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So I now have Clark, Sketcher, and Cole Haan shoes--which to take?

So I read a bunch of postings on walking shoes and decided to check out the above brands of shoes at my local outlet mall. I managed to buy a pair in each store. But now which to take with me to the UK? I will have hiking shoes and Mary Janes as well. I have wide feet and somewhat problematic feet and changing shoes works for me. I always take three pairs of shoes but usually the third pair are sandals.

All the below shoes feel comfortable to me but am wondering if anyone has worn them and done a lot of walking. They all are also much lighter than shoes I have usually worn so difficult for me to judge how they will hold up to walking.

Cole Haan Zerogrand knit and leather (oxfords)
Clark cloudsteppers step allenasun (sneaker)
Sketchers You walk 5 Beginning (slipons)

I still can't believe I managed to find three pairs of shoes to buy that seem to be comfortable!

Thank you in advance for any insights you might have.

Posted by
1942 posts

I wore the Skechers Women's Go Walk Lite, which is similar to the Skechers You Beginning, throughout a 3 week trip in which I was walking 10-15 miles (streets and pavement) most days. My feet loved them all day long. Never a blister or any rubbing. I didn't even bring a 2nd pair of (walking) shoes on the trip.

Posted by
21 posts

I have worn Sketchers for years and years, and they have never let me down. Now they also make 'dress shoes', shoes with all their sneaker comforts but looking like 'dress shoes', so you never need to pack anything else. Most recent discovery was to find them on the Turku Stockholm m/s Viking Grace's huge tax free shop!

How much time do you have before your trip? We are going to Italy in September and I have been wearing the exact shoes I intend to bring for extended hours to give them a good test. I already know they’re comfortable for the shorter intervals I have them on. But, living in AZ, I’m usually in lightweight sandals and other footwear definitely not up to the challenge of a RS tour.

So far I’m really loving the Skechers Reggae Forget Me Knot sandals

Posted by
685 posts

I'd lean toward the Cold Hahns or Clarks. I too have slightly wide feet and plantar fasciitis so cushioning and arch support count alot. I like Sketchers style but find their insoles can't handle the support needed for all day comfort. Might be fine for changing into for dinner or short stents.

If you can before the trip, wear each pair for a days shopping and errands then see how they do. All that matters is how they work for you.

Posted by
1423 posts

I have a month before we go. I know not ideal but these will not be my only shoes. I live in Florida and like the other poster do not typically wear shoes at home I would tour in Europe in. I have usually brought sandals to Europe and just decided that maybe I would be better off with another shoe (UK weather is cooler than Greece!)

The shoes are all the same color but not style so not sure I would keep all three.

Posted by
2042 posts

I would keep all three, if cost isn’t a problem, because you never know if you will be able to find shoes you like down the road. I purchased a pair of clarks similair to a pair of cloudsteppers just for that reason. They were a great price, i put in my travel drawer awaiting a future trip.

Posted by
630 posts

Hi, Beth,
I love Cole Haans zerogrand, too...but I worry how the knit will hold up to rainy days. Probably would still take them because they’re so light and you have the other shoes for downpours.

Posted by
173 posts

Another vote for Skechers. The Slip-Ons are my go-to travel shoe, and I wear their running shoes at home.

Posted by
1423 posts

I was thinking I would take at least one pair back but the travel drawer idea is appealing. I bought all three pairs at outlet so paid about $50 for each which I thought was a very good price.

I am concerned about the very soft sketchers as I too have had plantar fasciitis but they are great slip ons so will try around town.

After I decided I would keep all three, I wore the Cole Haans on a short walk and was surprised at their support. So at the moment leaning towards these.

So maybe I will just do five mile walks in each and decide!

The comment about how hot it was in the UK last year made me think maybe I should throw in a pair of sandals for good measure. I know that puts me a long ways from the one pair of shoes crowd but hey I got a new much lighter suitcase for Christmas. I live in Florida and wear sandals year round about 90% of the time. So 3 weeks with closed toe shoes....

Posted by
1880 posts

While I (generally with some exceptions) follow the two-pair-of-shoes theory for travel, in your circumstance, I think it would be wise to take an additional pair.

The comfort of your feet is probably the MOST important apparel decision one can make on a tour where they will be walking a lot. After a long day of touring, I ALWAYS slip into a different pair of shoes in the evening.

Sounds like you have done some additional walking (while trying out the shoes), but it is a good idea to continue to do additional walking (even if doing inside laps) at a local shopping mall. Of course, pack a few good bandaids, just in case. And, get the RIGHT socks for the shoes, too. I know socks can look very unfashionable, but they can really make a difference in comfort for the long haul. If you use the "footies" (hidden socks) make sure they are a really good brand, so you do not lose them within your shoe as you walk.

And, if you find a shoe that is perfect for your travels, buy a second identical one to stick in your closet. I wish I had purchased TWO additional pairs of my favorite Merrill shoe, as they are no longer made :( and I just tossed my original pair this spring (after several years of good use) and I am now using my emergency back-up pair for local hikes.

Keep your feet comfy, and you will be comfy :) Happy travels!

