Shoe Search: Cold Weather Walking Shoes for Europe

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After I booked three mileage run trips to Europe in the next couple of months, I realized I didn’t have the right shoes. I had plenty of cold weather footwear and I had many pairs of comfortable shoes for walking. But not one cold-weather pair I could wear several days in succession on long walks.

Not to mention a pair that could withstand wet weather and not get caught in cobblestones. And go with both pants and dresses! And of course they couldn’t be too bulky because they’d need to fit in a carry on.

I had one or two pairs that almost met that criteria, but none I could wear two days in a row without risking soreness or blisters. So I spent most of a Saturday in search of the perfect winter-weather-walking-heel for Europe. I started first with DSW, and must have tried on 50+ pairs. I then tried TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory. At that point I was sick of shoes *gasp* but I had three finalists.

The first was a pair of knee boots by Bare Traps. They were warm, had a thick heel, a nice tread,  and cushioned instep.

Baretraps gallant boot

There was a pair of Royston Naturalizers that came close, but in the end it was the Bare Traps “Gallant” boot I liked best. They were $69 at DSW, but I found them on sale for $45 at

The next finalist was completely unexpected. I wandered away from the “fashion” boots and headed to the outdoor boots.

Merrell Captiva Launch Drizzle

But I fell in love as soon as I put on the Merrell Captiva Launch boots. Fell in love with the feel that is! I could still feel the comfort for about a minute after I’d taken them off.

The problem is I wasn’t a big fan of the look. I like tailored heels, these boots were flats and had that European look very different than my usual. BUT they were stylish, would definitely pair with both dresses and pants, and were crazy comfortable. They also had a crazy price. $120, more than I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes. I’d hoped to find them cheaper online, but DSW stores were the cheapest. Still waffling – comfort and versatility vs cost and appearance.

The runner up to the Captiva Launch Boot was the Naturalizer Dinara ankle boots. I liked the feel, price (<$40), and construction though I wished they were taller. But they couldn’t hold a candle to the comfort of the other.

Naturalizer Darina Boots

My third finalist also deviated from my norm. Booties with tights are just not my thing. But when thinking about options that would take up less space in a suitcase and go with almost everything, ankle boots work. I tried on dozens.

Bare Traps’ Select was the runner up — very comfortable with a furry lining but expensive at $70 (and more so online) and very casual.

Bare Traps Select Ankle Bootie

And then I tried on a pair of Clarks Bendables Alpine Melt. They were by far the most comfortable shoes I’d put on all day, including the pair I owned. The heel was thick without looking clunky and they had a good tread.

clarks alpine melt bootie

TJ Maxx had them for $50. I bought them just to make sure I had the option, figuring I could find them cheaper online. Turns out I got a killer deal – the next best price I could find online was $85 at 6PM (they’re now on Amazon for ~$75).

I will be testing some or all of these on my upcoming Europe trips so stay tuned to see how they actually fare in the field.

Note: If you purchase anything using the links above, Jeanne and I will receive affilliate credit. If you find a better deal on them, please let us know in the comments below. Perhaps I’ll wind up trying out all 3 finalists! 🙂


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