Festival Feet

It’s festival season, what does that mean exactly. Warmer weather means, lots of multi-day long outdoor music and art events across the country and around the world. Festivals especially Coachella and other large venues can be a pretty physical experience. They include lots of walking to see art and taste foods, long lines, hours of dancing, and generally standing for 10-12 hours a day several days in a row. All done in shoes not generally equipped to handle the demand.  Here are a couple of tips to keep you dancing and not worrying about foot pain.

Plan ahead! Even if you are going to the festival truly for the music and not the fashion, take a little consideration to what you will be putting on your feet. Whether it be your old faithful pair of festival shoes or a new pair to compliment the outfit of the day, read through these tips and make sure they pass the test. 

Closed toe versus an open toe or sandal. This may not be a popular debate but I will always recommend a closed shoe over a sandal at these events. Festivals are synonymous with crowds, and that means lots of stepping on each others feet. Getting your toes stepped on can mean broken toe nails, cuts or scrapes, and even fracture toes.  A closed shoe will give you another level of protection. Despite your skills at dodging getting stepped on, a closed shoe is just more hygienic.  Dirt and grime will give you that blackened soot festival foot appearance in no time, yuck.

The gamble of a new shoe. Sure you want to look your best but a new shoe always poses a risk.  Always buy new shoes in the afternoon, after a long day at work or school your foot is slightly swollen and tired, this will give you a truer sense of the fit.  When possible buy the new pair 2 weeks before the event and spend a whole day wearing them. This will show you were blisters are likely to form and gives you time to heal before the you are in the fields running with a flower crown on.

In general a little heel lift is good for everyone. A super flat shoe like flip flop or converse will cause its own problems. If you are opting for a boot or heeled shoe, pick a platform.The high of the platform in front will offset the heel height and be more comfortable.

Look for support ! This is a marathon not a sprint, you will likely exceed 15,000 steps. When you think of it that way, don’t you want a shoe that will support you! If you can bend and curl up the sole at the arch ( the middle part of your shoe) , the shoe is not supportive.

Sock height should compliment the height of the shoe. “No Show” socks are a no go in boots, you are setting your self up for a blister. Change your socks each day !

Be sure to pack extra socks, band-aids, tape, Neosporin, Flip flops and even anti-glide like a vaseline or lip balm to glide over blister prone areas. A material called “moleskin” is a thin felt adhesive strip that works wonders in blister prevention; you can pick that up at the pharmacy in the foot health section. Bring more than one pair of shoes and ideally alternate so you don’t wear the same one two days in a row.  Bring a flip flop or sandal in your back pack or leave in the locker if you are wearing high heels or new shoes just as an emergency. Often it is a long journey out of the festival grounds and walking barefoot can result in an injury.

If all fails and you still end up with blistered sore feet,  do not fear we have some tips for  a speedy recovery.  A warm water and Epsom salt soak is going to be your best friend. The salt solution will draw out the fluid in your blisters, soothe aches, and bring down inflammation.  Generous application of anti-biotic ointment to the blistered area and cover with a bandaid to prevent infection and further irritation. Sit back relax, flip through your festival pic and elevate your feet on a nice fluffy pillow, this will help with post event foot swelling.

Follow these tips and yourfeet with be festival ready all season.

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