One shoe to rule them all.

One of my travel “quirks,” as Pete likes to phrase it, is that I pack way too many shoes. Like an entire suitcase for them. I overpack in general, but the shoes always get me in trouble. When I prepare for a trip, I like to bring out all those shoes that don’t get a chance to play on a daily basis. There aren’t many places I can wear glittery pumps, but they always seem appropriate on vacation. On our trip to Nashville, I packed 6 pairs… that didn’t include the pair that I wore on the way.

On my trip to Hamburg less than 3 weeks afterward, I was determined to prove to Pete and myself that I am capable of not overpacking by only bringing ONE pair of shoes. One. When I told Pete my plans, he looked at me and simply said, “No, you won’t.” Way to be my biggest cheerleader, life partner.

The list of requirements was quite intimidating.

1. They had to be comfortable enough to walk around in all day (those Europeans and their walking!) which meant that the heels needed to be 2 inch maximum with little or no break-in time since I was buying them right before the trip.

2. They had to fit my large size 11 feet, which is a chore no matter the style.

3. They needed to be stylish enough to go with every outfit – leggings, jeans, skirts and even a Girls Night Out dress. This is where I was getting scared…

4. Lastly, they had to be weather-proof. We were taking a few days to traipse around Amsterdam during November rain.

Obviously, the heel and size restrictions eliminated many shoe options right away. Pumps were not going to be comfortable or weather resistant. Neither would flats (so many I have ruined walking into a deep puddle…), and I already had knee high boots, but they just didn’t fit the heel height restriction. And rain boots aren’t exactly club-worthy. After eliminating what seemed like every shoe type out there, I settled on booties.

I thought the hardest part was over, but I also became picky about not having much or any embellishment or hardware on them which made the task even harder. FINALLY, I came across these Cliffs by White Mountain booties on sale for 50% off. They fit all the criteria and were CHEAP! I saw myself skipping through the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam, dancing my way through the Reeperbahn, and sipping espresso in them.


A few days later, I triumphantly pulled up the link on my laptop to show Pete. He agreed that I had found THE ONE. So, I proudly went to put them in my cart and alas, they were sold out of my size!

With only a week to go, I saw a few possibilities online and went to Nordstrom to try them on. While waiting for my size to be pulled, I came across the actual holy grail of shoes – these Aquatalia booties. The leather was so smooth, the suede felt luxurious, and even sticking my hand in them, I could feel the soft padding. They were the real deal.

The price tag was steeper than I originally wanted to spend, but fortunately Nordstrom is having a clearance sale, so I got them for 40% off. I have honestly never had a more comfortable shoe, especially one as fashionable. I will have these for years to come. As my fabulous shoe consultant said, “You can’t help it that your feet only fit Italian-made shoes.” Touché my friend. Touché.

These are some of the other booties I considered. Which is your favorite?

Sam Edelman Petty in black leather

Ecco Sculptured Folded Zip Bootie in black

Cole Haan Embury in black

Softwalk Rocklin in black suede

Dave Tate Simplicty in black calfskin

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