There is a thread on Slow Talk about "Ugly but Comfortable Walking Shoes". It cracks me up every time I read it. People have a wide variety of needs, and work very hard to find the "perfect" comfortable shoes to trot around Europe.
I do understand the concept of needing to have "happy feet". If your feet hurt, you will be miserable. I have also put many kilometers on my tootsies in Italy, and we walk at least 10 times more than we do at home (where we often drive around the corner to get the mail). I also get that Italy has cobblestones.
I have had "bad feet" for almost 20 years. Oh you should have seen the stunning shoes I used to buy! Those days are long over. Because of hereditary deep calluses, and a bunion, I must wear cushy, rubber bottomed shoes at all times. I do not do heels over 1 inch, and even that elevated position kills me, HOWEVER, I do have my limits on what I think LOOKS GOOD!
I would rather stick needles in my eyes than wear ugly, clunky shoes with a skirt or dress. I just can't do it. I also prefer shoes without backs. I prefer shoes that I can step right into. I wear sandals all year long in the desert, except for our occasional
3-4 days of rain a year. I don't wear anything that looks like an athletic shoe, or laces up. I believe these should stay at a gym, or on a runner's feet. Socks? What would I do with socks? I think I have a couple pair for when I go to Paso Robles in February or San Francisco for Thanksgiving! But it is summer now!
I am NOT trying to look like an Italian. Those fashionable women trot along on stilettos that I couldn't even stand up in on carpet! (Although I have received a couple of very nice comments when in Italy, that I looked Italian because I was well-dressed, and once someone said, "Oh, you're American? But you are so nicely accessorized!") I plan on lots of walking in Rome and Umbria, so here is what I came up with.
I did break down and buy these very comfortable Privos (the least ugly shoe with back straps I have seen). I would NOT wear them with a skirt or dress, but they will be my white walking shoes on those steep cobblestone streets when I am wearing white capris or crop pants. I would NEVER wear shorts in Italy.
For black capris, I found these comfortable Cole Haans with Nike Air soles. They stretched them to perfectly fit my bunion.
You know the expression, "If the shoes fits, buy it in every color!" No problem. I love these cushy Born sandals. All that book space I saved with the Kindle app can be used for these, and they weigh almost nothing!
The next question is what WILL I wear with a skirt or sundress? I am packing two skirts (black and white cotton eyelet), and 10 sundresses. Yes, I said TEN, so get over it. We know I am not a 21" roller girl. I will be in Italy 20 nights, and I dress for dinner. Do the math and stop laughing.
I am between these two pair of black sandals for evenings. Both are broken in and very comfortable, but a little dressier than the daytime walking shoes. The gold buckle ones have a little heel, but I'm leaning toward the flat glitzy Vegas sandals. They double as working with my bathing suit and cover-up for the pool.
Most of my evening outfits go with black, but a few evenings will require white. I can stick with the flower flats, or maybe throw in these Sofft sandals with a tiny wedge.
In case you're wondering about handbags, I will confess to white, black, yellow, orange, and white and black evening bags. This is an all time LOWEST number ever!
So my final word on packing shoes is this: "If the shoes work, pack them in every color, and bring bags to match! Then buy more there!" I'll see you at the Furla stores in Rome or Foligno!