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Comfy Women’s Travel Shoes: Women Over 40 or 50 [Updated]

travel walking shoes

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

Travel shoes always seem to come with a tradeoff between comfort and style, but there are comfortable women's travel shoes that don't look too bad. Well, it's all a matter of opinion. Try to keep an open mind.

what are the best travel shoes & sandals

Flat Travel Shoes for Europe

I know you don’t want to look vulgar in Vienna or provincial in Paris.  I also know you are probably over 40 if you're on this site. Hey, I'm almost 60, and I want you to know that the pads of your feet are thinner than they were when you were younger. It's not your imagination.

So, here are some cute, casual, cushioned shoes that are perfect for walking around Europe or any fashionable part of the world.  If you will be traveling in colder weather, you should consider taking boots with good cushioning.

Ditch the Marshmallow Nikes

Whenever you’re in London, Venice, or any chic European city, you should avoid wearing clunky, white athletic shoes.  To me, wearing clothing that's appropriate for the culture you're visiting is a good way to show respect for your host country.  It's a basic common courtesy.

So, just as I hope you wouldn’t wear bedraggled old jeans to your daughter’s wedding, I don’t want to see you Boomers wearing white Nikes in Paris... unless you've lost your luggage or you've broken your ankle.

Mephisto Women’s Shoes: Ulla

I have been wearing my old Mephisto shoes for years and I seem to fit in... as much as I do anywhere... haha.  Mephisto is a European brand, and people walk a lot more in Europe than they do in the states.

I love my ugly old Mephisto Ullas so much that I always keep a backup pair in my suitcase. The Ullas are my go-to shoes for days when nothing else fits my broken, swollen feet.  Of course, I know that my old, slightly shopworn Mephistos may not be the most beautiful shoes on earth, but they are almost as comfortable as sneakers, and they don’t give me away as an American vulgarian from 40 paces.

Women’s Mobils Ulla:

This semi-ugly sandal is rugged and fabulous.  Here are things you will like about Mephisto Ulla:

  • Adjustable Velcro straps
  • Good for wider, peasant feet
  • Almost as comfortable as athletic shoes
  • Two inches of height, but stable and sturdy
  • Look like closed-toe shoes when worn with black tights
  • Last forever

Here are things you might not like about Mephisto Ulla:

  • Only come in black
  • Fairly heavy
  • Expensive, but worth it
  • Sometimes hard to find in your size

(I have worn my Mephisto Ullas on five continents in the last eight or so years.  So, although they are expensive, you will get your money's worth.  If they fit, buy them.)

Women in Europe Wear Brogues

Women in Europe Wear Brogues


Casual Mephisto Adjustable Strap Shoes for Walking

One of the best things about Ullas is they have several straps that can be adjusted to fit your feet during different times of the day (like when your poor feeties swell up in the afternoon). I've listed other styles below that have the same adjustability. The shoes below may even be better than my Ullas, but I can't say for sure. All I know is that these expensive shoes are great and everyone gives them outstanding reviews.

  • Mephisto Parfolia: This is slightly similar to my shoe (a bit more feminine). And, I like the steel gray color (a good neutral for day or night) as well as the black. I've read these run small. Order two sizes and send one back.
  • Mephisto Prudy: This is definitely a lighter weight walking sandal than my Ullas. I would never tell you to buy shoes right before you go to Europe, but if you lost your trusty old travel shoes, and you had to come up with something on the fly, the only brand I could recommend wholeheartedly would be Mephistos... they're that good.
  • Mephisto Jissy: This must be a redo of the Ulla. I can't tell how they compare without trying them on. One reviewer doesn't like the front strap, but other people disagree, so it could have been that one pair.
  • Mephisto Odalys: This is a cute Mary Jane. Oh, who am I kidding? These are ugly geek shoes, but they will take you up and down all the stairs in Paris or Rome or London without making you scream or cry. There are times when it's worth the pain and the inconvenience to wear uncomfortable heels, but walking around on vacation is not one of those times. Save your "cute" shoes for dinner at a chi chi resto.

If you don't like how these look, or you find a better price elsewhere, I don't think you can go wrong with any Mephisto shoe. However, I would not wear a backless slip-on shoe while walking around a big city, especially a European city. Those slip-on shoes might slide halfway off when you're halfway up a belltower's skinny, slippery stairway. Save the slip-on sandals for Hawaii or Florida... or for toodling around your hometown.

It's so expensive to fly halfway around the world and stay in halfass hotels and eat out all the time. You really do not want to ruin your vacation by doing something silly like skimping on your shoes. You will yell at yourself for days if you don't listen to me. And, my feet are one of the only parts of my body that haven't fallen apart (yet), so good shoes may be even more important to you than to me.

