Festival Survival Guide: Pick The Right Shoes Or Suffer The Consequences

It's important to look for the right style, functionality, comfort and price
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It's important to look for the right style, functionality, comfort and price
Converse Come De Garcon

Converse x PLAY by Comme de Garcon (Unisex)

Festival season is in full swing, and you’re probably planning nonstop, spending tons of cash and trying to figure out what stages to hit. Before you pick your nicest clothes and the silliest shoes to impress the festival crowds, take a breather to go through your plan. While you want to look your best, your feet are your primary mode of transport, so don't forsake them for a pair of shoes that will destroy your good time. 

Be realistic and practical, this is a festival, not a night club, and there are a LOT of different things to navigate.

The first essential part of shoe survival at festivals involves a dose of reality. If you are heading out to a nearby lawn area with an estimated 30,000+ people and the weather forecast promises rain. Well, let’s just say you don’t want to wear your best high heels or $1,000 Louboutins. This may seem OBVIOUS, but there is always a little shoe fairy in the back of your mind pushing for the heels, DO NOT listen to her.

You should pick your shoes based on location (i.e. is it an outdoor space or an indoor location and are you going to be walking a lot) and the weather (i.e. will the weather change the terrain and ruin your shoes).

The second point to keep in mind when picking your shoes is practicality. If you are heading out to a festival, which will see you walking in and out of the area (read: walking endlessly!), then you need something that’s good for your feet and makes walking a breeze. There’s no point wearing sleek cowboy boots if they are heavy and make walking long distances a drag. 

Yes, dudes we know you make this mistake once in a while too, but not quite as frequently. It's usually not wearing socks or wearing brand new sneakers that end up hurting like a mo fo or sometimes it's the dumb choice of boots, etc. We are not excluding you, don't worry.

Options for ladies:

marc jacobs slip ons

Marc Jaobs 

Slick sneakers are the easiest option. You can find canvas sneakers such as Chuck Taylors or opt for some slip-ons by the likes of Marc Jacobs or TOMS. Most designers are making sneakers now, from Lanvin to Martin Margiela so if you want to go high end you can find something too. 

Converse is naturally a classic fit for a seasoned festivalgoer and the least expensive; they are kind of like a Prius for your feet. The secret to Chucks and most sneakers is finding inserts that will give you more support, find some Dr. Scholls that give you arch support and cushioning to make it through your 8+ hour adventure. Rarely do fashion sneakers have decent support, this tip will save your tootsies. 

rag and bone gladiator sandals

Gladiator Sandals by Rag & Bone

For the hot and humid festivals, flat sandals are your best pick. We recommend the gladiator style or the casual lace-up flats. They don't have much support, but your feet will be getting some natural air conditioning, so that's something. Always watch where you are walking in a crowd, it's a guarantee that some clown is going to step on your toes, stay alert!

Cut-out boots are also a cool option for a tougher festival climate. If you’re unsure about the weather, and you want something guaranteed to survive the weekend, then cowboy boots or suede ankle boots are a perfect option. 

Options for men:

Vans slip ons always rock! 

Vans slip ons always rock! 

Sneakers are the top pick for men as well. Just like with women, they are comfortable and rather a durable option for festivals. The different looks from the high top, metallic shine sneakers at ASOS, to the more casual Lacoste Marcels, means you have plenty of options.

Teva x Opening Ceremon

Teva x Opening Ceremony

If you are heading to a beach festival, then sandals are recommended. Flip-flops are not the best, as you might easily get separated from your sandals in the heat of the moment. Instead, consider hedgehog sandals from the North Face or something that will stay strapped in for the long haul. 

There are essentially two questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a pair of festival sneakers. These are:

Will I feel bad if the shoes are damaged/lost?

Festivals are sometimes dirty and chaotic. This could mean the pair of shoes you bought for $200 end up being a one-weekend joy. Will this bum you and your wallet out too much?

It doesn’t mean you want to go for the cheapest shoes, but you definitely want to be price conscious. Frugaa and similar fashion saving sites could cut down the initial price and make you feel a little less devastated should you face a disaster.

Are these shoes actually comfortable or do they just look good?

Festival shoes shouldn’t make you feel bad – emotionally or physically. Ensure you get to ‘test drive’ the shoes by wearing them before the big event. This will allow you to get to know your footwear and can help to avoid blisters and sore feet while at the event. Also, buy something that’s practical, but which also makes you feel like the rockstar that you are. You don’t need to compromise!

With the above tips in mind, you can create a stylish and comfortable festival look, at least with your shoes anyway. Pick something comfortable, durable and stylish – and you will be all smiles, even if the DJ doesn't drop your favorite tune.