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Walking shoes for Paris in December

Hello

Any recommendations for what brand and type of shoes (for men) one should wear for walking in Paris in December. I read it will be wet and cold.

Thanks

Posted by
889 posts

My husband, son and I will be wearing our Nike running shoes. We did so in December 2016, as well, in Paris. It was in the mid to upper 50s then--too warm for our winter clothes. You never know what the weather will be like especially with rain. I check the last three years weather for Paris in December on different weather sites. I also check the weather forecast just before leaving and adjust what I've packed.
Wear shoes that you would ordinarily wear that you've already broken in for long walks. I will also take a pair of booties for me, not for walking, but for restaurants.

Posted by
318 posts

I'm taking a pair of Sorrel waterproof Chelsea boots for January in Paris. I'm actually debating making this my only pair of shoes; I usually travel with two pairs. But this trip is only a week, and I don't have another pair comparable to the boots.

Posted by
13905 posts

I'd go with Lindy - wear what you normally wear. If it's wet it's not like you'll be out hiking so you can duck into a museum or church if it's really coming down. It may be cold but that also depends on your cold tolerance. Your profile doesn't give a clue about whether you live in a cooler area or in a warm one so "cold" is relative in my view.

I'd have wool socks and I'd also want 2 pr of shoes in case one does get wet.

What kind of shoes do you wear at home? In your previous threads you mentioned travel at the end of Dec/early Jan so to me this is pretty late to be trying to break in shoes before you go. I'd want to have walked in them for several weeks for 3-5 miles at a whack.

Is the 13-year-old just going with their regular athletic shoes?

Posted by
8035 posts

We use lightweight hiking boots that are waterproof. Even this fall I had one pair that I used on rainy days. You want something well cushioned and water resistant. I spray them with waterproofing before each trip as I do my trenchcoat.

Most people you see on the streets will be wearing some version of athletic shoe. Some of them will be white. All those old canards about 'Americans in their ugly white shoes' are long dead. Everyone wears jeans (or sweatpants or tights) and everyone wheres athletic shoes or other functional shoes.

Don't worry about it; choose something he is comfortable walking on pavement in the rain in. And wear wool socks.

Posted by
4385 posts

There is a shoe forum so check that, and do some google.

I would recommend buying black walking shoes, they are usually just differently colored sneakers. Every major brand has them. And definitely veer towards waterproof.

As for the comment about not being out hiking around, oh yes you will be - that is the definition of tourism! Ask me about slogging through Pere Lechaise in the pouring rain for an hour or two, it's not like I had a choice. Also, good umbrella! Buy one on the ground if need be and leave behind.

Posted by
1368 posts

Last Nov/Dec I wore my Thursday Captain boots & Thursday Aviator shoes, both are Goodyear Welt & Water Resistance. Both with rubber soles, not leather. Did not want to chance wet cobblestones with leather soles. I wear them off and on at home, so they were broken in. They did come out of the box very comfortable and easy to break in. I just hit them with a layer of Cobblers Choice Water Proofing spray the evening before I left for France. Just as a safety net and had no issues when walking in and out of the rain/puddles.

Enjoy your trip.

Posted by
89 posts

I definitely recommend waterproof hiking shoes, I don't think you need boots. My husband wears Clark's and I like Oboz, but we tried on quite a few to get the right feel for us. They are both lightweight, comfortable, and flexible and so valuable in any kind of damp weather. I think running shoes are too porous for rain and cold weather, it is a long miserable day if you start out with wet feet. Also, invest in some wool socks. We recently traveled to Ireland and easily walked at least 10 miles a day and we were so happy to have them.

Posted by
110 posts

You can take this or leave it, but there isn’t time to break in a pair of new footwear of any kind before a December trip. No one who I take to Paris believes me when I tell them how much walking they’ll do, and to wear an already broken-in pair of shoes.

We’re talking blisters that will ruin your trip. Bring a box of Compeed with you.

Posted by
8035 posts

Those occlusive bandaids like compeed are magic and work best applied at the first sign of irritation. I use well worn hiking shoes and merrell breeze clogs and yet with the amount of walking we do in Paris sometimes still get irritation and a compeed applied before blisters form and left on a few days prevents a blister. Athletic shoes are fine for summer but in winter you want waterproof and better yet, warm and waterproof. And note that if shoes get soaked, stuffing with newspaper, changed every half hour at first and then overnight does really do the trick on getting them dry. Of course have a couple of pair to change off. I got caught in heavy rain in Chicago while out and about with my grandson and we got drenched -- even my 'waterproof' hiking shoes ended up soaked. In Paris I have never had them get that wet.

Posted by
8421 posts

It's more important to have shoes that fit and are broken in, than style. I agree it's too chancy to buy new for a trip in December. With that noted, my go-to shoes for travel are now this: ECCO chukka style dress. They have a Goretex liner for wet weather, and are dressy enough for dining out but with a decent treaded sole for walking. But then, ECCO doesn't fit everyone nor does each model fit the same.

Posted by
89 posts

When, I bought my Oboz shoes, I did so with plenty of time to break them in, but after 2 outings, they were fine. I alway do the bending in half, flexibility test and feel how much give and padding are in the heel before I buy them in person and definitely agree that every shoe does not work with everyones foot.

