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What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

Haifa, Israel
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What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

It struck me that with all these discussions of what to wear, no-one mentioned this:

If you are going to the Old City of Jerusalem, the City of David or similar sites, wear shoes with a really good grip on the soles. In many places the flooring is of Jerusalem stone smoothed by many generations of pilgrims' feet, and while it's very beautiful, it can also be (a) uneven and (b) extremely slippery, especially if there is a slope or if it is wet, and (c) very hard on your feet/knees.

Good rubber-soled hiking-style sandals or sneakers are fine. However, you do need more grip than for regular walking - I practically skied down the path down from the Old City to the Sultan's pool the other day in my well-worn Naot sandals, despite the reasonable amount of remaining tread on the soles of these sandals, which I wear with no problems the rest of the time.

Just an advance warning!

Avigail

Durham NC
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1. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

Thanks for the advice-I'm going next Spring and will have the proper footwear!Are "Tevas" ok?

Haifa, Israel
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2. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

For sure - any good hiking sandals like Teva or Shoresh/Source are fine. The problem is with sandals which don't have a strongly gripping rubber sole. 95% of the time you will be fine, but it's almost impossible to negotiate really slippery stone surfaces with such sandals on.

Avigail

Atlanta
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3. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

I'm not sure what the best soles would be to walk along a steep path on worn stone. I bought a pair of Keen's for my trip and wore them about 90% of the time. I also saw many other Jerusalemite's wearing them as well. I found my sandals to be great except if it's really slippery (ie from smooth stone pathways). In that case I don't think any sandal/show would have much traction on that type of surface after a few wearings.

David

PS- this has been covered in prior posts but I just want to mention it here. I strongly suggest wearing good quality socks (eg. Thorlo, Life is Good or Smartwool) during most of your treks. I wore it whenever I went walking even with my Keen's in the heat of the day. You might think "it's too hot for socks", but they do a great job at keeping your feet dry and blister-free.

It's not the greatest fashion statement either but if you do this you will likely not have any blisters and be able to last much longer on your feet. And who cares what you look like, your on vacation and no one knows you.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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4. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

David, I smiled at your fashion statement comment. :-) When in Israel, I practically live in my relatively new (but very broken in) top-quality Nike running shoes. I know it screams "American tourist," but I am NOT going to have blisters again on an Israel trip. I go to a running store about four months before the trip, buy a new pair (not necessarily Nike, but it's what I used the last trip), then break them in in walks around town. I also "train" for the walking, so to speak, as my sedentary job and cardio training are not the same as walking 5-10 miles a day in parts of Israel!

And David could not be more right about the right socks. Get polypropelene, moisture-wicking socks. Despite what Mom said, cotton socks are not the best choice as they absorb and retain moisture -- and that moisture, held against the skin, facilitates blister development. I had the right socks on this last trip, and had not one blister. I think the socks may be at least as important as the shoes.

Avigail, I also thought when reading your comment of a Croatian family that was on a Four Quarters walking tour of Jerusalem with us in early November 2006. Our tour guide was Aram Khatchadourian, the Armenian-Israeli guide whom I have mentioned several times on this forum. The family was lovely, with a couple of really cute kids, but the wife navigated a four-hour walking tour in stilleto heels. We were all agog. Can you imagine those on those smooth, slippery cobblestones, some from the Roman era? (Not to mention four hours of walking on them, period?) She made it, though how I have no idea. She had feet of iron, and one day will probably make a podiatrist very busy and very rich.

Douglas Duckett

Still wearing his Nikes on post-op feet in Vancouver, B.C.

Atlanta
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5. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

AvigailChaya,

Keep up the great posts. Your info is invaluable.

Doug, I think it was due to your posts that I decided to invest in good socks (and decent shoes) for my entire family for our trip. I must say 3 weeks in Israel with 3 kids and I don't think anyone complained about their feet once. That is close to miraculous. I think my feet got "tired" once at that was probably after a marathon day. But no blisters. Thanks again Doug.

David

Jerusalem, Israel
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6. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

Two other warnings in the same vein as Avigail's

1. Another place to be careful about slipping and sliding is the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall.

Some of you know that I have a penchant for high heels (the thinner the better ...), but heels, or in fact, leather soled shoes in general, are perilous for walking down Ben Yehuda. And when it's wet, it's even worse.

2. Many floors in public buildings are either marble or ceramic. When wet, they can be treacherous. In particular, be careful in public toilets - my mother has a friend who smashed her pelvis slipping on a wet bathroom floor in her office.

Wishing you all a slip-free trip (pun intended :-) )

Debi

Jerusalem, Israel
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7. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

I should have added that that last recommendation also comes from personal experience. A number of years ago I ended up with a torn meniscus, knee surgery, and 2 months with my leg in plaster, after slipping on my wet ceramic kitchen floor ... (but it still won't keep me off those heels!)

North Central...
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8. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

Avigail: I'm pleased to see this topic surface again because I'm blister prone. Thank you for superb advice.

Doug: Adhering to your advice on the proper kind of socks, I bought me a pair of Wigwam polyproplene socks. I put them on but they seem so silky thin. Should I wear a pair of regular cotton socks over them as some websites indicate for "maximum benefits" or will that defeat the purpose of the socks?

Atlanta: The wool socks I was looking at at the surplus store that you described seem to be able to breath but are very thick/heavy feeling. Did your feet sweat horrible with them?

Julie

Haifa, Israel
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9. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

Nice input, sock people. I'm from the opposite school of thought: I never wear socks unless (a) it's too cold not to or (b) I'm staying by chareidim... I find Shoresh/Source sandals (Israeli rubber-soled sandals with fabric straps) very comfortable for full day hikes/serious walking. Like any shoes you have to wear them for a shorter time at first but I didn't find they needed much breaking in. Because you can adjust the straps to fit your foot they don't rub (so no blisters) and the soles have a good grip.

Naot (Israeli leather/cork sandals) are great for day to day wear and perhaps even more comfortable than Shoresh - but are not suitable for serious hiking or really long walking - they can be hard on your feet, especially if they are old, and the soles don't grip particularly well.

The only foot issue I have is that for several years now I have a combination of Shoresh and Naot strap marks permanently burned onto my feet!

Avigail

Atlanta
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10. Re: What to wear on your feet in Jerusalem

Ditto the Naot comments re hard on your feet and the soles I found to not have a good traction even when I bought them new. Buy them for their style (hint to Doug) and to support great Israeli products.

OK, re the VERY personal issue of foot/sock sweat...I had a pair of medium weight wool socks (I forget which brand - maybe Woolrich)? My feeling is they were fine. My Life is Good socks were very heavy and thick and so were the Thorlo's. The heaviness wasn't an issue at all. If they sweat I never knew it because they dried.

Avigail gives great advice (and probably has great legs so there may be a secondary motivation for her going "sock-less" ; )) but wearing no socks and being on your feet all day? Come on, how could that possibly be better than the extra padding and moisture wicking ability of a good pair of socks. If you're on your feet all day, in my professional opinion, you need em. I wouldn't focus on the weight as much as the quality. BTW - some socks require special washing/drying attention. Buyer beware.

Any thing more personal than this & I'm not responding. LOL!

David

BTW#2 - this is a great forum! I crack up reading and writing this stuff all the time. Keep up the good work all.