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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went on a slight shoe shopping binge.  Besides reading, I love bags and shoes.:)  So when I found all of my shoes suddenly too big in size, I jumped at the chance of shoe shopping.:)  Plus I need to get some good traveling shoes as it is that time of year and in Seattle, summer is the best time to go camping and hiking.

Only I could not seem to find any information on how to select the best traveling shoes.  I got that I should avoid the dreaded white sneakers (never liked sneakers that were 90% white anyway), and it should be comfortable (duh).  Some shoe brands boasts about stability bars, breathable materials, waterproofing, etc.  I still don't get it.  Are there some specifics out there?  I don't have problem feet, they are just short & fat (think 'Hobbit') and my heels are pretty average.  So if anyone who can help enlighten me, I would appreciate it very much!:)

I've tried Keens (Presidios & Toyahs) during my trip to Ireland and London, but found they developed weird wet spots inside the sole after rain (no puddle jumping) but took out the Presidios once in the rain in Ireland (no leak but water from a points under my feet).  Not to mention they weren't spectacular in comfort, form, and sliding around on certain ground and walk ways.  Nearly slipped knocking people backwards on the grated catwalk during a whiskey tour, and rolling on my ankle after sliding off the sidewalk.  It rains nearly all the time here, and if they keep "leaking" it's hard to wear back at home...let alone traveling.

I've recently purchased Merrell's from many travelers suggestions.  They are more hiking shoes but they seem good, especially since they can do many jobs (hiking/camping/traveling/walking/daily wear) that I was looking for.  I got a pair or two in Gore-Tex (waterproof is nice) in Siren Sport styles.  I liked not having to tie laces (after my Simple sneakers), so I got some Ventilated Chameleon Arc 2 Stretches.  

The Siren Sports are nice and fit well, but wonder when the crinkling sound will stop.  It's not super loud but I can definitely hear it when I take on/off the shoes, take a step, and moving my toes.  I spoke with a customer service rep. at Merrell who says that she has never heard of this problem, and perhaps will stop crinkling when I wear them more.  I hope so, I never had any experiences with Gore-Tex materials.

The Ventilated Chameleon Arc 2 Stretches are great, but wonder about the fit.  The size 7's are a bit big (they didn't have the color in my new size of 6.5) due to going up half a size, and my heel slides some.  So I got the 6.5 in another color, which fits me better (more supported)...just the heel is a bit odd.  I know that Merrell's women shoes have this Q-form to correct women's postures to relieve foot and leg fatigue while walking/running.  However, when I stand it feels like the arch support starts too close to my heel, and when walking it's almost gone.  Is this suppose to happen?  After wearing many pillowy cushioned Simple brand shoes and no support heavy Dr. Marten boots for years, my feet are tweeked out of alignment?  I never had any issues with back, feet, and/or legs pains...besides an rare blister here or there.  I haven't worn any of the "stretches" outside because I'm not sure if I should return one or the other.  The 6.5 are more secure and my size, the 7s are bit big to the point my heel slips unless I wear thick socks.

I guess I could take out the insoles, but I'm even more clueless about them!  My friend and I stopped at a Target and took a look, both of just turned to each other completely puzzled. :p  All I want is a good walking/traveling/hiking/daily wearing pairs of shoes to replace my old ones. ::)

Tris
 

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Tris, Shoes are definitely one of those things where you get what you pay for. I would not get any shoes at Target and expect them to be comfortable for a lot of walking. You may even develop feet problems from them. I went the the Aerosole store at Kent Station and got an outstandingly comfortable pair of shoes (they probably have one at Bellevue Square). I wore them on my latest trip to Amsterdam and we did a lot of walking. Not one shoe related problem at all. Not at all like my trip to NYC several years ago. I thought I had comfortable shoes then and I literally tore my feet up.

I did an internet search and for what it is worth this might help.

[URL=http://mostcomfortableshoes.com/]http://mostcomfortableshoes.com/ [/url]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Tripp.  If I was just buying shoes to wear around my neighborhood, I wouldn't mind too much.  However I need to think ahead because my friends are talking about hiking/camping and then going to Scotland later.  I am just hoping to buy a few pairs of shoes that could cover all activities so that it would already be broken in and I won't have to worry about getting shoes that could work for those activities. 

I've personally never worn Merrell's but everyone seemed SO positive about the brand.  So I wondered what others thought as I'm pretty clueless.  I always thought as long as it's comfortable, you are good to go.  Apparently not...  Though I do hear "you get what you pay for" by a lot of people.  So I'm willing to invest the money.  I've never tried "Aerosole" but have walked past it a lot in Bellevue Square.  The mall has changed a lot so I'm not even sure if the store is still there, but it seems like they wouldn't have what I'm looking for...a bit too fancy for this simple low key t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers girl?:)

I'll take a look at the website because I certainly have not found anything on my own.  At least I'm lucky to be in jobs where they don't have many restrictions on employee clothes.

Tris
 

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There was an article recently, though I think it applied to runners, that all these new fancy things in what's thought of as "tennis shoes" are unnecessary.

My suggestion for walking and light hiking is Rockport.  Very comfy.  But Merrells have a great rep too.

Whatever you do, be sure to wear them lots before you leave so they're well broken in and you know they'll do the trick for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
spotsmom said:
There was an article recently, though I think it applied to runners, that all these new fancy things in what's thought of as "tennis shoes" are unnecessary.

My suggestion for walking and light hiking is Rockport. Very comfy. But Merrells have a great rep too.

