Best Travel Shoes for Europe in the Summer (Myths Debunked!)

Sharing is caring!

Update: Looking for Fall or Winter travel shoes? We have a brand new post with our favorites, link here!

If you love to tour (and shop) in European hilltowns and adorable cobblestone road villages, you already know that comfortable summer travel shoes and sandals can mean the difference between a pleasant day exploring a city and day ruined by blisters (or even a sprained ankle).

But if you google things like “best travel shoes” you are going to find some awful recommendations– orthopaedic shoes better left to nurses, outdoorsy shoes perfect for backpackers, or just plain ugly shoes suitable for nothing I can think of.

It’s time to debunk some popular travel shoe myths! Follow our tips for some chic travel shoe recommendations that are perfect for navigating those cobblestone streets on your next European summer vacation.

Myth: A sneaker-shoe hybrid is the perfect travel summer shoe solution!



Truth: These travel shoes don’t fool anyone– they aren’t a shoe or a sneaker– and they are ugly.

Don’t be tricked by travel shoes like these that can’t decide if they should be a sneaker or a shoe. There are all sorts of problems with this sneaker/shoe hybrid– first are the embellishments (in this case the cut outs) that are trying to disguise the fact that these are “travel shoes.” More important to consider is the fact that these clunky travel shoes can make your feet look wider, ankles thicker, and legs stumpier. And velcro is for children, not for adults visiting chic European cities.

Myth: Chic European women effortlessly navigate cobblestones in stilettos– so you may as well give up now.

best italian hilltown val d'orcia

Steep cobblestone streets are no place for amateurs– Italian women have had lots of practice.

Truth: Ok this is partially true. Yes, I did see some gorgeous Italian women strutting down the Florence’s cobblestone lanes in their designer stilettos– but by no means did all women sport spindly shoes.

Just because you don’t have the gait of a supermodel doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to frumpy shoes. Vacation is a time when you want to look and feel your best– so find a chic travel shoe option that will work for you.

Myth: You need hiking boots to walk European city streets.

hiking boots for travel europe

Perfect for Machu Picchu, overkill for quaint cobblestone streets.

Truth: Grubby hiking boots? Save them for the trails.

American tourists in Europe aren’t the only offenders here, I see plenty of Europeans riding the New York City subway, decked out in full-fledged hiking boots, just to walk Manhattan’s city streets.

Myth: Black travel shoes match everything and are the only shoe you need.

best black travel shoes sandals summer europe comfortable








Truth: Black matches black.

Black travel-friendly sandals, if I bring them at all, are always my “spare” shoes. They look great with black– which I don’t tend to wear much of in the summer.

If you don’t have room for another pair of shoes, look for a summer neutral that goes with everything– a sandal that blends with your skin tone, whatever the shade.

These neutral Stuart Weitzman sandals are a simple style like my black Weitzman sandals above– but a lot more versatile. I love this style to wear as travel shoes because ample straps means they stay on your feet, the thin straps are flattering on your feet, and the small heel is just enough lift for all day walking. I find Stuart Weitzman sandals to be the perfect blend of both stylish and comfortable– a little more expensive, but the looks are classic enough that you’ll wear them for years.

Myth: If you wear sneakers in Europe in the summer you’ll stand out as a tourist

best travel shoes for summer Italy best travel shoes sandals summer europe comfortable

Wearing my Superga sneakers on the white stone drive of my agriturismo in Italy.

Truth:  If you wear clunky running shoes in Europe you’ll stand out as a tourist.

Not all sneakers are big clunky running sneakers– and Europeans wear causal sneakers like Converse all the time.

best summer travel sneakers europe italy

Sneakers should be “box fresh” and replaced every couple of years or so, depending on wear.

Superga – 2750 COTU Classic (White) – Footwear

My preferred casual sneakers, that I’ve been wearing for the last twenty years, are by Superga (made in Italy, priced around $65). Supergas work well for my feet– I find them to be more substantial and cushion-y than most street sneakers.  While you can’t wear sneakers, even cute ones, with absolutely everything, they work with many summer pieces, like skinny jeans, linen trousers, shorts and even certain styles of skirts.

