The Great European Shoe Debate
Two weeks from tomorrow we leave for Europe. Tay, as most knows, has been diligently working on our itinerary for the trip and I’ve been hearing bits and pieces but mostly I’ve been oblivious to the whole planning experience. I have total faith in Tay’s scheduling abilities and my ignorance means that much of the trip will be very much a surprise to me and, to a certain degree will feel spontaneous. I fully anticipate mornings where will I wake up and ask, ok, what’s next, or, asking, as we head for a train station, so WHERE are we going? I DO however, know the countries we’re visiting and their general order, so I won’t be totally clueless. There’s lots still to do to prepare for the trip – both Tay and I know a bit of french, and Tay took on learning German and I’ve been assigned Italian. I’m planning to spend the weekend with my Learn To Speak Italian software, because I have a feeling I MAY need to know how to say more than, “Chi e quel bell’uomo?” Translation, “Who’s that handsome man?”

Though, it is Italy, and you never know, flattery might just get me everywhere.

Slowly we’re assembling the things we need to bring with us – our friends Dave & Jackie have lent us the backpacks that they’ve carried through Europe (which has saved us probably $300) and tonight Jackie brought me over a waterproof jacket to bring with me, which was the last thing on my list to buy. The hardest purchase for both Tay and myself though has been shoes – normally it wouldn’t be such an ordeal, but since we’re limited in how much we can carry, and since we’re going to be doing A LOT of walking while carrying backpacks, the right pair of shoes became essential.

As much as I want to spend the two weeks in runners I know that it’s not the best idea so originally, I had let Tay talk me into a practical pair of black shoes. I resisted for a long time, in fact, we were in one store and when the salesman brought me over his recommended walking shoe I took one look at it and said that he had to be kidding. They were the ugliest shoes I had ever seen and I wasted no time telling him so. Every other pair I tried on made me feel like I was 60 years old and after much frustration, I gave up the shoe search and instead began looking for sandals, because, despite what Tay thinks, a girl can’t go to Europe with just one pair of walking shoes, because what about your skirts and dresses? I ended up leaving the shop not with a pair of practical walking shoes, but with a pair of leather Rockports that are a hybrid between a sandals and a flip flop (they’re like a flip flop but with a leather strap across the top of the foot). A definite splurge but in the end, worth is because they’re much nicer than my Rocket Dogs and guaranteed to be much more comfortable.

A couple of weeks ago I was shopping on Queen Street on my lunch and wandered into an Aldo to look at shoes when I found at pair that I thought would be suitable so I bought them. They were black, they laced up, they were practical, but they had a square toe and beige stitching so I decided that they were just barely cool and I’d be happy wearing them around Europe for two weeks.



But then last weekend I spent some time wearing them around the house and realized that I didn’t like them as much as I had thought I would. They looked fine (I guess) but they definitely weren’t cool and the back of the heel wasn’t really high enough so I didn’t really feel like I was in the shoe all the way.

On Sunday, I decided that I would hit the mall with Renu and see if I could find something I liked better. Our first stop was The Bay where I had previously tried on a pair of Sketchers that were very much a sneaker (lace ups) but which were also very comfortable. I described the shoe to the sales person and he went searching but couldn’t find the ones I described. He did bring out an alternative though and the second they came out of the box, both Renu and I were like, THOSE are cool.

I tried them on and walked around the shoe section for a few minutes, marveling at how light and comfortable the shoes on my feet were. I imagined them with my jeans and the other pants that I was bringing to Europe and decided that okay, so yes, maybe they’re not overly practical, and no, they’re not black like Tay had suggested and well…maybe they’re a little closer to a runner then I’d originally planned (even though they don’t lace up), but those things didn’t really matter because they were comfortable, they were light, and they were cool. So after asking the sales guy about Sketchers and their walking success (he assured me that Sketchers were made for walking around and I’d have no problems) I ended up buying them.

