shoes for walking in Europe

Before I left on vacation I asked you guys a bunch of questions about what to pack for Europe.  What would I absolutely need, what could I skip, what did you recommend?  You guys were totally on the money.  Outlet adapters, peanut butter, comfortable clothes for the plane, all the way down.  The one thing I didn’t take your advice on?

Not wearing tennis shoes.

new balance

I really debated it. I thought long and hard about how I would look like such an American with my white tennis shoes.  Right before I went to Europe I went to a conference called Mom 2.0 where New Balance was a sponsor who gave me a fabulous pair of walking shoes.  And in the end I decided I’d rather enjoy walking around Europe, miles and miles and miles a day, than worry about what my feet looked like.  I wore really cute outfits, and just put the shoes on bottom, fashion be damned. {see below: complete outfit with a skirt and deep intake of breath, TENNIS SHOES on bottom}

summer scarf

College girls in Warsaw totally laughed at me.  People in Prague may have stared a little.  Would you like to know how I feel about that? 

I don’t care one single bit.

I didn’t have to use a single band-aid, my feet didn’t ache, and I spent time really looking at the cathedrals and castles instead of thinking about how much my feet hurt.

tennis shoes

Best decision ever.

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. katrina :

    grinning from ear to ear over here!
    You’re a smart woman… and a fashionable one when you want to be

  2. Allison :

    Sometimes it’s better to be smart than wear cute shoes.

  3. the emily :

    I wore cute flats on my first day in Paris last month and by lunchtime I had changed to the more comfy pair in my purse. SO glad I took them along (but so glad I had a few pictures of a cute outfit with cute shoes! ).

    Also, sparkling water is for crazies. Disgusting.

    • Allison :

      Good girl. Smarter than blisters! And I don’t have any cute shoe pictures. Oh well.

      Sparkling water is the best! The best ever! The only option that should ever be presented. Oh well. I still think you’re fabulous.

  4. cathy :

    I’m with you for the shoe choice.
    As for sparkling water, I think it’s better when it as flavor like lemon or lime… the plain version is a bit….plain!

    • Allison :

      I usually do like it with a little something, but over there I was thrilled just to have cold bubbly water, I loved it!

  5. Nat :

    The first time I went to Europe I wore some ugly White Adidas and I hate every single picture where you could see my feet. Since then I wear my trusty Vans when vacationing. I’m used to wearing them all day at the big C so my feet don’t mind.

    Your trip looks like a dream and I’m so glad your kids went with you. They will never forget it.

    • Allison :

      Your Vans are amazing. If I had a pair that comfortable I would have worn them too!

  6. My Traveling Troop :

    You are definitely a smart gal. I’ll never forget how excited I was buying a new, beautiful pair of shoes in Paris and walking all over the city in them, only to end up at a pharmacy in search of band aids for blisters. Ouch. Lesson learned! :)

    • Allison :

      I didn’t have time/energy to learn that lesson!

  7. Hilary :

    I think it all just depends on what your feet are comfortable in. I wore ballet flats and nice leather soled flip flops in Paris and Switzerland when I went. I’m more comfortable without arches in my shoes however and wear these types of shoes everywhere anyway so they are what I’m accustomed to. My feet hurt more quickly in arched tennis shoes than flats (though they are better for me for short periods of impact heavy exercise like Zumba just because of the extra cushion.)

    If I liked tennis shoes I probably would have brought a pair of loafers with tennis shoe style soles, maybe something from Skechers but I would have made sure to wear them a few weeks to break them in before vacation.

    • Allison :

      I tried a pair of leather ballet flats, a kind I wear at home every single day, but they just didn’t cut it on all the cobblestones! The shoes ended up being okay, I only have a couple of ugly photos in them.

  8. Anna :

    Comfort always wins – especially when you have kids to look after! Besides, I don’t think they look bad, at least in the visible shot. ;)