The Best Shoes for Trade Show Organizers and Exhibitors, According to a Podiatrist
We've all been there — only a few hours into a looong trade show day, and your feet are already aching. When your feet hurt, it can truly be difficult to think about anything else. Yet aside from kicking off your professional shoes in favor of your old Nikes, what can you do to ensure your feet will be comfortable and presentable for the entire day?
Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a podiatrist based in New York and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association, says you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. She recommends brands like Vionic, which offers a wide range of colors, patterns and styles in shoes that are “good for your body and soles,” she says.
It might sound obvious, but to get the most mileage out of your day without painful feet, women should keep their heel height to 3 inches or less, says Dr. Sutera. You should also limit your time in them by wearing “commuter shoes” during your walk to and from the trade show.
Dr. Sutera warns against “breaking in” your shoes for an event. For that matter, if shoes need a lot of breaking in, you should reconsider buying them in the first place. “Shoes should feel great the first time you try them on in the store,” she says. (If the toe is just a little snug at first, you can use a shoe spray and a shoe stretcher overnight until it gives.) It’s a good idea to wear your shoes at home for about 30 minutes a day for several weeks leading up to your event to give you a good idea of how they’ll hold up, she advises.
Avoid the common pitfalls of buying shoes that don’t fit quite right just because they’re on sale, or wearing shoes that used to be comfortable but have lost their padding. Both are surefire ways to create problems like blisters, which are nearly impossible to remedy mid-show. If you do find yourself with a blister, treat it by adding padding inside the shoe, and applying antibiotic ointment and a bandage, says Dr. Sutera.
Finally, don’t plan to wear the same shoes every day of a multi-day trade show. Though it’s tempting to bring fewer pairs to squeeze by with just a carry-on, wearing the same shoe every day for long periods of time can cause pain even if they are generally comfortable.
Keeping all of these things in mind, here are Dr. Sutera’s recommendations for the best comfortable and stylish shoes for trade show organizers and exhibitors.
These have a 2.5-inch heel, but the wedge style (available in four colors) makes them feel like flats. The cute ankle-tie ribbon adds flair with dresses for summer.
Touareg Vibe Oxford
This handsome style for me, which comes in black or brown, looks like a dress shoe, but feels like a sneaker for days when you're working way longer than 9 to 5.
With fun patterns like powder blue raffia and cutout blush suede, plus a manageable 3-inch heel, these pumps were practically made for spring meetings — but don’t look like “work shoes.”
Mia Block Heel
From red patent to snakeskin, these low heels compromise zero style for functionality. They’re available in both medium and wide in eight colors.
Sullivan Slip On
This easy-on, modern leather shoe features a stylish burnished tow with amazing orthotic support and comes in three shades.
Tali Grand Bow Wedge
Accent your business-professional look with a feminine bow detail. These low wedges with a delicate ankle strap are available in nude, black and red — i.e., they go with anything.
Blaire Heeled Sandal
For the woman who wants a little more detailing in her footwear, these suede block-heeled sandals are the perfect transition shoe for afternoon meetings to evening cocktail reception.
A classic mens' look without the classic pinching, this practical, professional shoe comes in five different shades to match your event attire.
Practical without looking matronly, these elegantly structured pumps are nearly flats, with a 1-inch heel and a closed toe that work in even the most conservative setting.
Have you found the ultimate trade show shoe? Please share your tips for the most comfortable, stylish footwear with us on Twitter, @TSNN_com_US.