Shop Talk

SHOP TALK: Rock on! Stylish shoes for festival season

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven. 

As mammoth festivals like Coachella and SXSW push festival fashion beyond Birkenstocks and maxi dresses, the summer season has begun to include its own niche look:  festival style. Boho and edgy, it also reflects some of the practicalities of outdoor concerts.

In Ottawa, the festival season kicks off this weekend with Escapade, which takes place on the grounds around the RA Centre. Next week Bluesfest takes over LeBreton Flats, and the last hurrah for summer is Ottawa Folk Fest at Hog’s Back. Beautiful locations, yes, but cram a bunch of (excited, possibly intoxicated) people into a greenspace and you’re asking for a (fun, memorable) mess. So when you’re putting together your festival look, pay extra attention to your footwear. Some points to consider:

El Naturalista lace-ups from Delilah. David Irvine Photography

First off, forget the four-inch heels. Festival grounds typically get pretty grungy, and there’s nothing like tip-toeing in mud to kill a party vibe.

We always love colour! And bright kicks inject energy into a concert-crowd-dance-party like nothing else. These cute summery lace-ups make you easy to find among the sea of legs. Ditto for these preppy loafers from ecco that ensure you’ll be still rockin’ out by the time the headliner takes to the stage. 

Boots are great.Blundstones might seem like the working man’s slip-ons, but when styled with cutoffs and boho accessories these boots have a way of elongating the legs and letting other revelers know you mean business as you elbow your way to the stage. Plus, they’re long-wearing and never go out of style — a great investment. Glebe Trottersalways has a great selection.

Dansko shoes from Delilah. David Irvine Photography.

Protect those toes! Concerts are crowded spaces, and no one likes a prima dona. Having fun at these gigs means losing yourself in the dance, making new friends along the way, letting the day unfold as it will. If you’re nervous about your new pedicure, or that the new friends you’re making crush your toes with their attempts to crowd surf, you’ll lose out on the fun that is the festival concert. So cover the toes, and look for footwear with an ankle strap — we love these Dansko clog sandals from Delilah. That is, unless you want to play Cinderella at the end of the night …

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