Do These Shoes Make Me Look Too American?

No one should hide who they truly are. We should be proud of our differentness, our uniqueness, our pieces and parts that make us … us.

Unless you’re an American traveling to another country. In that case, you definitely need to keep the wraps on it. If anyone asks just say you are Canadian. And try not to act too – sorry but there is no polite way to put this – too American.

Quiet down, slow down, and for God’s sake DO NOT wear those shoes.

What’s that? That advice is so last decade?

That seems to be the consensus of travelers posting in this thread, which qubitsolace launches by asking whether her shoe choice is too American looking.

I have a pair that is similar that I’ve worn in various parts of the world! Last year, while riding a gondola in Switzerland, another woman and I both laughed because we were we wearing the SAME shoes. ~kja

Wear your shoes and be comfortable. The fashion police have given up on tourists, especially since many Parisians wear whatever they want anyhow. ~Southam

I’ve worn my Merrells to 4 continents so far. Believe me, that’s not what pinned me as a tourist- my luggage, foreign accent, and utter inability to quickly convert currency into USD in my head are what did it 🙂 ~Hobbert

I have to side with Hobbert on this one. On my travels in foreign countries I’m pretty sure the locals spotted me as a tourist long before they might have noticed my white tennis shoes. I think the “tells” for me are the head-on-a-swivel taking in all of the sights, sounds and new experiences – and the ice cream cone.

Still, I have to admit that whenever I’m packing for a trip I do consider whether my shoes or clothing look too American. If you are an American, do you also consider whether your clothing choices look too American? And for the residents of other countries who are reading this, is the concept of looking too whatever-your-area-of-origin even on your radar when packing?

Read the thread in its entirety: Are these shoes too American looking?

PS – Here’s my most “I’m a tourist” photo, taken at Summer’s Ice Cream Parlor in Toronto – ice cream cone in hand, posing with the server – the same server who was pictured with countless celebrities in photos plastered all over the walls of the parlor – including Maria Sharapova! Somewhat interesting side note, the photo of me and the server was taken by Randy Petersen.


Image: “070611 bowling (6)” by Dan4th Nicholas. CC BY 2.0.


  1. With exceptions about safety in certain areas I do try to blend in but hey I am an American and I’m not ashamed. I’m not going to wear a USA is #1 shirt, sponge bob PJ bottoms and crocs but I’m not going to worry that much about my white tennis shoes I guess.

  2. That whole thread was completely ridiculous. What the author failed to realize is that Merrell shoes are sold worldwide. I’m not sure why anyone would care about her shoes.

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