If The Shoe Fits.

If only it were that easy. In my packing-for-Italy-woes the biggest one by far is shoe selection. A 21″ suitcase can barely hold the clothes I’d like to bring for 2 weeks away, let alone the multiple pairs of shoes I (think I) need. Let me back up and say that I’ve always been an over-packer. I like to have choices and don’t want to feel committed to wearing only/everything that I pack for any given trip regardless of length. When Ashley and I went to Chicago in January for a weekend trip (in Friday night, out Sunday afternoon), I packed 4 dresses in addition to the one I wore there.

Needless to say, wheedling a packing list down to include bare necessities is a stress-inducing task for me. For footwear, I imaged that I would need at least 4 pairs of shoes: rain boots (my pick discussed here), flat sandals, flats and tennis shoes for the Cinque Terre trail. Turns out after doing some research online I am dead wrong about basically everything.

Granted you have to take online reviews with a grain of salt and use your own brain, but hoards of previous Italian tourists probably have a better idea than I do what will make the most sense to pack. So according to the world wide web, this sandal is going to be my best bet for endless walking around the Eternal City:
Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 2.10.52 PM
There were plenty of other brands and styles recommended but ultimately I felt these were the least visually offensive at the most appropriate price point (there were far less attractive shoes rated for comfort with price tags upwards of $200 – no thanks). I ordered these today and am moving on to consider other options.

With as much walking as we’ll be doing, I’ll need at least one other pair of shoes to switch things up for comfort. I love flats, but am hesitant about wearing fully closed shoes based on heat, swelling and (yuck) perspiration. If I do go this route it will likely be one (or both) of these pairs which I already own. I think with some nice inserts either would be okay to walk in extensively.

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J.Crew Cece Suede Ballet Flat (I have them in Blush Nude which is no longer available, though I do love all of the current colors that are now on sale with an additional 30% off…)
Another consideration are the Frye moto ankle boots I bought during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.
I haven’t worn them yet, so it’s to be seen whether these will be comfortable enough for miles of walking (though based on experience with my Frye Melissa Button Boots I think after some breaking in they should be pretty good). The main concern here is whether it will be too warm for these (see: sweaty feet) and if I’d wear them enough to justify lugging them around Italy.

One thing I know I won’t be bringing is rain boots. From the opinions I gathered it’s simply not worth the inconvenience (or in my case $140 to buy the Hunter packable boots). Sure, it may flood in Venice but if that happens I can buy boots there for about 10 Euro and save myself the luggage space.

So technically I’ve decided on one pair of shoes (pending fit and comfort level upon arrival) and am on the fence about 3 others. Not exactly leaps and bounds, but I’d call it progress. Only 44 days left to get my packing list in order (and more importantly, break in any new shoes)!

— Maureen


4 thoughts on “If The Shoe Fits.

  1. You really need to break Birkenstocks in in order for them to be comfortable, so start wearing them immediately. I would pack a sandal, a flat, tennis shoes (if you’re doing the trail) and call it good. On my most recent trip I took four different pairs of sandals (because I also don’t like to be limited), but I only wore three of them. Save the room in your luggage for the beautiful things you’ll find in Italy. Also, if you’re just doing one carry on bag, are you also bringing an empty dufflebag or something for the things you will buy there?

    • Thanks for your suggestion Codi! I did read that Birkenstocks require a break in period so I definitely plan to start wearing them as soon as they arrive. I’m also planning on bringing my Baggu tote along for extra storage of purchases. If that doesn’t prove to be enough I’ll buy something larger in Italy. πŸ™‚

      • Lol, when I read you’d just be bringing a carry on I was super impressed (let us know how it goes!), and also curious as to where you would put the things you purchased because Italy is AMAZING. Happy travels! πŸ™‚

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