WHERE TO BUY CARNIVAL SHOES
& TIPS ON HOW TO WEAR THEM
Nowadays, carnival time seems to ALWAYS be right around the corner (I ain’t mad) and ONE of the most important things that EVERY CARNIVAL GOER SHOULD BE THINKING, CONSIDERING AND PONDERING during the preparation and planning process is…
What kind of shoes should I wear to carnival? Also…where should I buy carnival shoes from?
Whether it’s your first time, second or hundredth time attending; it’s so important to find the right type of footwear to wear during carnival, fetes or Jouvert. If you don’t have a clue where to buy carnival shoes, keep reading…
Anyone can probably guess that a day or two days worth of walking, chipping’, wining down to ‘d’ ground is instant foot ache waiting to happen so here’s a few tips on how to avoid even more discomfort during your carnival experience.
TYPES OF FOOTWEAR
This is the majority of carnival goers’ first choice for carnival shoes when it comes to carnival. Boots are probably the most practical, comfortable and easiest choice to make when purchasing footwear for carnival.
Pros -come in variety of styles, most times comfortable, great for walking, dancing long distances, can be found easily in a variety of colors, textures etc.
Cons – “fit to leg” style may be a problem for some, feet/legs will get hot–depends on tolerance level
The second most worn carnival footwear in my opinion; especially popular with men.
Pros – definitely comfortable, comes in variety of colors, styles, a durable option for most
Cons – may or may not be the most dressiest/stylish option depending on personal taste
Commonly worn in various styles (i.e. sneaker wedge, boot wedge).
Pros: Gives a little lift to the butt, emphasizes the legs but a more comfortable option than a high heel.
Cons: Depending on arch, height of wedge can be tiresome to walk in. Easiest way to solve is to buy a lower wedge heel or inserts, gel cushions.
Can be done in various styles, but mostly seen with boots. In some cases, stilettos or platform heels.
Pros: A guaranteed lift to the butt and emphasis on legs
Cons: walking, chipping, dancing for long periods may prove painful
Pros: not widely worn but can be found almost anywhere in various styles, flat sneakers probably better more comfortable choice
Cons: lack of arch support
TIP 1: BUY WHAT YOU LIKE
There’s no “unwritten rule” that says you have to buy a certain pair of footwear specifically for carnival–multiple carnivals have showcased the women and men of carnival wearing sneakers to boots to heels and EVEN sandals on the road. HOWEVER, there are a few things you should keep in mind while sticking to your personal sense of style.
- Know your limitations and pain threshold
So you know how some women love certain pairs of shoes and no matter how much discomfort or pain they go through–those shoes are not coming off simply for the sake of looking cute (guilty!). For me, I have a pain threshold that lasts maybe an hour or two standing in super high, super skinny high heels SO I already know (for me); I cannot do heels on the road, much less a fete or Jouvert. My point in describing my own personal pain is if you know you end up barefoot at the end of the night at the club for only several hours; don’t do it to yourself for an all day affair like carnival day.
- Choose comfort first
Would anyone voluntarily choose numb feet and black toenails just to look good?
*whispers* …but BEAUTY IS PAIN!
and yes as a woman that is true sometimes. However, as a masquerader looking at how much carnival costs nowadays, you want to do every little thing you can ahead of time to enhance the value of the hundreds or thousands of dollars you’re going to spend. Cramped toes, numb feet can make or break a carnival experience; trust me on this. No one wants to sit on a curb watching the band chip and dance further and further away because they can’t stand the pain of literally standing on their two feet.
- Wear what makes you feel/look good
Think about it, why do gravitate to certain styles of clothes, shoes for our particular body type? Because it say it with meACCENTUATES your body. So why wouldn’t it be the same for carnival day. I already know I’m short so super long boots on my petite athletic legs + feathered leg pieces + a feathered backpack would be too much for my frame. I typically go for ankle length, mid calf length boots, sneakers or shoes because they tend to elongate my frame. So just because you see everyone rocking long suede boots to carnival doesn’t mean you have to if it’s not your Go-To Style. In this case, what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander.
