Monday, June 29, 2015

Sister Missionary Shoe Tips

As Marilyn Monroe once said, "Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world". While I don't exactly plan on being a Marilyn Monroe on my mission, she does have a point. As sister missionaries, we have the wonderful opportunity to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. Some of us will be across the globe, while others will be a bit closer to home. However, each and every single sister has one thing in common: a need for comfy walking shoes.
A mission demands good and durable walking shoes, no matter the climate or location. A majority of a missionary's day is spent on their feet, where they prance down pavement, dance on dirt roads, or sashay in the rain. All of those activities require the right shoes. While comfort should come before fashion, there are shoes that can satisfy both demands.
I'm sure you have all seen the stereotypical sister missionary shoes. I am here to tell you that those 3-inch rubber soled shoes that could survive a nuclear blast are not the only option. It is completely possible to find shoes that are both fashionable and practical. I have asked several future missionaries and mission shoe experts to share with me their shoes of choice, and the pros and cons of each below.

Crocs Flats

Recommended by: Sister Banisch & Sister Funk
Mexico Chihuahua Mission, Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission

Crocs aren't usually the first thing to come to mind when one is shopping for missionary shoes. However, Crocs offer a wide selection of women's flats that are fashionable and mission appropriate. Their shoes are all 100% washable. If they start to smell or get dirty, they can be rinsed off and dried within a matter of minutes. That can come in very handy when you are wearing them for hours a day. You don't need to worry about waterproofing them either, as they are made of rubber and can be worn rain or shine. Because they are so lightweight, they are extremely portable and can be carried around and used as needed.

Pros: washable, waterproof, affordable, comfortable, lightweight, durable, cool, comes in a variety of styles and colors, less blisters
Cons: feet may get slippery due to sweat or rain (which could make them hard to walk in), not as much foot support as other options out there

ABEO Flats

Recommended by: Sister Christensen
Brazil Campinas Mission

ABEO B.I.O. System - Tamara Neutral

I spent a lot of time looking at a lot of different shoes, but finally decided on (and bought) this pair from The Walking Company, one in black and one in brown. When I first walked into the store, an associate measured my foot, which allowed her to pick an orthopedic pad that would best support my feet. This insert is built into the shoe, so you don't need to waste any more time or money looking for additional inserts. The shoe is made of leather and is very breathable, while the sole of the shoe is made of thick rubber, thus giving it durability. Plus they are pretty cute, which is an added bonus.

Pros: built-in orthopedic pad, breathable, thick rubber sole adds to durability, elastic holds shoe onto foot, comfortable, comes in a variety of conservative colors
Cons: needs waterproofing, socks recommended, could get smelly

KEEN Sandals

Recommended by: Sister Funk
Guatemala Guatemala City Central Mission

KEEN Women's Cypress Sandals
These shoes were designed for walking and hiking. These waterproof sandals also offer great arch support. According to Sister Funk, these shoes lasted half of her mission -- not a bad amount of time for a shoe you will be wearing nearly 24/7. These, like the Crocs, are also washable. KEEN makes a variety of different styles (from these sandals to more dressy shoes), so go check them out. There are many colors to choose from as well, so make sure to choose one of the more dressy options. 

Pros: waterproof, built in arch support, durable, comfortable, don't smell, can be easily cleaned, rubber sole adds to durability
Cons: not as dressy as other options, not much cushion

G. H. Bass & Co.

Recommended by: Sister Esplin
Australia Adelaide Mission
G.H. & Bass Co. Missy Drivers

G.H. Bass & Co. offers a wide selection of professional looking flats and loafers. The loafers come in a variety of styles and colors to meet your needs. Make sure to check out the flats as well.  As Sister Esplin was searching for mission shoes, comfort was her top priority. These shoes offer a comfortable fit, padding, and soft lining. Most of the loafers are made of leather, so you will have to do your own water proofing. The soles are synthetic, and other styles can be found with thicker soles as needed.

Pros: comfortable, leather, fashionable, durable, stay on feet well, less blisters
Cons: may be a bit casual, must be waterproofed, soles can be thin (depending on the style), not super breathable

Other Brands/Stores to Check Out: 

Danskos (recommended by an associate at the Sister Missionary Mall in Provo)
Clarks (recommended by an associate at the Sister Missionary Mall in Provo, and Sister Esplin)
Macy's (recommended by Sister Esplin)
Shoe Carnival (recommended by Sister Esplin)
REI (recommended by Sister Funk)
Tevas (recommended by Sister Funk)
The Walking Company (recommended by Sister Christensen)

Shoe Related Products

Waterproofing Spray
Waterproofing spray is a necessity, especially if your shoes are not waterproof. Spray them weekly in order not to damage your shoes and to make them last as long as possible.

Shoe Inserts
Most shoes do not come with inserts. Since you are going to be walking all day everyday, you are going to want your feet to be as comfortable and supported as they can be. Splurge on some orthopedic shoe inserts.

Nearly every store I visited recommended socks. Socks help your shoe not wear down as quickly and can provide protection from blisters. I purchased short socks that have a grip on the heel, because those kind of socks don't usually stay on my feet too well. You can find these anywhere, from Target to Walmart. 

Mole Skin
Chances are, you are going to get blisters. Pack some mole skin so that it doesn't get in the way of your missionary work!

Do you have a missionary shoe suggestion? Leave us a comment!


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