Carnival footwear: Everything you need to know
So you've decided to go to carnival. Your have for your flight, hotel and costume. You've gotten your fete tickets and coordinated with your crew to slay at every fete with all your gear. What next? Footwear!!
Carnival is a marathon - not a sprint. Your feet are going to have to last on boat fetes, land fetes, jouvert and finally at least one 7+ hour day on the road. If you are going to Trinidad they'll have to last two! Be kind to yourself and get some shoes that don't brutalize your feet. We mashed down the road so hard that one of us fractured a toe in 2016. That fracture put a wrench in plans to run a half marathon after carnival and we said we’d never let that happen again. With the tips and links we’re dropping right here – it hasn’t.
If you are a carnival veteran, you know how your feet feel after the road. Swollen feet, blisters, crumbly knees and wrecked toes are payment for the fun you have wining down. Making sure that your feet are happy is one of the keys to guaranteed fun on the road.
Here is everything you need to know to make it happen.
**Note: We’ve included Amazon affiliate links to our tried and tested items. This means that at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase**
Stiletto heels - just say no: This principle goes for fetes and for the road march. Leave those skinny heels alone sis. Most fetes are either outdoor on a grass field, on a boat deck or in the beach. Skinny heels will punch cute little holes in the ground and make dancing a disaster. We don’t need to tell you why skinny heels on the road for pretty mas is a bad idea. You already know.
The only times we think high heels make sense when playing mas are:
During a pre-road photo-shoot – If you want to rock a heel when you are getting pictures before the road we fully support that. You can bet that when we finished posing for the camera our heels came off and our comfortable road shoes were slipped on.
When you have a friend who isn’t playing mas – We see a number of masqueraders in Trinidad wear one pair of sky high heels to cross the stage and another comfortable shoe when they touch road. If you have someone or somewhere to help you make that quick change – go for it.
If you are a heel boss – There are a few rare people out there that have a superhuman ability to prance around in skinny heels without feeling a thing. If this is you got to town in your sky high heels. We salute you.
If you want extra height wedge and block heels are highly recommended. They give you height and lengthen the leg without holding you back.
Get a bigger shoe size: Whether you wear boots or runners to fete they should be at least a half size larger than your real size. This is same the rule we use for running marathon. As the day goes on your feet will naturally swell. The extra space will allow you to stay more comfortable even into the wee hours of the morning.
Wear your shoes in: Never, and we mean never wear shoes on the road that you haven't worn before. While there are rare cases where you'll be fine, most of the time you'll leave with a rude surprise (hello blister!). Buy your carnival shoes early and spend as much time as you can wearing them in. Make them your slippers when you are at home. We are wearing our Jamaica carnival boots while we write this at home right now. The better worn in your shoes are, the better your feet will feel. For us that means being ready to fete another day #feteran.
Dry feet are happy feet: If you have ever walked around a city with wet feet you know exactly how nasty it feels. With the heat and the wining your feet can potentially be little swimming pools. That is intensified if you are vain like us and wear boots (they just look better!).
Always wear socks, preferably ones the wick sweat away from your skin. If you run and have special running socks those will work beautifully. These are our go to brands. We use these to workout and for the road and they have stood the test of time.
If you tend to have sweaty feet consider investing in foot deodorant or antiperspirant.. We use this one for the road march only. We bought one tube for Trinidad carnival in 2016 and have never had to replace it. A little goes a long way.
You might spill your drink on the road or on your wining partner but don't spill it on your feet!
Insoles are your friend: Insoles are the holy grail of foot comfort. Even if the shoe isn't plush, a good insole will make it more bearable. They also help save the inside of your shoes. The ones we use are:
Wearing a sandal? No problem. They make gel insoles that stay hidden in even the skimpiest shoe. Our go to brand is:
Where to buy carnival footwear:
If you have read our other posts about where we buy carnival fetewear, you know how much we love shopping online. This extends to shoes as well. The only brick and mortar store we walk into to get carnival shoes is DSW. We also buy online from them, but will often do in store pick up. We love Zappos.com for its wide variety and easily searched database. Finally, the holy grail of online shopping, Amazon, is a great place to get shoes from almost all of your favorite retailers. Having Amazon Prime and getting them delivered in two days makes it even easier. Because we are happy to spend money on great insoles we don’t always have to get the highest quality or most comfortable shoes. If we see a dope pair of shoes at Forever 21 and we can slide a insole in there we’ll try that too.
When we are feeling really fancy, or if we have more money in our pockets we’ll bliss out and get higher quality sandals from companies like Vionic and Aerosoles. They are super comfortable, cute and keep us feeling great all carnival day. Here are a few of our tried and tested shoes from both companies:
For the road
Your first decision will be boots or sneakers for the road. We think boots elongate the leg and tend to look better with costumes. A lot of carnival veterans will tell you boots are the only way to go. We say get whatever is comfortable and makes you feel beautiful. There are a few places online like Carnival Kicks that cater directly to masqueraders. If you are Trinidad based or are going there for carnival My Carnival Boots is the most popular place. My Carnival Boots has an extensive selection, but as of when this article was written they do not ship internationally. We haven’t bought on either site, but know people who have and have been happy. We usually get our boots on Amazon (Prime strikes again!). Here are a few of the boots we’ve gotten in the past and been very happy with. Keep in mind that we usually add jewels or embellishments to our carnival boots and shoes. We’ll do another post about what we do to make them pop!
Loving your feet is self love and we try to practice that at all times. We hope these little nuggets will help you survive carnival with your feet still looking cute!