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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shoes for Europe, Part II

I took the plunge via www.zappos.com on Monday morning. I bought over $400 worth of shoes, all of which might work for Europe. I thought I'd see if this internet retail experience could be less frustrating than the last.

I've been reading my Italy/ Rome guidebooks lately and they've been making me conscious of how hot the weather could be in September. I'm thinking highs in the mid-80's (F), lows in the 50's sounds about right? I don't want to walk around Rome in hot, heavy shoes. Sandals, preferably some with good arch support and traction sounded like the right idea. 

I live in flip flops in the summer but I don't want to tempt the arch-tension that comes with that toe-grip move your foot does when wearing them. I'll certainty take a pair, if not two, but I needed another warm-weather footwear alternative. 

Let me also explain my feet. Have you ever seen Fred Flinstone's feet? How about a bear-claw doughnut? Yeah... they're short, wide and have high arches. Elegant they're not. Tough to find perfect shoes for they are. 

What shoes did I order? Let me show you... 

(Let me also show you some of the clothes I plan on wearing in Europe)

(I'd also gotten home from the gym an hour ago, so shut up about the hair and makeup)

First, the Merell Abyss shoes (available here). 

 The verdict? Meh. Pros: closed toe, reasonable comfortable, I couldn't find a place they'd rub a blister. Cons: uglier than sin. They were the first shoes I unwrapped and I was underwhelmed.

Next! Merrell Sundial Braid (available here).

The verdict? Again, meh. More a definite no than a meh, actually. Pros: comfortable footbed, overall pretty comfortable on the feet. Cons: hit my high arches in the wrong spot, might be a half size too big, not wide enough for these Fred Flinstones footsies. See, the side pinch?
 That's a definite no on the Merrell Sundial Braids.

Round three! Hey check out my orange Patagonia Morning Glory Dress-- you'll be able to find me in an airport! These are the Keen Emerald City Sandal (available here).

Verdict? People... we have a contender. Pros: comfortable! Really, really comfortable. Kind of gladiator-esque, which seems appropriate for Rome. Cons: I can't really feel it walking around in our house, but is that a side pinch? The soles are pretty thin; will I feel a rock if I step on it? And the soles are leather... which won't really absorb sweat. Moisture + shoes ='s rubbing ='s blisters, right? I'm going to hang onto these for further evaluation. 

 The fourth round of shoes I actually purchased a few months ago. The Merrell Lydia sandal. I've liked them so far, though see also: the toe-grippy reflex and tired arches. Hey is that another Patagonia Morning Glory dress?

 Even though I won't wear the Lydia's for heavy duty walking around, I'll probably still pack them. They're functional enough for a mile or two walk and pair well with a dress for dinner or something.

I also purchased a pair of Dansko Kate shoes earlier this spring, from a retailer here in Bozeman. They've been sitting in the closet all spring, as I haven't been sure that I want to take them to Europe.

(Let me also explain that these pants include a strap and a button in order to moderate the length. I'm conveniently rocking one of each length in these photos)

 The verdict as I walk around in them more? Possibly. Undecided, still. Pros: closed toe, probably best for touring D-day beaches and in cooler Normandy, I could throw in midge socks if I was getting blisters. Cons: heavier than most other shoes, probably too hot for Rome, clunky, take up a lot of room in my luggage. Added bonus: though we're not going to Holland, these shoes give me street cred if someone needs to know something about tulips.

The fifth contender is the Privo by Clarks Mickie (available here).

Verdict? Oh I likey! Pros: thick enough sole to protect against rocks, a bit of a heel to the sole, good grip on the bottom, foot bed is a synthetic material that I like (more on that later). Cons: shoot. I ordered a size 8, wide. I really needed a size 7.5, wide. See below how the sandal is too long?

 Privo makes the size I need but Zappos is sold out of. Shoot. Time to call around town and see if anyone has them.

So out of this batch of orders, I think the contenders are the Privo by Clarks Mickie, and the Keen Emerald City Sandal. See the difference below:

I'm still on the fence about the Dansko Kates. Too clunky? Would I wear them?

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