Make sure your sneakers are crisp and new, or at least freshly laundered– beat up tennies look awful. You can stick with basics like white and navy, or pick from a rainbow of colors. Superga – 2750 COTU Classic (Navy) – Footwear

Update: I’ve seen actual running shoes all over the runways and fashion blogs. Their clunkier profile makes them harder to pull off as a travel shoe to wear with “normal” (not workout) clothes. I gave in and bought a pair of New Balance old school running shoes– and love them.

A word of warning when you see those Nike free and other sneakers designed to be worn to simulate barefoot running– these are NOT good walking shoes, you will feel every pebble under your foot.

Myth: Ballet flats are a perfect travel shoe for Europe in the summer

travel comfortable ballet flats foldable summer suedeTruth: Ballet flats are ok summer travel shoes.

Time and again I see fashion magazines rave about “comfy” ballet flats. Perhaps this is true if you compare a ballet flat to 5 inch platforms. But on the spectrum of travel comfort shoes, ballet flats fall short, with zero arch support, leaving me with a backache. I do love ballet flats for airports– they are easy on/off through security and weigh next to nothing.

Myth: Birkenstocks are only for hippies

most comfortable travel shoes sandals birkenstocks trendy summer shoe

My birkenstocks have seen better days. I’d probably upgrade them to a cuter material and color before taking them on a European vacation,

Truth: Birkenstock are the latest “in” shoe, on runways everywhere.

Birkenstock - Gizeh Birko-Flor (Metallic Silver Birko Flor) - Footwear

Birkenstock – Gizeh Birko-Flor (Metallic Silver Birko Flor) – Footwear

Can you believe that birkenstocks, those college throwbacks probably sitting in the back of your closet right now, are the latest fashion trend? It seems like every hot young celeb has been photographed in these Gizeh birkenstock sandals. Or some “designer” version of them at ten times the cost. The key to wearing birkenstocks without looking like a disheveled undergrad is the contrast– make sure the rest of your outfit is streamlined and modern chic (skip the tie-dye and baggy cargo shorts).

Myth: You need to pack heels for that special evening out while on your European vacation.  

hermes oran sandal tan

Truth: Unless you are wearing true formal wear, a perfect pair of very simple slides or sandals looks right with evening outfits.

Dressy doesn’t have to mean fancy– I love wearing a pretty dress with very simple, chic flat sandals. While I wouldn’t necessarily wear these backless slides all day, they are plenty comfortable for a relaxed evening walk to dinner.

comfy stylish dressy travel walking sandals

Gold and silver flat sandals like incredibly comforable sandals from Kork-ease are another great alternative for a “dress up” sandal that matches most everything– and looks great with a summer tan.

Myth: Forget platform shoes, you’ll sprain your ankle.

most comfortable platform sandals for travel europe

Truth: While this is 100% true for steep hill towns like in my photo above, platform sandals can be a very comfy travel sandal option for regular city streets.

The key is the actual heel angle when you factor out the lift of the platform– which can make the effective heel as low as an inch or inch and a half. In a sooty city like my home city of New York, I actually prefer to have some distance from the street when I wear open sandals. Super flat sandals that graze city sidewalks can result in black feet by the end of the day– requiring a scrub in the bathtub before getting into bed.

I actually bought the above kork-ease sandals for my five foot tall mom— she confirms they are comfy enough for all day wear and the price is a bargain for the value.

Myth: you have to spend a lot on summer travel shoes to get the perfect fit.

Truth: You have to try on a lot of travel shoes to find the perfect fit.

I try to hit a shoe store that carries multiple brands or just order a bunch of shoes online (sometimes five pairs at a time) and return the shoes that don’t make the cut (make sure to use a shipper with free shipping both ways).

Myth: There is one perfect travel shoe to bring to Europe in the summer.

Truth: There is never going to be one perfect summer travel shoe or sandal that takes you from morning to evening, from tours of the ruins to an elegant restaurant.

