Travelin’ Shoes

Cute shoes which turned out to be very uncomfortable for extended walking.

One thing that both Brett and I learned on our trip to Japan this past spring is that the shoes you travel with can truly make or break the experience.

Both of us took along shoes we thought would be comfortable but in fact were not, and we and our feet were miserable the entire time.

Shoe purchases for our Big Mystery Adventure™ have become a  priority here at Casa Aloha, and the focus will be 1) comfort and 2) durability.

Both Brett and I have “difficult” feet. Brett’s feet are flat and wide. Mine are wide (although not as wide as before bunion surgery in 2013) and I have very high arches. I also have very little to no padding on the balls of my feet, so without a soft, cushioned footbed my feet can start to hurt quite quickly. I also prefer a shoe I can easily slip in and out of, especially when we’re visiting Japan.

My very comfortable Finn Comfort clogs

I purchased my first pair of travel shoes last week, a spendy pair of Finn Comfort clogs. They get very high ratings for comfort, especially  when you’re on your feet for a long time. They’re not the prettiest shoes out there, but after wearing them around the house for three days I can honestly report that they are super comfortable and have great arch support. I think they will prove worth the expense.

Clark’s desert boots

Brett gets his first new pair(s) of shoes next month beginning with a new pair of running shoes. We’re getting them now because they will probably need to be replaced before we go – running is not only hard on shoes but they also stand a very good chance of being permanently stained by Kauai’s red dirt. He also plans to get a pair of Clark’s desert boots and/or a pair of Merrell slip-ons next month (hasn’t made a decision yet).

Both of us want a pair of Allbirds wool shoes, loungers for Brett and the women’s charcoal gray runners for me. This brand also gets rave reviews, and we think they will be both comfortable, lightweight and accommodate our wide feet.

Allbirds charcoal gray women’s runners

Allbirds mens lounger (Brett doesn’t want this color though)

Finally, we both will be needing walking sandals. Brett is looking at Keens, but I’ve got my heart set on a pair of Kenkoh massage sandals from Japan. I’m currently wearing a cheap knockoff pair, but my feet love them and I’d love some real Kenkohs even more. I’m also seriously wanting another pair of Mephisto’s Helen sandals. I wore out a previous pair I owned, but they are wonderfully comfortable and have great arch support.

Mephisto’s Helen sandal

Kenkoh massage sandals

All these shoes are going to cost us $$$. We’ve fiddled the budget to add some each month for travel shoes, and will start adding them pair by pair when we can. A concern, besides cost, is that all of them put together hopefully won’t weigh too much, but we think we’ve erred on the side of light versus heavy when it comes to our choices.

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13 thoughts on “Travelin’ Shoes

  1. Snoskred says:

    Shoes are super important. On my first ever trip to Oahu I bought a great pair of Skechers. They were bright pink and specially designed for fitness use. They were on clearance and cost me $40. Have I ever got some use out of those shoes. They have walked and run thousands of kilometers in the past 7 years. They have been my main fitness shoe ever since. Just this past week they added over 60km to their total. Never a blister, even on a 10km run. Never any pain. Just perfection in a shoe.

    But today a terrible thing happened. I noticed that my big toe had worn a hole through the knit sock, and that just past that the stitching was starting to come apart. I was at about 8kms of todays 10km, so I just kept going, but now that I am typing this and thinking about it, sad tears are forming. Those shoes have been so many places with me. They are my good friends. They have walked the local track so many times, it would be unbelievable if they could talk and had kept count.

    I once had a chance to buy a second pair of these shoes in Australia for $160 in the clearance store here. Having paid $40 for the first pair, I turned my nose up at it. More fool me. If I had bought them I could put those shoes on and get another 7 years out of them. It would have cost me $22 a year. As it is, these $40 shoes have cost me $5.71 a year.

    But, the major bonus of travelling with your parents and your mother happens to wear the same shoe size, she bought a pair of those same shoes in grey. She does not love a sneaker, so they sat unloved in her wardrobe all this time. They are now here with me. And while they are not pink, I will put them on tomorrow without blinking. 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      I have heard very good things about Sketchers and that may be the way I go for a “sportier” pair of shoes. The biggest things for me are the insole cushioning and arch support. If I order from Zappos I can try them out and if they’re not right I can send them back.

      I so know what you mean about having the “perfect pair” of shoes, and the sadness that comes when they wear out. The best pair of shoes I ever owned was a pair of Rockport fisherman sandals. I walked miles in those shoes, but eventually one of the leather straps gave out and could not be repaired. I’ve never had another pair so perfect, and I still miss them, nearly 20 years later!

