When you are thinking about things to bring on a vacation, one of the most important things is your choice of shoes that you take with you. Allyn shares his thoughts on what you need to consider in choosing the best footwear for your trip.
Article by Allyn – founder of EliminateHeelPain.com
Typically, when people go on holiday, they depart from their normal pattern of life. After all, that’s what vacations are all about, right?
If you are planning a holiday trip make sure you take time to plan out your footwear. Will you be walking more than usual or perhaps even participating in more strenuous activities? Recognize that different or unusual physical patterns can place a great deal of stress on your feet.
It is important to bring along footwear that fits your needs but also provides essential foot support. I know! On my last holiday I wore non-supportive sandals my first day and spent the rest of my holiday struggling with plantar fasciitis.
Planning out the right footwear to bring with you can be difficult and even frustrating because you are limited on space. There are a number of questions you need to consider as you plan. For example:
- What type of activity will you engage in while you are on vacation?
- What climate(s) will you encounter on your trip?
- Are there cultural or social expectations that you need to take into account?
- Do you have any personal fitness issues that may affect your choice of footwear?
Let’s consider each of these questions individually.
Three Types of Vacation Activity
Walking: Will you be walking more than you normally do? If you expect to be sight-seeing, walking the streets of a city, or taking in special sights, the answer is probably “yes”.
With this in mind, perhaps the most important pair of shoes would be comfortable, quality walking shoes that have good arch and heel support. You want to avoid potential foot problems due to shoes with poor fit or lack of support.
One type of shoe that has gained greatly in popularity is Crocs. If you aren’t worried about fashion, these can prove to be very comfortable. Before you run out and buy some, however, be sure to check whether this type of shoe will be considered appropriate where you are visiting.
Note that fashion should not win out over proper foot support. If you expect to do a significant amount of walking on city centre streets, however, you will probably want to keep the fashion factor in mind as you select your walking shoes.
Need some recommendations? Check out the 19 Comfy, Travel-Friendly Shoes Made for Walkin’ recommended by Travel+Leisure. A few of these might also be good if higher fashion is required.
Strenuous Activities: This is often the most unplanned part of a holiday. If you expect to participate significantly in activities that are out of the norm, for example hiking, climbing, dancing, or sports, then you must also consider the more specialized footwear required to meet the demands placed on your feet.
Shoes that are specifically designed for your activity are best, of course. Most importantly, they must provide proper support for your toes, arch, and heel.
Dressy Activities: Will you be spending time conducting business? Will you attend a wedding or funeral? These are not normal activities when on a holiday vacation but they may be included in your itinerary.
Or, perhaps you expect to go to a nightclub or up-market restaurant.
If any of these types of activities are part of your plan, you will need more formal footwear than your walking shoes. Plan and pack appropriately. Women may choose to bring fancier flats or sandals that go with multiple outfits. Men may need business attire shoes or perhaps could get by with good-looking semi-formal slip-ons.
But be aware of your feet! If you will be standing for a long period of time, they will get tired. Don’t jeopardize the rest of your holiday trip by wearing shoes that will hurt your feet.
Other Factors to Consider
Climate: Obviously, climate can greatly affect the type of footwear you will want to bring with you.
When travelling to a hot climate sandals or thin soled vented shoes are your best choice. Between the tropics, most travellers and locals wear either a sports sandal or flip-flops. But beware – these shoes will not give your feet good arch support. Too much walking in something without support could result in very painful foot problems.
On the other hand, if your destination will feature cold weather, you will need to adjust accordingly. Ankle boots may be appropriate for women. Men, find an appropriate shoe/boot and add socks, if necessary.
You may want to stick with close-toed shoes if you travel to locations with ground-based biting insects or if you will be walking significantly on dirty or gravely surfaces.
Cultural and Social Expectations: You need to do some research before going on your trip. There is plenty of cultural and social information available on the internet.
Recognize that some types of footwear may be frowned upon socially in certain countries. For example, Crocs, Birkenstocks, and tennis shoes are no-no’s when in Spain or Italy. If you are planning to visit these countries, consider comfortable leather walking shoes.
As an American, I will remind you that some of our “casual” footwear stands out, shouting “American tourist,” in other countries. Perhaps the most commonly recognized and highly disliked footwear common to Americans are white, lace-up tennis shoes. Be careful when and where you wear such shoes.
Crocs and Birkenstocks are available on Amazon in mens, womens and childrens styles and sizes.
Age and Weight: I mention this one, not to invade your privacy, but to remind you that your feet change over time. If you are a typical adult that does not get enough exercise, your feet may be weakening with age. Depending on your activities, you may stress muscles and tendons that you don’t normally use so much.
Age and weight are factors that can make you more susceptible to issues such as plantar fasciitis. Adjust your footwear choices to account for these factors. Again, proper support is the key.
Condition of Your Feet: You know your own foot health. Have you had previous problems with your feet? If you aren’t sure what to do perhaps you should consult with your doctor.
Top Tip – Three Pairs
After considering all the factors, it is now time to select your footwear. As you make your selections think through the following characteristics of the footwear: support, comfort, weight, durability, functionality, and style.
Though this may not always be the case, the most efficient plan for holiday footwear is typically three pairs of shoes/sandals/boots.
More than three can become a nightmare when packing. Less than three may leave you with inappropriate footwear for the situations you will encounter on your holiday trip.
Make sure your footwear has been broken in before your trip. You do not want to suffer from blisters or other foot issues simply because you are wearing shoes that are still stiff.
If your footwear is worn or not of high quality, get something that is. Remember that high quality shoes will help you avoid foot issues.
The key is – think ahead when considering things to bring on vacation. Be sensible. Plan out what you will be doing when choosing the best footwear that will give your feet the support and comfort needed. In doing so, you will have a fantastic holiday vacation and you will arrive home with healthy feet. If you have any questions or tips of your own on choosing the best footwear to bring on vacation, please leave a comment below.