Please sign in to post.

No Flip Flops??

Honestly, I know I am going to look like a tourist no matter what I do,(nothing wrong with that!), but are flip-flops really a huge faux pas in Italy??? Give it to me straight!

Posted by
11613 posts

Except at the beach, I've never seen them on anyone except some tourists. Apart from the fashion faux pas, I don't think they would be good on cobblestones, but I will never know.

Posted by
1135 posts

I can't imagine doing the amount of walking I do in Europe in flip flops. I don't know if you travel the same way I do, but can you walk 15 kms a day, day after day, on hard concrete/asphalt/cobblestones? I know I couldn't.

Posted by
12040 posts

Truthfully, nobody will really care. But the only places you generally see anyone wear flip flops in Europe is on the beach and at the pool.

And it's really not practical to wear them anywhere else in Europe.

Posted by
78 posts

I guess I don't mean for the daily walking. I'm thinking for evening time hanging out at a piazza, wearing a summer dress. I live in my flip flops in the summer time.

Posted by
6119 posts

For what you say, just hanging out, it depends on how you feel. You already know you'll look like a tourist (which is ok); but will you be comfortable because it's familiar and what you wear all the time, or will you feel uncomfortable because you're the only one wearing them? Only you can answer that question.

Posted by
26 posts

We hosted an Italian exchange student from Rome last year and she told us that the nickname for tourists (mostly Americans) who wear flip flops is piedi neri or "black feet" cause the bottom of their feet get pitch black from the dust and dirt on the cobblestones.
I would never wear them (for comfort and style reasons) but if you're comfortable walking with them on cobblestones and don't mind the dirt then go for it!

Posted by
78 posts

Okay, thanks for the feedback. I'm going to try and fit in as much as possible, so I will find comfy sandals to wear with my dresses, skirts, and capris.
When in Rome..... :)

Posted by
506 posts

Funny, but I just saw a show with Giada Delarentes (the cook), and she had on a thick pair of flip flops in Rome. There are some healthy brands these days, like Fit Flop in beautiful colors, metalics and designs. I have been surprised every year when we travel how more relaxed even the locals are. If this will make your feet feel better just pick a pair that would king of fit in with fashion, designer athletic shoes are big now too. I find as I get older I have to modify these things and if you look really carefully you can find the same kind of thing but better looking. Just don't wreck your trip over fashion

Posted by
565 posts

Jenny, when it's hot out, I live in my Naot flip flops. I wore them in Portugal and Spain every single day late last summer and nobody gave me any grief. It helps that they don't look like normal flip flops-they are the "Tampa" style (shown on their website) but I wore the "Sandy" style for years too and they're just as comfy and more sophisticated looking. They are expensive but momma taught me not to cheap out on shoes!

Posted by
1710 posts

I am almost afraid to post this for fear of public humiliation, but I wear flip flops all over Europe when I travel in summer. I cannot stand the feel of shoes and socks on a hot summer day and so I long ago started wearing flip flops. It's obviously just a matter of personal choice and comfort, but I wear my five dollar Fred Meyer bamboo-bottomed flip flops. They've taken me through 12 hour walking days in Venice, Paris and Vienna and I love them. If people made fun of me, it was behind my back and I was oblivious and happier for it, because my feet were not overheated:)

Posted by
7737 posts

The "piedi neri" reference cracked me up. I've seen lots of teenaged tourists (presumably American) wearing flipflops in Rome and without fail their feet are filthy. :-)

As for the whole "looking like a tourist" issue that keeps coming up, the key is not to look like a clueless tourist and therefore an easy mark for pickpockets. I don't think flipflops alone would put you in that category.

And for a "how old are you" topic, does anyone remember when flipflops were called "thongs"? :-)

Posted by
247 posts

I packed a pair of flip flops for my last trip. I didn't wear them much because we were walking 6-8 miles each day and I needed better arch support. Flip flops were great though for laundry day so I could wash all my pairs of socks and not walk around barefoot or in shoes without socks (ick!).