It just doesn’t work that way. Even your most comfortable shoes may feel less comfortable after days of nonstop wear– alternating shoes can make a big difference. Fortunately, since summer travel shoes and sandals are much lighter and smaller than winter shoe and boots, you have a lot more flexibility in throwing a few extra pairs into your suitcase.

Readers, we would love to hear about your favorite shoes for summer travel! Share in the comments below!

Note: the links in this post are affiliate links that help with the maintenance of this site but incur no cost to you! Thanks for your support!


Sharing is caring!

56 Responses to Best Travel Shoes for Europe in the Summer (Myths Debunked!)

  1. Tripping Blonde 05/31/2014 at 5:04 pm #

    This is a great post! I love those Stuart Weitzman cork sandals. Going to have to pick those up.

    • Kristin Francis 05/31/2014 at 7:53 pm #

      Thanks! They are cute– cork is so lightweight they work well for packing too.

  2. sueslaght 05/31/2014 at 5:56 pm #

    Oh Kristin I have broken your rules terribly . 🙁
    signed ‘one pair only to Europe five years in a row.’
    I must now go to the footwear hall of shame ….

    • Kristin Francis 05/31/2014 at 7:52 pm #

      Ha Sue you and my mom both! No worries this post wasn’t directed at minimalist and adventure travelers– I promise a tips post for carry on only folks is coming! But I have to know what shoes are so multipurpose that they’ve gotten you through 5 years of trips!

  3. Danielle Gilbert Francis 06/01/2014 at 10:44 am #

    I am getting those sneakers for Vancouver and Boulder. thanks!

    • Kristin Francis 06/01/2014 at 11:21 am #

      Thanks for commenting! I think they’d be perfect for “light” hiking too. If you’re doing some serious hiking though you’ll need the ankle support of boots. Let us know how they work out! I’m bringing mine to SF so we can be sneaker twins. : )

  4. Mandie @ RamblingMandie 06/02/2014 at 4:02 pm #

    Haha I love this post so much! I put more time into picking which shoes to bring than anything else. Ultimately I did end up bringing my running shoes over my Convese, just because of the various activities I’ll be doing (hiking, running & walking). You’re so right about the ballet flats, though! I tried one day of sightseeing in them and wound up with 4 blisters and very sore feet. I’ve been tempted to buy a pair of cute walking shoes but I think if I have more than 4 pairs of shoes I’m no longer allowed to call myself a backpacker. Lol

    • Kristin Francis 06/02/2014 at 4:08 pm #

      Hi Mandie, thanks for commenting! There are definitely different shoe requirements for actual hiking! : ) But I know plenty of people who have no intention of doing anything more than walking city streets and they go bananas thinking they need some special shoe! I will eventually write a post on that ubiquitous one shoe for light packers/backpackers– but I need to find it first!

  5. Ohhh yes, I live in Europe and TRUST me those women have had years of practice navigating the streets in those oh so high heels. My hubby loves his Superga’s, but me, I prefer a pastel coloured sandal, and now… now a Birkenstock. I am so glad that they are back in the okay to wear column. My last pair dies back in 2010 and I was too afraid to buy another.

  6. Anonymous 06/03/2014 at 4:33 pm #

    Thanks for this. A very timely article. I’ve started to mentally pack my bag for France in August. I think those white Superga will be a perfect addition.

    • Kristin Francis 06/03/2014 at 5:23 pm #

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I hope to have more packing posts soon. Love France, I would be planning my packing now too!

  7. Adelina | PackMeTo 06/03/2014 at 4:52 pm #

    I did most of my traipsing around Europe in flats, boots, the occasional converse and good ‘ol flip flops (unfortunately – should have gotten one of those stylish brown sandals you have up there). I really like those sneakers! Gotta find myself a pair. I find converse to not have much support and by the end of the day, my feet are aching. Lately I’ve been wandering around in my pair of Toms which give me awful tan lines.

    • Kristin Francis 06/03/2014 at 5:25 pm #

      I find the Supergas have more cushioning than Converse– they aren’t as supportive as running sneakers but they work for me. I just bought a pair of Tszias in Budapest that are also comfy but they are nearly impossible to get outside Hungary (and even sold out there) so they didn’t make the post! Lol re: Tom’s! Winter is easier because flat boots work so well and are supportive too.

