I didn’t know it at the time, but when I was prepping for my first Burning Man, I wasted a lot of time picking out shoes.
Of course I did.
Each outfit had to be coordinated to my shoes.
And of course, I loved THE WORST shoes for my feet:
Yes, I had to learn the hard way that as much as I like platform boots, they are HELL on your feet out on the playa.
There’s a lot of walking involved when you’re at Burning Man.
And that platform shoe soon feels like you’re wearing bricks on the end of your feet.
And just as an aside, those nice black boots turn grey-beige from all the playa dust.
Now that I’ve been to Burning Man a few times, I have learned the importance of wearing comfortable, supportive shoes that fit my feet well.
Here are a couple of duds:
This pair of white platform lace up boots. Cool looking, eh? But try wearing heels in the desert for hours on end and you will RIP THEM OFF YOUR FEET IN AGONY!
This pair of black platform boots. Modest heel, you’d think it would be wearable. But I’m here to tell you, no so! I’d rather shave my head with a cheese grater than wear these boots again. ANYWHERE. PAIN!
This pair of light up black flatform shoes. So awesome, right? I mean you have to light yourself up at night so why not light your shoes up? This genius idea of mine didn’t take into account the WEIGHT of each shoe, especially with coils of lights around the heels. Wearing these shoes was like walking around with cement blocks tied to my feet. I ended up gifting them to a friend.
So now that I’m a bit more experienced, what kind of shoes would I wear to the burn?
For wandering around camp, I’d wear these flip flops:
Yes, they’re flip flops, but for wearing just around camp, they’re perfect. They’re supportive and with proper foot care, you can avoid playa foot (indeed, I have a friend who wears flip flops nearly all the time and with just a little foot maintenance, she does just fine).
My other choice for wearing around camp are these slip-on walking shoes:
This year, my go-to sneaker is this shoe, which has a moderate platform (yay) but is still lightweight and comfortable to wear:
I still like the look of a little platform heel, but without all the extra added weight of a chunky heel.
Take it from someone who has made ALL THE MISTAKES, be vigilant about what shoes you bring to the burn.
I once brought a pair of high platform boots to unSCruz, and nothing else. I discovered about an hour into the event that I would not be able to walk in them on the uneven grass surfaces, so I picked up a pair of extra large men’s slippers at the clothing exchange. I proceeded to TRIP over exposed electrical cords because the shoes were too big for my feet and I did a FACE PLANT into my electrical totes and. . .
SHOES ARE EVERYTHING!