Posted by
8244 posts

I'm so happy you found 3 pairs of shoes! I just don't think you can tell if they are going to be comfortable from wearing them at home and I'm sorry to say that. I can usually tell if they are going to be UNcomfortable that way, lol but not various levels from "barely will do" to "just OK" to "wow these are wonderful" if that makes sense.

I'd agree and encourage you to get out and see if they are comfortable over 3-5 miles. I do realize it's hot (yikes for a general FL forecast this weekend) but yes, go to the Mall and see if you can do at least 3 miles inside. Walking on the smooth floor will be nothing like walking at many of the tourist sights in UK, though.

Long ago and far away when I lived in FL I used to have to get out at daybreak in the summer to manage any walking. Not sure I could even manage the heat and humidity at that time of day any more!

Posted by
1880 posts

Not trying to sound like a "travel preacher," but take your 5-mile walks sooner rather than in, do it THIS weekend!!

Why? You may develop a blister or two, and if you do, you will want to be able to tell "from which pair of shoes" that happened ...........and MOST IMPORTANTLY, you want to have PLENTY of time for your blister (or other reactions) to heal totally before trip. Even cotton slippers can rub and feel bad on very blistered feet.

A month is not that much time in the way of preparation. So, go forth now and do your tests.

And, the blind obvious is: If you are walking in the mall or somewhere and you can tell (as Pam posted) the shoe is a no-this-is-not-going-to-work for the long haul, STOP RIGHT THEN and do not continue walking in it, thinking it may somehow get better as you break it will likely give you blisters and you do not want that pre-trip. Move on to the next shoe quickly.

You will figure it all out. I wish you a wonderful, fun, safe trip, and really comfortable feet :)

I do like slip-ons when flying, and I tend to slip my feet out of them on the plane (but not for walking up the aisle of the plane and DEFINITELY not in the restroom on the plane (for all the obvious reasons). Those cheapie little socks some airlines will give you in business class (when we have been lucky enough to snag a cheapy upgrade) are wonderful to save for use on planes.....usually toss them, though, as they likely would not survive a wash cycle...pretty cheapo.

Posted by
1423 posts

Good points!

I have been walking but of course not in these shoes. The most frustrating thing about shoes is the fact that I can’t tell very well ahead of time how they will do.

Last year I bought new Merrill hiking shoes. I thought I broke them in but at end of a 6 mile hike on Santorini I started getting a blister between two toes. Of course, the rocky surface was very different than the sidewalks I had walked in preparation. I think those shoes started a vicious cycle with my feet where by the end of the two weeks, everything bothered my feet.

I gave the Merrill boots away after returning from Greece. I bought some Keens this fall and started over.

I am taking care of my son’s Australian Shepard puppy while he goes to Europe starting next week so I can see lots of walking in the future. She has boundless energy!

But I am going to take your advice and start walking tonight in the new shoes. I am going to start with the Cole Haans as they seemed good on a shorter walk earlier today.

Posted by
15 posts

This year and last year, I wore my Clark Cloudsteppers to Europe. I loved them. The soles had good traction, the shoes were soft with great cushioning. They look great and breathe well. In 2018, I used the low shoes and this year, I used the high version for a little better ankle support.

I use them everywhere.

Posted by
1044 posts

I will have hiking shoes and Mary Janes

I don't know what Mary Janes are :-( But if they are some shoes you can wear to a nice restaurant, I don't see why you would need anything but those two pairs. Hiking shoes work fine for big cities as well as country side.

Posted by
1423 posts

I would agree that two pairs of shoes would seem like it would be sufficient but I have problematic feet and switching shoes is how I make it through Europe.

Posted by
1249 posts

Everyone is going to have their favorite shoes. I have problem feet too and took three pairs of shoes to Italy recently. Most of the time I wore Ryka tennis shoes with insoles from my podiatrist. I alternated with Alegria Essence which are being discontinued. My FitFlop sandals were barely worn because May weather was so cold and rainy. I would take those again but they lack enough support for walking 10 miles a day.
The bottom line to your question is only you can tell what your feet like. You need to go for long hilly walks in each pair of shoes to see which is the most comfortable. Have plenty of toe room because your feet are going to swell from walking and heat. Good socks make a difference too.

Posted by
623 posts

Good luck with the shoes, Beth!

If you've developed blisters or sores on or between toes, and are concerned that might happen again, you might pack these silicone-lined fabric toe cushions just in case. They come in long tubes, and you cut off a cushion of the length you need to use on your toe. Often regular bandaids aren't up to the pressures and forces that feet and toes experience. These cushions don't slip off.

I wear the cushions daily in closed shoes on a couple of troublesome gnarly toes, and the cushioning prevents uncomfortable rubbing. There are other brands than the one I linked to, including "Dr. Foot's Toe Tubes." Be sure you don't get the "small" diameter unless you have very tiny tootsies, lol.

Edited later to add: Beth, I'm laughing at myself because I now realize (from your post on another topic) that you're already on your trip. But I'll leave this post up in case this information is helpful to anyone else. Hope your feet are happy on this trip!