Myth vs. Reality: Wearing White Sneakers Overseas

I spend a considerable amount of time researching my destinations before I go. I read, I interview people who have gone before me, and I watch videos. I’ve digested a lot of content on the interwebz about what you should do and how you should do it, but after actually traveling I found some of the info I read to be flat out wrong. That’s why I’m starting this new series called “Myth vs. Reality.” When I experience something that goes against one of these traveling perceptions, I’ll write about it here. Without further adieu, let’s look at the first myth.

While packing for a trip, I spend a reasonable amount of time planning what I’m going to wear and how it’s going to fit in my luggage. In a coordination frenzy I also have to pick the right shoes based on the activities I have scheduled for the day and the weather. If I’m going to a sunny beach I’d bring flip flops. If I’m going to the opera I’ll bring heels or fancy flats if it’s raining; but what about comfortable shoes for walking around the city?

“Don’t wear white sneakers or else they’ll know your American!”

According to the people I spoke with who traveled frequently and even some online travel sources, I shouldn’t stick out as the “American” in the crowd. “You might be a target for a scammer,” they’d say or even worse, “You might be robbed or kidnapped for ransom” because white shoes = tourist; tourist = money; and money = crime.  One should defer to the wise, right? So I heeded the advice, left my white shoes at home, and even purchased black sneakers so I could “blend in.” While the black sneakers were comfortable and got the job done, ultimately the purchase was unnecessary.

I walked in my black sneakers in Paris for days, sometimes surpassing eight mikes in a day. I did the same thing in Madrid, too. The cities were beautiful to walk through but you know what I noticed the locals wearing? White sneakers. Yup, not only only the women, but the men, too! I saw white sneakers on the streets, in the metro, at restaurants, on a boat, in a box, and with a fox. I saw white sneakers here and I saw white sneakers there- I saw white sneakers everywhere!

The reality is that white sneakers are not only prevalent, but fashionable and trendy. Fashion powerhouses featured sneakers on the runway and BOOM, thus formed the trend. It seemed no matter where I went, the most fashion conscious rocked white Adidas with or without a colored stripe or some other white shoe. Honestly, there are a ton of tourists from around the world that are going to the same sights as you are and I guarantee that NONE of them are going to be worried about your shoes. They didn’t travel thousands of miles and spend hundreds of dollars (Euros, Yen, etc.) on a camera to take pictures of the one American wearing white shoes. What’s more plausible is they came to treasure the experience and so should you. And how are scammers going to pick out the “American” in the crowd to rob if darn near everyone is wearing white sneakers? This myth that you shouldn’t wear white sneakers overseas is outdated and just doesn’t make any sense.

So don’t worry about your white sneakers and just have fun on your vacation!

A foot wearing a white sneaker with gold stripes walking up stairs.
Walking up the stairs in my white Adidas Neo sneakers w/ gold stripes.


A foot wearing a white sneaker propped against a brick wall.
Me no longer caring what anybody thinks about my white sneakers.

F & C


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