London Trip: In Need of Shoe Advice

Mar 21, 2017

After weeks of planning, my family’s London trip is coming together.  The trouble is that my Mother and I have one problem, we need shoes for walking around.  I ordered these Cole Haan Zerogrand Ballet Flats, and I like them.  They have a rubber sole and are comfortable, except for one flaw, they cut my heels to shreds.

I know some of you are serious road warriors and commuters, so I’m hoping you have some suggestions.  I have some backup ideas, but I need to pull the trigger soon or I won’t have time to break them in.  Can’t wait to hear your suggestions!


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  1. Hitha Palepu says:

    I love the Ferragamo My Joy flats for lots of walking. I walked a solid 10 miles every day in these babies in Paris, and my feet were fine. I also love the Nike Juvenate sneakers, and Nordstrom has a gorgeous navy leather pair that I’ve been wearing nonstop. Hope this helps!

  2. Rachel says:

    I know you don’t like the Tiffany Blue Sole – but I love my Navy Tieks. I’ve owned them for over a year, and I bet I’ve worn them 350/365 days. They’re comfortable and I’ve never blistered.

    I’ve had friends (from ten years ago, so this info could be out of date) that went on annual (sometimes semi-annual) trips to Europe. They swore by Dansko shoes.

    • Liz says:

      Second… I know you don’t love the sole but I also chose the Navy color so the sole worked with it more than clashed with it. Sincerely the most comfortable flat I’ve owned. And when a seam started coming out on the interior sole, they replaced them immediately at no cost to me!

    • Kelly says:

      For a trip like this, I’d caution against Dansko clogs, myself. I think they take some getting used to, and London (and many other European cities) will have you traipsing along uneven cobbly surfaces. One of the chief complaints against Danksos (one I share, though I do love them!) is that they are tippy, meaning people frequently turn their ankles in them on uneven surfaces.

    • Amy says:

      Can’t agree more with Tieks. I have two pairs and have worn them all over Europe and never gotten a blister or even really had sore feet. For something a bit more substantial, I also really recommend the M Gemi Felize moccasins. Like butter on your feet and more supportive/structured than the Tieks. Plus they are made of gorgeous leather and they look great.

    • Kate Yan says:

      Agree! Tieks! I have the Chestnut brown, it goes with everything. And you can fold them up and store them in the pouch (that comes with the shoes) for your purse as “backup shoes”.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I just bought some ECCO flats and have been very pleased with the comfort (Flats with an elastic or bunched opening always murder my achilles tendon). My are lace-up, but there is a plain version as well in black, brown, and a blue(?).

  4. Alex says:

    I know you’ve already unsuccessfully tried Tieks, but I’ll still offer them as a last-ditch suggestion. I have worn them on several walking-intensive trips to cobblestone-loving cities, as well as for major work-related conferences where I’ve been standing and walking all day long, and my feet still feel great at the end of the day. I also normally hate flats with elastic around the heels, but I have had zero problems with blisters or discomfort with Tieks — actually, the elastic makes the shoes ideal for long days of walking, as the shoes will not slip off your feel accidentally, which is a problem I frequently have as my flats get stretched out or broken in.

  5. Michelle says:

    I have always loved the Sam Edelman Felicia — they’re incredibly comfortable and with at least a little cushion on the bottom. Some of the reviews suggest that it would be good to add something for arch support, but YMMV.

  6. Megan says:

    When I travel to Europe I actually bring two pairs of walking shoes – somehow my tired feet feel better in shoes that hit them in a slightly different way, if that makes sense. The last time I was in Paris, I switched between Converse slip ons with Super Feet (but I think any foot support device would work) and a pair of Naot sandals.

    • LS says:

      Huge +1 for multiple pairs. I have terrible foot problems and I find the one thing that helps more than any specific shoe is rotating. I know you’re somewhat luggage constrained in this case, but bringing two pairs that you find comfortable should help a lot.

    • Meghan says:

      +2 to bringing multiple pairs. I once brought the most comfortable pair of runners I owned on a two-week trip to Tours and Paris, but they were the only walking shoes I brought. By the end of the trip I had a massive blister on the bottom of both footpads that (maybe TMI) burst on our last night when I wore heels to the Moulin Rouge. Good times (not). Bring two pairs.

      Last summer in Italy I had huge success with a pair of white leather runners and Ferragamo My Joy flats. This year I am bringing a pair of Chloe flats to London/Paris plus the same pair of white leather runners. IMHO avoid flat leather sandals – the cobblestone and sidewalk will eat your calves without any support.

    • Lexi says:

      Agree with 2 pairs– especially a sneaker, albeit a cool looking pair, and a ballet flat of some kind. Sometimes, you have to be practical, cobblestones are no joke and you’re going to be walking more than usual. Save the ballet flats for lunch/dinner/something nicer.

