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Shoes - want to be confortable yet chic

Any idea what women are wearing in Paris and Amsterdam. I know the most comfortable will be the Adidas type shoes. Will be in Paris, Amsterdam and Giverny in early Sept. In A. will be in museums and some gardens. In Giverny, in museum and mostly gardens. Luggage to be carry-on and day-pack so not much room.
Any ideas?

Posted by
813 posts

I was just in Paris for in May for a week, then again two weeks ago for 4 days. Right now, while it's summer, it's all about the black leggings, oversized blouses, and flats. Your feet will kill after wearing flats a whole day unless you're really used to it. Honestly, you're probably going to touristy places, so there's no avoiding looking like a tourist. I suggest wearing whatever is comfortable for you, even if it's white tennis shoes.

Posted by
1358 posts

There's lots of sporty ballet-type flats that are comfortable. I got a pair of Privo's this summer, they're made by Clark. Very comfy, slip on easy.

Posted by
47 posts

Flats? Maybe the flats will also be a good shoe to wear on the long plane ride - easy to kick on and off. Have been looking at the Pompidou web cam and it looks a bit as if there are tennis shoes and jeans around, but mostly on the young men. Not middle aged women. Too bad. Right now it is so hot here in US that shorts and t-shirt are the mode - for me anyway.

Posted by
104 posts

Alice, I am so with you. My trip is in 4 weeks and I have been looking for a month. Couple of things, yes sure you COULD wear the white ones but why stick out more than you have to. Everything I have read says the more you try to fit in the less of a target you are to be robbed. So, I suggest finding flats and black slim tennis shoes, or gladiator sandals (if you can stand it, I couldn't tho). Some things I looked at are...
(check out Zappos for free shipping and return they are awesome!) http://www.dsw.com/shoe/sperry+top-sider+women%27s+beechcomber+flat?prodId=229669&category=dsw12cat460006 http://www.dsw.com/shoe/naturalizer+anva+sport+oxford?prodId=208770&category=dsw12cat460006 http://www.dsw.com/shoe/naturalizer+canto+flat?prodId=209804&category=dsw12cat460006 http://www.zappos.com/converse-chuck-taylor-all-star-core-ox-black-monochrome http://www.zappos.com/rockport-ashley-plain-moc-black-leather http://www.zappos.com/product/7799496/color/183092 http://www.zappos.com/converse-chuck-taylor-all-star-core-ox-black Good luck and have fun!!

Posted by
8810 posts

Even with the advent, popularity and finally acceptance of jeans ( A decade ago they weren't considered chic and rarely seen in Europe. ) Europeans have always been more stylish in dress. For me being comfortable is more important than being chic when I travel. However, I prefer to blend in and not scream tourist (my preference) so I wear shoes that are both comfortable and stylish. BIG fan of Keens. Costly but well worth it. Own 5 pairs. Discovered this brand over a year ago when I was suffering horrible plantar fasciitus pain. Bought a pair of their Shelbys to travel to London at Christmas. Within two weeks of wearing them 12-15 hours a day all the pain subsided and has never returned. Have Presideos, Golden Mary Janes and the Venice sandals. My pair of Voyagers are taking me to the top of Half Dome in October. Take a look at their website and see if anything catches your eye. All are much lighter than they look and easy to pack. I'm a carryon traveler and always take an extra pair.

Posted by
355 posts

This is both a response and a questions - because I really don't know anyone who has used these shoes? But... I was watching Shark Tank last week and there was woman, looking for investers in her company. She makes shoes with interchangeable tops. They looked comfortable and the idea was really intriguing. You are able to buy the sole in varying heights from virtually flat to 4 or 5 inches. Her website is www.onesole.com I also found a youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_hrawLdWbo&feature=share Anyone out there familiar with these... They look ideal for travelers that want to look stylish...

Posted by
956 posts

Have you considered Pumas? They're super popular in Europe but still a sneaker. That's what I'm going to wear.... But I think Clarks or the equivalent are also a good idea.

Posted by
1068 posts

Pumas are a great idea. There are lots of styles for women that are chic AND super comfy. They are even making a ballet flat now! (Puma is also making the coolest looking wedge ever - "Urban Mobility Women's Suede Fold" - but it is probably not your best bet for travel. Cute, though!) We were in Paris last in December, and I was once again struck (as I am always struck in Paris) by how much better the women tend to dress there than they do here. I know, I know..... "everyone is more casual now and wants to look American" - but still, the women in Paris just are (still) more chic and put together than the average American woman. THAT BEING SAID: since you are traveling, and will be walking a ton, most likely, comfort should come first. But with some judicious shopping, you should be able to get some good looking, comfy shoes. As for me, I like my old Doc Martens. They are super comfy, incredibly durable, look cute with skirts as well as pants, and in them I can rock my "elderly rocker chick" look. ;o)

Posted by
47 posts

Puma's look great on-line. I have a bunion so will try it on before buying. Came across another store Chico's which had a line of travel clothes. They look quite chic - not like the stuff I got for the trip down the Grand Canyon. Here is Chico's web site http://www.chicos.com/store/store_locator.jsp Click on the Travelers tab for clothes that won't wrinkle. I am determined to pack everything I need for 15 days in Paris and Amsterdam in a carry-on. Will also have a day-pack. Light, light, light!

