Any recommendations for a shoe that can do some heavy-walking? I'm back-packing for 8 weeks in September and want something really versatile but that can hold up to all the touring. I seen a lot of recommendations for Merrell shoes, but the only ones I've seen are mostly mesh and I want something to keep my foot dry and give me good support. Any suggestions are welcome!
Merrell's do come in leather.... I have some that I use in the winter as well as the 'clog' type in leather and mesh. They are very comfortable. I just purchased some Keen's at our local REI. I did research on the Keen website as well as on Zappo's. Wanted something that had more stability than tennis shoes but not as much as a hiking boot. Decided to buy locally so I would be able to try them on etc... ended up getting a 1/2 size larger... I have some inserts that I need to put into my shoes, so needed to make sure they fit. I will be using them this fall for my trip to Ireland. They have many different styles and weights... I purchased a leather version in black. I will also be bringing my Merrell leather clogs.... good luck.
Last spring I got a pair of New Balance (not sneakers) that I wore every day for 3 weeks in Amsterdam and Italy. They were sort of suede-y, they did not crumble under rain, they had EXCELLENT arch support. I have since worn them nearly every day when working (I'm a teacher) and they still 'work'. I have very high arches and a lousy back, but with these shoes, no problems.
This year's model is New Balance 926, style MW926GR. These are the men's but they have them in women's sizes also. This year they are gray (last year they were chocolate brown), and they run about $104. If you go to www.nbwebexpress.com, you can read more about them.
I have found Softsoles to be a great choice. There are some nice styles and they do not need to broken in at all.
We went to South Park Mall and spoke to a fellow named Pete who has also been to Europe. He highly reccommended ECCO tennis shoes and sandals. We bought them last month and have been walking in them to prepare for our trip. They are extremely comfortable and supportive. The ladies sandals are all leather and have excellent support. They also have shoes you may want to check out.
I've said this before on other grafitti wall comments, but New Balance waterproof walking shoes are the best; they come in narrow widths---got my latest pair form LL Bean; they're khaki nubuck. they are not as clubky as hiking boots but obviously not as dressy as some clogs. I will be talking these NB and Keen mary janes ("my drews shoes") to Italy this Oct.
I had a tough time buying good shoes for my backpacking trip last May, after trying out several brands, I finally settled on a pair of Timberlands. Most people only think of them for hiking boots, but I got a great pair of shoes that had the sturdiness of a hiking shoe but looked more like a atheltic shoe. They were beige so they looked a little more dressy than an athletic shoe, so I hiked Italy in them yet still looked ok in a London theatre. Almost as important is a good insole, I bought a great pair of Dr.Schols blue cushy insoles that left my feet feeling great.
If you are confident of your size, you may want to try Zappos.com
They have free shipping both ways, and the site allows you to view shoes from all angles as well as read cursomer ratings and comments. They have all the brands. You may want to look at these: SKU #7277615
I recently bought Timberlands and these Privos from them for my next trip. I've already had someone ask me if I bought the Privos in Europe, so I figure that is a good sign!
I am a big fan of Keens. I however have not had a lot of success with Eccos; I find them on the narrow size.
Also a big supporter of Zappos... A big selection and have never had a problem returning shoes that didn't fit, work for me, etc.