    • nora says:

      Another +1 for both multiple pairs of comfortable walking shoes and also for Super Feet (and I have never found any other foot support device that works as well, including custom made insoles.)

      I travel there for work (and walk until I drop from fatigue after work because it is the best place in the world to walk). I used to bring a mix of clogs/moccasins/boots/sandals/fashion sneakers with varying levels of support and rain-protection (Clarks and Naots were favorites). Last time I went, I bought my first pair of Danskos. They were the bomb – I barely wore anything else (my Toms occasionally and that was it) and they were fine on cobblestone. My feet and back never hurt. If you can cope with the clunky look, they are worth it.

      Ballet flats are tough – no support or coverage, terrible in the rain. They don’t take up much room, but I wouldn’t count on wearing them much.

      I don’t remember when you are going, people wear boots well into the spring and early summer there, due to rain and general not-hotness of weather.

      One more piece of advice – instead of ordering online, go to Nordstrom or another good shoe store and try EVERYTHING on. This is one situation where you want the shoe to be perfect for your foot and feel super comfortable right off the bat.

  7. MM says:

    While you should certainly avoid the heavy sneakers look, I’m a proponent of Keds for travel. They’re lightweight, if they get destroyed it’s okay, and they’re comfortable. I marched all over Germany in mine without getting side eye.

    I would also maybe look at LL Bean or Sperry flats/mocs for rainy days when flats would get nasty.

  8. Mary G says:

    The sneaker trend is real there as many of the sidewalks and streets are still cobblestoned and uneven. You could still look like *not a tourist* and wear cute kicks

  9. Emily Wilson says:

    I concur about the Tieks! I know you don’t like the sole color but they’re comfortable and wouldn’t need much break in time- if at all! And they get more comfortable every time I wear them. My one complaint is that the leather can get scuffed but I’ve heard it’s an easy fix at a repair shop. I have the chestnut color.

  10. Erika says:

    You can’t beat Arche for comfort ( but I lived in London for 10 years. For walking everyone wears dressy sneakers, NOT running sneakers. More like ones by Tod’s, Isabel Marant, Y3 or at a lower price point Converse, Vans or Adidas. Stay comfortable out there!

  11. Denise says:

    I have a pair of Ahnu ‘Chrissy’ flats that I wear all over Europe. They are super comfortable and work well with jeans and slacks, but unfortunately they appear to be discontinued. It looks like there are more options for other Ahnu shoes, though most of them have a more athletic appearance than the ‘Chrissy’.

    For work I like the Cole Haan ‘Tali’ flat, though I am disappointed that the recent versions do not include the Nike Air technology. I also wear wedges a lot for business trips to Europe because the cobblestones will cut up a stiletto in a heart beat. for more casual wear I also have a pair of Saucony suede sneakers I got on major sale at Madewell that fit the bill. You can’t really dress them up but for casual weekends they are great!

    Have you considered waiting until you get to London? Lots of excellent options in Europe. They have a very good selection of Clarks and Born, both comfort brands but in Europe you get far more attractive options than in the states!

  12. Lex says:

    I love the Cole Haan 2.Zerogrand laser wingtip oxfords — very comfortable for walking a lot (with no breaking in required, in my experience) and stylish enough to wear on a daily basis. The “simply taupe” and “ivory leather” colors are both perfect neutrals.

  13. Lotoya Beard says:

    I know that these are patent leather, but coach flats are the best! Have a safe and wonderful trip!!

  14. M says:

    M Gemi Felize! So comfortable and no need to break them in.

    • M says:

      Although I realize that’s not a great suggestion for a rainy clime…

      • V says:

        I second the Felize – with an insert for arch support.

        I also like AGL ballet flats, 1 size up.

        But as someone who travels quite a bit to cobblestone cities, I have to recommend sneakers. I believe you have to prioritize your goals for a trip. For me, the ability to walk more and see more things without spending brain power on sore feet – or worse, wasting time by sitting just to let my feet rest – far, far outweighs my desire to look 100%. Others may prefer a different point along that spectrum, but for me, I’ll take sneakers and more walking.

  15. Deirdre says:

    I’d caution on the ballet flats unless you don’t mind soggy feet, because you will likely run into rainy British weather. They are a bit harder to find these days but I really like the Frye Anna Oxford (they do skew a little menswear though). Also heard good things about Everlanes Babo (but cannot personally attest to them). Enjoy your trip!

  16. Sara says:

    Shoot, I would have said Cole Haan is my go to…I actually prefer the “tali” flat…seems to fit my feet better (and still has a rubber sole, etc.).

    Another suggestion, although perhaps not as fashionable are Clarks flats. I have walked all over Europe in Clarks shoes and have never had a problem.

