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Thread: Shoes in Northern Europe

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    Shoes in Northern Europe

    My wife and I are heading to Ireland, London, and Paris this summer for our first European trip. I don't necessarily fully trust the opinions of people I know over there or who have been there, so I am turning to you stylish cats for some insight!

    The two of us workout and run together, so I am packing some running shoes. With this addition, it could cause packing problems, so I am trying to consolidate to 2 pairs of shoes, if possible. We are prepared to walk a lot (we do that plenty here in Chicago) so I will need something comfortable.

    I think I would be best served with some Jack Purcells for everyday street wear & more casual wear, and then some driving loafers for more dressed-up attire (also useful when driving around Ireland and comfy for walking)
    I think my suede bucks would get painful and messed up in the rain, and I am not sure about me Sperry topsiders.

    Does anyone have any other suggestions?

    We also plan to trek through some Irish countryside, so something rugged could be my 4th (!!) pair... unless you think I could wear running shoes for countryside footwear.
    I kind of think I could run in these and have been itching to splurge... but idk
    http://www.soletopia.com/2013/02/ver...chel-h710-420/

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    I don't know exactly what parts of those places you're visiting, but some streets are newer than others. most will likely be paved the same way they are here in the US, but many older sidewalks and streets will very possibly be cobblestone so pick shoes that will work well over uneven urban terrain.

    In my experience, boat shoes are a mostly American thing so they'll stick out in Europe. I would expect driving mocs to be more universal, but I'm not sure. I didn't spend a lot of time looking at people's feet while I was over there.

    Whichever shoes are your largest are the ones I would wear on the plane to make packing easiest.

    See if you can get bruschetta to weigh in. He's over in Scotland and I'm sure he'll have a straight answer for you.

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    Too many shoes -- they are heavy and bulky, so try to bring only two pair and pack light. Loafers and running shoes will get you through most occasions without a problem.

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    I'd honestly bring a pair of something like Merrells or Keens. They offer support for walking on cobblestone streets and also will be good for the countryside. If you could run in them even better, but if not bring running shoes. They aren't the most stylish things in the world, but comfort and practicality trump here. Real driving loafers (like Tod's etc.) with the rubber dots or rectangles on the sole aren't super comfortable for lots of walking but maybe you mean something else. I'd skip the Purcells, Sperrys and bucks. Bring something decently dressy for eating out at night. For the airport either wear whichever pair is heaviest, or whichever is easier to get on/off. That's 2 (or 3 w/running shoes) and should get you by most situations. Whatever you bring make sure you break them in before you leave. The worst thing to do is buy a new pair of shoes, get a blister, and be crippled for most of your trip.

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    j.r., I think that Fred's suggestion of comfortable hiking shoes is a good one as long as they look more like sneakers than boots. Don't worry about dressing like the locals. Everyone will spot you as a foreigner regardless of your style of dress. I'd personally take a pair of sneakers and a pair of brown derbies/bluchers.

    I will say that I have never seen anyone in the UK wear loafers. They would not be considered dressed up. Keep in mind that it rains 6 days out of the week in the UK and dress accordingly. If you wear loafers your feet will be soaked by the end of the day.

    I can't speak to Paris, but cities in the UK are designed for walking. Everything is walkable, and public transportation is excellent. Taxis and trains are available for longer distances.

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    Dappered Veteran BB's Avatar
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    Good point about loafers and rain -- also lace-up shoes will minimize blistering. Last summer I spent two weeks in the Belgium and the Netherlands walking quite a bit, and brought the Stafford wingtips from JC Penny ($50 or so). They worked very, very well. No blisters even on ten-mile plus days. I'm taking them on another international walking-heavy trip this summer. Rubber soles are a good idea because of rain, too.

    Paris is exceptionally walkable, especially the inner arrondissements. Don't spend too much time trying to use the underground (metro) between sights -- check to see if it's a short walk, stay above ground and enjoy the sights as you stroll.

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    NOT sure why I said "Northern" Europe... *facepalm

    Thanks for the tips, gents

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    @BB Thanks for the tips! Regarding the stafford wingtips - were they the boots? I have the boots, but i thought they might be a bit silly in the summer.

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    I would say try to blend in and wear what most Europeans wear on vacation: they wear athletic shoes that tend to be muted in color, usually leather, with dark laces, thin soles, and tapered looking, not chunky. See Daniel Craig's Nike's in the last part of Casino Royale as one example.

    I would bring only that pair. As long as they're muted in color and low-profile, you should be able to wear them with slightly dressier clothing, and they could also double as running shoes.

    You don't want the hassle of taking shoes in your luggage. And if you feel the need for something dressier, buy a pair of leather moccasins or something over there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j.r. View Post
    Does anyone have any other suggestions?
    In Paris, be sure to go to the Rodin museum. It won't be crowded and it is pretty amazing, especially on a nice day when you can walk around the grounds. Not sure what you're planning to do at night, but "New Morning" is probably the best jazz club in Paris. I've played there a couple of times. If Paris is your last stop, La Maison du Whisky near La Madeleine is a great place to pick up some more obscure Scotch that you won't be able to find in the US. (If UK is last stop, get something there.) Obviously you have to check it in your bag. Lots of great coffee, food, and wine but if you or your wife like chocolate then Jean-Paul Hevin is worth searching out IMO. (Some others like Cluizel and La Maison du Chocolat I can find in NYC.) Have fun!

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