We learned the hard way on our last travel adventure that shoes were the most important part of our wardrobe, and that cheap shoes, for the amount of walking we did, were just not worth it. My Skecher slip-ons that I started out with gave out (fell apart, actually) in less than a year and not only became extremely uncomfortable but were damaging to my feet as well. Although we’re not going anywhere for a while, and the rest of our wardrobes are fine, we’re now starting to think about acquiring necessary shoes for our next set of travels.
Shoes are, for both of us, the hardest part of our travel wardrobes to find. I have difficult feet to fit: they are wide and I have very high arches. I also have very little padding left on the bottoms of my feet so the soles the any shoes I wear need to be thick and well-cushioned. Both of us prefer shoes for daily wear that slip on and off, if possible, because of the time we spend in Japan, where shoes are removed every time you enter a home. Brett needs ankle support, and also has a big foot. What we need and want is not an easy combination to find, and shoes that do fit the bill are often either very, very expensive or ugly beyond reason.
There are also no shoe stores on Kaua’i other than the small shoe department at Macy’s and they definitely don’t have what we need. We’ve found our best option is to order shoes from Zappos, try them out, and return (free shipping both ways) if the fit is not good. While we’re here we only need sandals and walking shoes, so purchasing other pairs of shoes can feel like a huge, unnecessary luxury at times. For now we’re researching and learning about brands that could work for us, and looking to see if what they offer styles that we like. I recently bought a pair of highly-rated (and expensive) Vionic slip-on sneakers but they were a bust: the right shoe was uncomfortably tight and the left shoe slipped off my heel with every step. My right foot is only slightly bigger than my left, but the fit on these shoes was ridiculous, and I now know it’s a brand I can write off.
My current shoe wardrobe.
I like all the travel shoes I have right now: navy blue suede boots, red slip ons, and gray slip ons. I also have walking sneakers and the silver sandals that I wear all the time here. Five pairs of shoes seems like plenty, but I want to add a pair a black or navy blue slip-on sneakers with arch support and a thick sole, but haven’t had any luck so far finding anything. I think I might also be willing to tote around a pair of black ankle boots, but that is not too likely to happen. Brett needs to replace the Red Wing boots he took along last time. He needs the ankle support boots provide, but the RWs were very heavy, and he had to wear them on every flight because of their weight which meant taking them off and on every time to go through security. He plans to invest in some lighter weight boots for this next round of travel as well as a pair of slip-on sneakers.
Vans are an option: they fit wide feet, have a cushioned sole, and are the style of slip-on I want. They don’t have a lot of arch support though.
Both of us are willing to spend $$$ to get proper fitting, attractive shoes but so far our searches have been coming up empty. We don’t want to be spending hundreds right before we travel though; we’d rather gradually fit an occasional pair of shoes into our budget now and again. We’ve got a year and a half to go, but other than beefing up our savings having the right shoes is probably the number one item on our list of things we need to accomplish.