Posted by
9429 posts

"Even with the advent, popularity and finally acceptance of jeans ( A decade ago they weren't considered chic and rarely seen in Europe. ) " I lived in Paris for a year (1975) and the height of fashion at that time for chic Parisian women were skin tight designer jeans tucked into boots. The style became popular in the US soon after that. In '75 and in '89 I remember jeans being sold all over Paris - from the flea market to the chicest boutiques. Fashion constantly changes, especially in Paris, so there may be times when jeans have been out of favor, but Parisians have been wearing jeans for decades. As far as shoes, I agree with others, wear whatever you want. No one cares. I have never heard of anyone getting robbed in Paris, maybe pickpocketed but it's never happened to me after living there twice and visiting often. Pickpockets are going to know you are a tourist no matter what shoes you wear. When it's hot, I wear cute Birkenstocks, and when it's not hot, I wear white New Balance tennis shoes. We walk at least 20 mi a day so I want to be comfortable. Last August I bought a pair of Tevas in Paris and they are super comfortable too. I dress nicely, and as I said, no one cares what shoes you wear.

Posted by
1170 posts

Susan, I loved your post! Comfort, no matter the shoe colour is worth it's weight in gold. I bought a pair of Clarks privo and they were fine here BUT not when I was doing 15 miles a day. Thank goodness I took another pair of shoes with me. They were not as cute, but my feet were happy. No one cares what we wear. Of course those French women look good. They're not out sightseeing 12 hours a day! You should have seen them in Luxembourg this summer though. Met several women from Paris on a day trip we took and they wore sensible shoes.

Posted by
891 posts

Alice, On our trips to Italy and France we also do carry-on. I wear 1 pair of black shoes and take a pair of brown ones. Mostly I wear Munros, Soft Walk or Clarks. The Soft Walk has a sole that looks like an egg crate and is very cushiony. I buy my shoes at Nordstrom's because they have the best return policy. The main thing is to wear them a lot at home to break them in and make sure they will feel good after 8 hours or so. Get those shoes broken in and you'll have a great trip!

Posted by
47 posts

Mimi, Good point. See that you are also from CO. Yeah!
Well, may go to Denver West tomorrow or Tues. Never thought of Nordstrom's for shoes. Plan to look there and at the Puma Outlet also in DW. I did get some Keens the other day, but have not worn them yet. Waiting to check on the Pumas, etc. first.

Posted by
141 posts

Alice - once I wore a pair of white addidas to Europe. I was looking at pictures taken of our trip by my friend - in one I saw a woman and thought she looks nice but would look so much nicer if she wasn't wearing white tennis shoes. "She looks like Mickey Mouse", I thought to myself. I leaned in and looked closer - that was me in the picture! I was embarassed and no longer wear white tennis shoes, even if they are from a European manufacturer because they make my feet look big. That said - I'm all about comfort - so try Nordstrom - online where you can sort the shoes by comfort shoes. For my feet, Naot, Born, Pikolinos, Clarks, Munro, Merrill have all worked well for heavy duty walking while looking more chic than my old white Adidas. I think Puma and Adidas have black tennis shoes. I personally just don't like the look of white tennis shoes - that's just me and you wanted advice on "chic but comfortable". If you like white - go for it. I have abandoned the idea of "breaking in shoes." If they pinch, hurt or even in the slightest way, rub my feet wrong when I am trying them on, they don't get to go in my shopping bag. I do have a pair of cute flats and they are fine around the house or for short trips but not suitable for 8 to 10 miles of walking on my feet. Then once you've made your ion in the store, make sure that you wear the shoes for long walks before your trip. I bring 2 pair of shoes so I can alternate. Good socks help too. Last - a lifesaver for preventing blisters when going sockless (or not) is Bodyglide - reduces friction and chaping on your feet (and other sensitive areas). A foot lotion is also a must for my dogs - L'Occitane makes a foot lotion with an analgesic quality. A sour look on your face from aching painful feet is less chic in my opinion that what is on your feet. Listen to your feet and have fun!

Posted by
141 posts

Re Chicos Traveler clothing line. It's cute, chic, doesn't wrinkle, but they weigh a ton. If packing light is critical, I wouldn't do a whole wardrobe of the clothing line - maybe one or two items at most.

