What Shoes Should I Wear in Madrid?

Travel tips

by Amy Menchhofer

Shoes for Madrid!

Accessories are an important part of the Spanish wardrobe and shoes are at the top of the list. But the great question looms – comfort or style? Follow these tips and you’ll find the perfect mix to ensure that no one will think you’re a tourist.

1. Boots – Not just for the young and sexy; you’ll see boots on everyone from teenagers to abuelas. Knee-high boots are one of the most versatile footwear options to consider. They easily go from the office to a night out and instantly dress up your outfit. Love boots but don’t want to forfeit the comfort? Pull on a pair of flat boots over your jeans or pants and you’re ready for shopping with the girls or a casual date.

2. Flats – As elsewhere, the ballet flat rules the world of slip-on comfort and style. Look for unique fabrics like camouflage, polka dots, and plaid, or interesting details like bows, buttons, and straps to give a special something to the shoe. You’ll conveniently find these shoes for sale all over the place – in the street markets, cheap “Chinese” stores, and all the clothing shops – chain and otherwise.

3. Heels – Round toes or pointy, high heels or kitten, the key is in the details. Look for shoes that have sexy details like buckles, bows, a hot fabric, or a bright color. Summer dates call for heels as well but of the strappy sandal persuasion; just but don’t go too delicate or formal.

4. Sneakers – For an afternoon in the park or one spent sight-seeing, slip on a pair of “athletic” shoes. Just make sure they’re Euro-stylish and don’t look like they belong at the gym. Take your pick among brands like Diesel, Puma, Converse, or Camper to fit in.

5. Men’s Shoes – For the guys out there the same general idea applies – go for a “stylish” set of sneakers for your everyday duds. Pick a classic shoe that sports a modern shape and stitching to go easily from the office to the clubs. Avoid clunkiness at all costs.

With these suggestions you’ll get the perfectly-stocked shoe arsenal and you’ll be ready for everything Madrid can throw at you. At least from the ankle down.

Related reading: How to avoid looking like a tourist in Madrid


Comment from Jules
Date: November 23, 2007, 2:05 pm

A ‘modern shape’ and ‘stylish’ need a bit more explanation & description. I’m a man with limited shoe-fashion knowledge :-)

Comment from Amy
Date: November 23, 2007, 2:19 pm

The bottom four pics are for the men. In terms of a “stylish” athletic shoe, go with one of the brands listed under “sneakers,” and you can’t go wrong. Basically avoid the white or grey running shoes that you’ll get from Nike, Adidas, Asics, etc. You shouldn’t look like you belong in the gym (especially since many Spaniards even wear the “stylish” shoes to the gym!). The modern shape in a dress shoe means a longer body with a slightly narrowed (I’m not going to say pointy but it’s on it’s way) toe. Avoid the big, round toe.

Comment from marina
Date: November 23, 2007, 7:16 pm

Amy, I’m really impressed with your shoe collection;-)

Comment from DH Wall
Date: November 24, 2007, 5:19 pm

A few years ago, I was convinced to try Birkenstock sandals. I’ve resisted for a long time, but more and more men where I am from are wearing sandals in the summer, so I thought I’d swallow my pride and give them a try. They take a while to break in, but after that, they are very comfortable. I was able to wear them in Spain and felt like I fit in because they are German made and sold at a lot of Spain stores.

Whether Birkenstock or other brand, when it comes to sandals for men, I recommend paying a little more for good sandals. When you are a tourist and walking around all day, you need to do everything possible to avoid blisters. I do recommend carrying band-aids with you just in case.

Comment from Amy
Date: November 24, 2007, 6:17 pm

DH Wall, I definitely agree about the band-aids. For something so small they can be a complete lifesaver.

And, Marina, these shoes are just the tip of the iceberg, or should I say the stilleto? I’m mildly obsessed. :)

Comment from ValenciaSon
Date: November 25, 2007, 12:33 am

So given choice between my New Balance cross trainers and my Eccos, I should wear my Eccos in Madrid? I have Birks but others have warned against that.