I have flat feet. I mean, REALLY flat feet. Think of a pancake… then drive over it a couple of times. That’s me. I’ve always been envious of people whose footprints look cute as they walk around the side of the pool. Mine look more like Godzilla in flippers. Sigh.
Finding shoes has always been a chore for me. Not only are my feet flat, but they are also ginormous. That makes finding options to try on in a store nearly impossible. Plus, comfort and cute rarely go together. The problem is especially difficult when you are trying to find shoes that will allow for a day of activity on your feet.
This summer I will be heading out on a grand adventure to the Jordanian desert. Many of the activities on our itinerary require walking for miles in the hot sand. To prep for the trip, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect hiking sandals. In the past I have worn Birkenstock, and I do love them, but that molded footbed is hard on my feet. I get really huge blisters where my arch SHOULD be. Doesn’t sound great for a week of walking.
So, I went to social media and asked my friends for recommendations. Then, I searched Amazon Prime Wardrobe for a variety to try. Luckily, many of the brands my friends suggested were available to order in my size. If you haven’t heard of Prime Wardrobe before, you should really check it out! This service, which comes as part of an Amazon Prime subscription, allows you to try up to seven items at a time, for a week, absolutely free. When you are trying to find quality, leather sandals in a size 11W, this service is a lifesaver. I was able to order over $800 worth of sandals to try and only pay for what I wanted to keep. Returns are as easy as boxing everything up and dropping it off at a UPS location.
Born: Inti Sandal
My friend, Lisa, who travels often, recommended Born sandals. I found this pair while wandering Duluth Trading company. This toe loop style is extremely comfortable and seems like it would be a fantastic everyday sandal. However, when on my trip, I would prefer something that has a back strap. I’m just afraid of walking out of them, or flinging them across a canyon in Petra… I’m not a terribly coordinated girl. However, these are on my radar for the future.
Olukai: Upena Sandal
This style really didn’t work for me. The straps were not supportive, and the footbed was extremely flat. When walking all week, I am going to want something that feels secure and a bit cushy. These are cute, but definitely not what I am looking for in price or function.
Teva: Elzada Sandal
I actually have had success with Teva sandals in the past. I have an original pair of 90’s velcro style that are still really comfortable (hmmm…may also pack in my suitcase) but, for this trip I am looking for a dressier leather pair that will go with many outfits. I definitely chose wrong with this style. They are slip ons, but do adjust to fit the thickness of your foot. However, the footbed was a little short and they weren’t even comfortable to try on. Guess I will stick to the fabric velcro ones…
I have purchased and returned Chacos before. Everyone kept telling me how great they were, yet at least for my feet, the strappy ones with a rubber footbed were torture! But, I decided to give the leather style a try anyway. I was pleasantly surprised that both pairs I ordered were quite comfortable. The Wayfarer style (brown) were one of my top picks. They are pretty and the leather was soft. The Tulip style (purple) were also very comfortable and i liked the squishy footbed. I decided to return these, but order a pair in black to keep.
Merrell: Kalari Sandal
Finally, I ordered a pair of Merrell sandals. I have other sandals from this brand and also love their commitment to create shoes for diverse body styles. (Check out their collab with the Unlikely Hikers Club.) Though I was a bit torn between the Chacos Wayfarers and these sandals… the Merrell Kalari shoes were my ultimate winner! Not only do they feature an adorable gladiator style, but the footbed is squishy and bouncy, providing the best shock absorption. I know that these sandals are going to make my feet happy as a traverse the desert in Wadi Rum.
What are your go-to long-wearing sandals? If you don’t have a pair that you love yet, I definitely suggest Born, Chacos, and Merrell as ones to try. Use that Amazon Prime membership to its fullest and throw them in your Prime Wardrobe.
I am looking forward to seeing all the places these sandals will go.