feet. I wore SAS Pampa sandal every day during BOE 14 days last summer and they were perfect although the most expensive sandals I've ever purchased.
I have worn Ecco Biom tennies for the last three trips to Europe. I have a waterproof pair (came in handy last September for 10 rainy days in Slovenia & Croatia) and a non-waterproof pair for hotter climes (Italy). Love them and they look classy, as far as a tennis shoe can. The picture of the Aspina looks like a sturdy shoe, but might be too hot for Italy if you're not actually hiking. But the ankle support would be good. I try to wait til 6pm.com has my Ecco size on sale since they are a bit pricey.
Thank you so much to everyone who shared their shoe suggestions! I appreciate you taking the time to weigh in with your recommendations. I did go to a Walking Company store and tried on more shoes. In the end—and after far too much debate!—I ended up buying the Ecco Soft 7 sneakers and have worn them for a couple weeks with good results:
They fit my narrow foot and have room for my orthodic as well. In fact I like them so much I think I’ll get a pair in black! These needed no breaking in and were comfortable from day one. I have a old crumbling driveway and walking on it is the closest I could come to walking on cobblestones and they’ve held up well.
You are so kind to share your favorite shoes and sound advice with me!
Yours in happy feet,