festival footwear- the real festival footwear

Unfortunately, I find myself online more than I would like to admit to its when all of a sudden you turn around one day, and you have about 20 people depending on you for a paycheck, it puts a little more pressure on one then it used to:)  But way stoked this is what turned out of a dream I had one night…..

Anyway, back to the festival, it was a natural progression for me, coming from grateful dead tour, a ski bum, a raft guide, one of those wandering spirits that is settled enough to enjoy being a “people on the move”.  Back at the turn of the century, festivals were just getting a jump-start, there were a few here and there, and Bonnaroo had just threw down its first experiment.  There were a few others going on, i guess I’m talking more about the jam/bluegrass/hippie rock scene then some of the festivals that had been going on for few years prior to that.  They really gained a following in the early 2000, and I was stoked and so were a lot of friends.  A very small vendor posse was forming, some left over from grateful dead tour, some new company’s emerging arts.  I had just really gotten this socially responsible manufacturing idea off the ground after finishing college a few years prior and really being inspired by fair trade ideas, and community building.  I was building a business while going to these festivals, selling sandals introducing the product to my friends, but really just loving life and the vibe of disappearing from the world into our own bubble for a long weekend, and then doing it all over again somewhere else the next weekend.   During the week i was knocking on doors at stores in between festivals, or calling people on the phone, or trying to figure out how make a website:) so the festival gave me some fun, and a little structure.  I think if i hadn’t had something to do part of the weekend like keeping the sandal booth open, I might have been attracted to too many shiny things….. like this guyking sandals 5


Festivals are more structured than they used to be, some might call that “safer” or some might call it “delusional”.  I think we really lost that grass root vibe when all the cell phones started having cameras on them, so now everything was able to be documented easy.  The clothes came back on, people got more secretive but as John Prine might say,” Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man”.  Also said by this guy pictured below, the sandal king.


king sandals



And back to the ranch, I typed in “festival footwear” thinking I would see some pictures of our sandals around.  NOT one!  Kind of surprised, but then I realized all the majors were competing for this word search, I realized then, that-of course Nomadic state of Mind festival footwear is back a few pages….  I started looking at the “festival footwear” selection, and I became concerned for the festival nubie…..  There are some important factors to festival survival: hydration, element protection, and footwear that works!  I realize our footwear is not for everybody, but some of the marketed suggestions for festival footwear could leave a brother or sister with some severe foot problems halfway through the weekend; especially if it rains!  See the pictures below of the piles of “festival footwear” left outside our booth at bonnaroo in the rain years, back in the day.  Some of these sandals were brand new and just destroyed people’s feet.  Here is my suggestion for finding shoes for a festival, if they are not ours…. wait- here’s my plug:  Our sandals are light weight, adjustable, and rain doesn’t hurt them (they do get soaking wet when its raining, but big deal- you are too).  Pretty much guaranteed our Nomadic state of mind sandals wont give you blisters- in over 20 years i have maybe met a handful of people whose feet were irritated by the sandals, most of them already had a wound from a shoe before they put ours on, and the few others are just sensitive folks…

The first thing to think about is how much room do you have for footwear.  do you want to bring just one pair for the weekend, or do you want to be prepared?

king sandals 2

if you want to just bring one pair, think of the elements and what you are walking on- you are going to do a lot of walking, it could be a mile back to your campground.  Look for sandals or shoes that don’t’ allow any friction anywhere- friction causes sores.  And do yourself a favor,  don’t bring a brand new pair of shoes to a festival (unless they are nomadics- ours don’t really have a break in period) bring a pair of shoes that you have walked miles in, have gotten wet, and know how they make your feet feel.  There are plenty of great options out there, besides our sandals, that work well for a weekend festival- but not when they are brand new.

If you are a tough guy and think you can go barefoot all weekend, just imagine your foot with a dirty needle, piece of glass, or someone dancing with cowboy boots on dancing on your foot….. I used to hike barefoot until I busted open my big toe about 5 miles an 8 mile hike.  I also used to skateboard in my nomadic state of mind sandals- neither of the two do I do anymore.  I hike with nomadic state of mind sandals sometimes, and ok, sometimes I will ride a long board with a pair of nomadic state of mind sandals, but if I am riding a skateboard with intentions of grandeur, I have a pair of skate shoes on.  So, even if you are tough guy who goes barefoot and thinks they don’t need festival footwear, bring something- hey I know these sandals, by Nomadic state of mind–you can buy them at www.nomadicstateofmind.com- they are like being barefoot, but offer some protection (and laytex free!).  I’d recommend our JC sandal for you…. So if you do decide to go totally barefoot- find out where the first aid tent is in case you need it… actually, no matter what- you should know where the first aid tent should be because you may not need it, but you will be surprised how many others might…like this one below– actually she never needed it… she’s the best!