If your feet are anything like mine, you will wear these shoes long after your holiday is over. You will sleep with these shoes under your pillow so that no one steals them... hahaha.

Cute Mephisto Walking Shoes

If you just can't stand the less-than-chic look of the average Mephistos, but your feet won't allow you to go with Jimmy Choos, the leopard Mephisto Beauty shoes are a decent tradeoff. I mean, these aren't going to win any beauty contests, but they aren't going to make you look like an old biddy in orthopedic hobblers, either. I also like the fact that they give you a little height. These sandals are on my list for when I return all my Christmas presents for cash... just kidding... I wouldn't do that.

If you look around you might be able to find some Mephisto Axabel ballerina flats. Most slip-on ballerina shoes have no cushioning, but these do.  Bravo, Mephisto.

what to wear in europe

Walking Shoes for Women

Naot Walking Sandals

I have never worn Naots and I think they might be for women with narrower feet than mine, however Naots are the only other walking sandals that get really good ratings. Well, there may be others, but I've heard Naots are good and I've read about them. So, they're worth a try.

The only thing I'm not sure about with these shoes is the adjustability. I don't see an adjustable Velcro strap in the back of the Karenna shoes.

Yes, I just read that Naot runs a bit narrow to medium. That's why I've never tried these. They would never fit me. However, Naot gets good ratings, so I have to go by that. I'm sorry to say that I just don't know as much about Naot as I do about Mephistos.

Propet Walking Sandals & Shoes:

If you have very wide feet, the walking shoes for you are Propet. People rave about them. I know people rave about Birkenstocks, but I just don't get those. Birkies are not as comfy as Mephistos and I doubt they're as good as Propet. And, Propet goes up to size 4E.

A long time ago, I did some research on wide women's shoes. Propet came out as the winner. Alas, I have no experience wearing these. I can only go by other women's opinions.

Women's Brogues for Walking in Europe:

I'm not sure what we call women's brogues in the US, but I've seen a lot of these shoes on women of all ages in Paris... and probably in London... but I didn't get a close look at the shoes in London because my husband didn't want to take the tube (long story). My best analysis of women's shoes was on the Paris Metro because everyone looks down and all the footwear is right in front of you.

I want to call the shoe style "lace-up flats", but that's not quite right. Sometimes, they look like fancy bowling shoes in cool metallics and other nice colors. Anyway, if you find a flat leather lace-up shoe that you really like, and you're on your way to Paris, you'll fit right in.


If anyone knows what these wingtip shoes (for women) are called leave a comment below. When I looked up brogues on the US sites, I found high heel loafers... which were all wrong. I think I've seen the shoes on Ellen Degeneres when she wasn't wearing tennies. Does that style ring a bell?

Hey, I finally figured it out. We call them oxfords. I know nothing about this style because I only wear them when I go bowling... and that only happens once per lifetime with me. Here's the kind of shoe that would look right in Paris and the rest of Europe... and I'm not kidding.

Just don't ask me about oxfords or brogues or saddle shoes or blue suede shoes, 'cuz I ain't the best source for these thingies. They're just not my style.

Anyway... I won't let you go to Europe without wandering around, and going up and down old steps, and getting lost in winding old neighborhoods.  That’s how you learn the true soul of any city.  And, I insist you have your shoes broken in a month, or more, before your trip or you'll live to regret your mistake.

More Articles for Baby Boomer Women:

How to Wear Leggings if You're Over 40 or 50

Sexy Plus Size Cruise Wear: Cocktail & Formal Dresses

How to Wear a Peplum If You Have Curves

Photo Credits: Prshots.com.

  • Main Photo: La Redoute 2012.
  • Wear Flats in Europe: New Look
  • Women in Europe Wear Brogues: Dunnes Stores.
  • Flat Travel Shoes for Europe: Marks n Spencer.
  • Walking Shoes for Women: M&S.

What are your favorite shoes?  Leave a comment at the bottom of the page. We never publish your email address. We just need to know you're human.

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. Lexi107

    I have looked all over for comfy shoes that also look decent. I have tried these suggestions and love the red clogs, thanks for your help!

  2. Susan B

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! FINALLY something I can relate to - about real women, not stick figures or kids! I am planning a trip to Europe and what to wear. So much is focused on 20 or 30 something's. Fashion that I know is not appropriate for the mature figure.I don't want to look ridiculous in clothing not suitable for my age or, ahem, frame. Thank you for some great ideas on dresses and shoes. I love your delivery too, funny, irreverent yet practical.