By Wendy Perrin
Back from Russia and can finally answer some of the questions readers have been posting, like this one:
"Enjoying your reports from Moscow but am wondering how your feet are holding up. My perennial concern when traveling in big cities is how to protect against my feet being sore and pulpy by midday. Any tips on specific brands of shoes that you have found useful would be appreciated."
After two days of sightseeing in Moscow, my feet were so callused and blistered that I was limping. That's because I opted against a car and driver (which is how Exeter International, the travel firm that arranged my trip, recommended I get around) in favor of far more affordable transport: my two feet and the metro. Unfortunately, getting from sight to sight in Moscow requires far more hoofing than your typical European city. The distances between subway stops are much greater, many sidewalks are cobblestoned or potholed, and often it's neither easy nor safe to hail a taxi when you're tired.
Your question about shoes is a great one, and I wish I had the perfect answer. I rarely wear sneakers overseas, since I like to blend in with the crowd rather than get pegged as an American. When I must spend much of a trip walking on uneven or unpaved streets, the shoes that work best for me are Dansko clogs. My podiatrist recommended them, and I wore them every day when I was in Turkey last summer. But they work best in dry climates. I did not bring them to Russia because the weather called for rain, and Danskos can be slippery on smooth surfaces (such as museum or palace floors, especially when the soles are wet). So I packed Munro shoes and boots, which serve me well in cities like London and Paris (and, of course, at home in New York City) but were not enough to keep my feet from getting mangled in Moscow. My husband (the best traveler I know) swears by Mephisto walking shoes; he wore them all over Ireland last summer, and they kept his feet in good shape rain or shine.
Can anyone else recommend supportive and well-cushioned walking shoes for big cities abroad? If so, I invite you to click on "Post a comment" below.