The Sneakers You Need to Take on Music Festival Season
Your festival beaters are those shoes you’ve owned for years. The ones you have no issue spilling drinks or rubbing dirt on. They’re your old faithfuls. Well, with the offerings on the market being far too good to pass up, it’s time to consider shaking up your festival sneaker rotation with some low-key heat to keep you on your feet for hours on end. Or, just to flex on your post-festival dump. We’ve scoured the options to bring you top picks, whether you want to treat yourself to something premium and durable, lightweight and breathable, or a pair that quite simply won’t break the bank. Check it out here.
HOKA U Kaha 2 Low ‘Oxford Tan’
If you’re looking to venture into uncharted rotation territory, it’s time to step into HOKA. Inarguably still in its if you know, you know phase (though likely not for much longer), get in now while it’s still considered somewhat early. If you’re yet to get acquainted with the brand or are only slightly familiar, there are a few things you need to know about this unassuming fashion label. All of HOKA’s outdoors-geared footwear is designed with enhanced cushioning and meticulously engineered midsoles, inspiring you to get moving, whether that’s on the trails or on the streets. Each of their designs is versatile, adaptable and functional – not to mention super aesthetic – making them the perfect option for festivals. Right now, our top pick is, of course, the GORE-TEX-equipped U Kaha 2 Low in ‘Oxford Tan’, constructed with full-grain leather uppers and mudguards, Vibram outsoles and protective sole caps.
HOKA Hopara ‘Lime Green’
Are you even team HOKA if you don’t rock the Hopara? Offering both flexibility and breathability, the Hopara’s gusseted neoprene construction ensures your foot remains locked down and gripped out, whether you’re on dry land or dredging through muddy surfaces. Complete with rubberised toe caps, EVA midsoles and a quicklace system, the Hopara has music festival written all over it – socks or no socks. The ‘Lime Green’ is a winner, but it’s available in more neutral colour schemes too.
Nike Air Humara ‘Wheat Grass’
A Nike ACG pick is a no-brainer, and it’d be remiss not to look to the Nike Air Humara. Nike’s Air Humara has faded slightly into obscurity since first arriving in 1997, but it has seen several low-key releases here and there. In 2023 it’s seen a major bringback, with Nike ACG dropping colourways like Midnight Navy/Silver, Obsidian/Green and Wheat Grass. A lynchpin of Nike’s late 90s outdoor catalogue, the Air-assisted model features textile-wrapped midsoles and mesh-based uppers. Equipped with zoom cushioning in the forefoot and Air units in the heels, the Humara is a viable option to keep you on your feet for days on end.
New Balance 610v1 ‘Poppy’
The latest from New Balance makes for a solid music festival sneaker, and the recently launched New Balance 610v1 has everything you need for a day of frivolities. There are even wild colourways like the bright ‘Poppy’. Complete with C-CAP cushioning to give underfoot support, these NBs are also constructed with mesh underlays, so you’ll get some breathing space while you’re melting under the sun. Given its 2000s trail-inspired design, you won’t just look the part – you’ll feel the part, too.
Merrell Hydro Moc All-Terrain Ripstop
The Merrell Hydro Moc hype was real only a few short years ago. Though now, those who wore it for the trend have likely moved onto newer clogs like the Salehe Bembury Crocs Pollex. But hypebeast talk aside, the Merrell Hydro Moc was and still is an excellent festival shoe. And there’s good news for fans of the model. An evolution to the OG Hydro Moc exists, known as the Hydro Moc All-Terrain Ripstop. Featuring the exact same design system with EVA foam uppers (making them both resistant and water-friendly), it’s also been decked out with a Ripstop system made from 80 per cent recycled nylon. It’s also now got an external rear sling locking into the heels, bolstered with a toggle lace closure making them easy to take on and off.
Vans Classic Slip-On
If you’re not too concerned about someone stomping on your toes, the Vans Classic Slip-On makes for an excellent festival sneaker. Setting aside the fact that there are so many different patterns to choose from, their uber-accessible price point makes them hard to pass up. Although, if you’re known to crouch down to take five on the regular, you’ll end up with some pretty undesirable midsole creases. If that doesn’t phase, their ease-of-wear will have you waking up and heading over to the main stage within minutes. Can’t decide which to go for? Go full Ridgemont High in Checkerboard.
adidas Samba OG
Whether you want to admit it or not, the adidas Samba is undoubtedly a top pick for a festival beater – that is, if you have been able to acquire some. The OG colourways – being largely black and white – are obviously easy to style with just about anything, and even if you decide to beat them up, you can always cop another pair with the landslide of upcoming raffles. They’re lightweight, rather durable – thanks to their leather uppers – and easy enough to clean up post-festival too. Not to mention they’ll take up next to no space in your bags. Just don’t be blue when you see everyone else wearing them too.
There’s no denying that the Salomon XT-6 is the all-time all-rounder festival sneaker. Replete with the French hiking brand’s famous Quicklace System, you can slide into your XT-6s without a second thought and tuck away the evidence inside the lace pocket. Consider your feet protected from the elements thanks to their abrasion-resistant TPU uppers, and Salomon’s famous ACS (Agile Chassis System) – designed exclusively for long-distance trail runs – will have you taking on multi-day festivals with ease. And if you can get ahold of the Salomon XT-6 GORE-TEX, you’ve just unlocked pro status.