Men's Shoes

Hi all, I'm a 27 year old male preparing for my first trip to Europe. While in Europe I will be in London, Paris, cruising through Greece, and wrapping up the trip in Rome. From everything I have read it seems important to pack as lightly as possible while utilizing a carry on size bag. For this reason I've been trying to be purposeful in the type of shoes I bring to Europe. I will be spending quite a bit of time walking, however, I will be in various places with different weather. Does anyone have recommendations for shoes that are versatile meaning I can spend the day walking in them and then wear them to dinner? Would a pair of boat shoes work? Does anyone have experience wearing them on a trip like the one I describe? Thanks!
CL

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2279 posts

Boat shoes are not good walking shoes. They're great for just hanging around (or being on a boat) but not good for putting on miles. There are endless forum posts on this topic. Everyone has their favorites. I like Ecco's. I bought them for my first trip and never regreted it. Lots of miles, comfortable, and they don't embarass my wife at dinner.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1358 posts

hi, A little background. I work a 12 hour shift standing/walking on my feet all day on concrete. It took me about a week to wonder why i was sooo tired after each work day. Then i dawned on me, tired feet = tired body. After serching for the "best" shoe it realized its up to the individual to find his/her best. I should know this since i worked in a shoe store for over 10 years- duh. I went to REI to look for some shoes since i knew from past experince in Europe, there is alot of cobblestone roads over there and i would be doing alot of walking. I found some Keens and Tevias to wear and i love them. The Tevias can be slipper on wet cobblestone so beware of that. I spent 1 day at home trying to break them in and realized the best way was to wear them at work and have my other shoes handy just in case (jic) of any issues. Just so you know i was over there for 1 month too. Im not a clothes horse either, so what other poeple think about my clothes, they can go to you know where. I AM COMFORTABLE and that is JOB 1 especially when my luggage is limiting my choices. If you can swing it, i would take 2 pairs of shoes. CONFORTABLE shoes too. swap them every day. the brand is up to you and YOUR FEET!. If your feet arnt happy, neither will you be and also if you injure your feet, you will be up a creek. One comment. I also got some merino wool sox from REI while i was there and since i normally wear cotton sox, they were different but really nice. The wool sox kept my feet at a more average temperature, didndt sweat alot and didnt stink either. as far as (afa) your boat shoes. if you have a day or 2, put them on, go walking and standing on concrete for a day or 2 and then ask us if they are "confortable". happy trails.

Posted by JerryG
winston salem, nc, usa
655 posts

I would suggest that you either go to an REI store, or their website and check out the "Keen" brand for what you are seeking. From personal experience, trekking around the UK, Northern Italy, and Sicily, they are the most comfortable shoes I have ever used.
Right now, for my May trip, I have both leather and water shoes to take.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
916 posts

Since you live in the United States (near me, actually) you can look at the New Balance line. They are sized in widths as well as lengths. I need a wide shoe for my toes when walking a lot. The black models can pass for a rather clunky dress shoe, because the logo is not obvious. Wear them on the plane; pack a light alternative, perhaps canvas, mostly in case your main pair get wet. If it rains two days in a row, uh-oh.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

I use Rockport World Traveler, or something like that on every trip, and take a small shoe shine kit along too. I've worn one pair of shoes everyday for six weeks. It gets tiresome but the ethics of packing light requires it. Asking about good shoes will bring them out of the woodwork. Find a pair of what you think are nice shoes, break them in, and your are ready. One thing I will not do is wear athletic or hiking looking shoes overseas but then I'm seventy-three.

Posted by Jeff
Bend, OR, United States
1145 posts

Wear the same shoes you would if you were going to Chicago and planned to do some walking around and sightseeing.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1358 posts

Since you live in the United States (near me, actually) you can look at the New Balance line. They are sized in widths as well as lengths. I need a wide shoe for my toes when walking a lot. The black models can pass for a rather clunky dress shoe, because the logo is not obvious. Wear them on the plane; pack a light alternative, perhaps canvas, mostly in case your main pair get wet. If it rains two days in a row, uh-oh. my feet got wet over in Lock NEss. But with my wool sox, i didnt notice it at all. happy feet = happy trails.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10888 posts

There is a whole section devoted to shoes http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/graffiti92.html As you will see every brand has been recommended as a best shoe by someone. It is personal and a lot depends on your feet. My approach which works very well for me is a waterproof shoe from ECCO designed just for this purpose. Has a lugged sole. It is important to have a well cushioned, thick sole shoes that is comfortable over rough streets which are common in Europe. Second, being waterproof is a great advantage if you run into rain which, again, is common. Third, having interchangeable inner soles is important. Change them daily to keep a dry shoe so I don't have to carry a second pair of shoes. Whatever you buy needs to be well broken in.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2612 posts

Since all the men were posting on the women's fashion questions I thought I should put in my two cents here:)) Anyway, fellow Ann Arborite.. go to Mast shoes as they will have lots of good brands of comfy shoes. Also...from A2..what about your Birkenstocks?:) That is what I wear all the time, all summer, all over Europe and my feet never hurt.

