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Comfortable Shoes for the Show Floor: 2022 Edition

Meeting pros weigh in on their favorite shoes for the miles logged in hotel hallways and trade-show aisles. These aren’t your mother’s pumps.

There’s been a sea change in what meeting professionals, especially female meeting professionals, are willing to put on their feet, along with what is acceptable footwear for the workplace. Heels haven’t disappeared, but for many, it’s all about cushioning and practicality. And if there’s one giant obvious trend, it’s sneakers on the job.

When we asked women in the meetings industry to tell us which shoes hold up to a long day on the conference floor, we got a slew of favorite styles, plus some great foot-saving advice.

For example, to prevent blisters, Melissa Van Dyke, senior vice president, global customer experience and insights at Creative Group, “highly recommends” Pleni Naturals Berry and Olive Barrier Balm. It’s “better than any hosiery,” she says. And Glenna Fulks, chief connecting officer & partner at Kite Meeting Management, has these veteran new-shoe tips:

• When buying a new shoe, get the fit right from the start. Never think that you will eventually “break them in.”
• Look for shoes with a slightly round or square toe, which are far more comfortable after 10 hours or more.
• If you’re going to wear high heels, try a chunky heel, which adds stability. Also, take them to a cobbler who can insert a cushioned pad under the insole and, if the shoes have a leather bottom, add a non-slip rubber sole. (This also adds a bit more cushion.)
• Wear your new shoes around the house or for short durations to make sure they’re comfortable before heading to your conference.  
• Never wear the same pair two days in a row.  

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