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Walk This Way

Return from heavy walking trips with only memories, not blisters, as souvenirs.

Walk This Way

(Photo: credit: gary hovland)

Priya Parthasarathy is a busy mom, fitness enthusiast, avid traveler – and a podiatrist. When she travels, she walks, and says Paris is her favorite city to travel by foot.

“I was recently there with my sister in February,” said the American Podiatric Medical Association spokesperson. “We could easily walk from where we stayed in the 17th arrondissement to the Eiffel Tower. We barely used taxis.”

If you’re planning a trip where walking is front and center, Parthasarathy advises making any new shoe purchases two weeks in advance. “It takes seven to 10 days to break in the shoes and ensure they are comfortable, do not cause any blisters and fit your feet,” she said.

Consider the terrain. Paris, Florence and Edinburgh, for instance, all feature plenty of cobblestones. Weather can also play a role. If it will be rainy or cold, make sure your footwear is waterproof or water resistant, maybe with a warm lining. Parthasarathy brought the Blayre III water-resistant boot from UGG on her rainy trip to Paris to keep her feet warm, dry and well-supported.

Also think about your to-do list. If you’re planning to tour the famed Sydney Opera House or the Art Gallery of New South Wales, you’ll want a lightweight walking shoe that rises just above the ankle. Ditto if you’re planning a stroll between beer gardens in Munich, or the stunning Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

If you’re taking on Sydney’s 5K Federation Cliff Walk, or Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, you’ll want a firmer, sturdier hiking boot. “Hiking boots typically rise above the ankle to offer ankle support and reduce the risk of injury,” Parthasarathy said.

And if you’re hitting Sydney’s famed Bondi Beach, you’ll want something easy to slip off.

“The mistake that most people make is purchasing flimsy flip flops for the beach,” said Parthasarathy. “You should look for sandals with more support, ones that do not fold completely in half.” A Birkenstock sandal, she says, is a good option.

Just in case, pack moleskin, adhesive bandages and antibiotic cream for foot first-aid. For sore feet, “ice is always your best friend,” she said. Get in the habit of rolling your tootsies over a frozen water bottle at the end of each walking adventure to get your feet ready for their next steps.

Read more articles about travel-related health topics at AAA.com/LiveWell.

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