Posted by Lee
Dallas
898 posts

Clark's Wave Helix, the most comfortable shoes I've worn. They are great for walking and suitable evening wear on all but coat and tie occasions. On holiday I remove that restriction so I wear them everywhere. They get a rest when I get home.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3076 posts

sometimes I bring old shoes for hiking muddy trails and then just dump them in the garbage when I'm finished with them. No need to carry them back home with me since they were already old and worn out.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

"Since you live in the United States (near me, actually) you can look at the New Balance line." What?!? Carl: You're 27, and most people here are the same age as Rick's target market (i.e. much, much older than you). Consider any recommendations with this in mind. Anyway, what do you presently wear when you're out and about, walking around for an extended period? Do you like Urban Outfitters? If so, check out their sneaker collection online. They have all the cool retro styles, including retro New Balance. Other ideas? As I'm sure you already know since you mentioned it, Sperry made a huge comeback a few years ago, and if they're comfortable for you, they would be a decent choice. Diesel is cool but pricey and not all that comfortable. Asics Onitsuka Tiger retro sneakers are cool but not very comfortable. My choice is slip-on Vans for traveling pretty much everywhere, but Leslie from Orange, CA will shoot holes in that recommendation. Any of these can serve double duty...just depends on what's comfortable for you personally.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7211 posts

Ultimately the shoe that fits you comfortably won't be the same as the one that fits someone else. If possible take shoes you already own and have worn comfortably for many miles. My advice would be more about style - tailored to your needs. I bring two pairs of shoes (one worn and one packed) in colors/materials that are flexible. I now buy the lightest weight shoes I can find, with an eye toward packing them on future trips. The two pairs are picked to cover as wide a variety of activities as possible while also being great walking shoes. One pair should cover the most dressed up need you foresee for your trip (formal night on a cruise, theater, nice dinner, date?) but have flexibility to wear for less dressy events too (day touring in casual clothes). The second pair goes the other way; they work for the most casual activity/clothes you foresee but also dress up enough to wear with as "casual Friday" type shoes with khakis. Right now I'd pack either a brown or black leather shoe that dresses up well but is comfortable for lots of walking (I'd go black if I need something for a cruise formal night) plus a neutral colored (black, grey, brown, khaki or sage) light hiker, trail runner, or tennis shoe. I also pack all matching socks in case I lose a sock or two along the way. Since I wash a little in the sink most nights. Three pairs of black, non-cotton, cushioned, crew socks do the trick. I might do brown socks instead, if brown worked with everything I was packing but not white socks because they can't do dressy.

Posted by Dick
Olympia, WA, USA
675 posts

Rockport World Travelers for daily use, with orthotics and Dr. Scholl's foam inserts, well broken in. Birkenstock sandals for end-of-day relief, short walks in warm dry weather, beaches etc. The Birks are ultra-lightweight and compact. For me it's essential to have some nate footwear to give my feet a break after the hard days on the pavement, yet still be able to go outside. Also it helps that I don't do formal (though the Rockports look respectable enough). I'd never use slip-on shoes as my primary footwear on a trip. If you're doing serious hiking in the mountains or such, then you want real hiking boots along with "relief" footwear. You could wear them on the plane (slipping them off during the flight) to save baggage weight and bulk.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10888 posts

The one thing I forget to mention earlier and is frequently forgotten about is - socks. Socks are almost as important as the shoe. It is a system that has to work together. I use a medium weight wool hiking sock year around. I buy the socks a min of or six to ten pair at time and they are identical. And I wear those when buying the shoe. The socks have to provide a level of cushioning, slippage, and wicking away of mositure to prevent blisters. Blisters are caused as much by bad shoes as they are for improper fiting shoes. I prefer a 100% lamps wool but recently have had to settle for 80/20 with the 20% being a synthetic.

Posted by ed
albany
355 posts

I am a big fan of solid black sneakers/joggers. They are as comfortable as sneakers (cause they are sneaker). But being they are solid black I can wear them with pretty much anything other than a business suit. (e.g. okay with slack and a nice shirt and even a sports jacket and tie)