Geox "Donna Piuma Ballerina" - we may have a winner!

Of the feet, that is. If you think that pun hurt, imagine walking all over Madrid in shoes that pinch, or are too short.

I was making my packing list and it occurred to me that I don’t have any black ballet flats that will stand up to the rigors of walking as much as I’m planning to — all the flats I have are more of the “drive there and look pretty” variety — and this time of year, boots will be de trop except if it rains, which I’m hoping it doesn’t. (Still taking the boots, just in case.)

I am willing to shell out bucks for these, since they’re also going to get a lot of wear at home this spring. I’m trying to mend my bargain-but-painful shoe-buying ways — if you actually have to walk in them, cheap shoes are a false economy.

My first stop was Nordstrom, where I tried on 6 pairs of shoes. The Cole-Haan flats that looked so cute online fit very oddly, as if one shoe was a 1/2 size shorter than the other. Some were too fancy, others didn’t fit. The best fitting and best looking pair were from Stuart Weitzman. But at $255, it was a big jump for me, even with triple points.

So I trundled off to DSW, tried on about 15 pairs of flats, and ended up buying a pair by Me Too. They were pretty comfortable when I tried them on with tights, but at home and sockless (which is how I wear my flats), they were stratchy around the topline. Visions of blisters danced in my head! I’m returning them.

Next stop (virtually) was Zappos — I ordered a pair of Rockports, a pair of Van Eli’s, and a pair of Geox “Guenda” — the Geox were the hands-down winners, but a bit short at a size 38.5. Of course, there aren’t any 39’s to replace them with. (And just between you and me, I should have just gotten 39’s in the first place. All of my European shoes are 39’s, even though I’m an 8 1/2 Stateside. What was I thinking?) All three of these are going to go back, too.

Now I’m really up against it — but I found a pair of Geox at Endless, pictured, that look like they’ll do it. And there’s free overnight shipping, so I can try them and decide tomorrow. If they don’t fit, I’ll have to — horrors! — go shoe shopping when I get there.

Cross your fingers — or toes — with me, won’t you?