We’ve all seen the guy at the festival wandering around barefoot. He’s probably shirtless, too, with long hair and a guitar that’s more stickers than wood. It’s very tempting sometimes to want to be like him, to feel the grass between your toes and look like you’re really going with the flow.
Trouble is, it’s not very smart. At a music festival, you’ll be standing in lines, standing in crowds, and dancing to the awesome music you paid so much money to hear. Your feet need protection and support, but how do you pick the best shoes for music festivals?
We’ve been festival-going and concert-dancing for quite a while, and we’re going to give you a great list of the best shoes for music festivals, including which are the best shoes for standing, for dancing, and more. Let’s take a look.
Best shoes for standing at concerts
Since you’ll probably be standing for most of the day, you need to pack the best shoes for standing at concerts when you head off to Coachella, Lollapalooza, or any other music festival out there! But what makes a shoe good to stand in?
The best shoes for standing at concerts will offer lots of cushioning as well as arch and ankle support. This goes double if you’ll be standing on wood or concrete; these surfaces are harder than dirt or grass. A great pair of sneakers, boots, or hiking shoes will keep you comfortable and supported.
Prepare: Break your shoes in before the big day
Whether you choose a sporty sneaker, a rainproof boot, or a pair of Tevas to bring you as close as possible to that barefoot hippie look, break them in before you go to a festival. Wearing your shoes around for at least a week in advance will save you in the long run from blisters and sore spots.
Also, remember that certain materials, like leather, will take extra time to break in. So, plan ahead.
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Dr. Marten’s Unisex Chelsea boot
- Pull-on Chelsea boot style
- Wyoming is a rich leather with a subtle grain and oily surface.
- Built with core Dr. Martens DNA: grooved edges, an AirWair heel loop and visible stitching
- Model Number: 26002001
Our pick for durable, all-day shoes for standing at concerts is the Dr. Marten’s chelsea boot. Wear them with a pair of thick socks, and you’ll go all day. Plus, the simple style means they’ll pair with anything you decide to wear.
These literally seem to never go out of style. And, you may even be able to pass them down to your children they’re made so well.
Here’s what both our staff and reviewers love about this boot.
- Surprisingly lightweight for a boot
- Always in style, no matter what style you prefer
As mentioned, just pair them with a thick pair of socks, or else your ankles might not forgive you! Thick socks are always a good choice with a boot, but there’s another shoe accessory you might want to think about, too.
Best shoe insoles for festivals
A great choice is to slip a nice pair of insoles into your festival shoes to ensure total comfort while standing around waiting for your favorite bands to come on.
You can buy the best shoe insoles online or at your local pharmacy, Walmart, or other big-box store. Gel and cork insoles are perfect for long periods of standing since they’re designed just for that. Pick out a pair and wear them around in your festival shoes for a few days before you head to the show.
Finding the best pair of festival shoes as well as a great pair of insoles will keep you totally comfortable during long periods of standing, but hopefully, you’ll be doing a lot of dancing as well, right?
Best shoes for dancing at festivals
What shoes can transition between waiting for the fun and diving right in? When it comes to the best shoes for dancing, you’re going to want to leave the blue suede at home. For festivals, you want shoes that are comfy, secure, and most of all replaceable.
The best shoes for dancing at festivals won’t be your favorite pair. Dance floors get dirty, people will step on you, and if you’re not careful, you could even lose a shoe that isn’t secured to your foot. Wear something durable, comfortable, and broken-in like a dark sneaker, hiking shoe, or Chelsea boot.
It’s easy to lose things on the dance floor, whether it’s your mind, keys, shoes, or even toenails! Keep your toes protected from the other dancers, or it won’t matter how great those gladiator sandals looked before you got on the floor.
Sorel Kinetic Sneaker
- Women’s Fashion Sneakers: This SOREL Kinetic Impact lace sneaker features air mesh throughout for maximum lightness and performance. A blend of full grain leather and air-flowing mesh allows the feet to breathe freely and comfortably. Because they are designed to keep up with and stand out from the crowd, they are unlike any other breathable shoes for women available on the market. Comfort and fashion come together in these stylish SOREL Kinetic Impact lace sneakers for women
- Men’s Performance Sneaker: This SOREL men’s kinetic rush ripstop sneaker has synthetic nubuck leather on its rear quarter and a ripstop nylon forefoot. This leather and nylon pair combines performance with a stylish, lightweight, and comfortable silhouette. The result is so sharp and so powerful, the streets won’t know what hit them. These rush ripstop sneakers are all you need for daily performance. Comfort and fashion come together in stylish SOREL men’s fashion sneakers
Our pick for the best shoes for dancing at concerts is Sorel’s Kinetic sneakers. Available in both men’s and women’s sizes, here’s what to love about this awesome shoe for festivals.
