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What Are The Right Shoes For Traveling?

I had been debating for nearly 10 minutes whether to buy the black walking sport shoes or not. As I surveyed shoppers at the store, I thought how foolish it was of me to stand there so conflicted. After all, I made the trip specifically to purchase these shoes, but it was an investment of more than $50 and suddenly I was wondering if I wasn’t duplicating something I already had at home.

In the next couple days I’m leaving for Lima, Peru. In the meantime, I’m evaluating and reevaluating things to buy and pack, of which shoes rank near the top because they are essential to enjoying the experience.

How do you decide which shoes are travel worthy? Three benefits come to mind when selecting the right shoes for your journey. These are:

  1. Comfort
  2. Style
  3. Weight

It’s sort of funny that I struggled over the shoes given the $100 receipt I generated at Target later that day for other stuff, which was also mostly for the trip. After that stop, I left a bit dazed as I carried my bags to the car, then headed home to review my closet and existing shoes.

We are flying Delta and have the amazing amenity of being able to bring two suitcases included with our ticket price. As I bask in the extra space, I plan to designate one piece of luggage for Alexandra to bring stuff from home, which leaves me the other suitcase to my own whims. I still plan to pack light, however, and want to keep my shoe count down to the most versatile to save space and weight.

A TRAVEL SHOE MUST: COMFORT

Given my somewhat frumpy style preferences, I always look to stay comfortable. However, as it relates to travel, comfort is key for anyone no matter your style concerns. Since sightseeing and walking go hand-in-hand with travel, your shoes need to be perfect for walking so you can go the distance without regret.

We will be walking on city streets for seven days, which means trekking along on paved surfaces. Good walking shoes (which, for me, require arch support) are a must. And hygiene is also a factor given the dust and grime associated with city walking, so the shoes should offer protection as well.

Over at The Budget Minded Traveler, Jackie Nourse details the shoes she prefers in her article, “Best Shoes According to the Experts.” She mentions Toms or “non-Toms” as being great for travel. The light canvas slipper-like shoes do provide a breathable fabric and an espadrille-style that compresses nicely for packing.

I would love to bring my pair of Tom-like canvas shoes that came from the Storied Gifts Shop. Our shop’s version features Lucky the elephant and the “think good thoughts” mantra. However, for LONG walks, the arch support is less pronounced, which means they won’t help me out for trucking several miles a day.

We are traveling in early December, which means it is winter here in the Midwest but summer in Peru. As much as I like tennis shoes for walking, they are too hot for a summer day, so I looked again at my options and decided my walking sandals with ankle straps by Merrell would work perfectly fine.

They are used up but still work well, and since I’ve broken them in I know they are comfortable. Plus, if they get beaten up further, I’ll feel I’ve used them up well. However, I’m still bringing tennis shoes just in case they prove useful, and can certainly use them for keeping warm to and from Chicago.

Jackie’s article references the importance of tennis shoes for almost every trip, and truly they meet with comfort and foot protection for any climate. Since Lima is warm and the summer there is just starting, the subject of boots that Jackie highlights in her article won’t apply for this trip, but boots are another shoe to consider when traveling elsewhere.

A THOUGHT ABOUT SOCKS FOR YOUR SHOES

Once we get into the “airport bubble,” I’ll transfer the tennis shoes to my luggage and use the light grey slip-on Keds I plan to bring in leu of the espadrilles. The Keds are a grey pair already smudged with dirt from use but are easy to slip on and off, and have the arch support I need for distance walking.

It’s the slip on and off feature that is so important in the airport. Airport security will most likely mean you’ll be removing shoes for screening, so easy shoes make the bin-stuffing experience go smoother. And at that same point of security is where those liner socks come in handy.

Liner socks fit under slip-on shoes and tennis shoes well, and when you remove your shoes for security, your feet don’t touch the cold and dirty floors in the airport. Plus, socks keep your shoes from getting stinky, so they are a win-win item to go with your shoes.

SHOE TRAVEL OTHER MUST: STYLE

I live in t-shirts and jeans as a rule, but there will be a few occasions where looking nice will be important—plus, I’ve vowed to look more presentable for my daughter’s sake. Wearing stretchy pants (the same ones) each day wasn’t a great look during my prior trip.

This time, I’ve selected great walking slacks in multiple shades and prints to step up my appearance, a few stylish shirts, and a series of fresh t-shirts, most of which came from the Storied Gifts Shop.

Since my general style is low-key, I do enjoy any item which compliments without too much effort. The pair of Storied Gifts Shop Mary Janes work well for this by adding style and finish, and they wear well. Made for our shop by a print-on-demand supplier, I was once skeptical as to quality and comfort, but they’ve proven to be durable and perfect walking shoes for more than a year.

By my count, I’ll have three pairs of shoes in my luggage and one pair on my feet for a week of travel. Each pair of shoes meets the three criteria for comfort and style, and are all lightweight.

Since the shoes for the trip all came from my existing supply this helps my budget, too, but honestly I would have done well to purchase the black shoes since they met with the three points as well. After all, it would be crazy to go this far in the investment of a trip abroad only to come up short on uncomfortable shoes!

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