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Shoes for London?

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Lincoln, Rhode...
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Shoes for London?

What kind of shoes should I pack for trip to London and south of England in July? Want something comfortable for sightseeing and something pretty for evening theater/restaurants.

Also what does "smart-casual" mean specifically? My son will do internship in London museum this summer and was told dress is smart-casual. They say suit and tie are not required but would that preclude sport coat? Would nice dress pants and long sleeve button shirt be what is meant by this term?

Destination Expert
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1. Re: Shoes for London?

The only really important thing for shoes is that they are comfortable - you are likely to be walking a lot. In July sandals should normally be fine, but as this is England something closed in for wet days may also be useful - there will no doubt be a raft of comments that sandals are perfect in the rain as they allow the water in and out, but I have never found them that pleasant when it is pouring hard.

Smart-casual is one of those phrases that really doesn't help at all. I have worked in places where that meant "no tie" and others where it meant "one step away from beach wear" - but, given that it is a museum - I would tend to go with the dress pants and long sleeve shirt for the first week, with chinos and short sleeve shirts (in case it really is summer) as a back up once he is able to gauge what others are wearing.

London, United...
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2. Re: Shoes for London?

Smart Casual - something that's neat and tidy, but not as smart as a suit.

A solid colour/white or soberly striped (no wild patterns) shirt with a collar and single cuffs (not dressy double cuffs that need cuff links); a button-down collar is viewed as quite casual in the UK, and might be OK, as long as it's otherwise smart and well-pressed. Neatly pressed trousers that aren't jeans or combats (chinos might just be acceptable), and a presentable jacket if it's needed for warmth, pockets or emotional comfort. Sober shoes that aren't sports shoes.

A tie is entirely optional. The young can probably get away with a pullover.

Edited: 11 May 2010, 07:16
Destination Expert
for Nile River Valley
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3. Re: Shoes for London?

A jacket/blazer/ sports coat would not necessarily be over the top. They do have their advantages, eg, you have pockets and don't need an outdoor jacket or coat. I'm a female but my husband favours a casual jacket of this sort.

Hampshire, England.
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4. Re: Shoes for London?

Smart casual: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_casual

Also be aware that "pants" mean underpants over here.

Destination Expert
for Belgrade
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5. Re: Shoes for London?

Smart casual often gets confused here, it's usually quite simple with two definitions, one for business or 'representative' use, the other for visiting/going about normal business or dining out etc.

Normal use:

Smart casual requires shoes rather than trainers, a collared shirt rather than t shirt, and 'smart' trousers or jeans. jeans are never smart casual if ripped.

Business use:

The business definition is the same except eliminate jeans and wear trousers. For your son, chinos may well be fine, certainly trousers with collared shirt and shoes.

Jacket & tie is optional, neither are required when asked to attend 'smart casual'; but many guys (especially those over 25 years of age) wear a jacket if wearing jeans so as to 'smarten up' the casual dress.


London, England
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
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6. Re: Shoes for London?

IMO, Stoofer's description is spot on.

London is a walking city, so you day shoes need to be comfortable. and waterproof.

When it is warmish and raining, I wear reef sandals for casual, the smarter ones (using the term smart loosly) . They are comfortable and can wade throgh puddles, both required for London.

Edited: 11 May 2010, 09:52
Adelaide, Australia
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7. Re: Shoes for London?

When sightseeing and doing a lot of walking, a quality pair of trainers, otherwise in the evening your feet will hate those Heels!!

Bombay, India
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8. Re: Shoes for London?

For shoes, I brought along a pair of very comfortable, dark brown slip-on Hush Puppies. Excellent for walking, suitable for an evening at the theatre, can be worn with chinos and dark jeans, just right for airport security and the long flight, and also very conevnient if you're shopping and need to try on a lot of clothes - it's a real pain with sneakers/trainers.

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9. Re: Shoes for London?

Everyone is different but: I wear heels every day at home but don't even consider bringing heels to London.

I limit to one pair of cute Puma's that are across between a trainer and a shoe.

For evening, a pretty but comfortable ballet shoe is ideal. I also pack one pair of flat sandals. I wear the trainers there, and the ballets and sandals take up hardly no room in my bag.

Comfy feet, presentable looks, and room in bag for shopping


Edited: 11 May 2010, 13:44
Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Amesbury, London
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10. Re: Shoes for London?

Does anyone bring Fitflops with them? I love mine, and find them so comfortable for walking in (and have survived walking around Stonehenge and Tenerife)