- Range of color options
- Great traction
- Easy to clean
You’ll love the support you get from these shoes, plus the look is funky and in-style. They’re as unique as they are comfortable, which means your kicks will stand out in the crowd. Plus, the soles are super grippy, so you’ll keep your footing on a beer-soaked dancefloor.
Best festival shoes for guys
Safety and fashion: two things that transcend gender. You want to look good, but you don’t want to be limping home at the end of the night. Men’s shoes can be just as uncomfortable as women’s, so it’s best to chose wisely.
Vans and Chucks are classics for a reason. The right combination of cool and comfortable, especially with a pair of insoles slipped in there, a classic sneaker will definitely fit the festival vibe.
But it’s the obvious choice, isn’t it? Everyone will be wearing these two brands to the festival. Fashion is all about taking risks while still keeping the spirit of the vibe alive.
Here’s some ideas for great festival shoes for guys:
- Chelsea boot
- Hiking shoe
- Work boots
- Walking sneaker
- High-tops or basketball sneakers
Our pick is to go with boots. It’s a modern look with leather and a rubber heel, whether you’re doing a Chelsea boot or a classic Timberland style, plus you’ll get added weatherproofing and protection for your toes. Ankle support means your footing will be secure if you’re off-balance from drinking, fatigue, or both!
It all depends on the look you’re going for, but no matter what you pick, you need to try them around town for a few days to make sure they’re comfortable on your feet.
Most comfortable shoes for music festivals
We’d almost never sacrifice fashion for comfort, but let’s be real, sometimes compromises need to be made. You shouldn’t wear heels to a festival unless you’re going to be changing into a back-up pair after the photo op. And wingtips might make you fit in perfectly with the electro-swing crowd, but you’re going to be walking a little gingerly by the end of the night.
The most comfortable shoes for music festivals will be a great pair of cushioned, supportive, sturdy sneakers, boots, or walking shoes. Pick something with a little ankle support, lace them tightly, and consider using gel insoles for added comfort. Always break shoes in before going to a festival.
Some brands are just synonymous with festivals and concerts. Doc Martens even makes their own line of festival-specific shoes! Here are some other great brands we love that are endlessly comfortable but still look amazing.
Merrell Moab 2
- Waterproof membrane seals out water and lets moisture escape
- Pigskin leather and mesh upper
- Metal hook traditional lace closure
- Bellows tongue keeps out debris
Our pick for comfiest shoe for a festival is Merrell’s line of hiking boots, especially the Moab 2. There are a bunch of different colors this all-leather boot comes in, so you’ll easily be able to match it to your look.
Here’s what our staff and online reviewers love about Merrell:
- Short break-in time
- Last a long time
A short break-in time means you’ll be able to wear them to the festival without spending weeks making sure you’ve got them just right. Some reviewers mentioned spraying their boots with waterproofer beforehand, but these hikers are designed to withstand the elements.
Hiking boots are an awesome choice over sneakers because of the durability and waterproof aspect, but does that mean we’re ditching the humble sneaker?
Are sneakers good for a festival?
You might think a great pair of sneakers will hold up during a festival since most are designed for athletic performance, but think carefully before you buy. Just because a pair of shoes is great for a runner doesn’t mean it’ll be comfortable for a day of standing.
Sneakers will be good for a festival if there’s no chance of rain or if they’re designed for all-day comfort. Some specialty sneakers are great for their sport but won’t hold up to a day of standing and dancing. And many sneakers are too expensive to sacrifice to muddy festival grounds and dirty dancefloors.
If you’re the kind of person with a Tide Pen in their backpack, definitely skip a sneaker or at least pick a dark pair. Leather and some synthetics clean up much more easily.
Of course, if you’re buying the shoes as a sacrifice to the festival gods, then by all means, destroy them to your heart’s content!
Best shoes for music festivals – final thoughts
What do you think of our recommendations? Have we convinced you to think a little harder about your choice in footwear before you pack for epic summer concerts and festivals?
The best shoes for music festivals don’t have to make you want to crop your photos at the ankles. How else will we all know your festival shoes match your best festival bag? It’s possible to be fashionable and comfortable, even more so now than it used to be. What shoes do you pack when it’s festival season? Let us know your pro tips in the comments!
Last update on 2023-06-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API