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Shoes that are stylish and I can use hiking that are not hiking shoes?

For you fashionistas out there, dilemma help requested here. We are headed off across the pond to Greece, Basque and the Pyrenees and the UK for 8 weeks, with only a backpack, no more than 10 kg. I have my water to hiking to dress up sandals in order (TEVA are amazing), but cannot find a cute pair of shoes that I can use for daily use and also for hiking those trails in the Pyrenees. I have hiked in Poland and Slovakia in Merrell Vibram Glove Lace, but they have stopped making them. My tall order is amazing tread for the mountains in Greece to go on scrambling tours in Meteora and near Albania, Pyrenees treks and also that can look stylish, as I only take 5 outfits, but try to blend in and dress more than old cut offs and a tank: ). Thank you for your collective wisdom and amazing input, oh fellow wanderers!

Posted by
153 posts

https://www.lowaboots.com/womens/casuals/san-francisco-gtx-surround-ws-ice-blue
I learned about this brand here on the Forum, last year. They are $ but you can find them on sale online, especially if you aren't picky about discontinued color. I wanted something waterproof and very lightweight for Scandinavia that could also pass as a chic sneaker when not hiking. The traction is good. I took these, Allbirds and flip flops for hotel for my month- long trip. Caveat- they did, at least for me, require some painful breaking in. I started 3 months before departure.

Posted by
49 posts

Thank you both, still searching, I forgot to mention we try to avoid leather and I am looking for shoes that do not resemble hiking shoes or sneakers. Gorgeous choices though, lots of moula 😀

The reason hiking shoes look like hiking shoes is because of the sturdy structure designed specifically to deal with hiking: keeping both the bottom and top of your foot supported etc.

If you’re hiking in mountains I’d frankly be taking hiking BOOTS not shoes, because a vacation could be ruined by a badly sprained ankle (or worse) - then pack a light pair of stylish sandals.

Posted by
4669 posts

+1 for This Person. Khloe Kardashian will not be posting photos of you on this hike. I've gotten too many bags of ice for my wife's ankles, even with the most Sensible Shoes in the world. I wonder if women have different ankle anatomy? (Her personal trainer has lately added some focus to those muscles.)

Posted by
1504 posts

I agree with taking shoes that protect your feet and ankles - "scrambling tours" are not thing you do in cute shoes, unless you want an injury (and the potential to ruin an 8 week trip). FWIW I hiked the Cinque Terre trails in Keen Mary Jane shoes and did just fine, but that was relatively flat surface trail, not a scramble or legit trek. Also you don't say when you're going, but if you expect weather/snow/cold, those Tevas are not going to help you.

Sounds like you have a pair of sandals that fit the bill for somewhat stylish, so those should do for your dress up days. You could also consider packing a pair of light flip flops (I like Teva Mush) to give your feet a break on non-hike days (they pair with a casual dress just fine).

Posted by
2904 posts

You may want to consider collapsing walking poles as well to add another layer of safety.

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks for the tips. We are ultra marathon runners, so not worried about the trekking and scrambling, the search continues!

Posted by
3214 posts

No ankle support is a no-go for me. I must say that of all the places I've been, I saw the most tourists in wheel chairs, on crutches, with arms in slings, etc. in Greece. The terrain can be rough, even in the cities.

Out of curiosity, I took a look at a scrambling tour in Meteora. I was looking at the feet of the people. It was hard to see, but the guides appeared to be wearing real hiking boots while the tourists had on ordinary athletic shoes.

For most of my trips anywhere, I have worn these Ahnus in the past. They are waterproof, comfy and supportive in any situation. I don't care how they look. It's been a big mistake when I tried to be fashionable or when I wore anything without ankle support.

For my next trip to Portugal and Spain, I'll be wearing these Tevas. They don't come quite as high, but I've worn them a lot here at home and they are proving to be equally supportive. For my 2nd pair of shoes I'm taking these Jambus. They are comfortable but I'm primarily taking them so I'll have something to change into if needed after the walking day is over.

With almost any footwear I wear Sockwell socks. They improve circulation and help me walk and stand for hours. As an athlete, I'm sure you are aware of the performance benefits of similar socks.

