Take Care of Your Shoes: 8 Kicks Built to Brave the Summer Festival Circuit

I know many of you on the circuit have a trusted pair of Chacos or “What are Those? 1’s” and could care less. But, your shoes are just as important as anything else you’re going to bring to the festival this Summer, so we have to talk about ‘em.

Also, with hiking, psychedelia and maximalist comfort coming into the meta stylistically, I’d go so far as to say, there’s never been a better time to fuse your love for wookery with some style conscious drip.

Without further adieu, these are my top 8 kicks of the Summer ’23 festival season.

Salomon XT-6 Expanse 75th


One of the godfather’s of outdoor footwear, Salomon’s brand has been adopted by both hiking enthusiasts and fashion forward “cool kids” alike. Salomon represents a recent phenomenon in product and brand where by simply sticking to your niche and consistently pumping out quality product, you can become adopted beyond your niche without chasing trends. Good product wins and the Salomon XT-6 offers that versatility and comfort that’ll carry you from the afternoon sets through the late night, while still looking fly. The Expanse 75th edition offers a quintessential outdoor colorway with a forest green heel counter and nut-brown overlays setting up a hazard orange water resistant upper for some pop. This colorway does swap out the brands typical drawstring lacing system for a more traditional approach, which I’m overlooking just because the colorway works so well can hold up in compromising environments.

Shop here @ SaksFifthAvenue.com (limited sizing available)

Bodega x Crocs All-Terrain Nict-Tech


Ok, so those that know me will chuckle at the addition of Crocs on this list simply because I’ve vowed to NEVER wear them. And then the Boston sneaker boutique, Bodega did what many arbiters of the shoe game do best, creating a new style that totally made me re-think my stance.

To understand this shoe, it helps to breakdown its inspiration which stems from the crocodile (fitting) and their nictitating membrane which allows crocs to keep their eyes open while moist and never have to blink. Put simply this means you’ll never catch a croc off guard, hence the idea of designing a Crocs Shoe with Nict-Tech, ensuring that its outfitted for all types of circumstances.

This Bodega x Crocs collab is made for the festival grounds. It gives you that all-terrain outsole you covet in most festival kicks, a stash pouch and adds a purple shroud over the toe box for versatile water resistant options that you can choose based on what you need. It’s got it all and that’s the reason they sold out immediately. However, you can always still grab them on aftermarket sites like StockX and Ebay.

Shop here @ StockX.com

Nike Air Humara Fm


The Humara is one of Nike’s staple outdoor crossovers that’s seen a resurgence with Gorpcore (camping-chic fashion) coming into the spotlight since the style’s 1997 debut. You’re not going to get some crazy new tech on these but the outsole is built for all terrain, their lightweight and this colorway is just clean.

Shop here @ KithNYC.com

Hoka Speedgoat 5 Mid GTX


There’s no more important factor that weighs into my festival shoe decision making than cushion and by now, you’ve probably heard or experienced that Hoka is the best of the best. Having worn Hoka boots throughout last year’s burning man and traversing extremely long distances in them (never buy a cheap bike for Burning Man) I can tell you the hype is real. The Speedgoat is a lighter-weight trail runner than the Kaha GTX model I wore to Burning Man and likely the better, more versatile option for most festivals that simply aren’t as expansive.

Shop here @ REI.com.

Merrell Hydro Moc AT Ripstop


Merrell is another staple of the outdoor scene and their latest teched out Crocs competitor adds a heel-counter making it a more stable wear for high activity and a pull-string lacing system for increased lock down when on the move. I’m personally a huge fan of the combination here between style and tech and the EVA foam upper keeps these Mocs both lightweight and water-resistant. Bonus points too Merrell as well for making the foam upper strictly from recycled materials and doing mother nature right.

Shop here on Merrell.com.

Asics Gel-Nimbus 9 “Grey Moonrock”


If you’re looking for a more traditional sneaker model, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 9 is a great choice. Beyond the fact that Asics is having a bit of a moment right now, the Gel-Nimbus 9 harkens back to a Y2K industrial design giving you great underfoot cushioning and a wild maximalist upper design that’s just fun and funky. This “Moonrock” colorway is unique, clean and fitting for the festival grounds.

Shop here on Ascics.com.

New Balance x Joe Fresh Goods 610


Another footwear brand being heralded for sticking to their guns and producing quality product over the years is New Balance. This time the Boston outfit linked up with designer and staple collaborator, Joe Fresh Goods for a fresh take on their new 610 model, which captures the outdoor hiking energy that’s making the rounds. NB has been on fire lately and while the tan/green/orange colorway is a bit on the nose for the category it works well top to bottom on this shoe. Best part about buying a New Balance shoe is you’ll never have to worry about comfort. Consider these a solid top to bottom.

Shop here at End.com (limited sizing available).

Converse Chuck Taylor 1970s Marquis


As much as I love retro styles like a Chuck or Jordan 1, they just are not the type of shoe you want to catch yourself in for long periods of time over uneven terrain – trust me, my 1’s nearly killed me at Bonnaroo last year. That said, the Chuck Taylor 1970s Marquis fixes that with a three-piece sport mesh lining and CX cushioning underfoot to give the classic a tech update that makes it a formidable option for those who seek something more understated and classic.

Shop here on Converse.com.

-Chuck Energy

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