The Best Festival Shoes 2021: Best Sneakers to Wear to Music Festivals - Rolling Stone
Home RS Recommends Lifestyle

Festival Fashion: How to Pick the Right Pair of Shoes to Wear

The best festival shoes should be comfortable and versatile, about to take you from stage to stage easily, whether you’re running to make your favorite artist’s set time, or just standing in line for the merch booth

converse paint splattered high tops-featured image-best festival shoes


With festival season upon us, you can’t neglect one of the most important parts of your look: the shoes. Not only do you want to look good, but you want to dress smart – after all, festivals are all day long, so comfort is key.

What Are the Best Festival Shoes?

The best festival shoes should be comfortable and versatile, about to take you from stage to stage easily, whether you’re running to make your favorite artist’s set time, or just standing in line for the merch booth. Of course, you probably don’t want to wear your most expensive pair. Often shoes get dirty at festivals, whether it’s from the dirt, sand, grass stains, or mud. With that in mind, we looked for shoes that are stylistically classic and versatile, comfortable, and equipped for rain or various terrain. 

Can You Wear Sandals to a Festival?

The answer is yes but proceed with caution. You’re around a lot of people, so if someone steps on you, that can seriously hurt. Plus, weather permitting, you might find yourself deeply uncomfortable if it rains and you’re walking in mud with open-toe shoes. If rain is highly unlikely in the forecast, a comfortable sandal with strong support and cushioning can work. Overall, we recommend trying to stick to a sneaker or boot. 

Below, we picked out the best festival shoes for men and women. From sneakers, to boots and sandals, you should be comfortable and set for a long day at the festival of your choice.

1. Vans Checkerboard Slip-On Shoes

vans checkerboard slip-on-best festival shoes


A classic pair of Vans’ slip-ons is beyond easy to walk in and ideal for festivals. They’re simple enough to wear with everyone from jeans to shorts to dresses, but they have supportive padded collars and rubber waffle outsoles for strong grip. These unisex shoes are also widely-known to be super comfortable. At around $50 per pair, you don’t have to worry about getting an expensive pair of shoes dirty either. 

Buy: Checkerboard Slip-On at $55

2. Archive Paint Splatter Chuck 70 Unisex High Top Shoe

converse archive paint splatter chuck 70-best festival shoes


Like Vans, you’re bound to see Converse at a festival – rain or shine. The Archive Paint Splatter design is perfect for this event because if your kicks get dirty, the dirt or sand will blend right in with the paint. If you mind the white getting dirty (it actually doesn’t look bad if the dirt is dusty), opt for the black color-way. 

Buy: Archive Paint Splatter Chuck 70 at $90

3. Teva Hurricane XLT2

teva hurricane xlt2-best festival shoes


Teva specializes in sporty sandals for walkers and hikers. The vegan Hurricane XLT2 is crafted with an EVA foam midsole, so it’s comfy, lightweight, and supportive with the movement of the foot. It also has a contoured footbed for added comfort. The sandals come in various colors and patterns suitable for the festival mood. Plus, the hook-and-loop closures make them easy to put on and adjust. Overall, Zappos reviewers give them five stars – and we concur.

Buy: Teva Hurricane XLT2 at $70

4. Hunter Refined Stitch Detail Chelsea Boot

hunter refined stitch detail chelsea rainboot-best festival shoes


If it’s a rainy festival day, waterproof Hunter boots are a great choice. This pair is style-savvy with detailed stitching for more edge. While they look sleek and cool, they’re not without proper functionality. They’re made with extra chunky EVA soles for grip and support, and polyester lining is included for comfort. Go for these if you don’t want the basic rain boot. 

Buy: Hunter Refined Stitch Detail Chelsea at $174.95

5. Birkenstock Milano – Leather Soft Footbed (Unisex)

birkenstock milano sandals-best festival shoes


Birkenstock’s unisex Milano sandal is another sandal option if the weather is nice. The heel strap provides more stability, which is better for an all-day event on your feet. The soles are soft and lightweight thanks to the EVA construction. The best part about a Birkenstock sandal is its contoured cork footbed, lined with suede. It provides amazing comfort as it conforms to the shape of your foot and features pronounced arch support, a deep heel cup, and plenty of room at the toe box. We’ve worn the legendary design of Birkenstock’s footbed, and we agree that its construction does what it says. 

Buy: Birkenstock Milano at $125

6. Timberland 6″ Premium Waterproof Boot

timberland-622-premium-waterproof-boot-best festival shoes


Timberland’s waterproof ankle boots combine practicality with style. They’re also constructed with an Anti-Fatigue midsole that uses geometric cone support to provide shock absorption and ultimate comfort while standing. If you’re going to be at a rainy outdoor event, these should be your go-to. 

Buy: Timberland Premium Waterproof Boot at $197.95

7. New Balance Classics 997H

new balance classics 997h-best festival shoes


On an ideal dry weather day, you can sport the New Balance Classics 997H. The retro sneaker is both comfortable and stylish. They’re suitable for walking, as they have ENCAP midsole technology for support and durability and ABZORB midsole for cushioning and absorbing impact. If you opt for these, just be sure to spray your kicks with water and stain repellent so they’re easy to wipe clean. 

Buy: New Balance Classics 997H at $89.95

8. Dr. Martens 1460 Smooth Leather Boot

dr martens 1460 smooth leather lace up boots-best festival shoes


What’s a festival without Dr. Martens? Available in multiple colors, the 1460 boots are timeless for both men and women. They’re extremely durable with an air-cushioned sole. They’re also slip-resistant and have easy care maintenance. Just wipe away dirt with a damp cloth. You can keep the smooth leather shiny or scuffed for a more rugged look.

Buy: Dr. Martens 1460 Smooth Leather Boot at $149.95


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.