  17. SM says:

    I wore my Naturalizer slip on loafers throughout my trip to Ireland recently and they were the best! I bought they from DSW and they are very similar to

  18. Maureen says:

    I never leave home without my Tory Burch minnie travel flats. They are super comfy and come in lots of colors. Travel bag included. Just fold and pack.

  19. Kristen M Coia says:

    I went to Paris about a month ago, and wore Cole Haan booties with a low/med heel, and they were shockingly comfortable. One day I walked 14 miles in them.

  20. Goldie says:

    I love the Vionic Women’s Chill Larrun Loafer ( i have them in black snakeskin and calf-hair) and find them to be the most comfortable, supportive flat I have. They are actually an ortho shoe disguised as an adorable loafer. They were great when I spent two weeks in Italy as well. You can purhcase via Amazon. Best of luck and enjoy your trip!

  21. Emily says:

    I’ve found on trips with a lot of walking, what’s more important than one specific shoe is having several good ones you can switch out. No matter how comfortable a shoe is, if I spend several days in a row walking in it, I’ll have sore feet (also helps for rainy climates). This Cole Haan flat has done me well on several Europe trips: And while I was very resistant to the Tieks because of the sole, they are great comfortable walking shoes that are still cute. And finally, while I am normally really anti-sneaker when I’m on a trip because I want to look good (and feel like myself), but sometimes the tootsies just need a break and these Pumas are the best, most stylish sneaks I’ve found and they come in a ton of colors:

  22. Rachel C says:

    I recommend cute, stylish sneakers of some sort during the day and then flats for dinner and the evening. With all of the sneakers option available in the world, you don’t even have to sacrifice style for comfort. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the weather being as much of an issue.

    • Amanda says:

      I second the call for cute sneakers! Spring in London is much chillier than I expected — the cold + humidity can really make your bones rattle. Wearing socks for long walks around town will make you so much happier.

    • Megan says:

      I fourth(?) the sneakers. Think classic Adidas or Nikes. The other brand I just tried and love is Allbirds… they are made of merino wool and super comfy and breathable. Plus, you can throw them in the wash if they get dirty/smelly.

      You can get away with wearing sneakers during the day and switch into a loafer, pointed flat or bootie at night if you want to be less casual.

    • Linsey says:

      Taking your advice! I am going to be in the UK in early April. Thinking about a pair of New Balance 696’s or a pair of Adidas Superstar’s.

      Belle: Pinterest has been super helpful for me personally. I keep searching “cute sneaker outfit” and the results are giving me good inspiration for outfit planning.

  23. Kelly says:

    Depending on when you go, I’d suggest Earthies booties (the Sintra styles). I trudged all over London, Paris, and Barcelona at various non-summer times of year and my feet were dry, well-supported, and they were cute. I have them in two colors, now, as a result.

    Otherwise, I think you’ll want something soft (like a Tieks, or I like Toms), or supportive but fashionable (like a vintage looking puma sneaker). I’ve found that London is very ok with sneaker wearing as fashion, which is not always been my experience in other European cities.

  24. Meg says:

    I wore “fancy” toms (you can get some colors/styles on nordstroms that do not look like sneakersl) all over London and Paris and had no problems with discomfort. I wore them with skinny jeans and you would have never known they were sneakers. Highly recommend.

    • Jen says:

      I am a shoe girl but with age I need comfort, my go to for travel are Aquatalia or Sorel. It is possible to find a style that is fashionable and weatherproof. Plus they have always been very comfortable from day one no matter how much walking I have done. They are worth the price.

  25. rar says:

    When are you going? I wore my flat Frye boots when I’ve been in the winter, and sandals (I think they were just Old Navy sandals with a little cushion on the sole) or cute sneakers (printed Vans) when I’ve been in the summer. The sandals don’t sound like a comfortable option, but I have terrible hips/knees/ankles and I was fine walking around all day.

  26. Anu says:

    I was in Paris for two weeks recently and the Cole Haan ZEROGRAND Wingtip Oxfords provided me with sneaker like comfort but without the neon or athletic look.

    • Kristen says:

      I second these! I wore them at the convention I was working at last year and they were great- I averaged about 20K steps a day running around the convention center (mostly concrete and tile flooring). I also got tons of compliments – they were well worth the money.

  27. ND says:

    I just got the Cole Haan zerogrand Oxford sneakers for a trip to London (lots of walking, lots of galleries). Very comfortable, stylish enough to not look too conservative in uber-trendy London. It’s going to be raining there for the next few weeks so stay clear of ballet flats. Boots are a good option too!

  28. Becky says:

    I’m sorry the CH flats shredded your heals! I actually just wore the same exact CH flats all over Amsterdam and London in December and they were fantastic. I had to order a half size up from what I normally wear in CH though, and that has worked great. I think their flats run kind of small.

  29. Kathryn says:

    I agree with the caution about the weather. My sister visited me in Europe *in July*, and brought only ballet flats and converse sneakers. She was constantly cold from wet feet.