  8. Dana 06/03/2014 at 7:54 pm #

    Hi Kristin! I took your advice and I ordered Supergas from Zappos. They just came today and they are awesome– so cute in light grey. Thanks for the good travel advice! I will use these for my trip to France later this year (and possibly even San Fran when we are there 🙂

    • Kristin Francis 06/04/2014 at 8:41 am #

      Hi Dana, I love the grey ones too, those are next on my list to get! I almost got them instead of re-buying the navy ones. Can’t wait to hear about your trip to France!! I may put you on assignment…

  9. RobRob 06/04/2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Just so you know…guys wonder about this too. Good to know I can wear my sneakers (not running shoes, not even tennis shoes!) when we hit Europe this summer. I might even pack my beloved Sperrys. But I don’t care who’s wearing stilettos on cobblestone…this guy isn’t going to try it. 😉

    • Kristin Francis 06/04/2014 at 5:24 pm #

      Rob, I absolutely do know guys care too– and a future post will have guy shoe tips! Actually guys can get away with wear running shoes– but the old school hipster kind. I like Seavees too (and Sperry’s work!). I like guys in certain kinds of sandals, but I have male friends vehemently against men’s sandals, lol. It will be an interesting post for sure.

  10. dianaveggienextdoor 06/07/2014 at 12:55 pm #

    I have a pair of copper sandals from Privo by Clarks that are also super comfortable for walking around. They don’t seem to make the style I have anymore – but looks like they have tons of other gorgeous sandals with cushy bottoms!!/privo-sandals-by-clarks-women-sandals/CK_XARC51wHAAQHiAgMBAhg.zso?t=privo+sandals+by+clarks

  11. Linda 07/06/2014 at 11:30 pm #

    Well, here is my dilemma. I am a casual, sophisticated traveler, and like to dress fashionably- no matronly clothes , no “hippie – style”. But I have had both feet surgically reconstructed – , yes I do walk without a limp but I need to wear Rx orthotics in my shoes., most of the time I am wearing Asics athletic shoes. I can wear Keen’s, Birkenstocks, Mephistos. July & August We will be in Germany, Austria, Vienna, Budapest, Paris, one week on a river cruise with lots of walking excursions ( no rugged hiking , mostly the old cities and cobblestone streets). I appreciate any suggestions. I will ultimately do what is correct for my feet but I do not want to look too bizarre..

    • Kristin Francis 07/07/2014 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Linda,
      Hi Linda,
      Sorry to hear about your surgeries– health and safety trump everything else! But even so there are plenty of simple Mephistos that will blend in nicely. As a rule of thumb, avoid ornate designs– just something simple and no frills will work fine. I checked Zappos and Mephisto even has some nice athletic shoes: I’ve also seen plenty of birkenstock-inspired sandals hitting all the NYC department stores– they all have that great footbed, but cuter straps (birkenstock also updated many of their styles). Might as well take advantage of the trend! I really recommend trying on many pairs (with your orthodics) to see what works. Swapping pairs mid-day also helps. Sounds like an amazing trip!!

    • Wendy G 09/23/2014 at 2:13 pm #

      I would love to hear what Linda actually chose to wear – I hope she checks back in to let us know details!

  12. Anna 07/07/2014 at 10:06 am #

    Love this! I hate when I see people wearing big, ugly running shoes out and about in the city. There are plenty of casual sneakers or even more stylish sporty options that you could be wearing. My only advice if you’re planning to wear the same shoes almost every day is to bring bandaids. Even the most comfy shoes can cause blisters that have the potential to ruin your day!

    • Kristin Francis 07/07/2014 at 10:29 am #

      Hi Anna, thanks for stopping by– I was just on your site reading your post on Frenchtown! Great tip, bandaids are a must, you just never know!

      • Alex 08/07/2014 at 11:51 pm #

        Can you tell me the style of the black Stuart Weitzman sandal you have pictured? Thanks!

