How to choose shoes for Burning Man
As the official web page says 'Burning Man is not a festival! It’s a city wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens who are active participants in the experience’. We strongly recommend to google some pictures, videos and articles to get a better understanding of what kind of event it is, although everybody who has experienced it once assures that it is impossible to get an understanding of its pure essence without experiencing it live.
Anyways, the event takes place annually since 1986 in the western United States in the Black Rock Desert of northwestern Nevada.
As special as Burning Man is, there are a lot of issues to think of and a lot of things to consider when packing for the festival. One of them, of course, is what are the right shoes to take? In the end of the day everyone has an opinion on the best shoes for the Burning man, but we would like to share some piece of advice with you.
First thing to consider is no doubt comfort. Even if you are young and athletic I guess the majority of attendees will walk more at Burning Man than they usually walk in a given week. So, you shoe choices will impact your feet and ability to walk, stand, bike, move, and dance for this most magical of the weeks.
Another factor not to be missed is the alkali dust that makes up the Black Rock desert. The alkali dust does bad things to leather and other shoe materials. For this reason you probably wouldn’t like to bring a brand new pair of shoes to the festival. Furthermore, it is recommended to bring something that is 'closed toe'. Although some people bring sandals or flip flops, and that works for them, in that case you would need to bath your feet very diligently every night, as well as there is a high risk on getting your skin cracked. You may even get a ‘playa foot’ that is, in essence, a chemical burn caused by alkali dust.
Don't underestimate how chilly it can get in the desert, just remember your geography lessons back at school - in the deserts it is common to be very hot during the day and very cold during the night. Every year the weather may be different, but the cold is consistent. For this reason some kind of footwear with a natural fleece lining or felted wool shoes is a great idea! since it can get colder than you might imagine, both in the morning and at night, it’s really smart to have warm, cozy options for your feet. You could also wear them in the day as felted wool is a breathable material. While your shoes will get trashed in the desert dust, you can wash many fleece shoes in the laundry. They won’t ever be the same afterwards, but that is true of any pair of shoes you bring to the Burning Man.
Don’t forget Burning Man being the largest "leave no trace" event in the world, one of the largest gatherings of sustainability minded people on earth, and a proving ground for new experiments and technologies in areas such as shelter, water preservation and off-grid living. We believe that choosing a pair of shoes from the natural, eco friendly or even vegan material is a great idea!
Despite being the largest "leave no trace" event in the world, one of the largest gatherings of sustainability minded people on earth, and a proving ground for new experiments and technologies in areas such as shelter, water preservation and off-grid living, Burning Man has had a "will they/won't they" relationship with the sustainability movement for over a decade.
As some of the fellow attendees recommend - 'bring a variety of comfortable shoes rather than a variety of uncomfortable shoes. It is more important for your feet to feel good than look good.’ Well, we recommend to take the most out of it and bring comfortable good looking shoes because you need both - fashion&function!
You may find some suggested footwear that we've created and tested at Burning Man here: https://looka.world/collections/vegan-shoes/products/playa-shoes-limited-edition