Shoes, the eternal, infernal quandary
The most common packing question I get, and in fact the most common question that the Rick Steves office gets, is what kind of shoes to bring when traveling. I wish I had the magic answer for that. Every season I wrestle with this beast. We all have our crosses to bear.The perfect shoe has to be all of these things: comfortable, stylish or even sexy, light, packable. Oh, and hopefully not tooooo expensive. I sift through pages of shoes every spring looking for something that meets all of these requirements and end up as I am now, confused and headachy. I have enormous feet, so I can't buy shoes at the regular store, I have to order them online. That's sort of a bonus though, I can read reviews and get exact specs before deciding. Trimming down the selection to the lightweight shoes really narrows the field. The normal wisdom is to bring 2 pair, one sandal, one waking or running. I don't do that. I'm on my feet all day. I've learned over time that even the most expensive comfort shoes will hurt if you wear them all day every day. So I bring at least 3 pairs. My feet appreciate variety, just as the rest of me does. So I've been bringing sandals (black or brown), running shoes (assuming I'll be running, which, let's be honest, probably not), and either ballerina flats or thongs (flip flops to all of you who are not from LA). Sometimes I've even thrown in heels or knee high boots if I'm feeling spicy. But I usually live to regret that decision.So here I am, again reinventing the wheel. Can't use last year's shoes, they are close to death. I loved Dansko sandals in the past, they are the unofficial female tour guide shoe. But they've changed their sizing and my clown feet are just too big. As I often do, I've decided to Google that problem. Ultralight shoes. I've found two potential winners, although both are a bit radical, and neither cute enough to pass in Italy. But I might go out on a limb this year. My possible new "running" shoe is Adidas MetroLyte, simple and black. No laces or tongue and coming in at less weight than a single Dansko sandal for the pair. They are a bit odd and the reviews are mixed but I might give it a shot. I'm not super convinced about these athletic shoes that are all knit, even if extremely light. The ones I've tried in stores feel like Crocs. I hate Crocs. (I love them too but don't tell anyone)My possible new sandal is really out there, Xero sandals. You can order them all made or get a kit to make your own. They are made to make you feel like you are barefoot. I'd be barefoot all day, every day if it wouldn't get me kicked out of restaurants, so this might be the ticket. They aren't sexy though :(On the wish list is a pair of the ultra expensive, super trendy Tieks. I have been desiring these ballerina flats for a couple of years. They are just perfect for me, light, cute, foldable, and they mold to your feet to become perfectly comfy. Wantwantwant. But at close to $200 a pair, it's more like dreamdreamdream.....Ok, enough writing, back to the tough work of shoe shopping. Here's to hoping the perfect pair falls in my lap off of the shoe tree.