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Shoes for walking AND nicer restaurants?

I'm planning my first Europe trip for this September and I am in need of tips for walking shoes that can also be worn to nice restaurants. For example, we'll probably be making a reservation at one of the restaurants in the Eiffel Tower. The cities we'll be visiting are Dublin, London, Paris, and Rome, and I've heard that these places are a bit more strict about fashion and footwear than most American establishments. I'm looking for a shoe that I can walk TO the restaurants to (possibly up to a 45 minute walk each way, maybe even more depending on what we do before/after) but will also be nice enough that I won't get turned away or sneered at. A few I've been looking at are the Ahnu Karma and Keen Rose (yes, that one might be pushing it). I've also heard that open toe sandals, even nice ones, might be turned away? I don't have any special feet needs. I'm just hoping to find something semi-nice for max $75.

Posted by
12545 posts

If your question is the result of your concern, not for what you can get away with, but out of a desire to show respect to those you share the journey with; then I applaud you. It's a rare point of view these days.

I cant comment on fashion; especially for women. For men its much easier. I haven't been to either restaurant in the Eiffel tower, but based on a question here a while back I did a google images search of 58 Tour and the Restaurant le Jules Verne. The people in the 58 tour all seemed to be dressed what we might call Business Casual during the day and little nicer in the evening. The Restaurant le Jules Verne looked to be all suits, sports jackets and ties. So, I would guess, if the photos portray the truth, for a man to do anything less will require a bit of over rationalization. What's the feminine equivalent? No earthly idea what works, but i think i could pick out want doesnt.

Posted by
6854 posts

No matter the advice it only makes sense that you go to a shoe store (and maybe talk to actual shoe experts) and try things on to see if your feet agree with what people recommend. What do you plan do order something online and then mail them back when you find your big toe hurts when you put something on after walking a couple seconds? Hopefully you live close somewhere shoe store with large selection like the Walking Company.

Posted by
3833 posts

I've traveled the last four European trips with the Keen Rose Sandal in black- so comfortable and wear them all day! But, I do bring a pair of ballet flats for the extra special evenings, i.e. Opera, ballet, etc. where the casual shoe would be inappropriate.

Posted by
11450 posts

I prefer the look of the Agnu shoes but I would be wary of that heel , the elastic backs can end up rubbing .

Posted by
11450 posts

Look at Naot shoes , I find them super comfy and they definately have some styles that go day to night .

Posted by
278 posts

We just finished a 14 day trip in Italy. Cork soles worked best for my older feet. I took Pikolino gold dressy sandals with a cork sole and they worked great. They laced up and wrapped around the heal and toes in a manner that could go dressy easily or cute casual as well. I also took a pair of Naot casual sandals with a removable foot bed that allowed me to add an insert if needed. Those were great too. I liked the Pikolinos for the great combo of gold and great foot support. I liked the Naot for the great casual look with great support and comfort. Both were perfect for my feet on Italy cobblestones walking about 5 miles a day. Cork foot bed with low heal elevation was my personal favorite.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks so much for all your replies! Unfortunately, I don't live super close to a Walking Company, but I am going to go to Dick's Sporting Goods today and try on whatever they have. I'll definitely look more into Naot!

James, you're correct that I'm asking because I don't want to be offensive to the locals. In Florida I wear flip flops pretty much everywhere, as do a lot of other people, so I have no idea what is appropriate in the cities I'm traveling to!

Posted by
12545 posts

vitani88, offensive might be a bit harsh a term. Think of it in the opposite context; you are more likely to be appreciated.

Posted by
278 posts

If your wanting a comfortable set of flip flops with support,possible. Vionic. and I got them after a thread here mentioned how comfortable they are. I took them to wear in the hotel room after walks in Italy. They were comforting to my feet.

Posted by
1 posts
Posted by
1136 posts

While this is such an individual topic, I have worn my Clarks un Linda's for many many miles, across all kinds of European streets. Love them!

Posted by
269 posts

I LOVE my Skecher's GoWalk slip on's. They are light, have major arch support, and decent traction. The only thing is they are mesh, and a few times in the winter, during regular around town wear, my feet have gotten wet. They may not be suitable for a rainy destination, but would work great for sprinkles. I plan on taking them to the East Coast next week and will deal with rain as it happens. I also love these TEVA sandals for their slim lines that work for dresses, pants, and shorts. Both can be found at DSW.
https://www.skechers.com/en-us/style/14148/skechers-gowalk-4-pursuit/nvgy
https://www.teva.com/women-sandals/verra/1006263S2.html?dwvar_1006263S2_color=BNGC#start=70&cgid=women-sandals

Posted by
8 posts

I am not try to promote a product but I would recommend shoes brand ECCO. they are really comfortable. I bought a pair of those for my parents and they said they are comfortable. However it's expensive.. that's the problem. but if you have enough financial asset, i recommend ecco shoes

Posted by
12545 posts

kevinchowder, i purchased a pair of ECCO shoes in Budapest about 3 years ago. The look like oxfords on top, but have great walking soles. They have become my favorite travel shoes.. Look good with slacks and a sports coat and work hard in jeans and cobblestone streets.