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  2. Janette says:

    I recommend that you get a pair of Allbirds soon. My son (professor) and his wife (at home/finance) are into good travel shoes. They both got a pair and wore them to Disneyland before heading to Europe. They were not impressed….and that takes a lot for those two. They both returned them within the 30 day- no questions asked- policy.
    I’m leaving for my short trip (one of three in the next 30 days). My Go Walks are washed, dried and ready for the airports. Light, formfitting and inexpensive (Costco), I carry one set and wear one. If they wear down- they go in the recycle bin!
    Happy Travel shoe shopping!

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    • Laura says:

      Good information to know! My one concern with them is that there is not enough cushioning in the insole. I’ve also heard they are prone to pilling, like a sweater. I still love the way they look though, so will probably still give them a try (and send them back if I don’t like them).

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  3. Laurel says:

    Had not heard of Allbirds and will check them out. They look kind of amazing.

    I also wore out a pair or two of Mephisto Helens. We are in the process of getting shoes for our Italy trip and I’ve tried and returned two pair so far. I’ll keep looking. 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      That’s where we are with Allbirds -we want to check them out. We like the concept and the way they look, but they might not be the right shoes for either of us.

      The big issue if I decide to get a pair of the Helens will be ‘what color?’ When I had bought my first pair I think there were three color choices – it seems like there are around 30 different color choices these days!

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  4. Hawaii Planner says:

    Good shoes are critical! I bought a new pair of running shoes after buying many, many, many & returning them each after a single run demonstrated that they were not for my feet. My trick is to buy them at Nordstrom. (Not sure if they ship free to you, and/or if you have a free return option on the island). For me, it means I can try out shoes until I find the right fit. I think I spent about $150 on my new running shoes, and they feel like running on clouds. So perfectly cushioned. Before this, my running/walking shoes were on clearance at Marshall’s in Warrenton (near Seaside!) & I bought two pair. They lasted me for a couple of years, and one pair (keep at the vacation house) are still going strong. Loved those shoes.

    Good luck finding shoes that fit properly, and hopefully won’t break the bank.

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    • Laura says:

      We use Zappos – free shipping and returns if we don’t like the shoes or they’re not right. The only shoe places now on the island are Famous Footwear and Macy’s, and their prices are high and neither has much of a selection, especially for someone like me with my wide feet and high arches.

      Good running shoes are expensive! We have had to get the girls a pair each year for cross country and track, and we spend $$$. But, if you get it right they will last. WenYu is still using the running shoes we bought for her in her second year of high school (they’re her back-up pair).

      It is going to take a bit of luck to find the right traveling shoes, but I think I’m off to a good start!

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  5. Nancy says:

    I enjoy all your posts. I’ve been trying to find the one where you talked about researching new suitcases and then ultimately which you bought. If you wouldn’t mind sending me those links, I’d love it. I’d like a carry on and a little larger one as well. Not sure if I want soft or hard sided luggage. Also, what size do most airlines allow for a carry on? Your post on luggage was so great! Thank you, Laura!

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    • Laura says:

      Hi Nancy – here’s the link to the post about researching and choosing a suitcase. We ended up buying two Eagle Creek 32″ Gear Warrior rolling duffles – they got very good reviews, and we were able to get them at a substantial discount from Amazon on Prime Day. Regularly priced the two suitcases would have cost nearly $600, but we got them for $416 because of the sale.

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      • Nancy says:

        Oh, thank you, Laura! I’m going to check it out right now. What a fantastic deal you got on your luggage! I appreciate you and your blog so much. You are so helpful and informative. I love reading how you think and make decisions. I always enjoy your Sunday posts and the snippets into your life. Thank you for sharing! 😊

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  6. tpol1 says:

    I was having back issues and thinking that it was because of my weight. Well, yes, my weight is at it’s all-time high nowadays but I have found out that I can certainly walk 10.000 steps and more per day thanks to New Balance. They are a bit pricey but, I love love love my New Balance 990 shoes. I am now the proud owner of three pairs, which I will rotate each day so that they will last longer. They say never wear the same shoe on two consecutive days. I am using inserts in them so, I have opted for a size up. So comfortable!

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    • Laura says:

      New Balance shoes have always fit well and they take a while to wear out (except for the laces – they always seemed to break quickly). I thought about getting some for our trip but decided I want something less “sneaker looking,” if that makes sense.

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