good walking shoes or ballet flats?

hello what are the barefoot mary janes that I have seen people commenting on. I would be interested in learning more about them also what other people have bought and walked around in Italy. Going last two weeks of April so need to get something soon. Thank you every one
Sandra

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

Orange Leslie: No worries...I never took your comments in a snide way. Still, the pair I'm wearing right now and have traveled with since September is a Classic Slip-On, model number VN-0NJ763Q (I guess that's a model number...it's on the inside label). I had to convert my previous pair to yard work shoes since they're now worn out, but they are also a Classic Slip-On. All previous pair were also slip-on. Maybe you, your husband, one son, another skater son, and your brother all have poor arches, I have great ones, or the support is just fine for walking all day long. The world may never know. But more seriously, if you compare different styles of Vans, you'll notice that the arch support is good in some and not so great in others...that's a fact I just noted again a few days ago...my current pair are now in need of replacement and I'm shopping. Cheers!

Posted by Sasha
Bainbridge Island
1581 posts

First, be prepared for a deluge of comments saying it is comfort that counts, don't worry bout style or having cute shoes.n ( you won't hear it from me) Second, some will say that there is no such thing as a ballet flat with enough support and cushioning to be a good walking shoe. Wrong. See the other recent thread on stylish walking shoes. I named Privo as one brand, but there are others. Merrill makes some " barefoot" running shoes but I habven't seen their flats. I might take a look. I have a pair of cute Jambu barefoot flats with cross-lacing like ballet toes hoes, but I haven't worn them enough to say how they will do on cobblestones. What I have done before is buy a cute show I like and add a Superfeet insole for support. You have to take the insoles when you try the shoes to make sure they all fit together. This works great and I highly recommend it. Superfeet makes various models; the magenta ones are good for casual shoes. Not the green ones meant for hiking boots.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

I agree with Sasha about the string of goofy comments you're about to receive. It's really pretty funny when you see a post from, let's say, a young woman looking for a recommendation on a comfortable yet stylish shoe for someone her age (maybe ballet flats). Then, you'll read replies from a bunch of 60 year-old+ women, recommending the most hideous hiking shoes for Paris and rambling on about comfort over style. They end up sounding like a script from Rick's travel skills special. Anyway, they completely miss the mark and totally neglect the part where the poster asked specifically about something hip or trendy for her age for Paris. Since comfort and style are not necessarily mutually exclusive, it's hard to understand such a recommendation for Paris, but it would be appropriate for the Alps. Why people ask for fashion advice here, I'll never know. This is literally the last place on Earth someone should go for fashion tips. Just my opinion.

Posted by Leslie
Orange, USA
151 posts

Or you get men recommending Vans tennis shoes. :-) I sent a reply to your message Sandra, but forgot to add that I had some "stretch" in my calf muscles until I got used to them (couple of hikes). Even running shoes have a little rise in the heel area and these are pretty flat. Good to break in any shoes before a big trip anyway.

Posted by mimi
Vancouver, BC, Canada
175 posts

Cole-Haan have some cute ballerinatype flats and they are really comfortable. Of course, the place to buy cute, comfortable ballet flats - Italy! I've bought leather-soled, lined flats in gorgeous colors - around 80e which is
what the C-H's are at their outlet store. BTW, C-H use some kind of Nike technology so they are, really, great to wear.

Posted by Leslie
Orange, USA
151 posts

Sandra,
Check your profile page on this site. It should indicate you have a new message. Using the site page means you don't have to give out your personal e-mail address.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

"Barefoot" Mary Janes are like this one from Merrell: http://www.zappos.com/merrell-barefoot-wonder-glove-port-royale Or they make a ballet flat: http://www.zappos.com/merrell-barefoot-life-zest-glove-port What you need to know is that the "barefoot" designation means they are designed to feel like walking in bare feet, with no shoes. So they are very light but also have NO arch support and NO heel elevation, and little or no cushioning underfoot. So if you are young and have nice strong feet that are used to walking around barefoot, they might be fine. Or you might end up feeling every cobblestone or uneveness in the pavement. I find it much easier to walk all day in sandals, like this "Dani" from Nordstrom: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/dansko-dani-sandal/3336300 I have happily walked all over Paris, Florence, Venice, and other places in mine, both in April and in summer. They go out to dinner and look nice with a dress or skirt. I also take a more "covered up" shoe as an alternate and in case of rain.

Posted by Kira
Seattle, WA, USA
954 posts

Have you thought about wearing something "disposable" and comfy from home, and then going shoe shopping in Italy? That way you'll have a pair of shoes that you know are on trend, and are also a souvenir! I can't do that because I have Flintstone feet, but my husband often does it when we go to Paris. He gets to shop at Au Printemps and he gets a pair of excellent shoes!

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Mimi-that is a great suggestion! I have a pair of C-H/Nike slides and they are terrific. But they are winter shoes so not suitable to mention here. I took a look at the C-H ballet flats and found this one that gets rave reviews, including from women who have worn them to Europe and rate them highly for walking on cobblestones: http://www.zappos.com/cole-haan-air-bacara-ballet-black-nappa They come in a gazillion colors, and may even be on sale sometwhere in the universe.

Posted by Bethanne
Philadelphia, PA, USA
162 posts

I have been checking out all the recommendations with every "shoe post" I have come across lately as I am on the hunt for our second trip to Italy in November. I have also been searching the web as well but finally I have found a pair I like!! Thanks so much Mimi! They are definitely pricy but worth it to look cute and be comfortable. I chose cuteness over comfort on our last trip and was DETERMINED to find both this time around!!

