I am going to bring one pair of leather walking shoes. I will waterproof spray them. For the other pair, Keen sandals, I am trying out here before I leave. I was thinking they would dry quickly after a rain, and I wouldn't have to walk around with wet feet. Has anyone brought tennis shoes? Any comments for me?
On a hot but rainy trip (not Ireland) i loved my Keen water sandals because the water was able to run out -- my roommate wore sneakers and had wet feet all day after walking through puddles. A pair of dry socks in the backpack doesn't hurt either.
First of all - you are going to love Ireland - amazing 2 weeks
I bought Merrell Siren 2 Sport waterproof on Zappos - feet stayed super dry
For Scotland this year I picked up Keen Marshall Waterproof - liked these even more-very sturdy,non slip soles - and so comfy
Neither style required break in time - fit great with my Smartwool socks :-)
Have an amazing time - if you have Declan/Joe duo- tell them HI from the class of September 2012
Save your money on the spray in that waterproof sprays are pretty ineffective. A quick solution for dry feet is to use a couple of qt size or bigger if you have big feet plastic bags. Even if the shoe is soaked your feet are not. Cut off the top of the bag after you put the shoe on so that the bag itself doesn't collect water.
I was in Ireland during a non-rainy period so my Altra tennis shoes worked fine. I have been looking for waterproof shoes for future reference and see that Dansko has just come out with a waterproof model. I don't usually have any kind of break-in time with Danskos but YMMV. http://www.zappos.com/dansko-sabrina-black-violet-suede
Rather than a spray water repellent I suggest using the Nikwax sponge on waterproffing liquid: http://nikwax.com/en-us/products/productdetail.php?productid=259&itemid=2&fabricid=-1
Nikwax also has waterproofing products for suede and for fabric shoes/boots. The Nikwax products should work for walking around town in the rain.
If you are fell walking or crossing Irish bogs, ankle high waterproof/breathable membrane (e.g. Gortex) lined boots would be a better choice but in a deluge count on wet feet. Even with Goretex membrane boots, I treat the outside with Nikwax.
I learned the English trick of filling wet boots with dry crumpled up newspaper to absorb the moisture. Periodically change out wet newspaper for dry. Although an English trick, I'm sure it would work in Ireland. Just call it an Irish trick.
Keen water sandals would also work in that the material doesn't absorb much water and is fast drying. Your feet will be wet. Don't wear socks. If you wear shorts or shorter skirts you will not have to be concerned about wet trousers legs.
Clarification: when I suggested "dry socks" they were for AFTER walking in the water, when you take off your shoes on the bus or sitting in a pub. No socks with the sandals while in the water.
Here's a link to improving the effectiveness of the water repellent agent application:
If your water repellent application is ineffective you may be using an ineffective product or not applying it correctly. That said, in a deluge the water is probably entering the boot from wicking of the sock above the boot top.
Even gaiters over rain pants fail in heavy downpours. In that situation Keen type water sandles with no socks may be the way to go.
Whatever you decide to wear, be it shoes or sandals, I strongly advise wearing socks that wick away moisture, such as Smartwool, Thorlo, and other high quality sport/hiking socks. Even though the sandals and socks will get wet, you will feel more comfortable as the socks wick away the rain. Socks will also protect you from injury, such as sharp rock edges or thorns. In addition, they will keep your footwear cleaner by absorbing the dirt that would otherwise stay in your shoes.
Old newspaper may have been fine in the olden days, but we have better technology now. However, if your shoes are still wet at the end of the day, you could put in white paper towels overnight (white so no ink leaches out) to absorb any residual moisture. You can put any over the counter antifungal powder into the shoes to decrease the risk of athlete's feet.
The last thing you want to do is wrap your feet in a plastic bag. There are sweat glands on the bottom of the feet. On average, a person sweats about 1/4 cup daily. Creating a non-permeable, moist, warm environment is a perfect storm for the bacteria and fungus on your skin to grow.
Rick buys new shoes now and then, when he does... this is his advice: Look for shoes with thick soles so you don’t feel stones. Look for great support as tired feet make an entire body tired. Major shoes stores or good department stores will carry a variety of comfortable brands: Merrill, Echos, Rockport, Tiva, Keen, etc. Look for lots of brands online at www.Zappos.com. The shoes for walking miles each day will not be thin leather or high-style but they will protect your feet and keep you going!
(my advice)-Some of the solid waterproof shoes don't breath very well and if they do they can be ugly. I usually take a good quality, comfortable pair of shoes (in black not white) and waterproof them a little. Then I bring along extra socks and/or my sandals/flip flops to change into. If the weather is warm enough, but still wet, I also opt for my waterproof keen/teva sandals as a previous contributor suggested. I hope this helps. Happy Travels!
Three years ago, on an Irish bicycle trip, we had mountain bike shoes that are similar to tennis shoes in material and design. They got damp in wet grass, but dried pretty quickly. In an absolute downpour, one that came up before we could get our shoe covers out and fitted, they got absolutely soaked, and we pulled into the next town for the night. Our B&B provided lots opf newpaper for stuffing (it was right after the British Royal Wedding, so we had William and Kate stuffed in our shoes overnight), and along with using a hairdryer, the shoes were pretty dry the next morning.
We had Teva sandals (designed for water sports) when off the bike, and while rain and dew can get your feet damp, everything dries out quickly. Are your Keens "fashion" sandals, or the kind canoeists use up in MN? Either way, they might work if it gets rainy, just take care to ensure leather gets dried out soon (don't bake your shoes next to a fire or hot heat source, though), and you get your feet warm and dry when you can. Wet is one thing, but wet and cold is to be avoided. Have a great trip!
I just bought some waterproof Wave.Treks by Clark's. They are super comfortable and cute, too. They come in all sorts of colors.
Thanks for the recommendation of the Clarks Wave Trek. I just bought a pair and they were 50% off. Regularly $130 and I got them for $65. Two of the four colors are on sale.
Do you need a lot of time to break them in, or are the pretty good to go?