king sandals 3

Ok, you have room for two pairs is the decision.  What do you bring?  Well lets not forget that room for two pairs actually equals 3 pairs, because of the pair you have on. If I had room for three pairs of shoes, this is what I would do.  I’d have a pair of festival footwear from nomadicstateofmind.com, and I would have a pair of couch loafers from wwww.nomadicstateofmind.com – and if not our couch loafers- there are plenty of shoes like the couch loafers that other company’s make, lightweight and soft edges, and squishy sole.  Then, I would have a pair of boots- a good pair, solid and light, not a pair of rain boots- although people like them (the rain boots) but make sure they fit well, and don’t let your ankles slide up and down, or they will give you a blister worse they your finger on a hot stove.  A good pair of trail runners is another good option, as long as it stays dry, once it gets wet, a good chance you will be getting chaffed.  Rain and mud throws everything into overdrive.  The things that were working in the dry- don’t work anymore in the wet- that goes for everything… the best thing you can do is prevent chafe.  Also, a side note, a nice pair of socks is sometimes a really nice treat after a day of walking to put on back at the ranch…

I know people who wear nothing but nomadic state of mind festival footwear sandals all weekend long (ok, well these days, they do have clothes on- cell phone cameras- really?), and I know people who do not wear our sandals at all, and I know people who wear nomadics part of the weekend,and swap out to shoes at night.  I really don’t care if you buy our shoes or not, but after looking at what the “marketers” were pushing as festival footwear made me wonder if they have ever been to a festival before….figure out what works for you and for a weekend at a festival before you get there.  Please, don’t buy a pair of shoes for the festival without breaking them in (unless, of course, they are nomadic state of mind festival footwear sandals….) if you are a fashionista, and want a new pair of shoes for the festival, wear them a lot before you get there.

We have sold more sandals to people who bring the wrong footwear to festivals over the past 15 years then I think Rhode island has in population….. which is great- sure, keep wearing your high heels to a camping festival?  Nomadic state of mind will be there to save your feet…

it’s all about a good time, and festivals can be life changing.. you want it to be the kind of life changing that goes something like this:

“dude, I met all these really cool people, we bonded on such a metaphysical level, and I  think I discovered my spirit animal and I am quitting my 9-5 in search of my true passion- frog watching”

You do not  want your festival synopsis to go like that:

“dude, it sucked for me, I was camped almost 2 miles from the stage and on my first walk to the stage with my brand new (insert other footwear company here), because I read on the festival footwear post that these {insert other footwear brand here} would would be good, but after one walk my feet were so chaffed I couldn’t leave the tent for the weekend, and then it rained and my tent had a hole in it and the acid rain dripped from the tent into my open sores on my feet, and I couldn’t leave the festival either, I ended up staring at the canvas of the tent for the whole weekend, and I forgot to leave, that was in 1969-whats been going on for 40 years?”

Find out what works for you, if you do like our sandals, I know I did not plug them enough- I would recommend these styles below:

  1. the jc sandal-(the air jesus) all around sandal, nothing between the toes, our original, adjustable back strap.
  2. the mountain momma, a little less rope looking then the jc, also adjustable backstrap
  3. the toe joe- this one is one of my favorites, for outdoor activity if you can handle something with a toe loop.  The sandal locks the feet in the back and front, great sandal for dancing.. but again – you have to be able to hand things between your toes- there was years I didn’t want anything between my toes
  4. either 1 or 2 with a sole- just a little more rugged, and wont get soaking wet if there is just a wet ground
  5. romano- no kidding, people run marathons in this sandal- not me, no way, no how- but people do it.  its adjustable at all points of contact- but does go between toes.
  6. jester- women mostly- adjustable back strap, goes between toes.

king sandals2.5

The feeling of final foot freedom has been attained (picture above)

I would definitely not recommend a thong type shoe, unless you know it’s what you like for LONG DISTANCE walking.  These festivals have more people than they used to so they have expanded the campground far away- I see a train in the near future at bonnaroo…

Festivals are fun, but through the years i have seen people’s feet ruined by a poor choice in festival footwear, which causes a not so “awesome” experience- just think, you will be walking and dancing for 3-4 days straight. That is a lot of pressure on a part of your body that holds up the rest of you.

Water and sunscreen too!  Cant get enough of either one…. Peace, love, and good times- Chris


1 Comment

  1. Author
    Chris May 22, 2016 Reply

    thanks for this! Really helpful, duh, i didnt even think about my feet

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Translate »