    • Ann 01/11/2015 at 4:51 pm #

      Forget band aids, pack bunion cushions. They stay on way longer and cushion way better than bandaids

      • Kristin Francis 01/11/2015 at 6:59 pm #

        Brilliant, I never heard of that! Thanks for sharing this great tip.

  13. Anonymous 08/07/2014 at 11:46 pm #

    What style is the black Stuart Weitzman that you have pictured?

    • Kristin Francis 08/08/2014 at 12:01 am #

      I bought those black sandals 2 summers ago and I couldn’t find them when I searched through new styles unfortunately! It’s too bad because they are great sandals– my Stuart Weitzman stuff lasts forever.

  14. Crysty 08/13/2014 at 6:47 pm #

    I’m so glad I found your site! We are leaving for Europe on Sept. 6th thru sept. 24th and going to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy in that order. Fall will not officially start until late in our trip, so should I wear summer sandals or try to find something that looks a little more like “fall”? Would anything with cork or metallics look too summery? Most of my wardrobe colors will be black, navy and gray for the basic pieces but in lightweight fabrics with a few warmer layers.
    Thank you!

    • Kristin Francis 08/14/2014 at 4:27 pm #

      Thanks so much! Hmm good points– September is definitely still summer but I totally understand about how after labor day everyone is suddenly in fall mode. Personally I try to last in sandals until boot season begins because I so prefer either over regular shoes like loafers. I might swap to some darker brown sandals (or navy ones if you’re wearing with jeans– will be less contrast-y). Cork probably is a little summery but I wear them anyway because they are so light and comfy. I hope to put together a fall shoe guide, but it’s hard to find “in-between” shoes!

  15. ramona 09/02/2014 at 7:11 pm #

    I, too, am planning a trip to Paris during the latter half of September and am struggling with the “transition time” issue. Do you have any recommendations for closed toe or peep toe shoes? I’ve been looking at the Avarca wedge but have no personal experience with how comfortable or versatile they would be. I plan to do a LOT of walking. I’d be grateful for any insights or additional recommendations. Thanks!

    • Kristin Francis 09/04/2014 at 9:00 am #

      Hi Ramona,
      I am planning a fall shoe post but haven’t had time to write it yet– transition time is tough!! I would prefer to go straight from sandals to boots myself. I have some oxfords and loafers from Cole Haan and they are pretty comfy– Zappos usually carries most of their styles with reviews. The Avarca wedge looks like a good height– I prefer shoes with a little height and 1.5 inches is perfect– but fit is so individual you’d really have to try them on and make sure they work. As far as versatility I haven’t owned a shoe like that before so I’d try it on with my outfits to see how it looked– could work. Pls report back and have an amazing trip!!

  16. Lost Roses 09/15/2014 at 1:11 am #

    Great post! And I wondered why you didn’t leave a link to the backless slides until I noticed the Hermes stamp. Nice! I can dream.

    • Kristin Francis 09/17/2014 at 7:50 pm #

      haha yes I wasn’t sure if it would be off-putting– they were a gift! : )

  17. Kenny 09/19/2014 at 5:40 pm #

    I always hated Birkenstock – until i tryed the Gizeh – it is really great – i love it – i dont understand why so few Guys Wear Gizeh´s – i know that it is most girls that Wear them – but in my oppinion it is for Guys too ??

  18. Trisha 11/06/2014 at 12:19 pm #

    I wore my grey Supergas nearly every day of a two-week vacation in early October. Fit in equally well in Southern Italy and Berlin, worked with dresses and jeans, and even made it up Mt. Vesuvius! I am in love.

  19. Amber 04/25/2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Great tips! I just bought new birks in Lisbon, and they are cute in a shiny grey metallic. Can you write a version of this for men? Having a hard time trying to find a non-sneaker, non-flip flop for The Husband, which will fit in his carry on bag.

    • Kristin Francis 04/25/2015 at 12:43 pm #

      Amber it’s coming! I should write it soon…but to answer your question my “in the know” guy recommends Cole Haan zerogrand or lunargrand loafers. I like the tassel loafers with the white sole.