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

Orange Leslie: Anyone can recommend Vans, especially if that's what young women are seen wearing about the developed world. And if you don't believe this is accurate, you either don't know, don't care, or haven't been paying attention, which is totally fine. BTW, I've been wearing Vans for some time, and I can personally attest to their comfort when walking miles upon miles in the course of a day. I would not recommend the equally popular Chuck Taylor Converse, because they would not be at all comfortable for walking all day long. Cheers!

Posted by Leslie
Orange, USA
151 posts

Michael, I wasn't trying to be snide, thus the smiley, just pointing out that Vans are not ballet style shoes which was the request of the OP. Vans are the brain child of an Orange native, and I work at a university here, so I'm pretty aware of the younger styles out there. We (me, husband, two sons--one a skater--and my brother who's been wearing Vans for 40 years) would like to know what model you wear that has good arch support since that has been the big lack in the ones we wear, both skater and fashion styles. Totally agree with you on the Converse--thin soled and no arch support whatsoever. All that aside, Sandra, I have to withdraw my "vote" for the Merrell barefoot Mary Janes. I checked out the ones Lola provided the link for and they are not like the "Pure" line I bought 2 years ago. Those had a good midsole and molded arch support and the new ones don't appear to have that.
Buy something you like that works for your feet--lots of good suggestions in this post and the other--but buy them soon so you can get them broken in before you go. Or go with Kira's suggestion: take a trusted pair you have and buy new ones there for fashionable happy memories.

Posted by Sandra
Atkinson, NH, USA
18 posts

Leslie thanks the tips I just ended up ordering a pair of Cole Haan cole-haan-air-bacara-ballet-black-nappa which I actually found in a size 12, that is my main problem, nothing larger than an 11 anywhere and I need at least an 11.5 so while they were expensive I hope they do the job. I have a good pair of Clarks walking shoes/sneaker type already which I have been wearing a lot and they seem to be quite comfortable so hopefully these will do for the evenings. If not back they go! thank you everyone for all the suggestions, I think I am all set now.
Sandra

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Sandra---thos Air Bacarsa's are available in size 12 because they were designed for Cole haan by Maria Sharapova, the tennis player. She is very tall and probably wears a size 12 herself, and she is definitely stylish. I hope they work out for you.

Posted by Gemma
San Benedetto Del Tronto, Italy
10 posts

Just be sure the soles of your shoes are not too soft. Have them be firm enough. Walking on cobblestone walks and streets are very painful on your feet. Believe me, I know, living in Italy.

Posted by Sylvia
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
331 posts

I love Kira's idea. Wear shoes you already have and buy a beautiful pair of Italian shoes while you are there!!

Posted by Cat
Paia, HI, USA
141 posts

Thanks Sandra, for this post! I think I am going to order the same flats you did from zappos, and try to add an insert in them. I'm also off to Italy in a couple weeks, and have tried every shoe I can come across!!
Have a great trip!!

Posted by Sandra
Atkinson, NH, USA
18 posts

Hello All I bought the Maria Sharapova ballet flats and sadly they are not that great. first of all they are supposedly size 12 but they do not seem to be, my toes are right up against the top and they are not that comfortable, I have been wearing them for the past two weeks at work to break them in but they do not feel right and my right heel is already sore, so these are out. I will have to try them with my orthotics tomorrow and see if that makes a difference or get the gel soles and put those in. Alas having big feet is such a burden!!
Happy Travels fellow travellers

Posted by Leslie
Orange, USA
151 posts

I had forgotten about Arcopedicos. I've never worn them but a friend at work has two pair and absolutely loves them. Bought one pair on clearance at a store in LA and loved them enough to pay full price online for another pair. Seemed to have a very short break in period, too, so they might be worth a try. Good luck!

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
762 posts

The problem with Vans shoes, is they don't have any arch support. Neither do Sketchers. You might want to look at Munro's. They have a number of styles. One pair I have, I wear instead of regular New Balance shoes. They even have velcro on them, but look nice. I also have Munro's which look dressy, like Mary Jane's. They offer great support and are attractive. You can find them at Nordstom stores, Nordstrom.com or at Zappos.com. Both offer free shipping. Zappos also offers free return shipping. At Nordstrom you can either return them to any Nordstrom's or ship them back to Nordstrom. My orthopedist told me never to wear Sketchers or Vans. I also was told not to wear wedge shoes.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

"My orthopedist told me never to wear Sketchers or Vans. I also was told not to wear wedge shoes." So, you obviously have had medical problems in the past, have them now, or are trying to prevent them from happening again. Healthy people don't go to orthopedists and will most likely have zero issues wearing Vans. And I have to disagree with those who suggest Vans have no arch support. The ones I'm wearing right now have nearly as much support as my Adidas running shoes. I've worn Vans for years and have walked untold miles in them in cities around the world...never, ever an issue. I've noted that some Vans have good arch support while others do not...you need to feel them in person and try them on. Slip-ons have better support than the tie up style IMO. Maybe they work for some but don't for others...probably true of every shoe on Earth. Anyway, I wouldn't normally recommend Vans to anyone here, as the average age on the Helpline has to be north of 60, but folks are talking about them, so I offered my opinion. I did recommend them in another thread to a young woman in her 30s.

Posted by mimi
Vancouver, BC, Canada
175 posts

Gee Michael, gotta watch those generalizations, kiddo! I'm well over 60 and recommending ballet flats and my DH is 74 and wearing slip-on Vans!
And I wouldn't be seen dead (a possibility) in a broomstick skirt. lol!