TIP 2: BREAK THEM IN
I know NO ONE who likes sore, red and blistered feet at the beginning of carnival day? I’m pretty sure 100% of you reading this article definitely don’t either. So, make sure you purchase your carnival foot wear way ahead of time in order to wear them a few times before the road. ESPECIALLY, if you tend to order your carnival shoes online–take into account handling & shipping times.
- Wear them SEVERAL times before carnival day
Several meaning more than once or twice. More than just around the house or in a dressing room. Wear your carnival shoes on a night out, at work (if possible), to the gym—wherever SO you can get an idea and most importantly a feel of HOW they wear.
Do they chafe or rub any parts of your feet? Can you withstand a whole day or 6 hours or more of functional wear without pain or irritation? Do you notice any numbness, swelling or redness after wear?
Ladies and gents, let’s not fool ourselves or our feet. To ensure you’re comfortable, get your size or at least a half size bigger because your feet will swell. (Credit: Trinidad Carnival Diary) If you haven’t read this already, here’s the BIBLE on do’s & do not’s for carnival shoes. http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/faqs/the-carnival-virgins-survivor-guide
- Comfort accessories
If you have any preexisting issues such as hip or knee pain, bunions, blistered feet, corns etc. Cover your footsies with inserts, gel cushions, non-skid sole pads. Example, if a shoe is too flat take out the cushion from a pair of comfortable shoes and put it inside your Carnival shoes, definitely gives more support and lessens the impact to your joints. All of these can be found at your local convenience store like Target or shoe stores.
Non-skid Sole Pads
TIP 3: DRESS THEM UP
Carnival is the time to be EXTRA, so don’t be afraid to be a little extra! Think about it, you get to dress up in a costume and embody a character or theme that you most likely wouldn’t be able to any other time in your life–so make the most of it. There’s no minimum or maximum amount of extra–
- Make sure your carnival shoes compliment the costume
To some this is a no-brainer but for others who have no idea about carnival costumes and looking your best on the road. The shoes tie in your entire look.
For those that have difficulty with color coordination and matching, another choice would be a flesh toned pair of carnival shoes. Carnivalista sells sneaker wedges called ‘Steps‘ that come in two flavors, Sugar & Spice that flawlessly match any skin tone and let the costume speak for itself. Here’s 10% off on me using my aflliate code ‘BAHAMIANISTA’ for 10% off any product or your entire purchase — you’re welcome!
- PRESERVE /RECYCLE
If at the end of the day your carnival shoes have survived carnival day with minimal wear and tear, feel free to use them again. That way, they’re already broken in and you save some money.
- Bring another pair of carnival shoes
However if you are determined to rule the road in teetering high heels, just pack a pair of flats when/if the fatigue kicks in. I’ve seen super frontline divas cross the stage in high heels only to swap them out for wedges or flats to endure the rest of the road and rightfully so.
How I Choose My Carnival Shoes
This part is just for anyone who wanted to know. I tend to pick complimentary colors so whatever is the least shown in the costume, I pick a color shoe to make the costume “pop” so to speak. In the below photo, metallic just seemed like the best choice as this Xaymaca costume has a lot of colors and shine going on so I didn’t want to pick something that would “take away” from the beauty of the costume. What color shoes would you pick to go with this costume?
So far in my opinion, sneaker wedges have been the most comfortable carnival shoes. I’ve worn shoes from brands like Nike, converse, Go Jane and all have been really good choices.
I tend not to spend a fortune on carnival shoes because I just need them to be functional. I usually try to get deals from Poshmark or Ebay/Aliexpress but the last two can be a little sketchy on size and value for money so purchase at your own risk.
Lastly, I want a carnival shoe I can most likely wear again, especially if its a sneaker. So I go with something that can be cleaned or that’s super durable that I can either wear out again or wear to another carnival.
And last but not least here are a few of my fave stores for carnival shoes from conventional to not-so-conventional and a few buys that I scored over the years. I’ll just add in a few throwbacks to show y’all how I typically color coordinate my carnival shoe game.
WHERE TO BUY
And last but not least, here’s my 5 cents on where to buy carnival shoes and just my personal experience with for all the visual people:
Let me know what you think in the comments below about finding and wearing carnival shoes and share your tips and strategies because I am always looking to learn new things to add to this carnival junkie lifestyle.
Wishing you more carnivals to come,