  20. S J 06/05/2015 at 4:47 pm #

    Great post! Myth buster is always good to read 🙂

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on shoes for Italy (will be there for a month). After reading countless blogs and comments, I realized that it’s not the shoes, it’s mostly the wearer. If you are not used to walking on hard store streets for hours every day, your feet will hurt no matter what you wear. It’s like running a marathon with no training.

    I will be bringing my Converse All Star with Superfeet insole and my Solomon trail runners (black green; need them for 7 days of hiking in Dolomites). I am debating if I should bring my low wedge tan leather sandals. I don’t know if I want to wear them for a 8-hour walking day. Italy sells great shoes. I may go without the sandals but buy a pair when I am there.

  21. maggie 06/23/2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Are Birkenstocks still in style? Moving to Madrid at the end of the summer and really want to buy a pair of black Arizona leather ones but only if it’s going to be appropriate to wear around the city streets.

    • Kristin Francis 06/25/2015 at 9:40 am #

      Everyone in NYC seems to be wearing them– the cuter versions, not the original brown suede.

  22. Emily T. 06/24/2015 at 9:35 am #

    Ah! What a great post! I’ve been researching shoes/sandals for my husband and I as we are going to France for two weeks at the end of July. Does anyone have experience with the Pons Avarcas sandals? These look classic! I would love to get a pair that then I can wear regularly and we do plan on walking everywhere. Any thoughts?

  23. Jordan 08/06/2015 at 9:50 am #

    Great tips here. I think it’s always good to pack different types of shoes – Europe is a diverse place, so whether you’ll need comfortable about-the-town shoes or shoes for a more active day will vary. Thanks for debunking these different myths!

  24. jenpen4 10/02/2015 at 10:35 am #

    I’m so glad that I stumbled across your blog (looking for boots, but didn’t see anything that’s still available on that side of things). I am going to Italy next spring and have been desperately trying to figure out what shoes I need to get in order to by stylish and comfortable. Once I return a pair of shoes previously bought that didn’t work, I am going to be ordering a pair of Supergas from Zappos. As long as they are comfy on my feet I think they are going to be perfect for most of the walking we will be doing there.

    • Kristin Francis 10/10/2015 at 11:11 am #

      Thanks Jen I’ll have to update the links and look for new options to suggest.
      I just came back from Italy and because of space limitations I only brought three pairs of shoes– one sandal, one low boot and the navy supergas (the weather in early October can be chilly or warm hence the sandals and boots). I wore the sandals and boots once each and the supergas the other 8 days straight with no issues whatsoever (my friend had to change her “comfy” shoes constantly). Maybe they’re just a good fit for me, but they worked great (and I averaged 7-11 miles a day!).

      • jenpen4 03/17/2016 at 1:43 pm #

        My trip is finally just around the corner! Quick question – do you have any type of inserts in the Supergas or do you just wear them as-is? I have been wearing mine like crazy the last few months and I think they are going to be my go-to shoes for those two weeks, so I just want to make sure I’m as prepared as possible. Thanks for any tips!

  25. Linda 10/08/2015 at 5:45 pm #

    I’ve had very good results with Abeo brand sandals. They have cushy soles and arch supports built in. I got mine at The Walking Co. I also got great insoles that I put in my walking sneakers from the same store. And FYI, I’m 65, and an avid world traveler!

    • Kristin Francis 10/10/2015 at 11:06 am #

      Linda thanks for sharing your favorites! My mom is also 65 and easily keeps up with me when we travel together!

  26. Megan 03/13/2016 at 10:09 pm #

    I love the Myth, Fact style of this post, very helpful! I found that Toms were amazing, even if no Europeans wear them. They are casual and comfy. Tennis shoes are a terrible idea like you said and investing in GOOD sandals is great. And I mean good in the sense they will not kill your feet at the end of 8hrs of walking!