Posted by
1287 posts

Look at Alegria on Nordstrom's website. While the MaryJanes didn't work for me but the Essence did. Cute patterns. Very comfortable for walking. Some colors are discontinued but I found the butterflies on Amazon. Wearing the black/silver flowers on my tour. $135 range.

I am also taking ECCO slip ons for a dressier look and FitFlop thongs for early mornings and late nights. The ECCOs are Gortex with leather toe cap and about $125.
My travel buddy swears by Fitflop clogs and sandals but they're too wide for me. We've both have had multiple foot surgeries so we're all about comfort.

Posted by
8397 posts

If you are concerned about walking a distance and also having dressier shoes you could also consider wearing your regular walking shoes and tucking a pr of ballet flats into a carrier bag. Slip off the walking shoes after you clear Eiffel Tower security and put on the flats so you'll feel dressier.

I have horrible feet so I couldnt wear them but I've seen suggestions for some cute flats in the blog by Rick Steves guide Sarah Murdoch. It's called Adventures with Sarah. Here is a link to one of her shoe posts from this spring.

http://adventureswithsarah.net/the-big-travel-shoe-decider-travel-shoes-2017/

Posted by
2 posts

You seek the holy grail of foreign travel for a woman packing in a carry on. Shoes you can walk miles in and still go to a restaurant? I've not yet been satisfied with any attempts of mine towards this goal. So,over the years I have come to the conclusion that its more important to just be comfortable. I think most of us end up packing some sort of flat/sandal to use as restaurant shoes yet sort of still walk around in too. Ahnu, Merrell, Keen all have some Mary Jane type walking shoes that can work. For Europe this past spring I brought wedge sandals (Sorel)---was able to walk for about half a day in them (but not all day , admittedly) and these were my 'dinner' shoes. Cole Haan has some gorgeous ballet flats that if you can find on sale might be worth trying as well---I can walk for a good bit in these but definitely not all day as well. I think that's just the tragic reality of cute shoes. Not made to walk forever in.

Either way, don't let the limited shoe wardrobe you'll be traveling with stop you. Get some flats, go and enjoy yourself!

Posted by
215 posts

I like my Tieks and find them to be pretty comfortable (I can teach all day in them). However, I don't find them comfortable to walk a lot in. I did bring them to Europe, but only wore to a few dinners as as my "fancy" shoes to a wedding I attended. I don't know that I'd bring them agian, though they do fold up tiny.

Posted by
2265 posts

I'm no expert on women's shoes, but in US cities many women wear sneakers or walking or running shoes to get to work, then change into more professional or fancier shoes once they arrive. Couldn't you carry a light pair of flats, sandals, etc. in your daypack or purse, and change as you approach or arrive at your restaurant?

Posted by
101 posts

@ematyas, I think it is the "holy grail"! For an upcoming trip to Scotland, I am trying out a new company recommended by a colleague, Samuel Hubbard. I just bought their women's 24 Seven booties in black suede. They are super-comfortable and much lighter than they look. Not exactly dressy but maybe a step up from the hiking/walking shoes I've worn in the past. Beyond that, I think the solution is just to pack a pair of light flats that can be carried in one's handbag. :)

Posted by
8 posts

I bought 3 pairs of Keens Mary Jane double strap in differrent colours on EBAY (40$) and have worn one of the pairs for every trip since 2012 to all cities in Europe (Paris, Venice, Prague, Budapest, Rome, Madrid etc etc). I also hike in them in various countries and walk about 8 hours a day while in Europe. They have great tread so good for walking and hiking, are cute so good for fashion, not sneaker like, great colours, inexpensive, good arch support. I tried one year to get more fashionable with Cole Hahn flats with good tread and had horrible blisters and won't wear again for anything other than dinner. I always take a pair of comfortable ballet shoes for night dinners opera etc. These are Rockport basic cushioned sole black flats that I can walk in for a least a mile. These both have worked for all my overseas trips. I just bought a pair of ECCO soft 5 mary jane black flats for walking that I am trying out and like so far but the Keens are still more structured. I also wear the Keens at home for walking or short hikes. Hence the need for 3 pairs. Having shoes that are really really comfortable and go anywhere anytime as quickly as necessary (catching trains) is the number one requirement, and anything seems ok not matter what it looks like so make your choice on comfort and function, and if you can throw in fashion, great!

https://www.ebay.ca/b/Mary-Janes-Synthetic-KEEN-Womens/3034/bn_4636598

http://ca.shop.ecco.com/en_CA/soft-5-mary-jane-283043.html?dwvar_283043_color=50628&dwvar_283043_size=35

http://www.rockport.ca/rockport/total-motion-hidden-wedge-tied-ballet/tmhw20tiedballet.html?dwvar_tmhw20tiedballet_color=tmhw20tiedballet_blacknappa&cgid=womens-footwear-styles-flats#start=1

Posted by
2753 posts

I buy my shoes from Clarks. They have nice leather walking shoes, which vary from leather loafers to dressier ballet flat types, etc. and MaryJane types with good walking soles. This is my go to store for footwear other than gym shoes. I believe my feet are worth spending money on...and while they do have sales, their prices are a little higher than $75.00, but they last and my feet are happy. That being said, your feet might like something else. Ecco also are good and, often, nice looking shoes.