After sharing delayed wardrobe disasters yesterday, it gives me great pleasure to swing the pendulum the other way and praise two pairs of shoes that were unexpected winners. A new pair of ankle-strap flats, and an old pair of gladiator sandals. 

I don’t have high arches and tend to wear flat shoes well as long as the soles are hard, sturdy, supportive, and don’t flex too much. The footbeds can be soft and cushioning, but the soles must be hard and preferably leather so that I don’t feel the ground directly.

I bought the cream ankle straps this year. They were comfortable on their first venture outdoors and instantly became workhorses. They were my top Summer shoe, which is why I packed them for our recent twelve-day vacation. They are polished, refined and pretty in appearance, and work with every one of my Summer outfits. I wore them half the time in hot Greece as my preferred walking shoe.

The gladiators are old shoes I haven’t worn much, because I favour loafers in a Seattle Summer. The gladiators are narrow width, fit my low-volume feet perfectly, and are very comfortable. I brought them along to Greece to replace the disastrous pool slides I had planned to take with me. They turned out to be champions, going the distance. When I wasn’t wearing the ankle-strap flats, I wore the gladiators as walking shoes, as well as to the beach and pool.

Because it was hot and humid in Greece, the flats and sandals worked much better than my white ECCO sneakers. This is astounding to me and very unexpected. I only wore the sneakers on flights. For the rest of the trip I wore the flats and sandals daily in blazing heat across cobbled streets, rubble, rocks, sand, water, and cement, covering between 13,000 and 20,000 steps a day. Often hilly, a little dicey, and sometimes more like a hike than a walk. No cramps, blisters, rubbed spots, or pain of any kind. Not even a scratch or mark on my very happy feet! I walked to the top of the Acropolis in the cream flats, and to the top of hills and forts to see views in the gladiators. They looked after my feet beautifully, and win the award for most brilliant shoes of the year.

It occurred to me that the Ancient Greeks and Romans wore similar shoes on similar terrain, and in a similar climate. They were on to something! If someone told me before our trip to Greece that I’d be wearing my sandals and flats instead of sneakers as preferred walking shoes in high heat across all sorts of terrain, I’d have thought they were batty. Instead, I have a new appreciation for the right open shoes in the right climate, and how brilliantly they can go the distance.

I tried to duplicate both pairs of shoes when we got back home, but alas my size is sold out. Worth stalking though.