And since I know you’re just DYING to see the shoes that will be on my feet for 17 days in Europe, here they are, my new Sketchers:

I’m am now SO a Sketcher girl and I LOVE them. And I’m sorry, but I know that it’s not wrong to love a shoe. And yeah, so the guy trying to sell me the $300 ugly shoes did tell me that if I wear sneakers in Paris they’ll throw rocks at me, I don’t care – with my Sketchers on, I’ll be able to run away.

Comments:

Tina (http://www.littlepieceoftexas2.blogspot.com/) @ 04/13/2006 07:06:
Oh you and your shoes! So the initial black ones you bought and decided you didn’t like, did to keep them or return them?

Jods () @ 04/13/2006 08:48:
And to think, I’m bringing little red shoes to paris, lol… (course I’ll have my comfortable ones with me as well for day time, lol) Like the sketchers, you can’t go wrong with those and they suit you much better than the black chunky ones.

Tawny (http://www.locobellatuna.blogspot.com/) @ 04/13/2006 09:45:
I returned the black ones, which is too bad, because they were $30 cheaper then the Sketchers, but oh well! :). I’m surprised you didn’t bash my sandal choice ;).As for Jody and her red shoes in Paris…I hope you know that I’ll be raiding every female’s suitcase so that I don’t have to tap into my own limited clothing supply :). And that INCLUDES shoes :). Consider yourselves warned!

Taylor (http://www.locobellatuna.blogspot.com/) @ 04/13/2006 10:19:
Yeesh, I give Tawn a little rope to make a decision and she hangs herself. She bought a sneaker. Oi. I found my shoes yesterday. I’m not 100% pleased with their looks, but they were the only thing with zero friction or pressure points.. the problem areas on the shoe (all but one) are covered by my pant legs. Most importantly.. they’re waterproof…The ones I got are: http://i.shoebuy.com/pi/wolve/wolve125402_4168_lg.jpg, well but with a suade-y material.The ones I wanted are: http://www.merrellcanada.com/catalogue.php?action=1000&product_id=1622 – I wasn’t able to find them. But if I do before we go. They’re mine.

geo (http://www.pornstarsonecstasy.com/) @ 04/13/2006 15:09:
Nice shoes… My first Europe shoes were a pair of black Airwalks. They were great until the tide decided to take them for a swim in Nice. They didn’t smell very nice after that. That was my only pair. I was planning on burning them after the trip, but I don’t remember if I actually did it.
Second time I was better prepared, although it was just for Greece. I had two pairs, one was a pair of Birkenstock-type Airwalk sandals, and the other was a pair of black Perry Ellis shoes. They were almost a fake leather, but it was totally synthetic. They were somewhat dressable, but very durable and comfortable, with almost a hiking boot sole. They were the perfect vacation shoes. Third time I brought two pairs of shoes. The only thing I remember about them now is that one pair looked like a pair of brown moccasins (according to my cousin), and the other was a regular pair of black leather casual(ish) shoes. When polished they were presentable enough to go out, but they were comfortable enough to wear all the time. If I were to do it again I’d probably go for two pairs. One for comfort to walk around all day, and another for the night. My gym shoes would be great since they’re very airy, but if you’re comfortable in sandals that could work better. But I need a different pair of shoes to wear with a button-up shirt at night. Something black that could pass for a dress shoe if it wasn’t looked at too closely. I wouldn’t worry about people throwing rocks at you for the wrong shoes. They know you’re a tourist and if they were to do it BECAUSE you’re a tourist I’m sure the picture and video taking might give it away first.I wouldn’t worry too much about the languages either. I can sum up everything I’ve said in another language while in western europe in one comment (damn I can’t stop here)…Amichi (sp) – friend in ItalianUn billet – one ticket in French (for the metro in Paris)Eki einai – there it is in GreekThat’s it. I’ve been a completley ignorant traveller and I’ve never had any issues whatsoever. 🙂

Heather () @ 04/13/2006 17:00:
You guys are so serious about shoes. All I can think about is will those shoes go well with the Jeans Tawny?

Tina () @ 04/14/2006 08:53:
I figured you already knew my sandal comments so I didn’t add them. FLIP FLOPS. Some things NEVER change.

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