Having said that, I wear my well broken in, black walking shoes on the plane, and alternate wearing those on the trip. I don't care how broken in they are, the pressure points are different in every shoe and we do so much more walking when we travel. And after a wet day, having another pair of dry shoes is a must. And I agree, the black shoe works well for dinner. I think the socks are just as important, a medium weight, wool blend works well for us.

Posted by
318 posts

Personally, we don't walk as much in the winter because of the cold, so our winter shoes don't have to be as comfy as our summer/should season shoes when we walk 8 miles a day! My husband has some Asolo shoes he loves and I wear leather boots from Clarks.

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks for all the replies. I may wear my old Nike sports shoes as they are the most comfortable ones with thick cotton socks or woolen socks. Winter shoes are heavy to walk around in for whole day.

Posted by
97 posts

Ecco Track 25. Expensive, but very comfortable and waterproof / rugged. I wore these all over Paris and Normandy a few years ago.

Posted by
796 posts

I just returned from France. I only had Ecco Biom walking shoes and a pair of leather boots. I sprayed them with a water repellent before departing. The shoes have a liner that comes out do I remove it each night to dry. Socks are important. I use Wright socks which are double layered and Smartwool. I take one thick wool sock, From Costco, for cool evenings when relaxing. Have a great trip.

Posted by
12 posts

Just left Paris after a week stay. It rained daily and I was fine in black Nike shoes. I took two pair and a pair of Lands End waterproof sneakers. I wore the waterproof sneakers one time after significant rainfall. I debated buying new shoes, but am glad I stuck with what I knew would be comfortable.

Posted by
451 posts

Last December with temps between 30 and 40s and constant rain, I wore my Merrel Hiking boots and Darn Tough socks. They are well broken in and kept my feet dry and warm.

Posted by
6879 posts

December can be cold... It's about 26-35 F at the moment. I'd prioritize warmth over full waterproofness, since if it is really pouring, I doubt you will be outdoors for very long.

Posted by
1307 posts

I would agree with Balso and add that whatever shoes you wear should have good traction.
Paris sidewalks can get very slick and icy, and you do not want to slip and fall.

Posted by
2542 posts

I wear Mephisto. No break in period required. They are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. Mephistos cost much less in France, where they are made, than in the US where they are available a Nordstroms and possibly other locations.

Posted by
2745 posts

I wondered if I was the only person who didn’t think all shoes had to be broken in. If it is not comfortable the minute I put it on I’m not buying it to break it in. I have actually bought shoes and worn them brand new for miles and miles and miles without blisters. But I do spend a lot on them.

Posted by
27057 posts

The On Cloud (Swiss) shoes I take to Europe haven't required breaking in, but I don't know how a person can know that without wearing new shoes for a while. Even if you keep buying the same shoe, there's a possibility the manufacturer will alter the last; On Cloud did that to me.

Posted by
61 posts

Check out Vessi shoes on their website.
Various styles of sneakers that are comfortable and fully waterproof. We wore ours in a full day rainstorm in Bergen a few months ago and socks stayed dry all day.

Posted by
201 posts

"Those occlusive bandaids like compeed are magic and work best applied at the first sign of irritation." @Janettravels - good advice. I myself am prone to blisters on my little toes when I walk a lot, so I actually go ahead and bandaid them up before I even head out so that there is no irritation - works like a charm! :-)

I will second/third/fourth to wear waterproof shoes. I have had November/December weeks in Paris with no rain and ones where it rained all week. Wet, cold feet are not my idea of a good time LOL. I personally take two pairs of shoes to switch out.

I know you asked about mens shoes but for the ladies reading, I will suggest checking out Bzees brand (that's not a typo - it is spelled Bzees). Omg - very comfy brand overall for all seasons. I took a pair of their boots last January and were very pleased with them. My old favorites (Clarks) were pretty worn, and I'd bought the Bzees a month prior to the trip expecting to wear them all month to break in, but they didn't really need it.

Posted by
11 posts

Hello palciparum, I walk a lot. Went to the Paris and the Heart of France tour in August and September 2022. Had an excellent pair of low-cut boots from LL Bean. They finally - after about 4 years - wore out. Bean cleverly decided to stop offering them. I wanted replacement low-cut boots that were Gore-tex, had excellent, non-slip soles and were very comfortable. Settled on Columbia's Wide model. Broke them in a few times before the trip. At first, the right upper part rubbed against my leg, but that quickly ended. These shoes were great! Still have them and they are my go to shoes for serious walking and hikes. Very comfortable. I noticed other tour members wore everything from sandals to street shoes to boots. For wet and cold, Columbia's Gore-tex equivalent with non-slip soles are exactly what I would buy - what I did buy! I will be there again in May, plan to walk a lot, and will wear these same shoes. All the best to you.

Posted by
515 posts

I have had major foot problems the last few long trips to Europe which I blame on the cobble stones. I have found that Saucony trail shoes are best compromise. Big boots might offer more protection but make it tiresome to walk many hours, and are heavy and bulky. I have also tried Salomen gortex shoes from REI back home and they seem pretty decent. I used to use Nike Beast - which is their best padded shoe, but ultimately they did not protect my feet from various injuries as well.

Also here is a tip. I found that compression socks help keep your stride more energetic but they seemed to squeeze my toes and cause some nerve problems, so the solution is to cut the the bottoms off, and use the top part only of the compression socks.