    I recommend “dressy” leather sneakers and low heeled ankle boots — I saw a lot of those in Europe, and they are very practical for walking. Anything you can wear with socks is so much more comfortable. After a little waterproofing, your feet will be invincible!

    Check out the blog Une Femme D’Un Certain Age for ideas. She posts a lot of great travel shoe suggestions.

    • s says:

      Second this. Bring Addidas or similar for day/sightseeing, and for evening ankle boots and flats. There really is that much walking. I have a friend who lives there and she and all her friends all wear “walking” type shoes all the time.

      Also flats like Tieks are ok for walking for some people, but if you have any foot, knee, or back issues that is just not enough support. Maybe a good idea for just a little walking– like to the Tube and dinner, then back. But not a day of museums, Tower of London, etc., shopping. That’s sneakers, 100%.

  30. Cheryl says:

    Born shoes–
    Ariat boots–the zip ups especially handy for TSA removal
    I’ve never had a pair of shoes/boots from either of these companies that needed a ‘break-in’ period.
    Have great trip–good time to go there.

  31. Sara says:

    London resident here. I’d advice against ballet flats. Sidewalks are a lot more uneven than in the US and after a bit of walking around your feet will hurt without more support/cushioning. Stylish trainers are popular here for casual wear, boots (particularly Chelsea boots) for everything else (plus both trainers and boots can withstand a little rain.) I lived in my Pikolinos boots all winter. Looks like Nordstrom has some cute spring styles (not a boot, but really liking the Santorini loafer.)

  32. CJ says:

    You’ve got to try Dr. Scholl’s new shoe lines. The styles are getting better, and you cannot beat the comfort. Their Kimber flats are cute and durable – my new go-to conference shoes (and I’ve tried everything).

  33. Claire says:

    I bought the J Slides Calina Slip On (Nordstrom) for a Eurotrip and walked all over in them with 0 pain. The upper is woven which looks cool and makes them nice and breathable. I got Gekks to line them & avoid sock slippage. Still wear them all. the. time.

  34. Nancy says:

    I can walk for miles in my rag and bone harrow boots. I think a little less stylish but my Stuart’s (think 50/50 but only knee high) also serve me well. I’m a dress girl so both work with or without tights for me. Except for dead of summer this is how I pack. Black dresses , trench coat and boots.

  35. Anna says:

    I snagged a pair of Vans this weekend and was shocked to see that they have a “ortho” comfort insole — crazy comfy. I panicked for second but got assurances from several shoppers that they weren’t too “mom shoe” looking. I’m not sure if all their shoes have it but it might be worth a look — they had a ton of prints. Pretty good price point too!—womens/370098?activeColor=030

  36. Mackenzie says:

    I wore these all over Italy and France last summer on my honeymoon. We walked several miles every day and these shoes held up very well. They offer enough support that my feet were always fine at the end of a long day of walking. Not overly dressy, but not a sneaker or tennis shoe either.

  37. Kelsey says:

    Vionic flats! It may seem old lady, but they have arch support, are comfy, and super cute. You can often find them on Amazon for less than at the website. I recommend the Lucinda Flat, the Cabello Flat (comes in a cute cork) or the Surin Ballet Flat.

  38. Tammy says:

    No matter what you end up bringing, you’ll need to purchase insoles. The last time I went to London (clocking in around 30,000 each day) I brought a pair of riding boots, Tom desert wedges, motocycle boots (Dolce Vita) and a pair of converse. You’ll want to bring a variety of shoes so that your feet won’t cramp up.

    Also bring some epsom salts. If it gets REALLY bad, take 15-20 min in the evening and soak your feet.

  39. H. says:

    I have those some Cole Haan flats (in black), which also rubbed my heels a bit when I first got them. I put a pair of drugstore heel liners in the backs and now they don’t rub or pinch anywhere.

  40. Got It At Goodwill says:

    Stylish sneakers are the way to go

  41. Lily says:

    Maybe it’s not what you want to hear, but with sneakers so on-trend right now, why not get a cute pair of white or black Adidas?

    I backpacked around Europe for a year and at first I was trying to wear cute “normal” shoes, but eventually gave in and just wore sneakers. It made my experience 1000x better not having sore feet, and I like to think I made it work.

  42. Lindsey says:

    I like my Teva Foxy booties ($50-$130 on Amazon) or my Geox Lola ballet flats ($75ish-$150). The ballet flats are water-proof and they have a cushioned footbed and a sturdy design. I wore my Teva Foxys in London walking about 7-10 miles a day in January without any foot or joint pain. My Geox Lola’s are my go-to summer shoe when running around DC all spring/summer.

