We’ll be taking a much-anticipated vacation in a few weeks, one where we expect to do a lot of walking. I know from bitter experience that nothing can ruin a walkabout holiday faster than sore feet, so I’m trying to be proactive about lining up appropriate footwear.
In my view, there are three crucial aspects to making sure that your dogs aren’t barking at the end of a long walking day. First, you need to buy good shoes (or boots) that are made for walking. That means comfort in the fit and thick soles with lots of cushion, perhaps with a gel insert or two. Second, you need to wear the shoes for a reasonable amount of time before you go on your trip, to break them in and avoid any chafing that might cause blisters. If you take your new shoes out of the box for the first time when you’re on vacation, you’re begging for disaster. And third, get some good socks with a fair amount of padding. I recognize that saying all of this makes me sound like your dorkiest grandfather, or perhaps one of those know-it-alls in the TV commercial about guys who’ve “reached the age of knowing what to do” and can hitch horses to their pickup truck to pull it out of the mud. I don’t care, because I’d rather avoid a situation where I’m focusing on my aching tootsies rather than on architectural beauty and fine art masterpieces and the other wonders that a foreign culture can offer.
I went shopping for my new walking shoes yesterday, and bought two pairs for my trip. One pair is black Reebok walkers that are identical to the pair I wore when Kish and the boys and I tramped all over Italy a few years ago; they were exceptional walking shoes. The other is a pair of brown Dr. Scholl’s work shoes, pictured above. I recognize that they are clunky and they make my feet look Frankensteinian, but they are roomy and comfortable and have lots of foam rubber in the soles. I’m focused on function, not form.