Footwear suitable for Marrakech

We adore Marrakech, the old town has beautiful Boutique hotels, a host of restaurants and so many stylish shops that it is sometimes easy to forget that Morocco is a developing country. When packing for Marrakech it is important to choose the right footwear for walking in the Medina. Lovers of stillettos and espadrilles be warned! Leave these shoes out of your suitcase and instead pack sturdy walking boots or shoes and the most comfortable sandals you own.

The only people I see in Marrakech who are wearing stillettos (and there are some) are usually Italian women who are part of a coach trip where presumably no one was kind enough to warn them of the dangers of stillettos in the medina. Dont get me wrong-I love stillettos and still (on occasion) sport a pair when going to a posh do at home. But they are completely and totally unsuitable and in fact outright dangerous for walking within the old town Medina.

The derbs (streets) are mostly earth or cobbles and even where earth paths have been ‘upgraded’ they are still grossly uneven. The likelihood of stumbling is pretty high for anyone wearing flat shoes on these uneven roads so for someone wearing stillettos it is an inevitability.

Those on their first trip to Marrakech have no idea how much walking is involved when exploring the medina-those of us who are hardened bargain seekers and shoppers can walk miles from one souk to another for hours on end-if you are wearing high heels then expect to get blisters after the first hour and Im afraid you are unlikely to find a taxi to take you back home to your hotel so you will have to hobble all the way home to nurse your sore tootsies and buy some plasters and cushioned pads for your mistreated feet!

The other issue for open toed high heels is that when it rains in Marrakech it really does rain-big tennis ball sized drops of rain that quickly turn the earth to mud so any elegant toes in high heels very quickly become rather unattractively spattered with black grit and grey water up to the knees. You are highly likely to slip in this kind of weather too.

Finally another reason to put on your mums ecco shoes or your mountain boots is that donkey carts and motor bikes seem to have right of way in the medina over pedestrians so you might need to be quite nifty on your feet to get out of the way of that teenager carring grandma on the back of his honda!

If you must bring that pair of killer heels then save them for the nightlife-a night out at Pasha or a stroll along the Mohammed V in Guilez or clubbing in the Palmerie or Hivernage. Or if you are staying at a Riad and taking dinner on the terrace where the only walking that will be required will be from your room up the stairs to the terrace.

When I travel toMarrakech I put fashion to one side and focus on comfort. I always pack a sturdy pair of walking shoes or even boots with ankles (in spite of the hot weather) and I bring several pairs of thick walking socks. I also bring a pair of low padded sandles for short walks and for evenings out when I know I will take a taxi part of the way. And I have a rather mumsy pair of ecco shoes (which I love) so that I can alternate between shoes so that my feet dont get blisters or become achy.

In our riads-PapillonCinnamon and Dar Habiba we provide washable slippers for our guests to use whilst they are with us so that they can give their feet a good rest!

Lucie

You can contact Lucie through Marrakech Riad Reservations.

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