  43. Jo says:

    I know you don’t want to bring a lot of shoes but I find that switching shoes really helps. It moves around the pressure or something. I alternative shoes when travelling and wear a different pair at night. I recommend a low wedge for arch support, I live in NYC and do a lot of walking normally and alternating shoes and a low arch do the trick.

  44. Mags says:

    I was just in England- it seemed like every woman was wearing chic dark leather sneakers and oxfords with skinny pants- some with socks, some without (or just with low cut no-show ones). The cole haan zerogrand oxfords or wingtips (not perforated, not suede!) would fit right in, as would the black studiogrand sneakers. You’ll also see a lot of chic women in flat chelsea boots- check out the korkease velma or even something with a pointy toe, if that suits you. Ballet flats are very much a summertime shoe, and wont keep you warm and dry enough.
    You’ll also see many women with giant blanket scarves in muted/tonal patterns

  45. Jess says:

    If you don’t mind shoes that may not last long after the trip, I bought the Cole Haan Grant Moccasin for a 10-day family trip to London and they worked wonderfully. The other three members of my family bought ECCO shoes and each of them ended up having some foot pain at some point, but I surprisingly had no issues whatsoever despite zero breaking in ahead of time. I continued wearing the shoes daily for my commute when I got home because they were so comfortable, but within a week or two of returning to DC I had started to wear holes in the bottom (the downside of the super-soft leather). I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the same shoes again for a trip like that simply b/c I think the cost is worth it to avoid any foot pain while traveling, but just know that they may end up being disposable.

  46. I’m so excited for you! I love love love London. For walking-heavy travel days I only wear the all-black Allbirds wool sneakers. They are really light and very soft inside. I wear them without socks and wash them if they get smelly. If you’re going out for fancy tea or dinner while you are out, I would keep a pair of fold-up flats in your purse.

  47. Laura says:

    I love the Cole Haan Tali Ballet flats, but I usually have to go up 1/2 a size. No break in time required for me, due to the slightly elastic back. I have a few pairs and I bought a silver pair for my Paris trip next month..

  48. Lauren Lewow says: look interesting but haven’t tried them

    • Molly says:

      I’m dying to read a review of these, too!

      • Nicole says:

        I was just coming to the comments to recommend Rothy’s. I own two pairs of Rothy’s flats and I am in love with them! They are super comfortable, almost slipper-like, while still looking cute and polished. They are light and flexible, so they are easy to pack. The fabric is a tiny bit stretchy because they are knit, so they didn’t require any breaking in to be comfortable. My feet are slightly wide at the toes with narrow heels, but because the shoes are stretchy they are not too tight, while also not slipping off my heel. The pointed ones were slightly too tight for me in the toe, but if you have a normal width foot would likely be fine. I bought them this winter and live in Boston (aka, not ballet flat weather), so haven’t gotten to walk long distances in them yet, but have walked up to 2 miles in them with no concerns. I wear them in my office all the time and have gotten many compliments. Highly recommend

  49. Kimberly says:

    I know these are sneakers, but I wore them all around Paris with dresses, jeans, everything, and I always get compliments. I have terrible feet, lots of pain, and these are some of the only shoes I wear now for walking any type of distance:

  50. k-t says:

    In Edinburgh I wore Tieks (black) and Chelsea-style rain booties (they are Kate Spade, but I’ve seen very similar from J Crew, Ralph Lauren and others). The rain booties looked cute with both skinny pants and dresses with tights or leggings. They also had enough room for me to add an arch support. Tieks are the only flat with elastic that I have been able to wear for more than five minutes. The leather is a really soft and conforms to your foot. There is no arch support though, so you need to like the barefoot feel.

    I’ve seen lots of recommendations for Super-Ga. I’d be tempted to treat anything canvas with a waterproofing spray.

    • Para says:

      +1, I have the pointed toe Rothy’s, love them as ballet flats

      But for London would do some chelsea boots during the day, bal flats to walk to dinners.

  51. Kate says:

    Seconding the majority of commenters here- don’t do ballet flats, go with cute sneakers. Classic sneakers are way more fashionable than a “comfort” ballet flat nowadays. I’ve seen some cool leather slip on sneakers recently that would be super stylish (think Vans style, but cognac leather). Chelsea boots would work, too. Ballet flats absolutely suck in the rain, and cobble stones are tough on your ankles if you aren’t used to them. I wore some in Brussels for a day recently, and my ankles/feet killed the next day. Something with the little more support is good! Probably goes without saying, but keeping things simple with pants based outfits makes you blend in a lot more and opens up a lot more shoe options. Never fun to be the fussy, stand out American tourist.

    Two more tips: bring a pair of Toms and wear compression socks to bed. I wear my Toms in the airport as they are so easy to slip on/off during the flight. I then use them as slippers at the hotel or walk around in them when I need a break from my other shoes. To me, they are really comfy and a good multi-purpose shoe for travel. Compression socks are great on the flight, but also help reduce swelling/aches if worn overnight. Neither of these are sexy or stylish, but practicality rules when it comes to travel.