    I found a great pair of cheap $12 foam-soled sandals at Academy and they were perfect. Wore them 10 days straight. The next trip I brought an expensive pair of walking shoes ($100, eeek!) and every night my feet ached! So watch out, price isn’t everything…

  27. Anonymous 06/11/2016 at 2:47 pm #

    What about Skechers?

    • Anonymous 07/06/2016 at 3:24 am #

      I’ve worn Skechers for a several years, had good luck with them. One thing I do, is get a different, more supportive insole, and take out the insoles that come with the shoes.

  28. Penny 06/12/2016 at 9:36 am #

    Well, I’m going not just for a “summer” (in fact getting there when school starts is technically “late summer”) but for my PhD so what I take there initially is less important than whether or not I can buy what I need once I get there. I have to worry more about “looking professional” while looking like a mathematician/scientist, which has always been the bane of my existence my entire misspent years in the USA. I’m dealing with more like what I can wear that will make people take me seriously as a Physics PhD student in spite of the colour of my skin. I’m hoping that I can pick a country where they won’t just automatically assume by nothing more than the colour of my skin that I couldn’t possibly be there for their Physics or Math departments – the Italy mentioned in the article has particular problems in that area- I’ve heard that all brown-skinned women are treated on the streets like prostitutes no matter WHAT they’re wearing, which makes it no better than the USA. Inasmuch as I won’t initially have my car when I get there I have to deal with this – although I’ll probably rent a car at the airport to get myself to the dorms. So my “thing” lately is finding things online on “their” websites like and and and such, and “bookmarking” them; either that or going to all the stores around here (meaning a 200-mile haul to the nearest stores to try things on) so I can get my sizes and then seeing if those stores either have international counterparts or if they ship overseas. I’ve got to constantly remind myself that Europe and in particular the UK – HAVE decent shoe selections and if nothing, CHEAPER than their counterparts over here. If for no other reason than, that I won’t be “out in the middle of nowhere” as European countries are smaller than some of these Western provinces and states and there’s no way I’ll be this “200 miles from anyplace to buy shoes” ever again!! I hate mail-ordering shoes. I always get them so dirt-cheap that sending them back when they don’t fit costs more to go to the Post Office or the FedEx box down the street than it cost to buy them in the first place. Suffice it to say I also hate the Southwest Desert – all the shoe places are in either Phoenix or Denver – and NOTHING IN BETWEEN.
    So the bottom line is I’m going to try to pack no more than 9 pairs of shoes. That’s my goal. And try, try, try to find someone in a 1000-mile-radius to confer with who’s BEEN there (since I’ve only been to the UK and even then, only to London and then Oxfordshire and Birmingham).

  29. Kim 03/03/2017 at 4:54 pm #

    Another tip is you don’t need wellies for London, even if it’s going to rain. I keep hearing of people buying a pair for their trip however I have yet to see a Londoner wear wellies out in the streets of London. I believe they are mostly worn out in the countryside.

    • Kristin Francis 03/22/2017 at 12:37 pm #

      Agree– wellies are more appropriate for a walk through Hampstead Heath (though I do wear them on the streets of Manahattan). They are just too bulky to consider for travel.

  30. Sarah 04/18/2017 at 10:59 pm #

    Hey! I’m spending my entire summer in Europe, (France, Germany, Italy, and Span) I only want to bring 3-4 pairs of shoes. I’m considering black flats, gladiator sandals, adidas neo sneakers (these are SUPER comfy but I’m not sure if they would fit in. They’re white with black adidas stripes on the side), a pair of Bew Balance sneakers, or Arizona Birkenstocks. Out of the shoes I listed what 3 do you think I should bring? I’ll be doing a lot of walking, and probably some hiking as well.

    • Kristin Francis 04/18/2017 at 11:12 pm #

      Hi Sarah! Sounds like an amazing summer! I’d bring the adidas sneakers– everyone in NYC seems to have them so I think they’ll be fine for Europe. I should probably add them to my list here. You absolutely will need at least one pair of sneakers so definitely not the sandals if those are the only pairs you’re bringing. Spain and Italy have tons of shoe shopping so you might end up buying another pair while traveling too, but it’s best to get the fundamentals down before you leave.

Leave a Reply