The Shoe Dilemma


Choosing Shoes for Travel: Comfort v Style?

In my most recent trip to Italy, I was faced with a very serious dilemma for a girl. Do we wear comfortable shoes that make you look like a complete tourist and stick out like a sore thumb or do we wear shoes that may eventually break or hurt your feet? In some countries where fashion is a high priority, this debate is more relevant than in countries where a sense of style isn’t expected. In Italy, unfortunately for me, fashion does have some importance. I went into the situation knowing this, and thinking that I was wearing comfortable boots, I soon regretted looking cute. I didn’t know that blisters could get blisters! After all the pain, I began to question how necessary it is to look nice rather than comfortable, and is there such as a thing as both?

Looking Good

Most people like to look nice when they can. How much effort depends on the person. For me I prefer the minimum effort possible while still looking nice. But knowing that I was going to a high fashion country, I didn’t want to look completely out of place. That meant no leggings as pants, or sweatpants, and certainly no clunky tennis shoes! I went over with two pairs of boots, one tight ankle book, and one high knee, looser boot. Both gave me blisters on the first day of wearing them. Maybe it is because I had not taken off a pair for over 24 hours because of my day of travel, maybe it was because they were not meant for cobblestones. But either way, I started to regret my choice of shoe. But it was too late. I then began to look at the shoes that the locals were wearing. Many of the women were in heels, but I realized that many of them had red marks around their ankles from shoes cutting into them. They also kept twisting their ankles in all of the cobblestones. I suddenly felt relieved that they were suffering as much as I was. But why do we do this to ourselves? Is having a nice pair of shoes that important, especially when you are there only for a week?

Comfort: Nikes
Paris, France

Feeling Comfortable

There should be nothing wrong with being comfortable, right? Well it seems that usually being comfortable is usually associated with being lazy or looking like a slob. In this case, the ultimate comfort would be wearing tennis shoes or some other very comfortable but clunky shoe. When I went to France last summer, I had the privilege of staying in a five star hotel and my mom and I walked in with our squeaking tennis shoes from the long rainy day we just had. All eyes were on us as we loudly walked to the elevator. At least we were not wearing a poncho like in Disneyland! Clearly we needed to dress the part in order to not be judged. So where do we draw the line? Clearly a five star hotel is the line that you do not want to cross with your clunky bright pink Nikes. So at what point is it absolutely necessary to forget comfort and go with fashion and at which point to do you throw away fashion and give your feet a break? It seems like this debate is something on everyone’s mind but no one has found the solution. And everyone has different priorities. So I think that it is best that you evaluate yours. I have definitely rearranged mine since the trip!

I mean how could I walt around in ugly
shoes in such a beautiful place?
Versailles, France

The Best of Both Worlds?

I went to Italy thinking that I had the best of both worlds. I mean my boots were not too stiff, allowing my feet room to move and I can teach in them all day, which I think that an eight hour day on your feet should qualify as a viable test. But boy was I wrong! I think that by the end of the trip I had a permanent limp. When getting on the plane, some man said it looked like I had a fun time! Thanks stranger for implying that I went crazy. All I did was walk all over Rome and Florence without using public transportation, lets see you do that! But I digress. Some people claim that there are shoes out there that are supportive, easy to pack, and blister-proof, but I think that they either fictional or outside my financial range. In my previous trip to Italy, where I was even more out of shape than I am now, I came home blister free. Are espadrilles this fictional shoe? But walking all over cities trashed the shoes, so it means that most of the comfortable stylish shoes have a short shelf life. And these shoes are obsolete in winter.

So women out there, if you are used to suffering for beauty, lost feeling in your feet years ago from your shoes, then go ahead and wear those cute shoes while traveling. But for women like me, who can barely walk in heels and avoid any shoes that cause pain, we may need to sacrifice style for comfort or be willing to pay higher prices to meet somewhere in between. Ultimately every woman is different, but I believe this dilemma is something that we all deal with when traveling.  

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