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The Great Shoe Debate

Connecticut
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117 posts
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The Great Shoe Debate

We'd like to get any sneakers/hiking boots/sandals for our spring '07 trip now, so we have plenty of time to break them in (and so we won't feel bad about trashing brand new shoes on the BI's lava and Kauai's red dirt).

I know the issue of how many pairs/what types of shoes to bring on a trip to HI has been visited before, but I'm still pretty much in the dark on what the smartest options are.

Which of the following do you recommend we bring (we plan to do some easy to moderate hiking, lots of walking, time at the beach, as much snorkeling as possible, and an evening out here and there):

1. Hiking boots

2. Sneakers--cross-trainer athletic-type sneaks

3. Sneakers--more casual Keds-type sneaks

4. Sports sandals--Keens, Tevas, etc.

5. Flip-flops

6. Reef shoes

7. Sexy-mama shoes for me/Dressy shoes for hubby (for that evening or two out on the town)

Feedback greatly appreciated!

Illinois
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1. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

Hi Creative Matter--

I've been to the big island 3 times, and here's what we took:

1. Hiking boots (well broken in) for hiking at the volcano. IMO, you must have these if you intend to walk past the end of the road. The lava is hard, slippery and sharp, and you will be glad you have your boots.

2. sneakers---I brought a casual (cute) pair (not my normal workout pair). I wore those on the plane too. I wore those for easy hikes, and to Mauna Kea. There's tons of cute ones around--I just got a new pair of Michelle K's for our next trip.

3. sport sandals--I didn't bring any but I brought a pair of rubber pool flipflops for walking on the beach. Hubby has a casual pair that he brought.

4. flip-flops--I brought a couple cute pairs that I could wear with shorts and casual skirts/dresses.

5. reef shoes--I wear a pair of scuba booties that my fins go over. I used to have the full-foot fins, but I prefer this kind instead. My feet don't get rubbed raw, and I can wear the booties on the beach and into the water and put on my fins in the water. This keeps you from having to walk into the water barefoot and possibly stepping on something, or having to do the duckwalk into the water with your fins on.

6. Sexy mama shoes--absolutely! They don't take up much room in the suitcase, so I always fit them in. I took my strappy 3-inch stiletto sandals for our anniversary dinner at Pahu'ia. As for the hubby--he just wore his casual sandals with nice shorts and a shirt.

I took one nice sexy dress, and a casual sundress. I also took a casual skirt (worn with a tank top), along with board shorts. I like to snorkel in board shorts and a bikini top--keeps me from having a sunburn in areas that I really don't want burned! I also took a couple bikinis for the hotel pool.

Have fun planning! I started counting down with 312 days to go, and I'm down to 58 days!

laguna niguel, ca
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2. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

sneakers for hikes, reef shoes for the ocean, and flip flops or as they call them slippahs for everying else (for women these should be in multiple colors). The reef shoes are a good idea because you will find rock and coral bottoms often and they kill your feet. Maybe one nice pair of nice shoes if you are going to a nice dinner or luau

Kihei, HI
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3. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

I think you should bring, as a minimum: 1 or 2, 4 or 6, 5, and 7.

1 or 2, for hiking. As long as you are not doing a lot of serious hiking, either one is fine.

There is no need for casual sneakers. I never wear them here. For going around town you'll want to wear flip flops. (note, we call them "slippers" in Hawaii!)

For climbing into pools, either reef shoes (6) or sports sandals (4) will work. If you are willing to get your sport sandals wet I'd bring those because they're multi-purpose and will also serve for light hiking.

You won't need more than one pair of dressy shoes (7), in fact, a pair of "fancy" flip-flops is fine for almost any restaurant.

Omaha, NE
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4. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

We've made 6 trips to the Big Island, and we typically bring 2 pairs of shoes. Sneakers for the plane (since we leave and arrive from a midwestern winter) and Tevas (which we wear almost exclusively).

I know a lot of people insist on hiking boots for the lava hikes, but we've used Tevas successfully several times. I understand the extra support and protection that hiking boots provide, but Tevas provide a comfort factor that boots will fail miserably on a hot daylight hike across lava.

Many Tevas have support that rival cross-training athletic shoes which makes other shoes unnecessary. We've even worn them in the fanciest restaurants without issue. They are waterproof and easy-on/off making flip-flops/slippahs redundant.

If I had to vote, I'd suggest sport sandals #1, then boots/reef shoes #2-3. Sneakers only if you need them to and from the airport at home. Dressy shoes only if you insist; I really doubt you'll find a need for them.

Connecticut
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5. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

Thanks, everybody!

A wide range of opinions--but I think a nice middle ground is the way I'll go. I'll try to keep it to 3 pairs of shoes.

Oh, and thanks for the tip about flip-flops being slippers. : )

Alabama
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6. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

You might look at a pair of tennis shoe like boots. You get the traction of a good pair of boots and the look of a tennis shoe and they are much lighter weight than a normal pair of boots. That would take care of 1-3, all the shoes that take up the most room. I know columbia sportswear and teva both make them, not sure about other brands. Then I'd go with sport sandals and flip flops.

st paul, mn
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7. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

We ovepacked on shoes and what i ended up using was Keens mostly even on lava hikes(glad they are washable). Brought old tennis as well and somehow somewhere they did get stained(maybe wore once or twice). We do have scuba type fins which go over beach shoes which we use for snorkeling and we used the beach shoes alot seperately as well. In areas have to be careful of the spines in the water.

Connecticut
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8. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

Thanks, earthgirl and frozensnowman--I love the suggestions of the tennis shoe/boot combo unit, and using the beach shoes as both sand-wear and snorkel-wear. Those two suggestions alone help streamline the packing quite a bit.

Texas
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9. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

Hi all!

I have been lurking on this forum for 6+ months now, but my trip is slowly getting closer and I am starting to have a lot of questions.

1st- Could somebody possibly provide a link to websites for thei favorite shoes. (Keens.. which type...., which kind of reef shoes... favorite Tevas?) I really want my husband and I to have good footwear for walking. We probably won't be hiking too much. Mainly just sightseeing, walking on the beach, snorkeling...

2nd- (and I may post a new thread for this question) Does anyone have advice for finding size 15 or 16 water shoes for my hubby (to wear on the beach etc...) ? It seems like I have searched high and low online. I really don't want to have to spend over $40 at most for a pair for him. Any advise?

I grew up on the beach, but we didn't have lava rocks and sea urchins where I am from!!! : ) We just took our shoes off at the car and ran as fast as we could barefooted to the water!

Thanks in advance!

NM
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10. Re: The Great Shoe Debate

I was lucky to come across a post or blog that mentioned something about Keens because I ordered some online and my husband and I wore them the whole trip (he didn't even bother to break his in first either) and did not take any other shoes with us, nor socks. I was so glad we were not messing with sneakers and socks. We even mentioned it several times during the trip. We hiked the first two miles of the Kalalau trail (Keens were great for boulder hopping, mud, streamcrossing and cooling hot feet in the water), hiked to waterfalls (great for swimming in) and across the lava rock to Queens bath. We also snorkeled but used fins for that (except at Queens bath). I forgot about wearing a dress to the luau and my red Keens looked kinda funny with my torquoise floral dress but it didn't bother me too much and I was glad to have the Keens for walking all around the grounds at Smith's. Next time we are taking the 3 kids and I will be buying everyone Keens and we will bring nothing else but fins. The only thing I would do different is carry a gallon of water in the car to rinse the sand off after beach walks. I wish I never had to wear another shoe ever again but winter will come and maybe snow and.... I may still be wearing my Keens. They are that good!