Good luck with your hunt. I hope you are able to find that perfect combination of lightweight, sturdy and fashionable. Please get back to us with your final selection.

Posted by
153 posts

Will try once more! I have hiked quite a bit, although only summers, in Europe. My trusty Keen's were just becoming too heavy on trails although I liked the traction. And they looked too clunky in towns. For several years I used the "Barefoot Toe" kind of shoes, where your toes are separated. I just loved them for their traction and how light they were- just put them on before and took them off after hiking. I used them in Iceland, Australia and Basque area of France and Spain and the first and only time anyone ever made a comment was another American at Joshua Tree National Park (US).
Really, nobody cares!
Here's a company along that "barefoot" concept that includes vegan options and looks like a chic street shoe. Everyone is different, I just prefer grippy soles ( although you have to watch for rocks) over the thicker treads on boots, and don't do scrambling.
https://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/womens/active/primus-lite-womens?colour=Apple+Blossom
Good luck- you did specify "fashion"!

Posted by
1 posts

Clarks Wave Go sneakers are great. Lots of support and grip. Not a hiking boot, but may be what you are looking for. I wore them around Europe with a backpack and my feet were very happy.

Posted by
1 posts

For a 2-month Europe trip that included hiking in Norway, Austria and Switzerland I brought hiking boots, Tevas and cute sandals. After two weeks into the trip, the boots and nice sandals were boxed up and mailed back home. My Tevas were the most comfortable and they looked cute with a dress.

Posted by
1 posts

Ultramarathoner here....Tevas work, the ones with the heavier tread. I was forced to power walk 23 miles in my Tevas during a 100K race. I took my Salomon shoes off to change socks and rested my feet for about 30 minutes and the shoes would not fit when I tried to put them back on. So I will be taking 2 pairs of Tevas for my alpine tour.

Posted by
580 posts

Hi Stacy -

I’m not sure, as other posters have suggested that this is a circle that can be squared!

That said my wife picked up some rather fetching magenta suede approach shoes by Scarpa although she favours a grey pair of Meindl approach shoes for walking and hiking where boots are not required. I personally wear a ladies pair of Zamberlan approach shoes (last is same for male and female shoe models, and the colour is a rather non gender specific light brown!). A female friend wears a nifty looking pair of Oboz mid shoes. That all said, all these come under the heading of ‘approach’ or walking shoes and none could pass for a pair of sling backs in polite company! That said none of them are leather and most of them, bar mine, are in dull colours, so maybe multi functional in that regard.

Google ‘approach’ and ‘mid’ shoes/boots for women and see what comes up. Even Merrell do some interesting options although the European brands might give you more variations. I mean Italians make a lot of these sort of shoes and they always look fabulous!

And, push come to shove, I think I’d prefer function over fashion if it meant surviving the hiking bits intact!

Hope you can find what you want somewhere!

Ian

Posted by
13 posts

Love, love love my Jambu shoes. I have a couple of pair and very comfortable with good soles. And they look good as well. I also will also take a pair of Keen sandals

Posted by
2 posts

Since I have a delicate body and can not wear large shoes for climbing, I always find it difficult to find hiking shoes. Therefore, I usually buy from Adidas. I think these shoes, while beautiful, are also suitable for hiking, such as the Adidas Ladies mountaineering Terrex AX2R GTX that I love, and with any color, you can easily stylishly. I suggest you try it. The shoes of this brand are so comfortable in your leg

Posted by
69 posts

Hotter is having a 60% off sale (with an additional 20% off on some styles) and they have many casual walking shoes that don't look like clunky gym shoes. https://www.hotter.com/us/en

(FYI: Their server seems to be overloaded at the moment.)

I ordered Jambu Sports and have worn them a lot to break them in. They are fine on hiking trails but not pavement. I decided I would rather take my comfortable broken in Brooks running shoes (which I never run in)--just have used for lots of walking.

Posted by
5449 posts

What is "stylish" is in the eye of the beholder. Hiking shoes in my option need to have traction soles (i.e Vibram lugged soles), robust mid-soles for rocky terrain, and a sufficient toe box to protect toes. Its uppers need to be abrasion resistant and ideally with a water repelling finish. If you accept the concept of "form follows function" a sound hiking shoe/boot is by definition stylish, at least while trekking.