Reader’s Query: Traveling shoes

Here at HKH, we’re always thrilled to try to help out our readers so please feel free to email with any questions you may have about expat life, China, gift giving, cookery, travel… etc. We’re always happy to help and if I don’t know the answer I know a lot of ladies who probably do!

Q: “It’s apparent that you do a fair share of overseas traveling and touring, and we are preparing for a 3-week trip to Europe this fall. I expect to do a lot of walking as we tour, so my question for you is: Do you have a particular style/brand of shoes that you would recommend for comfortable touring? Obviously, I could wear running shoes, but I’d like to avoid something so clunky, as it will be autumn in Europe and I’m hoping to wear some dresses with leggings and sweaters, cropped pants, and occasionally jeans. Any advice you can give is appreciated!”

Nothing can ruin a good trip quicker than a bad pair of shoes! And nothing takes up more room in your suitcase than a bunch of shoes.

I had a pretty big toe surgery three years ago and my surgeon stressed that there is no better investment you can make in life than a quality pair of shoes. Taking his advice (and still cruching along) I went to Nordstroms determined not to get another pair of flimsy, unsupportive (Tory Birch, yes, I’m talking to you) flats. I asked the helpful sals gal and she said that Attilio Giusti Leombruni shoes are the most comfortable and supportive flats ever made. I think the reason they are so good for your feat is that they have a real heel, a real sole and the heel area (which so often gives me blisters) in lined with really supple leather that breathes and also absorbs moisture.

I bought a basic black pair which I wear about five days a week. I walk a ton here in Hong Kong up and down the hills so I just have them shined and re-soled every six or nine months.

I wore the black ones so often that I got really tired of them so I bought this fun white and orange pair for this summer. I brought them with me on my last trip to the States and I planned my entire wardrobe around them… if I couldn’t wear my dress/skirt/pants/top with them, then I didn’t bring it! It’s nice to have a signature packing item to coordinate around. (And, yes, I’m still obsessing over orange.)

I really believe in investing in comfortable shoes (and I have really wide feet) so I own just a few quality pairs. And I honestly believe that you could survive your whole trip to Europe with one awesome pair of flats. This “barley combo” would be great for a summer trip.

This snakeskin option is a little fancier, but the perforated sides are great for breathability. By the way, I’m not the only one nuts for AGLs–Feather Factor shares my enthusiasm–and has a cute pair of leopard print flats.

They do say that when wearing leather shoes that you should alternate them (men: pay attention here!) meaning don’t wear the same pair over and over so they have time to air out.

Two summers ago when we were in Europe I survived on these Bensimons. A much more reasonably priced option than the AGLs, they have a really supportive rubber sole, pack down flat, and went with everything I packed. The cotton lets your foot breathe. And if you get caught in some mud, you can just throw them in the wash.

If you have room, I would recommend a nice pair of flats to wear both touring and to fancier things, street tennies, and some flip flops just because they take up so little room.

I think Cole Haan makes really comfortable shoes, so that’s another place to try and they’re having a big summer sale right now–these are both on sale and have Nike Air technology.

Readers, do you have any other good shoe tips to pass along to our friend in need of good traveling shoes?

I hope you have a wonderful trip to Europe and please send HKH some pics!!

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