I'm the kind of traveller who likes exploring. Don't get me wrong, I love beach time as much as the next girl but I also take great pleasure in spending long periods in capital cities, pounding the sidewalks. I'll often walk for 8 hours a day - for me it's the best way to see a metropolis.But that doesn't mean I don't like hiking trails, taking boats out to sea, and climbing up high places to enjoy a view. So the sandals I wear have got to be both comfortable and tough.
There are two companies whose footwear I love, and I'll start with the one I fell for in my early 20s. That is Birkenstock. Yes, I know some people will mock me for this and ask how I can bear to wear something this hideous on my feet.
My answer? I don't think Birks are particularly ugly but – that aside – the sandals I've purchased from this supplier lasted years. And I'm talking serious travel here - 3 months on the road in South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe – through caves, down into canyons, climbing to the top of a waterfall...these sandals never failed me. My first pair lasted five years – through three continents and racking up hundreds of kilometres. Here they are:
Here's the link if you want to have a look...
They're made of suede and leather and thick leather, with arch support and they literally mould to your foot. They are more comfortable than I can begin to describe! Note they don't have a back strap – but that's my personal preference. You can now buy them with ankle support, as well as their 'Gizah' thong model (very stylish). They come in a range of colours and they will take years to wear out.
The other company whose footwear I really like is Teva. The story of how it came to be is legendary now – a Colorado River guide, back in the 80's, attached two velcro watchbands to an old pair of flip flops. The result? Comfortable, stylish footwear for the confident athlete or traveller. 'Teva' means 'nature' in Hebrew and their logo is actually a symbol of friendship. Teva, today, markets itself as footwear for those who love the great outdoors.
Initially, I wore their 'Hurricane' sandal (a real classic) but a while back I switched to the Women's Terra FI Lite.
Click here to see where you can buy them:
These are rugged sandals, which give your ankle a lot of support but they're also very comfortable. 'The Outdoor Gear Lab' calls it a 'beefier' version of the Hurricane and I tend to agree. They have a lot of padding and a thick sole. Fashionable and with a streamlined design, Outdoor Gear calls it the 'no-nonsense shoe with a custom fit' and I couldn't have put it better themselves. It comes in different colours and whilst it appears to be a simple sandal – only three straps – looks can be deceiving. After I'd walked a few kms, I found that my foot 'sank in'. The traction is also excellent. If you buy these sandals, you'll be thanking yourself when you stumble on a trail or lose your footing near a river bank. Recommended.