    • Erin says:

      +1 to the compression socks. They will be great on the flight, but I also wear them on days when I know I’ll be walking a ton (or sometimes the day AFTER I’ve been walking a ton and the swelling sets in). They make a huge difference and if you can cover them with thin socks or get a nicer dark pair, they don’t look so “medical”.

  52. Anja says:

    Coming from someone who lives in London- NO ONE here wears ballet flats. I tried with my most comfortable Born black flats and within a few hours my ankles were torn up and soles of my feet were burning.

    I wear sneakers like 5/7 days out of the week- either my Adidas Superstars or Adidas classic white velcro sneakers. Nearly everyone wears sneakers of some kind, or flat ankle boots. It is still relatively cold here and theres always water on the ground, so I wouldn’t go for any shoe where your foot is exposed.

  53. Jillian says:

    I always go with Vans when I’m travelling. You’d be very surprised at how many people you’ll see wearing them in London, I know I was! I’ve found that flats or loafers on cobble stone streets make it very easy to slip out of your shoes or roll your ankle, so at the very least I’d go with a sturdier shoe/sneaker.

  54. CLS says:

    DUring a recent trip to Spain, I wore these gold/cream New Balance everywhere. Super comfy, and the gold IMO jazzes them up a bit.

    I also had a pair of grey and silver Sperry top siders that I loved – the breathable sides made it a great alternative to the New Balance.

    Good shoes are seriously the HARDEST part of packing!

  55. MB says:

    If you are still after a flat, I brought a pair of Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flats on my trip and they are amazing. Very comfortable and didn’t need to be broken in. I don’t think they’re actually fold-able like they suggest, but they’re very lightweight and pack well. I agree that a cute pair of sneakers or flat ankle boots are probably your best bet though.

  56. Zip says:

    They’re not all-weather (and thus, not London appropriate, since London is all weather, all the time), but I have to put in a good word for the newer Tory Burch traveling flats (the Minnie Travel Ballet Flats). I’ve been in my pair about two weeks, with tons of walking, and they are so comfortable – the leather feels like butter. I had problems with the Revas in the past (elastic in the back too tight, aggravating my achilles, and so on), but these have none of this issue, and the footbed shape is cut differently than prior versions. They are now my go-to walking flat.

  57. Jenn says:

    I love my all black Skechers. They slip on, are comfortable, and match everything. I don’t even wear socks and haven’t had any problems. I just replaced my pair that was a few years old from some I picked up at Ross. Have a great time Belle!

  58. strin012 says:

    So I HATE anything that requires laces or socks. Hate. Sperry makes gold and silver top siders that are super cute with dresses. One of my colleagues wears them during recess and looks great. My favorite are Crocs flats. Yes, those Crocs. However, they make plenty of shoes that don’t have that goofy “crocs” shape. I have a pair that I found at Shoe Carnival that are giraffe print. They are great in the rain and are unbelievably comfortable.

  59. Anna says:

    If you’re set on flats, I got a pair of Geoxx rosegold ballet flats when I was in Spain last year that are super cute (not orthopedic looking) and very comfortable. They have decent arch support, leather upper, and a breathable rubber sole.

  60. Scottie says:

    I wore new Tieks on my last trip and they tore my feet up (I’m talking blisters all over my heels). While I normally don’t endorse Tory Burch flats, I’ve been impressed with the comfort of the Tory Burch Minnie Travel Ballet Flat The downside: they scuff way too easily for the $225 price tag.

  61. Sabrina says:

    Tory Burch Minnie travel flats- my heels get ripped to shreds on most shoes, even sneakers, but not these

  62. Andrea says:

    M. Gemi or Coach driving mocks! I just came back from 9 days in London and Amsterdam and even with cobblestone streets and who knows how many miles walked, my feet are a okay.

  63. Megan says:

    For the love of God, get something with the best support you can find. I’ve visited London theee times, and on a light day of sightseeing I easily clock nine to ten miles on my Fitbit. (Even when taking public transportation – you might be used to the D.C. Metro, where going from one platform to the next takes two minutes and two escalators. In the Underground, it might be easily a ten-minute hike from the street to the platform, and there are elevators or escalators in very few stations – all stairs, all the time. You will walk in London so much more than you can possibly imagine right now.) So, my solution? I swear by the Italian sneaker brand Superga – you can find them on Amazon for $70ish a pair, they need no breaking in, have insane support, will keep your feet warm and dry, and Kate Middleton wears them as a go-to, so they are definitely classy enough for your London vacation.

  64. W says:

    Anything by Naot. I tried many brands before our Europe trip, and they were the winner. I have their sandals and mary janes. They’re the most comfortable shoes I own, and I wore them right out of the box to Europe (no breaking in required).

