City women are no strangers to navigating treacherous terrain in perilous footwear. We hoof around the city in mountain-high heels, across Tribeca’s cobble-stoned streets in wedges, tactfully maneuver around sidewalk grates that trap stilettos (I call those “high-heel cattle-guards”), and simply put on a brave face when our flats have rubbed our feet raw with blisters after walking across four avenues. But place a tough, hard-soled, scrappy New Yorker in the wilderness—not the concrete jungle but the authentic woods, rain, and dirt kind of wilderness—and she may be at a loss for her well-heeled shoe wisdom. It’s a whole different animal. (image above: Teva high heels)
Having grown up in the rural West (some of you similar transplants from the countryside probably got my cattle-guard reference) and become an assimilated New Yorker, I’d like to offer up a few basics for tackling the great outdoors – fashionably, of course. For starters, don’t forget your shower shoes. If you’re roughing it, but not committing to the full bathe-in-the-creek-if-you-bathe-at-all scenario, and a camp shower is in your midst, you’ll want to make sure there is a layer between your feet and who-knows-what’s been on the tile. I recommend a jelly sandal that will hold up well to water. Also around the campsite, a comfy slip-on shoe will be welcome break after a full day of hiking around in your boots or sneakers. Besides your quick jaunt to the shower, you’ll probably want something closed toe to keep the campsite dirt out.
La Sportiva Primer Surround GTX Hiking Shoes
Hunter Women's Original Short Back Adjustable Rain Boots
Salvatore Ferragamo 'Pandy' Sandal
Soludos 'Dali' Slip-On
Once you leave the relatively cushy surroundings of your campsite, you’ll need some functional footwear for your day’s activities. If you’re recreationally trying hiking or fishing for the first time, you’ll probably want the plebeian’s version of the appropriate gear: sneakers and rain boots. For light hiking, your usual gym shoes should do the trick but if you want something that’s more durable to the elements, a hiking shoe will serve you well. A hiking sneaker will be lighter-weight and probably more comfortable (and wearable when you get back to the city) then its more formidable counterpart: the hiking boot. If your daily endeavor includes a riverside trip to try your hand at fly-fishing, you can take along some footwear you probably already have in your closet. Instead of wading thigh-deep in rubber overalls, cast your rod from the banks while your feet stay dry in rain boots. My other advice for your excursion? Pack lots of thick socks and a box of band-aides—your feet will thank you!
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