Women’s Travel Shoes – Making the Right Choice

When the idea for this article was originally conceived, my purpose was to do some research and then give practical advice on the best shoes to buy and wear while traveling. Shoes seemed like a relevant topic as even an experienced traveler such my girl friend admits “I take too many pairs of shoes with me when I travel and even then I sometimes don’t have the right pair.” I found, not only are shoes a relevant topic for women travelers, shoes are an interesting topic period-a search on shoe topics on the Internet led to me to their history, fascinating facts and photos of a lot of great looking shoes.

So, while I did locate some solid advice on choosing comfortable shoes for traveling (see below), I felt compelled, almost obsessed it seemed, to continue delving into the topic of shoes. Below is only some of what my research revealed.

Some Shoe Facts

  • The average American woman owns 30 pairs of shoes-the average male 4.
  • 8 1/2 to 9 is the size the average American woman wears.
  • 35% of U.S. women wear larger than a size 9 (including celebrity Paris Hilton who cruises around in size 11).
  • A recent study in Britain revealed that 4 in 10 women have bought shoes which they have never worn. This translates into over $130 million (U.S. dollars) in unworn shoes (the article was written by a man).

Some Shoe History

  • Scientists speculate the first shoes were made from animal skins during the Ice Age to protect feet.
  • The biggest find of shoes from prehistory belonged to Native Americans in Missouri and date back to 8000 BC.
  • By the time of the ancient Egyptians, shoes, in the form of sandals, became more than just foot protection and were used to display wealth and power.
  • Marie Antoinette had 500 pairs of shoes. One servant’s sole job was to catalog her shoes by color, date and style.
  • At least 6 pairs of ruby slippers were made for the film the Wizard of Oz, 4 of which survive today. One pair is on display at the Smithsonian and another pair sold at a Christie’s auction for $165,000.

What did I conclude from this widely jumbled assortment of information? First, the Internet can be a fathomless depth and I need to learn when to back away from the computer. Second, despite how often the word “obsession” occurred during my Internet research on women and shoes, the topic will always fascinate me.

Choosing the Right Shoes to Wear While Traveling

Feet endure tremendous pressures during daily living. An average day of walking brings a force equal to several hundred tons to your feet. During a trip you’ll be on your feet and walking even more than usual. The success of your trip could depend on having a comfortable pair of shoes. Unless you’re going hiking on poorly maintained trails in the wilderness, walking or running shoes are best. Below are some tips from the American Podiatric Medical Association for buying the right shoes and getting the best fit.

  • It sounds elementary, but be sure the widest part of your foot corresponds to the widest part of the shoe. Be sure that shoes fit well-front, back, and sides-to distribute weight.
  • Shop for shoes later in the day; feet tend to swell during the day, and it’s best to be fitted while they are in that state.
  • Try on shoes while you’re wearing the same type of socks you expect to wear with the shoes.
  • Don’t rely on the size of your last pair of shoes. Your feet do get larger and sizes vary.
  • Have your feet measured while you’re standing.
  • Always buy for the larger foot; feet are seldom precisely the same size.
  • Always try on both shoes, and walk around the store.
  • Don’t buy shoes that need a “break-in” period; shoes should be comfortable immediately.

Don’t Forget the Socks

Your choice of socks is also important. Sports podiatrists frequently recommend padded socks of acrylic fiber. Acrylic fibers tend to “wick” away excessive perspiration, which active feet can produce from 250,000 sweat glands at a rate of four to six ounces a day, or even more (yuk).

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