A Good Shoe: Still searching for travel shoes for women over 50

A Good Shoe (NIH/American Academy of Orthopaedics)

A woman over 50 searches for a good shoe for travel, seeking to strike a balance between sensibility and style.

My poor knees: Swollen and bloodied
My poor knees: Swollen and bloodied

Walking on the cobblestone streets of Como, Italy more than a decade ago, I took a nasty tumble. I was looking up, down, and all around me (rather than in front of me) when one of my sandals got caught on a steel utility plate on the street, propelling through the air for what seemed like minutes (although it was probably a split second). Accidents always happen in an instant.

When I finally landed, both my knees were badly bloodied and skinned. I’m fortunate that nothing cracked or broke but this incident occurred when I was younger:-).

As one might expect in Italy, a compassionate, good Samaritan waiter seemed to emerge out of nowhere to help, carrying ice and linen napkins that soon turned bright red. With the help of my husband, I hobbled into the nearby restaurant to sit down, check out the damage, apply multiple Band-Aids, and sip a restorative beverage in appreciation for the kindness of the wait staff.

The restaurant in Como
The restaurant in Como

Since that trauma, I’m always on the lookout for good traveling shoes and even reached out to fellow bloggers for advice. A collaborative post on this blog last year, What Do Travel Shoes for Women Over 50 Look Like, turned out to be very popular in Google searches so I’m reassured that I’m not the only woman with this problem.

Constantly on the lookout for shoes that are sensible but that don’t compromise my vanity, I was intrigued when I saw a post this morning on the excellent blog on aging, called Time Goes By. It referenced information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the kind of footwear that can help prevent nasty falls.

NIH described the attributes of proper shoes as ones that:

  • Have low heels and non-slip soles
  • Fit well, leaving no marks on your feet when you take off your shoes and socks
  • Completely surround the foot, meaning no backless and toeless shoes, and
  • Support your feet

Then they added a graphic from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons that illustrates “A Good Shoe” and points out its characteristics.

A Good Shoe (NIH/American Academy of Orthopaedics)
A Good Shoe (NIH/American Academy of Orthopaedics)

I’m discouraged. This doesn’t look like a shoe for women, although unisex shoes seemed to be in vogue last time we were in Europe. What are your thoughts?

This post is part of a LinkUp with Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Discovery.

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  1. I’m pretty vain (!) so a good travel shoe also has to be cute. I found two recently that have worked very well. These Easy Spirit sandals made a New England trip much easier on my feet and are cute as well: http://bit.ly/1KFUETy I got these Skechers recently and took them to Europe and they worked great on cobblestones! http://bit.ly/1GdB6ow

  2. I am on a never ending quest for the perfect travel shoes. Just today I haunted both Aerosole and Clark’s outlet stores in Atlantic City. Like you, I also learned the hard way that gawking and safe walking don’t mix well—except that my incident resulted in more of a face plant. Not pretty.

  3. I went to a store in NYC that specializes in shoes for walking (I think it may be called The Walking Store or something like that. I think it’s a chain.). I went through their whole measurement system where you walk across a pad and it measures how you walk. I had been having a lot of trouble with both my sneakers and my sandals: pain on the balls of my feet after any amount of walking. It turned out to have to do with the shape of my soles. I ended up buying new sandals that aren’t the prettiest, but not bad, and I can walk all day without any trouble. I also bought inserts for my sneakers that I use in other closed shoes as well. It all cost a lot but was definitely worth the money!

  4. Ouch that experience sounded / looks painful! I am very particular about comfort in shoes and couldn’t care about what it looks like as I’ve had injuries on my ankle from sports and it’s more important to be still able to walk than to be crippled. I find that best brands (though not always the most fashionable looking) are Naturalizer, Rockport and yes, Crocs. Rockport is good, I used to work at the airport standing and walking for 10 hours or so and some airlines use that brand for their uniform you barely feel tired (but still looks corporate)

    1. Your post reminded me that the hotel we were staying in was up a hill. Boy, did my knees feel it each time we walked up and down:-)

      Thanks for the brand recommendations, too!

  5. In fall and winter, I wear my black high-impact shoes that I wear for Zoomba, they have stripes of black patent leather and they’re not too clunky but terribly comfortable. In spring and summer, I wear my Aerosole sneaker/walking shoes, which have silver stripes, and I replaced the laces with glittery silver ones. I carry ballet flats for dress up times.
    But most of all, I wear my “I know I’m a fashionable woman over 50 and I’m wearing what I want to wear.” That provides the most comfort. 😉

      1. I knew the glittery laces were a fashion statement when my 19-year-old step-daughter admired them and asked where I got them!

          1. Irene, you can get them at a teenie bopper accessory store like Claire’s. I might have a never used pair in my garage shoe cubbies…

  6. I have been a huge proponent of Ecco Walking Sandals – that is until this year. For a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I decided to give Sketchers Go Walk 3 sneakers a try (I packed my Ecco sandals just in case). After 5 days of walking an average of 6 miles per day, the Sketchers won hands down.
    They come in a variety of colors, have a cooling mesh upper, and left my feet feeling wonderful. I was so impressed, I bought a second pair.

  7. OMG, your poor knees, Irene! I’m glad that’s not recent.

    Here’s my Pinterest comfy shoes board.


    The Coobb Hill and Clarks sandals are wonderdul. Not the prettiest but a secure fit and amazingly comfortable.

    For colder weather, the Lands End mocs are fabulous! The come in men’s, woman’s and children’s. My family and I have been wearing them for years.

  8. Shoes have been a big problem for me, as I have plantar fasciitis that flares up occasionally. I discovered a nice little shoe recently at Payless (of all places!) that is working extremely well. It is from Champion, style Charm Pendentif. The shoe is lightweight with a memory foam insert and breathable mesh fabric for airflow. The flexible sole offers good grip. I purchased a pair in gray to try them, and I have been wearing them with casual skirts, capris, slacks and shorts. I have received many compliments on them. And my feet feel supported and do not hurt, even after long walks without wearing socks! I went back and purchased pairs in black and tan. I plan to take one or more pairs with me on my next trip!

  9. Try Aravon on the 6pm Shoes website, comfortable and if you watch for sales, you can find them at less than half price. 6pm Shoes is the best website for buying!

  10. I do a lot of standing at my job and I wear Timberland Pro Renova. Presently the company only carries black and white; however previously they carried fashion colors like mottled glass shard. Search the internet for different styles. They have a wide toe box and a built in anti-fatigue technology so you can go forever in these shoes.

  11. I do a lot of standing at my job and I wear Timberland Pro Renova. Presently the company only carries black and white; however previously they carried fashion colors like mottled glass shard. Search the internet for different styles. They have a wide toe box and a built in anti-fatigue technology so you can go forever in these shoes.

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