this thing's incredible

I Found the Perfect (Verging on Orthopedic) Travel Shoe

Comfortable enough for hours of sightseeing, but respectable enough to wear with dresses in the evening. Photo: L’Amour des Pieds

Editor’s note: We first published this story in 2017 as part of Feet Week, but the shoes have remained top sellers since. So we’re republishing it now ahead of sandal season — with a few more comfortable walking sandals picks included, too.

I’m a very light packer, constantly striving to minimize my luggage. And so, I’m forever in search of the perfect travel shoe: a shoe comfy enough for hours of sightseeing, but respectable enough that I can wear it with skirts and dresses in the evening. My summer search ended when I slipped on my first pair of L’Amour des Pieds Brenns. As one would expect of a brand whose name basically translates to “Love of Feet,” they’re comfortable, verging on orthopedic. Unlike many such old-lady sandals, they are not dirt cheap. But I’ve had my Brenns for three summers now, and despite the beating they’ve taken, they’re going strong.

The Brenn is not just super walkable; because it’s so soft, I found I was able to wear the shoes out of the store (Harry’s Shoes on Broadway) and for a full day of New York walking, without a single blister. What’s more, they’re pretty; the broguing adds some delicacy, and the slight wedge dresses it up. They come in several good colors (being short, I like the slight lengthening effects of the beige) and look equally good with shorts, pants, or skirts. What’s more, I’ve spread the gospel of the Brenn to women as various as a 25-year-old Bushwick swimwear designer, a chic 32-year-old New York City tour guide, and my mother-in-law (who walks a great deal), and it’s worked for all of them!

I wear these on the plane — they slip on and off quickly for security — and then wherever I’m traveling in the summer: They’re the only shoes I pack. They are inconspicuous enough to play well with a wide range of clothing styles, are cool in the heat, but because they’re not completely open-toed, they work in more conservative venues, too. (The peep-toe also means you can get away without a pedicure, always a good thing.)

Although the Brenn remains my mainstay, there is something appealing about the Amadour, and this summer, I invested in a pair of the Oraines in navy. Off the foot, these have a slight tango vibe, but they’re a sleeper: I love the flattering V-line of the front, the slight Deco vibe, and the fact that they can pull double duty for a fancy wedding. Oh, and the other day, someone on the subway asked me if they were Miu Miu, so.

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I Found the Perfect (Verging on Orthopedic) Travel Shoe