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Comfortable Walking Shoes for Italy

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!

Comments (20)

Cute shoes!! The ones with the flowers are adorable, and the white one at the bottom looks really pretty too.

Your post made me laugh and that thread makes me laugh too! I walk a lot here in the US as well so I am always looking for comfy shoes that look nice, especially since I get blisters ALL the time, even with shoes I have worn forever. Plus I have really narrow feet so shoes I step in never stay on my feet!

OK I gotta stop complaining now! Thanks for the funny post and good luck packing! :)


Oh Palma.(shaking head)


Yes, great post. I am someone with similar issues with weight and problem feet - always challenging to look put together. Thanks for the tips.

Whatever it takes to avoid the issues you had last year! No repeat pictures of the blisters, Please.

I love the Born flowers... I'd wear them everyday!

I just love Kendall's comment. I am still laughing reading your blog entry today. You are just too funny. You might get a kick out of reading my comments on the "What not to pack" on the Italy board on ST. I am a very light packer, so I just can't imagine how many suitcases it takes to bring that many shoes and esp. handbags. But I think it's wonderful that if you love having that much with you, that you've figured out how to manuver that much luggage. Cliche saying, but "You go girl!"


Kendall, WHAT???

Cindy, one large suitcase (checked) and a carry-on each.

Sandi, Yes, that 2007 blister in Florence was ugly!

Janice, Thanks! Keep accessorizing! : )

Shelagh (SJ):

Take them all, you know you want to!!
I really like the white ones, though I never wear white shoes.
I love that someone thought you were a well-accessorized
Italian! Of course!: you are Palma!

This is why we get along so well - it is important to have clothing for every possible event. Who cares what it weights . . . Pack lightly? BAH


I, too love flat, fashionable shoes with a comfortable sole. You have wonderful taste!!

Barb Cabot:

Ever since I was a kid I loved looking at magazines like Vogue and turning the pages and asking now which one would I choose. Looking at the above post felt like that. I want the Born sandals in the exact colors you are bringing. They are "fantastic"! I Love them. Also I want the flat black glitzy bejeweled sandals...bring them on! I love jewels on sandals and the gold and black ones look "so Italy!" I'm with Cindy Ruth, "You GO Girl!"

Wow Palma, I am still laughing at your post. I have a problem with packing too many shoes and handbags too, and don't really want a solution, I am a shoe fanatic.
I must say, I love your flower sandals, and I would buy them in the colors you did. A great selection you have there,I would take them all.


Where do you find these shoes? I'd love some of them but surely have not seen them.

I love the flowery sandals. I am a certified shoe freak, but I like to wear them, not carry them, so I usually travel with 2 pairs plus athletic shoes. Yes, athletic shoes! I have some that are NOT blown up, NOT colorful, NOT ugly. To me lace up doesn't mean ugly, ugly means ugly. (I bought what I call my scarpe puttanesche this year... bright, printed oil cloth platform wedges as high as the Eiffel tower.)


Jane, some of them came from the Nordstrom down the street from you, or Zappos. Do I need to take you shopping?

Candi, did you say "problem"? This is not a problem! LOL

Shelagh & Jo, Mille Grazie!

Judith, they sound fun!


I do not think I should let you take me shopping. I do enough damage by myself. But, I have not seen those shoes at Nordies and I spent a small fortune there last week. Guess I'd better go back.


All of the shoes look pretty cute!

And we know that they will ALL be in your suitcase, along with all of the handbags.

Susan Allair:

Does the "no white after Labour Day" rule apply in Italy? Thanks!


Susan, you may wear white as long as it is warm. Forget the labor day rule. Purses too!


You know I love your shoe pictures and descriptions of outfits and purses, especially since I have some foot issues myself - those are all very cute - I do do ugly, however. And horrors, still only pack one purse, but you go . .


Buongiorno, vorrei alcune informazioni, siete a Milano? perché ho un sujestão bene al tuo blog.
Grazie Nino

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