  65. Jenn says:

    Bandaid’s Blister Block saved my Cole Haan flats. I swear by this product and have several backups! It helps with the heel shredding and isn’t messy at all (compared to many similar products).

  66. Lisa says:

    I have walked (and I’m not even exaggerating) HUNDREDS of miles in Europe in both pairs of Clarks shoes I own (a pair of boots and a pair of sandals). Not all of their shoes are super cute, but they do have some that are both cute and versatile and did I mention comfortable??? I highly recommend getting a pair with a slight heel (like kitten heel height) and a decent footbed – you absolutely DON’T want something that only has one stiff layer of leather between you and the street. I personally love my black ankle booties – they can be both (fairly) dressy and casual, they keep you dry if it rains and warm on the plane ride over, and they are very easy to wipe off after getting a day’s worth of dust all over them.

  67. Amber says:

    Two weeks backpacking through Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany – the only thing I wore were Jambus. They can be dead ugly, but have migrated to some cuter styles. I’m on my second pair, as they last forever.

    I’m pining after these for this summer’s adventures:

  68. Kate says:

    For my trip to Ireland in the Fall, I brought a pair of slip-on Keds in grey tweed, a pair of sneakers for hiking, and a pair of black, low, chunky-heeled booties. The Keds and booties were prefect for walking around town, but I’d stress low heel (Like a Chelsea boot). I wished I’d brought a pair of short rain boots (like Sam Edelman Tinsley Rain Boots) as well, with inserts, for the one very rainy day we hit.

  69. Lynn says:

    Eccos are the norm here, you’ll look more European than American tourist. That said, nikes are popular for a reason, they’re comfortable and blend enough. I concur with the rec to take two pair of walking shoes and switch out. I live in London and currently in Prague and finding myself with sore feet with nikes, but switched to brogues this evening and feeling better, give your feet a rest and switch it up.

  70. Jules says:

    On my last walk-intensive Europe trip, I had a pair of running shoes and Toms. I put 7+ hours each day of walking on them, and my feet were happy the entire time. Some of the Toms have fashionable patterns/colors, plus they are generally cute with all sorts of outfits. I also used to work retail (8+ hours of standing around) and Toms were comfortable for that as well.
    I took one pair of “cute” shoes for dinner, or other activities where I didnt have to walk too far.

  71. Kathryn says:

    I travel to London for work, walk a ton, and bring the following:

    Weitzman black 5050 flat boots

    Flats (1 or 2 pairs – I brought a pair of scalloped Chloe flats that I swear by, and a pair of mgemi flats that are equally as comfortable) these take up almost no room, so you may as well bring 2 pairs and give your feet a break.

    sneakers: I have a leopard pair from sezane that I’ve gotten away wearing with a black sweater dress for an evening out and got tons of compliments. Mgemi has great sneakers as well. Wear these on the plane because they are chunkier.

  72. Gretchen says:

    AGL’s – only from Nordstrom Attilio Giusti leombruni

  73. Deb says:

    I went the last week of March last year. Wear trendy sneakers or low heeled booties. It was too chilly and wet to wear flats most days. Enjoy….I would go back in a heartbeat.

  74. Lydia says:

    Good suggestions here already. I have been to london over ten times, and live in a huge west coast city where I walk an average seven hours a day on the weekends. Bring flat booties with arch support, or a bootie with a very slight wedge. Ecco booties/ shoes are good( they work best for me with an orthotic). Cobb hill Bethany. Is a good boot for walking, naot shoes, and fun new balance. Focus on making the rest of the outfit work with the shoes, even if they are not your usual go to styles. I build my travel wardrobe around shoes. Bring three pairs of shoes all for walking, that can all be worn with all your outfits. I bring one dressier flat, booties, and a runner. In summer, I bring a sandal.

  75. Holly says:

    I’ve found sleek ankle boots with a slight wedge or low heel are the way to go, they’re the best combination of structure, style, comfort, and versatility. “Fashion” sneakers with some shape and form to the sole are also good. Ballet flats or totally flat sneakers just don’t cut it when you’re walking for miles or standing still for extended periods on hard surfaces (museums, galleries, shopping, lines, subways). Definitely bring a couple of options to rotate (and shop for another pair as a souvenir when you see a great style the locals are wearing… happens to me every time.)

    Another tip I’ve learned from experience (that also applies to travel clothes) is don’t discount your favorite shoes to wear for a day spent on your feet in your “normal” life. They’re broken in, you know if they can hold up, and you know how to style them. Sometimes a brand or style everyone else considers “travel shoes” or “comfort shoes” doesn’t work for you, and you don’t want to stress-test them for the first time on your trip.

