They don't smell bad... Yet. I try and let them dry and air out after a day of walking and/ or cycling. Wearing clean socks is helpful at keeping the stench down. Twenty five years ago I almost got kicked off a bus in Mexico because my feet smelled so bad. The bus driver instructed me to put my shoes back on or he would put me off the bus. I was mortified. It was the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere crossing the border from Guatemala to Mexico. Not a good place or time for a stranded Gringa .
I put my shoes back on but threw my socks out the window, they were the real offenders. At that point, I'd been living and traveling in Central America for almost 2 years. Much of the region was still primitive and rural. I was young and didn't have the sense God gave me to take better care of my feet.
My current shoes are not all that different from those back then. All suede leather uppers, sturdy sole, laces... They fit me well, like gloves. They're made by Sportiva a company that specializes in outdoor foot wear. They excel in climbing shoes, mountaineering boots and these approach shoes. I wear them because they tend to run narrow like my feet. I have owned over the years five or six or seven pairs of their rock climbing shoes.
I use these "approach" shoes for cycling. The sturdy rubber rand comes up over the toe which works well as I have baskets on the pedals NOT clip ins. For the life of me I cannot figure out why we call them "clip-less" pedals if we clip into them. The sturdy sole provides a stiff platform suited for pedaling. I can hop off the bike and hike or walk without having to change my shoes. Cycling in mountainous terrain I'm often forced into walking my bike. Usually, up steep, rocky inclines around fallen logs or whatever. I don't feel secure with hardware under the balls of my feet. Some cyclists would not go anywhere without cycling shoes.
I travel. Alot. I believe that no matter the form of transportation, I hold to the adage, "less is more". As in luggage. I am still an old school "budget traveler". I see and experience more when I travel under my own propulsion. I can fit my small backpack in the lockers provided in the dormitories of many hostels. I don't often take taxis if I can help it so getting on and off busses or trains is much easier with smaller hand luggage. I don't want to carry two or three pairs of shoes. I have one pair for cycling, walking and hiking and one pair for relaxing and airing out my feet.
These shoes are getting dirty and scuffed up. Starting to look less and less like something I should wear on a date to dinner. I never was one for getting "dressed up". My wardrobe gets smaller as time goes on and I feel less inclined to be the owner of much. My belongings fit into a storage unit that is four feet by four feet. There is an old pair of running shoes in there I think. That just means I have fewer clothing options. I won't be winning any fashion shows. Come to think of it, I won't be entering any either. Well, maybe if I ever get out to Portland again.
I've heard it said that other people tend to notice two things when meeting for the first time. The first is one's hair and second is one's shoes. My Warm Showers hosts in Pittsburgh were a young couple who are passionate cyclists. When my hostess opened the door to greet me she looked down at my feet. She sounded quite surprised and asked "Climbing shoes"? "Why, yes" I replied, "They are great for cycling unclipped". I guess my hair did not make much of an impression..... Thanks for reading.