Posted by
390 posts

I go to Disneyworld and walk in my reefs and rainbows, and when I lived in Italy for 2 years, I couldn't survive without wearing my flip flops.....all of my Italian friends made fun of me, I dressed like an Italian otherwise (or as much as an American could without buying a completely new wardrobe) but I couldn't bear wearing tennis shoes......I wore ballet flats a lot too, but in the warmer months it was ALWAYS flip flops......I'm bringing them in May, I don't have any better walking shoes than them......

Posted by
78 posts

Thanks for all the great feedback, guys. I'm only bringing a backpack, so I'm being very selective in what footwear I'm bringingalong. A cousin of mine toured all of Italy in crock flip flops, so I was wondering what the consensus was. =)

Posted by
11983 posts

Are you talking about regular rubber flip flops, or stylish sandals?

The latter would be ok, although I don't think they are great for walking as they have very little, if any, arch support.

Rubber flip flops (slippers basically) are for beach and pool only. People will think you are a 'zingara' (gypsy) if you wear rubber flip flops, especially with dirty feet. And Italians are particular when it comes to clean feet. They wash their feet religiously every evening using the bidet or the shower. If I went to bed without washing my feet when I was a kid, my mother would scold me like you probably scold your children if they don't brush their teeth. Don't be a "piede nero", or people will look at you with disgust. And even worse, never walk barefoot in Italy. I still can't do that, not even at home, where I wear my slippers even while walking on the carpet.

Posted by
390 posts

Just to mention, I don't use the plastic 1 cm flip flops, my Rainbows are actually the most supportive in the arch area shoe that I own, very sturdy and cushioned soles, and they still go with my outfit, definitely not neon colors :)

but my Italian friends still made fun of me :) haha

Posted by
5555 posts

People will think you are a 'zingara' (gypsy)....

I would think that Gypsies would wear footwear more suitable to quick mobility if they engage in the pickpocket line of work attributed to the group.

Posted by
964 posts

I wore my Vionic/Orthaheel flipflops all over Italy- Rome, Florence and CT. They have great arch support and depending on the style, looks fashionable. My friend wore her Cole Haan sandals. Being from SoCal, I wear flipflops pretty much all year round and like the other posters, I can't bear to have hot feet. I dont recall getting black feet but if I did I know what to use the bidet for now, thanks to Roberto for the tip lol!

Posted by
11983 posts

Claudette, I can give you other tips.
Besides for washing feet, the bidet can be used to wash other body parts too. I'll let you use your imagination to figure out which, but to give you a clue there is no equivalent in the Italian language for the expression "skid marks". So, if you use it fully, you won't even need to use it too often for the third purpose: to hand wash lingerie.
As you can see it's a very useful fixture indeed.

Posted by
843 posts

The faux pas issue is not what gets me. They can be fashionable in the right circumstances. What gets me with flip flops is how absolutely unsanitary and nasty they can be (and uncomfortable after some solid walking around). If you are running out to a low key dinner, walking out for a cup of coffee around the corner, or going to the pool/beach, then okay. But, not for a day of urban walking (I love Tina Fey's take on this on an episode of 30Rock).

Posted by
1122 posts

1) I grew up wearing them and called them thongs
2) I took a 99cent pair to Italy with me last summer but only wore them downstairs to breakfast and around the room.....planned on leaving them behind under the bed at the last place if I ran out of Luggage space
3) the one of our foursome who was so PROUD that she was carrying the least amount of luggage of us (a backpack not much bigger than a student day pack) confessed on the last day that she had been wearing the same pair of blue jeans for 11 days solid, but had come with 4 pairs of real shoes. Still shaking my head over that one.....I had a pair of birkenstocks, a pair of Nikes, and the 99cent THONGS

Posted by
2352 posts

I wouldn't. There's no rule against them, as far as I know, but have you ever tried to walk 5+ miles a day in a city in flip-flops? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Try walking many miles around home in them. If your feet can handle it, great. Then factor in cobblestones, and, if you're going to a big city, crowds.

They are pretty unfashionable, so if that's a concern, then don't wear them. But if you don't care, and you have super feet, go for it.

Do you mean rubber flip flops, or a nicer sandal that happens to be open back? Beachy flip flops are very uncommon in non-beach areas. Sandals are fine.