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My recs for women's shoes!

Hi ladies (and gents)! I have followed this board for several years, and I just wanted to share some of my own recs for travel shoes, based on my experience. I am a firm believer in doing what's best for you, but these are what has worked well for me, so take what you will from it!

Boots (non-hiking) - Teva De La Vina
- My favorite travel boot. I did a LOT of research and tried on many, many boots by the usual suspects - Merrell, Keen, Clarks, Chaco, Dansko, you name it - but these are the winners. These boots come in ankle, low and knee height, so you can pick whatever height you prefer or your trip calls for. They are waterproof, and they have a removable insole, so you can easily change it out. They have a good tread to avoid slipping. Obviously not for serious hiking and the like, but great for a mix of city and outdoors. I wear them with Smartwool socks. The knee height is also roomy enough for wide (even extra wide) calves, which is rare. I own two pairs, and will probably invest in a third soon. I'd recommend sizing up, though.

Mary Janes - Merrell Dassie MJ
- These are a great versatile MJ that I haven't seen recommended here recently. I wore mine all over the Scottish Highlands a couple springs ago when the weather was beautiful, and I didn't want to be constrained to boots OR by socks. The footbed held up nicely to this abuse and left me blister-free. They also have a removable insole. I sprayed mine with some Clarks waterproofing spray, and they have held up just fine. May need to size down half a size.

Slipons/sneakers - Toms Avalon
- I have seen a lot of people recommend regular ole Toms, which I used to wear frequently and I've taken abroad myself in the past, but I've developed plantar fasciitis over the past year, so I've broken myself of this habit. But, the Avalons are a great alternative because they are billed as sneakers, and also have a removable insole (which is pretty comfy as is), so I can slip mine in and viola. They're great for security lines, as well as city walking. Also, unlike many Toms, they have a couple options for leather, so slightly more durable than your cloth Toms, though not waterproof by any means. These are true to size.

Flats/sandals - Ahnu Karma
- These are great for European cities in the summer, especially if you're looking for a sandal alternative. No removable insole (you'll see why), but they mold nicely to your feet. One possible issue - Ahnu recently was bought by Teva, so if you go to the Ahnu website, it re-directs you to, and they only have the Ahnu hiking boots available at present (which I've seen recommended on here, but have not tried). However, other websites like Zappos still have them. These are true to size.

Last but not least - buy well in advance and break them in! Hope this helps. :)

Posted by
67 posts

Thank you for this!! I'm preparing for a short, 2 week trip to Spain in a few weeks and getting the right shoes & sandals has been 90% of my anxiety related to the trip! Hah!

Posted by
11450 posts

Ampshelter !!! Get your shoes soon !! If you are going in a few weeks you must break them in, even super comfy soft leather ones need to be broken in.

Georgia , I will look some of those up , I like removable footbeds . Thanks for posting !

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for the post and great information on shoes. I love the look at the Ahnu Karma sandals... just worried they won't have enough support for a lot of walking. I have plantar fasciitis, so I want to be sure I'm not making it worse. I have some great insoles, so your other recommendations are great. Thanks again.

Posted by
184 posts

I bought the Teva boots after reading your recommendation here. I am so happy with them! Thank you for the wonderful suggestion!

Posted by
69 posts

I am so happy they worked for you, Rosemary!

I just took my new(er) ankle boots to Ireland - and they still impress me. I used my Vionic Orthaheel Active inserts in mine due to my history of PF. No pain. No soreness. No frozen or wet feet. Just happy feet.

Posted by
16 posts

Thank you for the recommendations! I just ordered 3 pairs of the Teva De La Vina boots. Hopefully one of them will be just what I need.

Posted by
524 posts

I must agree with Ahnu's suggestion. I have four pairs of Karma's and they are very comfortable. They do have an arch support, which is surprising for a flat. I hope the product quality will remain high with Teva owning the company. My originals are over 4 years old and still look nice.

Posted by
208 posts

Always love to read about shoes. Ok -- so, I've read about the Ahnu Karma ballet flats for awhile now, so I just ordered a pair, online -- "red stone". I hope they fit! They're estimated to be delivered at the end of next week. :-)

Crossing my fingers!


