Shoes. Stilettos, wedges, flats, boots, galoshes, flip-flops, gladiators, sneakers, cleats. Whatever your preference, shoes are a vital aspect to any wardrobe, and picking which pairs to pack on your trip can be a difficult, if not heart-wrenching, endeavor. You want whatever is practical, but, if you are like me, you also want to look cute. You don’t want your clunky hiking boots to scream “tourist” while you’re sipping a Guinness in downtown Dublin. How many pairs are too many? Is one pair not enough? Let me give you my advice in three easy steps:
Step 1: Think about where you’re going. Think about the climate. Is it hot? Cold? Mild? If you’re going hiking in Hawaii, you won’t want fur-lined boots. Rather, you’d want a pair that will give you that necessary arch and ankle support while also being made from breathable material.
Step 2: Think about what you’ll be doing. This may seem obvious, but sometimes the gleam on those red pumps can warp your mind and, next thing you know, you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail in them. Yes, I’m exaggerating…but only a wee bit. If you plan on spending the majority of your time on a beach in the Pacific, don’t bring boots…no matter how cute. If you think you may go for a jog, bring a pair of sneakers. Going out to a nice dinner or two? Pack those heels! Hiking? BOOTS. And of course, if you plan on using public showers, bring flip-flops so you won’t catch a foot fungus. Who wants to return home from a trip with that as a souvenir?
Step 3: Think about how much space is in your bag. If you have enough room to bring several pairs of shoes, then go for it! As long as that won’t put your bag over the weight limit. However, if you have limited space, think of steps one and two. Set aside the pairs of shoes you’re considering bringing along and seriously ask yourself, “Will I really wear these?” Odds are, you won’t wear most of them.
When we went to Ireland and Scotland, I brought a pair of sturdy boots that I wore most days, flip-flops for the shower, and a cute pair of faux leather boots. I was able to scrunch these up in my bag, which helped save space. The one problem I overlooked was that they were not water-resistant. I then got caught in the rain with them. Multiple times. Am I saying I shouldn’t have brought them? No. Am I saying I should have sprayed them with water-resistant spray? Yes. Plan for the worst.
If you need to purchase a good pair of boots or shoes for your next adventure, allow yourself to spend more money on a GOOD pair rather than saving money on one that’s so-so. Do research. I recommend stores like L.L.Bean or Eastern Mountain Sports. They have good variety, and the staff really knows what they’re talking about. Finally, try on pairs. Don’t just order them off the internet…TRY THEM ON. The wrong pair of shoes can seriously hurt your back and overall posture.