I have learned the hard way that comfortable shoes are essential for travel. A few years back, I was super fortunate to get the chance to spend some time in Italy. But instead of marveling at the architecture of the Coliseum or the view from the Ponte Vecchio bridge, all I can remember is my feet writhing in pain. There was so much to do and see, but my feet kept me from fully appreciating it.
I have a trip to England coming up, and I vowed to not make the same mistake with my footwear! If you’ve read my Thrifty Girl posts, you know that I’m a cheapskate through and through. This hardcore frugality has prevented me from shelling out a ton of cash on shoes that might actually withstand some serious walking. So, in order to save myself from aching agony, I decided to bite the bullet and spend more than $50 on a pair of boots (which was my previous budget for shoe shopping). If I’m going to truly enjoy my trip, I know I need to spend a little more to ensure maximum comfort. Here’s how I found the perfect pair of comfortable boots!
Step 1: Research.
As a frugalista, I’ve learned that all smart purchases start with some research. You don’t want to just jump at the first pair of boots you see when you could find a pair for less money or better options elsewhere.
I started my research by searching for other people’s opinions on good boots for travel. You’d be surprised what a simple Google search can turn up! Two articles were especially helpful: Fodor’s “15 Most Stylish Women’s Shoes for Travel” and Bucketlist Journey’s “16 Trendy Travel Boots.” These posts gave me some great ideas on what styles would offer the most comfort (like good arch support and padded heels).
To expand my research further, I also searched for ‘most comfortable boots’ without the travel keyword. Posts by Refinery29, Most Comfortable Shoes, and The Gloss all offered suggestions for brands that other people have found comfortable.
Step 2: Start searching for specific brands.
I began my search with some of the brands and specific styles mentioned in the articles above. Some brands just didn’t work - Clarks, Merrell, and Sofft didn’t have any styles I liked, and Frye boots were cool but way too expensive.
In order to narrow down my search, I came up with some essential must-haves that I require in my boots.
A zipper - After a looong day walking around, I don’t want to worry about the struggle of tugging my boots off. A zipper makes for easy access for my tired feet!
Weatherproof - I’m going to England in November, which means there’s a significantly high chance of rain (every single day). That means suede and other non-leather fabrics are out of the running.
No or little heel - There are some cute boots with heels, but this probably defeats the purpose of looking for boots that won’t make my feet hurt.
Good fit for wide calves - Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have freakishly large calves, but I know I’ll be wearing both thick socks and jeans under my boots. Styles that don’t work for wide calves just won’t be sufficient.
Step 3: Narrow down choices.
My initial search (with suggestions I found in the articles) turned up 10 viable options. After going through my list of must-haves, I was able to narrow down the results even more. The next step was reading reviews. This is a crucial step to see what other shoppers are saying about each pair of boots. However, you have to take the reviews with a grain of salt - some people just buy the wrong size or love to complain!
After looking closely at the reviews, I had 4 pairs I really loved.
1. Ariat York
After considering comfortability and color choices, I decided on #3, the Naturalizer MacNair Wideshaft boots. These fit all of my requirements (including the fact that they’re specifically made for wide calves), and the reviews are all pretty positive.
On the Naturalizer site, they’re available for $199.99. Although this is more than I usually pay for shoes, the comfort (and cute style!) are definitely worth it.
Step 4: Checkout.
Before I completed the checkout process, I headed to CouponPal for any promotions I could use to save money. They were offering a 10% off any order coupon!
I entered the promo code at checkout, which took my total from $199 to $179!
So, with a charge of $6.50 for shipping and $16.20 for taxes, my grand total came out to $202.69.
Now, I just need to try these out on my trip - I can’t wait to walk around without my feet hurting!