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shoes for Greece

I have read that we should pack 2 pairs of shoes for Greece, one closed toe and one open toe. I wore mainly sun dresses with Merrel sandals and Keens to Italy and they were great. Would Keens work for closed toe shoes or do we need a sturdier lace up shoe in Greece? Also, I have read that the beaches are rocky. Do we need anything other than flip flops for the beach? We are going in June. Any suggestions on what to pack would be appreciated.

Thanks for any suggestions.
Ann

Posted by
2416 posts

Ann -- It will help if you tell us where you are going in Greece, what time of year, level of exertion. When u say "Keens" do you mean the sneaker/athletic shoe model??? I googled it, and saw a wide variety. Yes, a lace-up style would be needed ... almost anything worth exploring in Greece involves climbing up hills, and many paths are rough and rocky. And yes, it's wise to get some cheap "water shoes" for beaches. Many beaches are lovely golden sand, but others, just as beautiful, are pebbly, at the verge, and wading in -- that's why flip-flops won't work; you must shed them at waters edge, and the pebbles continue. You don't want to miss a swim for fear of ouchy-ouchy. I speak from experience! You can find simple water shoes, rubber bottoms, mesh tops, at $8-12 ... no need to buy the $50 ones used by teams. and u use these as footwear going to/from beach. You can even use the Crocs types (the only types I've seen sold in greece beach towns), tho I personally don't find plastic on my feet all that enjoyable for walking in the heat.

Posted by
2416 posts

Sorry -- you did state time of year (June) -- I overlooked it.

Posted by
1147 posts

We used river walking type sandals that close with Velcro. These worked for hiking, walking, wading, and even casual walking in the evening. We called the beaches pebbly (if that's a word) so sandals are needed. Also, we were there in September and don't know how hot it would be in June (it was really hot in September!).

Posted by
3 posts

Carol and Jan,
Thanks for your suggestions. My Keen's are Venice leather sandals. They fit like a full shoe but have open areas like a sandal. We will be taking the heart of Greece tour so we will be visiting, Athens, Delphi, Peloponnese Mountains, Kardamyli, Mani Peninsula, Monemvasia, Mycenae, Nafplio and Hydra. I will be traveling with my children who are 20 and 18 and my husband. I feel like getting good shoes for all of us is a priority and may take a few shopping trips. If you can think of any other "can't live withouts" I would love to hear about them.
Ann

Posted by
2416 posts

You will be doing steep cllmbing & descents in Athens (Acropolis) Delphi, Pelops of course! Mani of course! Monamvasia !! and Nafplio's Palamidi Fortress (even if you drive up the bad way) ... and if you stay in any hotel above the square. YOur keens still sound like sandals with perhaps a cup heel, and I don't think they'll cut it ... I am not sure what "fit like a full shoe" means ... any walking shoe needs to have good support, and that to me means laces, and also a thicker rubber sole (leather soles will slip). Any sandals used for hills should be the rugged Teyva (sp?) type for thick soles... and even these don't have ankle support for stabiity on rocky paths.
Other "can't live withouts"?? (1) Flashlight (an added handy use: when walking on dark narrow roads with occasional speeding Greek cars, I carry flashlight pointed BACKWARD, so they'l see & steer clear). (2) Duct tape -- a yard wrapped around a small spool ... mends everything!! (3) good travel clothesline (end hooks) (4) a clip-on reading light, useful on ferries & rooms w/o good bed lights. (4) Zip-lock bags, tiny to jumbo. Great for organizing suitcase. I use a big one as "goodbye pocket"; as we say goodbe to each place, I empty pockets & purse & dump all info, maps, notes, souvenirs, receipts into it ... when u get home, all your stuffs in 1 place.

Posted by
3250 posts

I'm monitoring this discussion because we are also going to Greece, albeit in the fall. Be sure to look at the responses to the "trekking poles" question for Greece. They will give you more info on what to expect of the terrain. I don't know what kind of walking you did in Italy, but what I've learned here so far is that Greece is much rougher than I remembered.

I have had a pair of those Keens you listed and I couldn't even wear them to walk the dog on the roads where I live (desert, unpaved) without getting sand and pebbles in them, plus after a very short time of wearing and owning them, they tore up my right little toe, so they are no longer in my closet.

My first trip to Greece over 35 years ago, I wore real hiking boots. For this time and the time of year we will be there, I got a pair of Ahnu Montara Boots (http://www.zappos.com/ahnu-montara-boot-dark-navy-suede). The hard-core hiking boot reviews say they are inadequate for serious hiking over rough terrain, but okay for this application. I tried them on at REI, but ordered them online to get the color I wanted.

I also got a pair of Dansko Eddas (http://www.zappos.com/dansko-edda-slate-suede) for in-town use. I wasn't able to try them on before ordering but I ordered on the basis of the sizes of other Danskos I have.

After mincing around on the big wet round cobblestones at the entrance to Versailles, worried that I would slip and fall, I no longer worry much about the "look" of the shoe. For me it's gotta be flat, supportive and comfortable for where I'm going.

Posted by
2416 posts

Thanks lo, for chiming in ... it will help Ann to "hear" what we're saying. When she says in Italy she "wore mainly sun dresses," I am wondering if in Italy she mainly strolled around Florence, Venice etc. Ann since you're on a group tour, probably they'll go at the pace of the least-fast .. but If you're really exploring the places you listed (not just viewing from a bus), you'll be scrambling around some stunning scenery... and may find you're wearing cropped pants more often than dresses (save them for museums, shopping & dinner). As for shoes, I see u don't list any Cretan gorges, so I think you can manage with sturdy sneakers. I've done so for all my 11 trips, covering dozens of islands, as well as most places you listed. I wear Propet "walkers" and since I've got bunions (alas its in the genes), I add orthodontics plus extra Dr.Scholl inserts; I successfully walk/hike at least 5 miles most days in Greece, haven't fallen yet. Because I don't want to loudly broadcast "American" my sneakers are black, thus less conspicuous.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you Janet and Lo,
The only "hiking" we did on the last Rick Steves tour was Cinque Terre which was not really rough. I hike in my keens around home where the terrain is not rocky but it is hot and the sandal type feature is comfortable. I will pack my Merrell hiking shoes instead. Thanks for all of the input. Happy traveling.

Ann