Posted by
106 posts

Thanks for all the info. I have found Merrell work best for me but I am always trying to break out to other brands. I also need the removable insole. I have a pair of above ankle Merrell waterproof boots that served me well navigating a very WET Seattle. Wore them in Scotland where there was NO rain. I think I will try those Mary Janes.

Posted by
154 posts

I am so glad I found this thread - thank you for posting this information, Georgia! I just received the pair of Teva de la Vina boots I ordered from Zappos and have already ordered two more pair. Seriously, the only other boots I've ever tried that were comfortable out of the box were my La Canadienne soft suede boots and they were more than twice the price of these. I have almost five weeks to really break these in before our My Way Alpine tour so the timing is perfect! I love the Aravon walking shoes that I purchased for our 2015 My Way Europe tour and used those the entire trip, even on rough terrain in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and will definitely bring those again, along with the Aravon sandals I wore in Italy. But it will be so nice to have a pair of boots with me, as I live in Minneapolis and wear boots eight months out of the year. I tried these with my travel basics - knee length black skirt, black jeans, black Eileen Fischer pants and leggings - 100% winner. Happy Trails! Liz

Posted by
2 posts

I concur with the Tom's Avalon slip-ons. I wore them all over the place on the Eastern European tour this past spring. I LOVE these shoes, have now bought three pairs and wear them for miles walking about Chicago. I'll be headed to Ireland in a few weeks so am quite sad these won't be my go to's as it sounds like I have to prepare for plenty of drizzle/rain. Have just bought a pair of the Tevas you mention, mostly after lots of debate and trolling zappos. Glad to hear they were a good choice--hope I like them!

Posted by
1 posts

I want to add my two cents after spending three weeks in Europe this summer averaging 6 -12 miles a day so you may learn from my mistake. I took a pair of Keen Whisper sandals and Keen Presido shoes for a May/June trip. I was anxious I would encounter rain, and was worried about having something waterproof. I have learned my lesson, so I took the Presidos instead of my Asics Keyanos. After my first 12 mile day, I had a major blister from the sandals (it didn't rain once in 3 weeks). It was so was so warm, my Presido's were impractical. Wearing sandals for extended walking is simply hard on your feet. I finally gave up on looks, and started wearing my Smartwool sock liners with my sandals, and my feet started to heal.

For my next trip this spring, I will take the Keyanos and know I will look like an American tourist anyway. Europeans see us coming a mile away. We talk more loudly, carry more bags, and stare about the beautiful world they live in and take granted. Savor your trip, indulge your feet, even if it means wearing orthopedic shoes that look like hell.

PS Smartwool or another similar sock makes a huge difference.

Posted by
134 posts

I spent 2 months in Europe this past April-June, from Scotland down to Italy and found Keen Walking shoes and Teva sandals worked for me. I have wide feet and I get some foot pain but these were great for hiking, standing for long tours, and walking on cobble stone streets just fine.

Posted by
8400 posts

Savor your trip, indulge your feet, even if it means wearing orthopedic shoes that look like hell.

Mcriedford!! You indeed expressed my thoughts about my feet!

Posted by
4 posts

Just finished the RS Portugal trip. My feet were comfortable in my Keen Presidios and Birkenstock Iona flats. The Keens are a bit heavy and clunky but handle many types of terrain. Ample toe width for happy feet. I think I could have worn the Birkenstocks all day many days but just kept putting on the Keens with my slacks and jeans unless was an evening dinner. My sister wore here Keen Rose sandals most of the time. They are less "clunky" than many Keens and were nice enough to wear in the evening as well as all day long.

Posted by
42 posts

I love shoe posts as well!

I want to give another vote for the TOMS Avalon. I've always wanted to wear TOMS but the classic style was just so uncomfortable for support and super flimsy and narrow in my opinion. Then I discovered the Avalon and I haven't looked back! I love the thicker sole and the way it feels and fits. There is zero break-in time for me, they are comfy from day one! Plus I think they look great with lots of outfits and a little more chic than lace-up sneakers!