The choice of footwear will dramatically effect your enjoyment of studying abroad. Uncomfortable, weak, and unstable footwear leads to cranky, tired, and unhappy students. Since this one item can so profoundly impact learning, I've decided to recommend walking shoes and sandals. I've polled students from past trips, and they've come up with this list.
No matter what you bring, wear them before you start the trip. Break them in because you will get blisters otherwise. Also, you don't want to discover that you don't like your new shoes when you're on the trip.
Birkenstocks are good for your feet, comfortable, and come in fashionable styles and colors! The cork sole and open style allow your feet to breathe while their wide base gives you stability as you climb rocky, uneven hills and mountains. If you chose the Birkenstock, make sure to select a style that will stay on your foot. Many of their styles do not have a back strap and can slip off easily. http://www.birkenstockusa.com/products/women/sandals/gizeh/habana-oiled-leather/74383
Great for guys: Every year a number of male students bring only one pair of shoes, the Newport H2 from Keen. It's nearly perfect. It's great for walking, it's open and cool, and it can go in the water. Additionally, it can be worn with shorts or pants and is appropriate to wear out to dinner... at the places we go to. http://www.keenfootwear.com/product/ss10/shoes/men/waterfront/newport%20h2/dark%20shadow!%20peacoat [Sketchers makes a similar style shoe, but I don't think it is as well made.]
The Chaco is an excellent choice. It's great for your foot and you won't get tired while wearing these. It's versatile, too. Take it to the beach, wear it in the city, skirts, pants, shorts. It's got it all! The strap systems makes these extremely secure and stable. They won't slide off and pebbles can't get stuck, either. Plus, you can't beat the tan lines! http://www.chacousa.com/US/en-US/ViewProduct.mvc.aspx/19789M/0/Mens/Z-2-Marine?galleryId=M
As usual, women have more selection then men. Ecco makes great sandals for women. They have a wide variety of styles that are durable and extremely comfortable. On their best sandals, all straps are adjustable, assuring that every foot finds its match. My friend Alice (an anthropologist) swears that the 'Charms' are the best shoes ever made!http://www.eccousa.com/shoes/womens/sandals/68/product-list.aspx
EasySpirit specializes in comfortable shoes for women. They keep up with trends, producing new models each year. http://www.easyspirit.com/Sandals/2881132,default,sc.html