Whatever you do, be sure to wear them lots before you leave so they're well broken in and you know they'll do the trick for you.
Thanks for the suggestion spotsmom, I did take a look at Rockports. I liked some of their real simple flats but that would only apply for certain things. I'm afraid their other styles don't really appeal to me. I tend to live in sneakers and light hikers as my feet are wide and fat...they seem to be more accommodating. You did give me a place to go to when I need nice simple flats though.:)

The article you mentioned sounds very interesting. Do know what the title of it is?

Perhaps I'm asking too much to have a pair of shoes that will cover everything?

Tris
 

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Hi Tris,

I've been trying to think if it was a web article or in our local paper.  You might try googling it- it really was only in the past couple of weeks that I saw it.

I like Rockports "walking" shoe.

Have you tried REI?
 

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My wife and I traveled around the world for a year. Most of the time I had but one pair of shoes--Merrells. I used them for hiking and the ballet. For good deals, check out Zappos.com or Sierratradingpost.com
 

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I like Naots.  If you go to Zappos' website, once you check out one brand, reviewers will often recommend similar brands (which is how I found Naots, among others).  6pm.com is their sale site, but selection is usually pretty limited as to sizes available.  Another good website with photos is a blog called barkingdogshoes (reviews of comfort shoes, with links to sellers).  I also have been surprised that I love Toms shoes, with an insert - their last just fits my foot shape well, I guess (I buy direct from their website) - but they may not be quite up to your plans!
 

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My boyfriend and I bought Merrell's after doing some online research and asking folks at Bass Outdoor Pro, and we love them. We took them hiking in the Galapagos, and now I use them whenever we're going to do a lot of walking (like when we visit Chicago, or if I'm taking the dog on a trail).

I also really like Crocs for daily dog-walking around the neighborhood (at least a mile a day) and for trips where I might get muddy or wet, b/c they are SO easy to wash, and they are anti-microbial (unless you buy lined ones). They have a reputation for being ugly, but they've come out with a lot of new styles, and more every day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I LOVE Zappos.com, I recently was upgraded to their VIP membership.  So I get free overnight shipping.  Just don't ask me how I got it because it literally was told to me by their CSR.  Their prices might not be as cheap as certain places but the CS is excellent and free overnight is awesome.  Not to mention with tax and everything it actually equals out.

Checked out Noats, seems like they have A LOT of sandals and clogs (not going to be in cities all the time).  Though I'm thinking it's due to the summer season right now.  

I'm trying to stay away from Keens.  Sure, their Newports look fine, but though I have wide fat feet, the rubber toe seems to emphasize it.  I wore two pairs of Keens during my travel in Ireland and London, and in so many pictures you can really see the huge rubber toe.  It was an okay brand, but didn't provide the comfort or deliver in traction.  Not to mention my feet got wet walking AFTER rainfall on city streets and I'm not even jumping or walking in puddles.  The water came from various points from the bottom of the shoes and just kept growing larger!

Thanks for the suggestions all...

Tris
 

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I too like Crocs...I know...ugly...I prefer navy and beige. Too comfy and feather light..I wear matching socks because Raynaud's keeps my feet cold all the time...sometimes 2 pairs of sock and the Crocs accommodate.  For a little more shoe or dress I go with SAS.  SAS..made in the USA in every size imaginable.  They last forever and only get more comfortable.  Those are just my personal faves but I thought I would share.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Mollyb52 said:
For a little more shoe or dress I go with SAS. SAS..made in the USA in every size imaginable. They last forever and only get more comfortable. Those are just my personal faves but I thought I would share.
Thanks for sharing, though aren't SAS for people of certain age? My grandma was in her 80's when she wore them, and it doesn't seemed that they have really changed in style. I haven't even seen nurses wear them for a long time either.

Tris
 

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I wore only Merrells until I bought my first pair of Keens. They just fit my foot better in the styles I buy.

That said, not all keens fit me the same, and so i have given up on calling myself a certain size... Everything must be tried on and walked around in, and given my funky arch issues, I can't try too many on in a day.

The gore-Tex merrells will probably be great, but I caution you what my EX said about his gore-Tex work boots. His feet got HOT in them.

I'd go to REI and scope out what they are selling, for more casual if you have a walking company they have a nice selection of comfy but pretty shoes.

I love shoe shopping - I just wish i had a bigger shoe budget!  ;D
 

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I have a pair of Adidas Hikers (low cut, not boot style, look just like a pair of sneakers) that are awesome for both Trail and Street Wear.

They've gotten me through a lot of walking. Sturdy, lightweight, breathable.

I get mine through endless.com. Perfect solution for hard to fit feets like mine.
 

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I ditto the suggestion on going to REI - just because you try on shoes there doesn't necessarily mean you need to buy them.  I go there a lot for different things, and their shoe department employees are always very knowledgeable on the best shoe for your needs.

BTW, I go to Europe at least once/year and have found I need a shoe that has a LOT of support  in it for the cobblestones.  I test shoes by bending the toe up toward the heel.  If it bends easily, forget it - not enough support for me (on those types of shoes, I normally can feel the cobbles through the heels).  That would be my biggest piece of advice over brands/etc.  :)
 

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Yes, LOL, SAS do have a reputation for being "old lady" shoes.  They have a couple of styles that aren't too bad.  One looks like a jazz type shoe...very plain.  I prefer a shoe that is not really clunky or odd colored so it works for me.  They also have a couple of sandals that aren't too bad.  I was still nursing a couple of years ago and several of us under 50 wore SAS.  When you are really on your feet all day you need good shoes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I notice people saying that you need protection against the cobblestone streets.  I've walked on cobblestones here in the States and abroad.  When I wore my Keens, I missed the feeling underneath my feet.  I never really had an issue with them and loved how my old Simple sneakers would flex around them.  Is this bad for you?  Why wouldn't you want a flexible sole to mold over whatever surface you are walking on.  If it doesn't, won't you just slip and fall easier?

Tris
 
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