If You Love Something, Strap Your Feet Into It

My shoes in repose.

More info about my Italy trip:

Before leaving, it crossed my mind that I might not stand out as much in Italy since the people look more Caucasian and I would be wearing black shirts, which I heard the Italians are prone to do. I could not have begun to fathom the depths of my ignorance.

First of all, Italians (in the regions I visited) are a people who have adapted to the sun by developing more melanin in their skin, giving it a nice tan color. I, in contrast, am of Northern European descent where people are still actively debating whether or not the sun exists more than 3 months a year. I was the pale needle in a bronzed haystack.

Second of all, mimicking Italian fashion requires more than wearing a black shirt purchased at TJ Maxx. The first problem was the fact it was just a frilly black shirt and not a tight tank top. The second problem is that I paired it either with jeans or  business casual slacks (Old Navy) instead of shorts, skinny jeans, or leggings. My backpack was also problematic, since it indicated I was either an elementary school student or a dirty hippy backpacker. Yet despite all these flagrant violations of well known fashion rules, the real deal breaker in my quest to blend in was my adventure sandals, also known as Chacos, that are so supportive the arch that can be seen from the moon. Only a sloppy tourist would dare be seen wearing something close to practical footwear, not including elderly people that have a prescription for their shoes and can’t fight off their nurse.

I proudly admit without shame that I am such a sloppy tourist, and I spent almost my entire European adventure in Chaco’s. These shoes, unlike humans, have never let me down. They lift me 1.5 inches above mysterious ground moisture. They keep my feet comfortable even after walking for hours on ancient Roman streets. They dry quickly should they become wet. They don’t bill me for therapy sessions. I am so dedicated to these shoes that I even wore them when I knew the occasion might call for something more formal, such a fancy dinner with my Italian host’s family. She donned an elegant coral dress and gold jewelry, her sister sparkled in a well tailored black cocktail number and fancy black flats, and I stood out in my wrinkled purple sundress and adventure sandals. I’m almost certain a group of Italian men was mocking me on my way to the bathroom, but I harbor no regrets especially because of what followed.

After dinner, we visited a medieval city full of steep pathways and slippery cobblestone lanes and aimed to climb to the highest point in order see yet another breathtaking view of the Italian countryside. While the others were inching gingerly along in their chic but impractical footware, I sprinted past them and left little puffs of adventure sandal dust in their faces. That night, I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt to myself and the entire world that fashion is never a substitute for functionality. A rib might break, and an ankle might roll, but my arches will forever remain supported. I don’t care what anyone else says; I love my adventure sandals.

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111 thoughts on “If You Love Something, Strap Your Feet Into It

  1. Christa says:

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through
    some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

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  3. […] of a year of blogging: Being Freshly Pressed twice (here and here), meeting awesome members of the blogosphere, re-discovering my love of writing, and using […]

  4. claire says:

    The ONLY downfall of the Chaco is the smell. I wish they would bring back the Chong. I put mine on (from 1999) and pray the straps continue to hold.

    • edrevets says:

      I hope mine last for ten more years! My dream is to have 2 pairs of shoes…one for winter and one for summer. Obviously the chacos are for summer.

  5. […] Snotting Black – a college friend’s journey learning Arabic in Cairo, with witty and clever posts about things most of us would overlook on a daily basis (you may have seen her recently on Freshly Pressed!) […]

  6. realanonymousgirl2011 says:

    Good for you! But it’s true they can spot a foreigner a mile awhile with just fashion.

  7. rakhikankane says:

    enjoyed reading 🙂 nice blog!

  8. “ADVENTURE SANDALS!”

    Makes it sound so fun that I (almost) want a pair. 🙂

    Really funny read!

  9. Doesn’t vindication feel grand? I too have been in your “shoes” (ha, ha) and functionality does win out in the end. Unless you find someone who is willing and able to carry you elegantly throughout the countryside, something that almost certainly would never happen. They are beautiful in Italy, aren’t they?

    • edrevets says:

      Vindication is sweet indeed, and it definitely makes up for all of the persecution I suffered for my sandals. As far as the population itself being beautiful, I would need to conduct further research. However, I can confirm that the attractiveness of the garbage collectors is much superior to any other country that I’ve seen.

  10. I just moved to Brazil and it’s the same way here, no Brazilian woman would EVER get caught without heels on, much less anything that could be deemed “practical.”

  11. grenobloise says:

    I bought Birkenstocks before heading to France and Italy last summer and unfortunately for me they make my feet hurt bad- even after breaking them in. I wore them for weeks thinking they’ll “break in” as many had told me would happen- but nuh-uh, no bueno.

    I’ve never heard ‘a Chacos and I’d really love to get me a pair. I live in France now do I don’t know how easy it would be to find them. I have a friend with a pair of cushiony Nike sport flip-flops who says they’re real comfy but I checked and they don’t sell them here either.

    Loved your post! Congrats on being FP’d!

    • edrevets says:

      Thanks! I’ve no idea where you could get them in France….they might deliver there, but that would def. add a significant amount of money, but it could be worth it. I heard that having comfortable feet helps you save money on gas and makes your marriage last longer. If these aren’t applicable to you, at least you still have comfy feet.

  12. Love your stories of Italy… living vicariously through your postings!

    http://sugaranddesign.wordpress.com/

  13. toemailer says:

    Your photo is posted now and we hope you like it. Thanks very much. We really appreciate it!

  14. I *always* wear comfortable shoes. I would be so out of place in Italy. 🙂 Congrats on being FP.

  15. hahaha yesssss! I just spent 6 weeks in Europe from June-July; 3 in Italy. All I had were my Chacos and a pair of Merrells… Didn’t need anything else! Now I’m in El Salvador for a year- of course I’ll have that zigzag tanline all year round now for sure.

    I smiled pretty huge at this post

    • edrevets says:

      Woot woot! I wish I’d had my Chacos when I was Euro tripping last spring….my life would have been so different then. One thing is for certain: they are good on all continents.

  16. at least they’re not toe shoes. those things creep me out. i have a pair of rainbow flipflops that sound just like your chacos, except they’re almost worn completely through, i’ve worn them so much. maybe i should invest in some chacos…

    • edrevets says:

      People do love the rainbows. I personally have not owned a pair, but I would considering going in for one. I like the ankle support that my chacos provide and obviously highly recommend them.

  17. Mahrukh says:

    thanks for sharing this post, its really impressive and heart touching

  18. Hahah what a great post, I just got back from travelling and lost my shoe and ended up buying Chacos that I still haven’t worked out how to strap on properly

    • edrevets says:

      that is the one thing you have to take into consideration…I remember looking up online how to adjust them properly from a hostel in Europe. But after that one hiccup, it was smooth sailing.

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