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Woolrich Yankee, Converse All Star, and/or Sanuk Pickpocket

We're planning a trip to Belgium, and then either Paris or London, this October (15th through the 25th).

When the weather gets cooler here in Virginia I switch over to my trusty Woolrich Yankee boots with Horween leather, and Vibram outsole. They are very broken in, with a small heel, and I've found them to be a great cross between a hiking boot and a loafer. They are super comfortable, and also go well with casual or a bit of a nicer outfit.

During summer, I often wear my Sanuk Pickpockets. They are crazy light, pretty much like a sandal, but they look nice enough that I can wear them to the office or to let my dog out in the morning. I like the 'Pickpocket' concept, where you can tuck a small amount of cash, or ID, credit cards etc. in their little pocket on the top of your foot.

My Converse Chucks are my alternate shoes (I'm wearing them right now in the office, but also like to wear them in a variety of different contexts). They are actually recommended by people who recognize the benefit of having a comfortable shoe without a heel (yes, running shoes have a heel!). Allowing your foot to remain flat, they mitigate issues related to the shortening of your Achilles Tendon, and allow for greater flexibility and mobility (i.e. greater comfort when out and about being active).

I would like to wear one pair of shoes and pack another, and I'm trying to decide which combo would be best suited for me. The lightest, easiest combo would be wearing the Chucks most days, and then using the Sanuks as house shoes, as well as for any nicer meal we might go out for (by nice, I don't mean suit and tie type places, but I definitely would appreciate insight in that area!). The most stylish combo would probably be the Yankees with the Sanuks, and the added benefit would be that the Yankees have a Vibram outsole, and are good for shock absorption and keeping my feet dry and therefore warm (but they're unlined, so they don't tend to overheat me either).

I can offer up any more info, and greatly appreciate your thoughts. One thing, I do own running shoes, and while I could see these being a comfortable option, I really don't want to be "that guy!" Thanks, y'all!! :-)

Posted by
6059 posts

I only take one pair of shoes -the ones I wear on the plane. Shoes take up too much space in luggage. Comfort beats fashion.

Posted by
88 posts

Okay, that makes sense. However, I'm not sure any one of my 3 choices would work for every situation. Maybe the boot? Then again, I love the unencumbered feeling/option of a lighter shoe like the Chuck or Sanuk. I would make the Chucks my sole (no pun intended) shoe, but what if we want to eat at a nicer place in Paris or London for our anniversary? It seems like my Chucks might be a bit too casual for such an environment, no? Both the Chucks and Sanuks would pack very easily; at least as far as shoes go! Thanks for the response!

Posted by
3898 posts

The only thing about only taking one pair of shoes - if they aren't waterproof and you get them wet and they don't dry fast, you are going to be wearing around damp shoes the next day. Hubby managed to get a pair of his shoes wet and rather dirty by stepping into what he thought was sand but it turned out more to be mud/slime combo. Luckily, he had a backup pair of shoes, as he had to give the others a good scrub and let them dry.

The one time I only took the shoes I wore on my feet and didn't pack sandals, I regretted it, because it was really hot in some places, and if I have hot feet, I'm cranky. (We were travelling mid-Sept to early Oct. I almost exclusively wear Blundstone boots when it isn't warm enough for sandals).

But then again, we just took a trip in April where I packed sandals 'just in case' and the weather turned out to be rather cool, with it only warming up enough the few days in Paris to warrant wearing the sandals. Blundstones are the bomb tho - easy on and off, never had wet feet even in the wettest/slushiest weather, unisex, and after 6-7 hrs on my feet, still feeling good.

Looking at your selection, I'd prob take the Woolrich, just because you say they'll keep your feet dry, and chances are you'll have some rain in October. As for the 2nd pair...well, go with what is most comfortable for 6-7 hrs on your feet. Wear the heavier pair on the plane. And use the inner space of your shoes to stuff some socks or something inside them...tho I guess Chucks would smush down pretty thin, as would Sanuks.

As for something to wear at our accoms, I just go to the local dollar store and get a $2 pair of the thinnest slippers I can find and sometimes toss them before coming home.

Posted by
88 posts

Great advice, Nicole! I really think the boots would suit me well unless the weather got too warm; in which case I could switch to the Sanuks or Chucks. I also have Chacos, and I suppose those could be an option too. I understand the sentiment of bringing only one pair, but if I wear the heavier/bulkier pair, and pack the lighter/thinner pair, I don't think they'll take up much space at all.

Posted by
2907 posts

I always take 2 pair of shoes in case one developes problems (gets wet, isn't 100% comfortable, weather changes, etc). I wear my least bendy and bulky pair on the plane and pack something soft and bendable in my other pair that go around the bottom edge of my backpack--my only piece of luggage.

Posted by
88 posts

Thanks, Mona! That sounds like what I'm leaning toward. As far as luggage, my wife and I will most likely each bring a backpack, and then one larger carry-on that will have some extra space for souvenirs.

Posted by
158 posts

I wore just waterproof boots for a trip to Spain/Italy/Germany and it was great.

Posted by
6670 posts

I don't think you have to worry about the weather being too warm with your dates and northern European destinations. That is, it's not likely to be freezing by any means, but it's not likely to be hot, either. From what you've said, I would wear the boots on the plane and pack your Chucks (and pick up a pair of $2 flip flops for the hotel rooms). I just don't think you'll get enough use out of the sandal-y ones to make them worth carrying all over.

Posted by
88 posts

I think that is most likely the advice I'll be going with, Kim; thanks! It makes sense to wear the boots, but I really am coming to agree that the Chucks trump the Sanuks, as they can be worn out a bit more (with the capacity for providing adequate support) than the Sanuks.

Posted by
2486 posts

We just returned from 2 weeks in Portugal, a week in London. Last summer was Paris and Spain. Many European men and women wear athletic shoes, trending towards the younger age groups. Some of the women's are pretty high fashion-lot's of gold and silver. I wore them the most particularly when out sightseeing. When you are walking 5-8 miles in a day the last thing you want to be thinking is "my feet are killing me but my shoes look good". I took a well broken in pair of Ecco lace ups for dinners. I always bring Geox walking sandals and they were useful in rural hot areas but I did not wear them in the cities. Check the weather as you get closer.

Posted by
928 posts

We both are "those people" who walk around most days in our running shoes. They are simply the most suitable for our feet for 8-15 miles per day of walking. We both also take flip flops for end of day, going down to breakfast or whatever, and I take a pair of Merrill sandals with good support for hotter days or to give my feet a break from closed shoes every day. My husband took a second pair of "nicer" shoes on our last trip and I think he wore them once. They won't go in the suitcase again. He has an aversion to "man sandals" even though I've told him he would like giving his feet a break from closed shoes.

Posted by
88 posts

Ha! I think running shoes are fine, but they're just not my preference for when I'm not running; especially when I'm just as comfortable in good fitting boots or basic shoes like Chucks. I think Chacos would be great for warmer months, but again, we're going to be in Northern Europe during mid to late October!

Posted by
88 posts

Ha, I actually have my Superfeet in my Sanuks, but yeah, will probably wear them in whatever I bring with. They are just so, so good!