Having the right shoes for traveling can be a trick. How durable are they? Will they work on the beach and for kicking around town? Can I wear them all day? While not an expert, I have travelled quite a bit and hit my fair share of beaches.
I grew up about an hour east of San Francisco and went to college in Santa Barbara, so we went to the beach a lot. I find there are two pretty distinct types of beaches on the West Coast - soft sand and little rocky sand beaches - but I think it's a pretty universal description for general purposes. Depending on what you are doing and the type of beach you are on - it can make a huge difference in your footwear choices.
I want to share some of my challenges (and some of the staffs' experiences) and what I think worked - and what really didn't....
The Stereotypical California Beach (Soft Sand)
While there are tons of unique beaches up and down the West Coast - the stereotypical looking soft sand beach pops into your mind. So flip flop, thongs - whatever it is that you call them, it seems like it has earned it's place as the signature beach shoe. Have you tried to walk in the sand in those?? Maybe I'm super uncoordinated, but it's awful. I can't keep my shoes on and they are always full of sand. I hate it. I usually end up pulling them off the minute I hit the sand. Of course, the heat of the sand may come into some serious play: don't want to burn the soles of your feet. I can wear them from the car to the edge of the sand - then it's all over.
The Rocky Beach
This beach requires a little more serious footwear. Land on a rock wrong and your whole day is ruined. Sometimes with bigger rocks - like on the beach shown - but there are some beaches that have micro-pebbles (like peppercorn size) and that's the sand. That sand chews your feet up if you don't have shoes on. So make sure you have what you need for the kind of beach that will be there. In this day and age you can Google just about anything. No so sure about where you're going? Find Out! Imagine my surprise when we got to the tip of Greece (little awesome town called Kyparissea) and there were wasn't that stereotypical beach they pull out for Greece brochures. Not really much soft sand - more the micro pebble beach and big rocks. Did we have the right shoes? - not even close.
Flip Flops / Thongs
While great for knocking around on flat surfaces, not so hot on uneven and rocky surfaces, Now there are 100's of brands out there and everyone has their favorites, but you need to look at comfort and functionality to really make a good decision. Do they have enough arch for you? Can they get wet? Can they withstand heat? Are they well made? All questions you need to ask.
We carry a variety of thongs in synthetics and leathers, brands such as, Birkenstock, Vionic, Aetrex and Oofos. Depending on your needs - I'm sure we can locate one that will fit the trip.
Slides give you more control over your foot and may give you a style that may be more versatile for the rest of time that you're not on the beach. There are so many styles - this gives you so many more options. We have brands - Naot, Aetrex, Vionic and of course, Birkenstocks - that have many slide sandal style options that can work.
Now don't get me wrong - I LOVE my Birkenstocks - but I have found that sandals that have a footbed lip tend to collect A LOT of sa