If you are traveling to Europe this winter chances are you are thinking about what footwear to bring.
I have been really trying hard to pack less on my European trips. On my summer Glam Italia Tours I have been taking a pair of Supergas, a pair of good sandals to walk in all day, a pair of sandals to wear out at night if I want to change it up, and a pair of flip flops for beach days.
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I have another winter trip coming up, and at this point I am planning on taking only 2 pairs of shoes, a sneaker and an ankle boot. Maybe a velvet mule to wear out an night, but am not sure yet on that one.
Things to consider when you are planning your winter footwear for Europe are weather and how much walking you will be doing. If you are going to a rainy place you need to factor in footwear getting wet and how long it will take to dry. If you only have 2 pairs of shoes and your first pair haven’t dried overnight, you need a backup pair. I know from my years of living in London that shoes sometimes don’t dry out for a few days because there isn’t always an abundance of heating. If you only have 2 pairs that can mean wearing damp shoes (not happening) or buying more shoes there (game on!). I recommend having a pair of waterproof boots
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Obviously if you are going to the snow you need snow appropriate shoes.
I tend to be in Italy, France, Spain – places that have relatively temperate weather. They all have snow, but I don’t go to the snow so it doesn’t factor in to my packing equation.
The next thing to think about is how much walking you will be doing. My iPhone step tracker app tells me that when I’m on my Glam Tours we are walking an average of 25,000 steps per day. In Paris in September we were averaging a little more than that, somewhere around 11 miles per day. I’ve had tour groups in Rome who have wanted to stay out exploring on their first night, and we have ended up walking 32,000 steps their first day! What this means is that you have to have really comfortable shoes that support your feet and don’t leave you blistered and wounded. Don’t forget that Europe is full of cobblestone streets, so you need to think about ankle support and low heels. (Or no heels)
The absolute biggest thing in Paris just over a month ago was the Adidas sneaker. They were worn many different ways, with jeans, with pants, with dresses. They were madly chic. I bought a pair of Campus style in salmon that are beyond cool, and I wore them to death. On Zappos.com I found these Adidas Gazelle suede sneakers that would be great for non-rainy days
These adidas Originals – Superstar (White/Gold) Women’s Tennis Shoes were everywhere in Paris. You could wear them with jeans, but I wouldn’t advise wearing white sneakers in the rain. The leather uppers make them good for winter, and if white feels too summery they have lots of other colors to choose from too. I found a great pair of black leather Adidas with white stripes that would also be great.
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Ankle boots are fantastic because they don’t take up much room, look good with everything, and don’t leave boot marks at your knees showing through your jeans!
Blundstone – BL550 (Walnut) Pull-on Boots are waterproof, can be dressed up or down, are super comfortable, and this is actually one of Blundstone’s best rated boots. Available at Zappos.
Born – Casco (Black Full Grain) Women’s Pull-on Boots Born boots are super comfortable and easy to walk in forever. I have a pair that finally need replacing after years of working hard for me. I’m a huge Born fan. I also like the look of their Chisel Boot below.
Bornshoes.com offers free shipping and exchanges on all orders, and hassle-free returns!
Geox are know for their well made, super comfortable footwear. I think every major city I go to in Europe has a big Geox presence. Their shoes and boots are not only stylish and comfortable, but chic too. I particularly like the Etienne boot below.
Sofft – Bergamo Waterproof (Black Wild Steer) Women’s Slip on Shoes are another great ankle boot option. I lived in Sofft sandals and shoes all summer in Europe, and they were probably the best travel footwear I have ever had in terms of comfort (walking 25,000 steps per day), durablity – they are still going strong, and they looked chic.
Sofftshoe.com offers free shipping on all orders, easy returns, and free exchanges.
Sam Edelman – Aven (Malbec Silky Velvet) Women’s Clog/Mule Shoes I love the look of these velvet mules from Sam Edelman. I wouldn’t walk all day in them, but after a long day of sightseeing it would feel great to slip into these and head out to dinner.
Other winter footwear items to pack:
Warm socks. Make sure they are soft and comfortable warm socks.
Bandaids for blisters.
Insoles for your boots. I use Dr Scholls, mostly because I like the gel pad in the heel.
More warm socks.