Walking Shoes

My wife and I are going on the Best of Europe Tour in May and I was wondering if I should be taking my Vibram Five Finger shoes. I usually wear them 90% around town, but not over cobblestones. Was wondering if these shoes and my feet will hold up well, or do I need something with more cushion. I do have a pair of Clark open toe sandals that I really like too. I don't want to bring shoes that are heavy.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4871 posts

I've never seen anyone in Europe wear them. I suspect you will stick out wearing shoes like that, but if you don't care and you think they will be comfortable then go for it. Personally I don't think they offer enough cushion against the conditions you will find there.

Posted by Donald
Wichita, KS, United States
52 posts

My favorite travel shoes are Merrell. They fit nicely and I have never had tired feet since I started using them, for men the jungle moc's are great for all around,if you want a more athletic shoe Geo-morphs are what I'm taking in July on my trip to France which will include some hiking in the Fountainebleau forrest.
Don

Posted by Maryam
Washington, DC
562 posts

I typically like to wear Pumas. The sneakers are good looking (and trendy enough), and they have these awesome ballerina shoes that are very comfortable and stylish. Whatever you do decide to go with, try and avoid open toe shoes. Your feet will be dirty very quickly.

Posted by Ray
Portland, Oregon, USA
1353 posts

hi, In My Opinion (IMO) this subject is soooo subjective, its something you will have to try for yourself - the hard way. if you have the time and will, i would try to find some cobblestone streets in your town and do some walking on them with your favorite shoes. see how you, your feet and your shoes like it. Also, the cobblestone is only on the streets, but you WILL walk on more cobblestone overthere than you will back home - at least that is how i experienced it. if you can handle walking/standing in them for a day and day in/out for as long as youre going to be there then go for it. i took 2 shoes with me so i could swap them everyday and i think it was a good compromise (luggage space vs comfort). happy feet = happy traveler = happy trails.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

You will attract a lot of attention in Five Finger shoes. If you like the barefoot feel, you could look at the Merrell Barefoot shoes. They are lightweight and minimalist, but very sleek and not so strange looking. (Sorry, just being honest. Those 5-toe shoes look like fake gorilla feet made for a costume)

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

There is a whole section devoted to walking shoes on this site. See http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/graffiti92.html You might review that and then see if you have specific questions. My preference is the ECCO (both of us) with the heavier, lugged sole. The cobblestones sidewalks/streets, broken concrete, etc., can make walking very tiring so I like to have a lot of cushioning between my foot and the street.

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

Munro makes great walking shoes. Some of them don't even look like walking shoes. They offer great comfort and great support. You can get free delivery from Nordstrom.com or you can find them on Zappos.com. Zappos offers free shipping both directions. If you don't want the shoes, you just download a return label, pack the shoes in the original box. Then you drop the box off at any shipping store in your neighborhood.

Posted by Patricia
San Francisco, CA, USA
7 posts

Thanks for all your replies. I guess what I'm really trying to find out has anybody traveled Europe with Five Fingers Shoes and how did it work out. If I don't get a reply, I'll probably bring a couple of pairs of those shoes and a pair of light weight tennis type shoe, but this is a great site for getting information from travelers.....thank you all for your replies. Hermann

Posted by Carole
Edmond, OK
82 posts

Take whatever you can comfortably wear while you walk for 5 miles in wet 50 degree weather. That is the weather we experienced in May 2012. I wore waterproof Mephisto Oxford style shoes that kept my feet dry and had a lot of cushioning. But that's what works for me so you need to decide what your requirements are.

Posted by Stacey
Kansas City
112 posts

Another idea for barefoot shoes, if you decide not to wear the Five Fingers, is the Vivobarefoot brand. I have 2 pair and love them. They are not as narrow as Merell, of which I also have a pair.

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

Munro shoes are great shoes for any temperature or walking condition. They offer styles which are more for hard core walking and also Mary Jane type styles. I have numerous pairs of Munro's. I have used them for five years in a row in Europe. You can find them at Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com and at Zappos.com. Both Nordstrom and Zappos offer free shipping. Zappos offers free shipping both directions. If you don't care for the shoes from Nordstrom, you can return them to any Nordstrom or send them back to Nordstrom, for a small fee.