Must-have shoes for Italy in the fall

Whether you’re the form over function type or vice versa, I’ve noticed a really awesome trend among Italians (and Europeans, really) lately. You’re going to see a few stilettos on cobblestones (eek!) but most people–especially the most chic–are opting for lower-heeled or flat shoes and boots. I’m not sure if it’s an extension of NORMCORE or if people are just tired of twisting their ankles but I’ll just say it’s a win for both comfort and style. I’m calling four major styles as your best bets when packing shoes for Italy, especially in fall and winter. 

Oxfords
One of my favorite looks right now is the cropped skinny pant, a great pair of oxfords, and a silky button-up. I’m seeing it more and more every day on the streets of Venice, Verona, Vicenza (what’s with all the V names in the Veneto?). It’s simple, so chic, and so packable. If you want to stay true to the European aesthetic, go with all black. Also, I highly suggest looking at the Cole Haan version below. It’s a brogue that hides a sneaker. Possibly that alone makes it worth the extra money.

shoes to pack for Italy -- oxfords

L to R, Top to bottom:
Cole Haan ZeroGrand Oxford, $198, nordstrom.com
Marc Fisher Ltd. Katie Oxford, $145, nordstrom.com
Marc Fisher Sailor Oxford , $62 (on sale) , macys.com
Clarks Narrative Hamble Oak Oxford, $120, nordstrom.com

Ballet Flats
I’m adding this style with some trepidation. The look is classic and sleek, so from an aesthetic point of view, it’s obvious why Italian women wear them. On the other hand, some of my least comfortable shoes have been ballet flats. It doesn’t matter how great you look when your feet are bleeding and throbbing from a bad pair of shoes. If you find the right pair, you can instantly pull together a look you’ll be proud of. If ballet flats sound good, I recommend trying several, buying the most comfortable style, then breaking them in long before you leave for Europe. From my own experience, the styles below are consistently kind to my own feet.

ballet flats shoes for italyL to R, Top to Bottom:
Armani Jeans Ballet Flat, $170, armani.com
J. Crew Ava Ballet Flats, $125, jcrew.com
Sam Edelman Felicia Bow Ballet Flats, $100 , dillards.com
Banana Republic Abby Ballet Flat, $79, bananarepublic.com

Cool Sneakers
Despite what others may tell you, Italians do wear sneakers quite often. They aren’t fans of actual performance sneakers–runners and cross-trainers–but retro-style looks are huge. I really didn’t wear sneakers outside the gym until I moved here. Now they’re on my feet regularly. Chuck Taylor All Stars are probably the most popular, followed by retro high tops like styles from Geox and Superga. My Nike Free sneakers work well for travel, and while they aren’t technically an Italian trend, they look kind of in-your-face cool because of the aggressive prints. I pair them with my favorite skinnies, a tee, and a Helmut Lang jacket that could make anything look good.

cool sneakers shoes for italyL to R, Top to Bottom:
Converse Chuck Taylor Shoreline, $50, nordstrom.com
Superga Cotdu Sneaker, $85, nordstrom.com
Geox New Club High Top Sneaker, $130, nordstrom.com
Nike Free 5.0 V4 Sneakers, $85, macys.com

Boots
I know this is a really gnarly graphic but accurately depicts the main styles I wear (and see being worn) most often here. First, don’t have a heart attack when you see the price on the La Canadienne Chelsea boots. If you stalk the web, you will find them cheaper eventually. Honestly, though, they are probably worth the price tag. They’re water-resistant, warm, and maybe the most comfortable boots ever. Over-the-knee boots are so versatile (pinky swear). I wore them non-stop with skinny jeans, leggings, and skirts all winter last year, and that included trips to Germany, Austria, Ireland. Lastly, moto boots. I mean, really, they’re just so popular here because they’re so easy to wear.

boots shoes for italyL to R, Top to Bottom:
Sara Chelsea Boots, $395, lacanadienne.com
Vince Camuto Baldwin Over the Knee Boot, $150 (currently on sale), macys.com
Vince Camuto Pierson, $169, vincecamuto.com
Justthis Booties (Reviews are mixed but the style is perfect), $100 (currently on sale), ninewest.com

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