Choosing your festival shoes is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when it comes to festivals. Your festival footwear has to be perfect.
Do you need wellies for Glastonbury?
Should you take hiking boots instead?
Or would you rather go for fashion?
Number one rule of Glastonbury and all festivals for that matter: your festival feet need to be comfortable.
You will be walking miles. Miles and miles.
You need to choose the best footwear for festivals so you don’t end up blistered, moaning and just generally totally annoying to your friends. No one wants to be ‘accidentally’ lost when they pop to the toilet, do they?
So, festival footwear. You need to ask yourself, what would you rather walk ten miles in the mud in?
Wellies, hiking boots, trainers… or other?
Best footwear for festivals
Let’s debate the pros and cons of festival footwear shall we? Gotta get it right!
1. Festival footwear: wellies
Wellies are the obvious choice when the famous Glastonbury mud reaches three inches thick. You need that extra length to keep the squelch from getting near your toes. It’s not about having trenchfoot at a festival.
I guarantee as soon as you enter the Glastonbury field you’ll see about 100 people in Hunter wellies. They’re the welly of the festival. You can shop Hunter wellies on Amazon.
When I went to Glastonbury in 2012, wellies were an absolute necessity for the first two days. But, all around me people were losing their wellies to the mud suction. I can vividly remember my ex boyfriend losing one of his and then just stood there like a desperate flamingo unable to move, until I pulled it out for him to tread in (shouldn’ta bothered, lolz).
So, wellies are great for thick mud, but they’re also harder to keep on your feet when the sucky mud pulls them down. You can get round that with some well fitting wellies, or ones with laces, like these. I’ve bought these ones from ASOS – which I’m going to finally decide on when I see the weather forecast – and if the mud comes higher than that? Well, I’ll just take them off. Or maybe take some selotape to put round the top?
Personally I won’t be taking any full size wellies. I don’t have any that are broken in, they’re heavier to walk in, they chafe on the top of your toes and where they push against your leg with every step round the top, and they’re bloody heavy to carry if you don’t end up using them.
I just wore black Dunlop wellies that I bought on site from one of the Glastonbury footwear shops. Don’t remember how much I paid but I’m sure that seeing as I only had trainers they were worth every penny.
Pros of wellies as festival footwear
- Keep your feet dry
- Can be quite cheap
- It’s a lewk
- Easy to spray down and wash when you get home.
Cons of wellies as your festival shoes
- So heavy to carry on your feet and in your festival backpack
- Stuck with them if the weather changes
- Not the most comfortable
- They can be cold, bring welly liners too.
2. Festival footwear: hiking boots
I love wearing hiking boots to festivals.
I lived in hiking boots when I went to Tanzania, while everyone else was in trainers, leading me to get the nickname ‘SpyGirl’. That was also cos they knew I was a blogger though and joked I was spying on them – mix of the two. Anyway I’ll wear hiking boots at any opportunity, they’re so comfy, make me feel like I’m going on an adventure and they’re sturdy as.
The hiking boots I have at the moment are just from Sports Direct – think they were about £30. Oh look the same ones are on Amazon for £28 ^. When I was buying them my friend told the sales assistant I was off to the Costa Rican jungle on assignment, which I kind of was, and the sales assistant was super impressed. I felt like Indiana Jones, or female equivalent.
Anyway, you can get hiking boots for cheap – try TK Maxx, Amazon or the sales area at Millets et al. Or you can search for hiking boots on Amazon.
I like hiking boots for my footwear for festivals because they’re easier to manoeuvre, easy to carry (if you don’t wear them on the way, which I’d recommend) and they’re very comfy. They’re better than trainers because they’re more resistant to the elements – rain, hard ground, rough terrain, festival toilets – and I feel like they give you energy, like you’re ready for action, rather than that laden down feeling of wellies. I’ll be taking mine.
Pros of hiking boots as festival footwear
- Keep your feet dry and warm
- Super comfy if you get the right ones
- Durable in more conditions
- Easy to spray down and wash when you get home.