  76. Jenn says:

    It might sound crazy, but I swear by mens’ loafers! I wear a size 11 in womens and size down to a 10 in mens. They are slightly wider than women’s loafers, but they NEVER pinch in the toes or blister my heels. I have a pair similar to these:

  77. LH says:

    Agree with the Nikes if you’re looking for good support but if you’re looking for flats, try Clarks or Campers (especially if you have wide feet like me!)

  78. Sarah says:

    I would go for the Jcrew newbalance sneakers (I really want the pink but got the navy to go better with Khakis)

    but my go to for work are the Everlanes modern loafer

  79. Sleek ankle boots all the way. My favourites are my flat Rag & Bone Motos. Super comfortable, especially taken a size up with Birkenstock insoles put inside them.

  80. Robin says:

    I have 3 pairs of Elen DeGeneres shoes and could not love more. For lots of walking, I highly recommend her knit sneaker. I have black and they are awesome.

  81. Megan says:

    I was in London over Christmas and brought a few pairs to rotate – it’s such a great walking city, and even the comfiest shoes need to be switched out. I was walking 15-20 miles a day, per my Fitbit. I had a sleek pair of sneaks (New Balance – forget which style off the top of my head, but all of them are good), flat riding boots (Steve Madden, I think? I’ve had them for forever), and wedge booties (also can’t remember the brand off the top of my head but they weren’t quite as comfy for long distances as the other two). You are going to have so much fun – it’s the best city in the world, IMO.

  82. Deb says:

    Got a pair of Rothy’s for Christmas. I find them to be comfortable and love that I can toss them into the wash on cold, gentle cycle! They are made from recycled plastic. Bonus for me is that one of my college GFs works for the company!

  83. Maria says:

    I would not wear ballet flats because they don’t have any support. Just wear a pair of sneakers – not the ones you wear to the gym per se but the street style sneakers. Everyone in major cities are wearing them because they are in style. Plus your feet won’t hurt. If you really don’t want to wear sneakers, then try a low heeled ankle boot or a low heeled knee high boot. What I like about the knee high boot is that it will keep your pants dry if there is some rain/puddles and it looks somewhat dressy.

    Also, since it rains there a lot, bring a pair of rain shoes. Ankle height will probably be the most comfortable for walking around.

  84. Babette says:

    You may regret not bringing something warmer than thin ballet flats. You will need more support walking on cobblestones, and shoes that you think are great at home can turn into a nightmare on a walking trip. And switching out shoes is important, don’t bring just one pair. I brought my most comfortable boots to Rome last year in March and ended up buying some sneakers on the trip because I unexpectedly got blisters between my toes (an issue with my foot anatomy). I learned my lesson and brought two pair of walking shoes to Amsterdam in May. London is much wetter and colder than Rome, so bring things that will keep your feet warm and dry and offer you good support in the soles. European women are not strutting about in stilettos and super fashionable shoes when they are on vacation, trust me

  85. Anne says:

    Look, don’t listen to anyone else but me. Just wear Toms. Here’s why: 1. They are comfy like a sneaker. 2. They are cute with pants or skirts 3. They’re sort of stylish and definitely not some lame orthopedic shoes. 4. They come in tons of colors. 5. If they get wet they dry quickly. 6. They are cheap. 7. You can wear them with socks (key for the plane) if you get cold. Not so with any ballet flat! 8. They donate free shoes to kids in Africa. 9. The versatility means you dont need to bring any other shoes, saving room in your suitcase.

    I buy a pair every time I take a trip. They are the best and the only shoe I brought to the middle east, Africa, Japan, and India, all separate trips. Trust me — you can’t go wrong. You’ll walk for miles in them totally happy and look cute too.

  86. Blair says:

    FIT FLOP BALLET FLATS-I walk 1 hour total back and forth from work in them everyday. The company is British. The soles are very thick and they make them in tons of styles and colors.

  87. Christy F says:

    So many comments so this may have been asked and answered- but when exactly are you going? If summer, and lots of walking- DO NOT get a closed toe shoe. You’ll be miserable and stinky. I wore a cheapppp pair (sub $50 from DSW) of low, maybe 1 inch, cork wedge (gold strap) sandals around Spain for 10 days 2 years ago and it was the best choice ever. London is a bit more posh, but in summer, with some maxi dresses and nice jeans, something like this could easily work. You get cushion, breathability and arch support from the slight wedge.

  88. Casey says:

    I bought several pairs of flats before a trip to Paris last fall. We walked 12-15 miles a day. These Kelly and Katie were my favorites: (I bought more pairs to be my commuting shoe in DC). I usually hate any flat that has elastic and think they really need to be broken in, but these were good to go off the bat.

    I also found these Dr. Scholls really comfortable, once I added a heel slip pad in the back. I got a cool grey snakeskin color.

    The first pair of these Dr. Scholls I bought required no breaking in, but the second pair just never has broken in, so I think they may have changed them.

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