Posted by
9 posts

I was in Europe 3 times last year, wore my Eccos, Monroes and Merrills, all make great walking shoes.

Posted by
3808 posts

After trying many different sandals that felt good in the store, but made blisters on my feet after 10 hours a day of walking in Europe, I now wear New Balance shoes. They make not only running shoes, but great walking shoes in a variety of colors and finishes. I rely on a brown suede pair I bought at the New Balance store. They look chic enough with pants outfits. Best of all, I don't have foot pain when I wear them all day. I take a second pair of cute black flats (Clarks with a shock absorbent sole) to wear with dresses for evening.

Posted by
1056 posts

Naot, Naot, Naot. I took Naot sandals and Clarks closed pull-on walking shies to Europe for seven weeks last summer. Wore the Clarks twice. What I considered comfortable, supportive shoes at home didn't cut it there. I go t bad arch pain partway through each day. The Naots were comfortable all day every day. I still wear them here at home more often than any other sandals I own. Tip tho: make sure you select a style with a heel and ankle strap, not slide-on.

Posted by
10296 posts

I'm with everyone else with the Clarks, Munros, Merrills, Naots especially in the cities, but guess what is a huge seller in France: Dr. Scholls! Women in the south and on vacation wear them everywhere. They sell spiffy models not offered in the States such as gold and silver leather, rhinestones, etc.

Posted by
565 posts

I've been a loyal Adidas wearer for almost 15 years, and I never buy them in white! You can get a great pair of athletic shoes in silver or gray, and they look far less dorky than the white ones Americans can't seem to get enough of.
I also take a pair of ballet flats for dinner.

Posted by
8810 posts

I stand corrected about jeans being out of style in Paris a decade ago. Since Susan lived there she has a far better perspective. I was just remembering what I saw when I traveled and was trying to be helpful. Heaven forbid.

Posted by
141 posts

I found a lovely new walking shoe engineered by new balance - it is called aravon. Black leather with a t-strap, rounded toe box, a 1 & 3/4 inch heel height - wider heel. Great for those with a high arch and high instep and it looks cute as well! I went to a good walking shoe store (Nordstrom seems to have lost its knowledgeable shoe clerks), my foot was measured, my walking analyzed and the clerk brought these out and I am thrilled. It is really good for cobblestones and uneven pavement. I have a bad left ankle and right knee. I'm in the process of walking long distances over uneven ground and it is so comfortable! There is good ankle support and best of all - it does not look geriatric!

Posted by
1319 posts

Love my Pumas. Seems like if you ask ten women this question, you'll get ten different answers. Hope you found something you like.

Posted by
1358 posts

I'll echo what Diane said about breaking in shoes. If they don't feel good when you try them on, don't buy them. I literally heard angels singing when I tried on my Privos. I finally found mine at DSW.

Posted by
10296 posts

@Claudia, I didn't say anything when you posted it, but I've seen jeans since I first went to Paris in the early 1970s. They were really expensive though, compared to the States. When friends visited me in LA in the 1980s, I took them shopping so they could load up on Levis and Vans for the family.

Posted by
47 posts

Maybe I could wear jeans for that long trip over from Denver to Paris. Then if I spill andthing on them it won't be a big deal. Also, I have a pair that still fit well but are on the last legs (pardon the pun) so could leave them there.

Posted by
47 posts

This has been a great discussion. It is almost a fashion blog. I leave August 31 (2 am!) and get to Paris the next day about 6:30am. Not sure how long the customs takes at CDG - hopefully there will be a restaurant/cafe in the area if there are long waits. I love Paris! It has been 30 years. Used to live in Lausanne , Switz. for 4 years - This time to Giverny and Amsterdam.

Posted by
16 posts

Wow, so much good advice. I just wanted to put in a vote for Born shoes. I'm almost embarrassingly picky about my appearance and I would never wear something I didn't consider stylish. I have a few pair of lovely Born shoes which are very comfortable, even for long walks. I live in Europe (Brussels/Paris) and I don't feel out of place wearing them. Best,
Rose

Posted by
40 posts

Landsend makes some great leather clogs. I wore them on our flight to/from Germany last yr and when we were doing indoor activities. They're terrifically comfortable---great arch supports.

Posted by
47 posts

I think I will wear my wonderfully comfortable Naot sandals on the plane - since all the straps have velcro I could take warm socks and be just fine. Also, bought a pair of Keens which are black and accommodate the bunion but still stylish (+/-). Black slacks and leggings and also the black long underwear in case I get cold. Have just about adjusted to 90 degree + here, and it has been cool in northern France and Holland. Sounds like perfect relief.