27 August 2015

Packing 101 | Shoes (Part 2)

Packing 101 is a new series that attempts to answer niggling questions about the hows, whats, whens and whys of packing for all different types of trips.

Missed Part 1? Part 1 gives you the basics and this post gets down to the REAL nitty gritty. Scroll further down to read about what combination I recommend for each type of trip!

Pick your shoes

Trainers

Trainers seem like an obvious choice to most travellers, so forgive me for making it seem so simple. It’s not.
Converse/Vans/Canvas Trainers – My friend took converse on her trip round Thailand and ended up shipping them home half way through. Another friend buys a new pair for each new weekend trip to Europe as they soon get mucky.
            Pro – Look good, closed toe.
Cons – Slow to dry, bulky, no arch support, no good for formal occasions, heavy
Trainers/Nike Rosche/New Balance - I opted for tie dye Sketchers with memory foam inserts 
Pros Look good, closed toe, arch support, quicker to dry
Cons Bulky, no good for formal occasions, could attract unwanted attention or be stolen, likely to see fakes across Asia and wish you didn’t bother spending so much on them
Functional trainers/Running/Trainers – I saw a few posts that suggested barefoot running trainers for light hiking and the such, although I wouldn’t suggest them when you have a lot of walking to do. Make sure any trainers like these are bought and worn in a few months ahead of time.
Pros – Arch support, good for activities & water sports, less bulky option
            Cons – Check they suit your feet, expensive


Hiking Shoes

Depending on your trip, hiking shoes may be a necessity. Whilst I heard of people completing days long treks in Thailand wearing only flip flops, the stories mostly ended badly. Consider trekking at the beginning of your trip and sending shoes home, or else think how you will transport shoes with you the rest of your trip – will you really want to pull on heavy boots every few days to get to your next destination?
                        Pros – Can be essential, good arch and ankle support
Cons – Very bulky, very heavy, expensive
Timberlands/Similar – These could be a happy medium, though still bulky they won’t look out of place in towns and cities.

Sandals

You may consider taking gladiators, jewel-encrusted sandals, or specialist Teva sandals. There is a huge range of shoes that come under sandals your choice whether to include them will definitely depend on the type of trip.
Fashion Sandals (with backs) e.g. gladiators, Accessorize numbers
Pros – Suitable for most formal occasions, good for hot climates, slim, choice, cheap
            Cons No arch support, not durable
Teva Sandals/Similar These functional sandals can often be used for hikes.
            Pros – Great arch support, hard-wearing, light
            Cons They are so ugly they make my hairs stand on end

Flip Flops

An obvious choice by many is the holy flip flop.
Pros – Replaceable, cheap, good for communal showers, good for hot climates, slim and light
Cons – Get mixed up at hostels, no arch support
Teva Flip Flops  I know I said that the Teva sandals are an eye sore, but the flip flops aren’t anywhere near as bad, extremely comfortable and stood out in a sea of Havaianas 

Pumps/Ballet Shoes

These are more likely to be considered for city trips and temperate climates than backpacking round SE Asia, but still a viable option
            Pros – Good for formal occasions, very slim, closed toe,
            Cons – No arch support

Toms

I’m so glad I decided to add these to my packing list and they come in so many different colours it’s fun to pick.
Pros – Breathable, leather insoles, arch support (yes!!), closed toe, good for formal occasions, can wash them (occasionally)
Cons – Light colours get mucky


 My Picks

South East Asia, Japan, Hong Kong and Fiji (my trip last year!)

Sketchers Memory Foam Trainers
Worn a lot in Japan where the weather was more variable, in big cities like Singapore, as well as or the occasion run.
Toms
Worn endlessly throughout the trip. Very useful for temples as closed toe, more fancy occasions and cities as they were closed toes.
Teva Flip Flops
The ease of flip flops, but with more grip and arch support so I didn’t feel guilty about trekking in them, including Bako National Park. They lasted the whole trip which is miraculously as many people go through dozens of pairs when theirs get mixed up at hostels and temples.

Weekend Breaks (in Europe)

Sketchers Memory Foam Trainers
These are comfy, warm and sometimes good enough for bars depending on the city.
OR
Warm Boots
I took Uggs to Berlin as it was so damn cold. I know, I know Uggs are bulky and every hates them because they’re so 2008 but they’re the warmest shoes I own. Generally leather boots and thick socks will get you through a chilly city break.
Ballet Flats/Pumps
These tide me over in case I need something for the evening.

Beach Holiday Somewhere Hot

Leather Sandals
…Because they’re better for your feet than synesthetic materials and work for evenings.
AND/OR
Flip Flops
I take these for the beach and the pool.
Functional Trainers
If I plan on running or doing any exercise. Also good if you want to hire bikes as cycling in sandals can be a rough ride. 
OR
Toms
These are warmer for the airport and less bulky than trainers. Go well for the beach, pool side or town and cities

America Road Trip

Birkenstocks
They didn't look out of place in the hip neighbourhoods of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and with their arch supports are a clever option for sightseeing.
Trainers
Due to the heat we hiked in trainers which are much more breathable than hiking boots. Most sports stores out there will have lightweight hiking shoes, but buying out there is risky as you don't have time to wear them in!
Wedges
As we're passing through Las Vegas twice and will be going out in the evenings I'm planning on taking some smart shoes to dress up an outfit.
Pumps
I ended up buying these out there because I realised I forgot to wear my trainers on the day we were heading to Alcatraz (it can get a little chilly). This are definitely optional!
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