Cons of hiking boots as your festival shoes
- Can be annoying to carry if you don’t wear them to walk in with
- Stuck with them if the weather changes
- Might not be the look you were going for.
3. Festival shoes: fashion
Most of the festival fashion pics you see will feature some sort of black, slightly heeled boots – all for it, if they’re comfy. I wore black heeled boots to Wilderness Festival, some awesome ones, but despite it being dry and sunny for the festival they were ruined by the time I got home.
I won’t be chancing it with ‘fashion’ footwear. I don’t have any that are broken in and I wouldn’t mind ruining right now, I don’t want to wear trainers and I’m just happy with my hiking boots.
Pros of fashion boots as festival footwear
- You’ll look cool and they’ll go with your outfit
- More variety
- You can wear what you already have.
Cons of fashion shoes as your festival shoes
- If they’re cheap, they’re not going to have the support you need for the distances you’ll cover
- You’ll probably ruin them
- They might not be good in the variety of weather conditions you’re going to experience, especially at British festivals.
4. Festival shoes: trainers
The other options for the best shoes to wear to festivals are trainers. Your favourite pair of trusty trainers may seem very tempting when you’re trying to decide on the best festival shoes for your weekend.
If the weather is going to be dry then I’d say yes, go for it – great shout.
The trouble with trainers at festivals comes when it gets wet, and your trainers get wet, and there’s no way to dry them off and you get trench foot. Also, they can get kinda ruined. The benefit of hiking boots and wellies at festivals is that they’re so easy to clean afterwards. I mean, you can put your trainers in the washing machine, but do you really want those trainers that have touched the toilet floors in your washing machine?
Pros of trainers as festival footwear
- You know they’re comfy and you’re used to them
- They’re exactly your style
- Lighter to carry and have on your feet that wellies and hiking boots.
Cons of trainers as your festival shoes
- Get wet and they might be ruined
- Could be useless in the mud
- Cheap trainers won’t have the support you need for such distances
5. Mid-sleep toilet emergencies
I always take a pair of sliders to wear at night if I need to dash to the toilet. I sleep in socks at festivals so flipflops just aren’t practical and it can take too long to get your boots on properly when you want to dash out quickly.
They’re actually pretty fashionable these days anyway, so totally works. You can shop sliders at Amazon.
Taking a pair of sliders is especially useful if you decide to go with the boots or wellies option as you don’t want the faff of them if you’re just hanging around your tent for a few hours. Always good to have something on your feet, and sliders are comfy, light and compact.
6. Festival shoes when it’s sunny
Of course I’ll be taking a pair of flip flops too. Despite needing wellies for the first two days of Glastonbury when I went for the first time, for the next few it was boiling hawt. I wasn’t prepared and despite having many pairs of flipflops at home, I ended up buying some horrible GB flag ones, just to have something cool on my feet instead of my hiking boots. Shop for flipflops on Amazon before you go.
You’ve got to be prepared when it comes to footwear at festivals.
7. Light up trainers
Oh my god I actually LOVE these. The gold ones remind me of C3PO off Star Wars, but that makes me like theme even more.
I was so jealous when the whole ‘light up shoes’ craze came in for kids, I was just that little bit too old to indulge. This could be my opportunity to play though!
These light up shoes from Padgene come in a range of colours and sizes to suit all. You simply charge them up and they’re good to go. I quite like the idea of the black ones too – nice mature festival gadget for you!
Check out the latest prices for the Padgene light up shoes on Amazon
Footwear for festivals
I think your festival footwear or Glastonbury shoes choice depends on what kind of festival goer you are.
If you just want to stand around looking fabulous, you can wear the kind of festival footwear that lets you stand around looking fabulous.
If you want to get stuck into moshpits, everything the festival has to offer and not to have to trudge back to your tent to change when they hurt / it gets too hot / too cold, then I’d say it’s a toss up between wellies and hiking boots.
Or you could, like my friend and I did for Global Gathering one year, just go barefoot. Although for Glastonbury I’d say that’s a bloody stupid idea!
Remember: what would you rather walk at least ten miles in the mud in?
Wellies, hiking boots, fashionable shoes, trainers or… flipflops?