The most important decision on what to pack for a trip is what you put on your feet. You’re going to be walking two or three times more than you do on a normal day. You want something comfortable, durable, easy to pack and won’t cause an international incident when going through security.
If you want to go the sneaker or trainer route, I say go for it. Chucks, New Balance, Nikes, Reeboks — all will suit you well on the cobblestone streets of Europe.
For myself, it’s Camper shoes out of Catalan. Besides being stylish and sometimes funky looking with bold designs and bright colors, they can take a beating. Sometimes, it will cost you more to be cheap because you keep on having to buy the cheap stuff over and over again. That’s why I stay away from factory outlet stores and all Aldo stores. Those Aldo shoes will probably explode on the way home from the store.
Made in Spain, they are pricey in the $150-$225 range, but they will last you for years and won’t be out of style. Take my Campers that I’ll be taking with me on my future trip. I bought both three years ago and are in great shape. The brown ones are built like a sneaker but don’t look your typical athletic shoe. The black ones are light-weight but sturdy for the night time. Best of all, they are comfortable.
The flip flops are for the beach, pool and hammams. I didn’t pack them when I went to Budapest. They would have made my visits to public baths a little less skeevy. That’s another story.
For the ladies, stay away from sandals, heals and open toe shoes. The cobblestones in Europe can beat up your feet.
The other thing about shoes for travel is going through airport security. It is a colossal pain in the ass to take off the shoes, put them through the detector, then scramble to pick up on your shit from the conveyer belt so that you don’t hold up the line. The main reason I paid for pre-check is so that I don’t have go through the nonsense. I understand if people wear sandals to make it easier getting through security or to not set off bells and alarms. My philosophy is that I’ll wear what I want because I don’t want the terrorists to win.