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Conferences: It's All About the Shoes

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This is a post that’s probably more relevant to all my female readers out there, so my apologies in advance to the men in my audience. This is a post I just really felt I needed to write.

Because sometimes, I don’t know what is wrong with me. Seriously. Like to the point where I have to question whether my father’s jokes about the doctor dropping me when I was born really are jokes after all. I’m a smart person, and I read blogs posts written by smart people. It’s on every single “conference attendee tip list” out there: wear comfortable shoes.

And yet, there I sat at the hotel after a ten-hour day at the Philadelphia Convention Center, nursing my bleeding feet. Yes, that’s right. My toes and the back of my ankle were bleeding from not wearing the proper shoes. I also had blisters the size of small mountains and couldn’t feel my heels because they were numb from walking all day.

I’m a generally fit person, at least to the point where I don’t tire after just an hour of walking. I made the sensible decision to leave my heels alone. I’m 5’10, so I tower over people when I wear heels anyway. Still, when I looked at the two options in my suitcase – sensible, albeit boring, sneakers and cute ballet flats that I had just purchased the day before – I made the choice of style over comfort. How bad could a pair of flats me?

Bad. Super bad. Mega-intense-pain bad. Bad to the point where my feet were not just in discomfort, but I literally could barely walk. Sometimes, I don’t know what is wrong with me.

Since that conference, which was actually about three years ago now, I’ve attended multiple other events, and I always make a note of girls’ shoes. I’m not the only moron, apparently. At the end of the day, at least 25% of the girls I see walking around are doing so slowly and with a limp. Sometimes, I don’t know what is wrong with us.

Think back for a moment to any event you’ve ever attended in your niche. Of all the people you met or saw, do you remember what a single one of them was wearing on their feet? Unless someone wore something totally weird, it’s unlikely that you can think of a specific time when you noticed someone’s footwear. Yes, you might compliment someone’s shoes if you’re standing in line and notice they’re wearing something cute, but I bet you never once looked at someone’s shoes at a conference and thought, “Wow, they’re wearing sneakers. How boring.” If anything, you probably longingly wished you wore sneakers, too.

My point is this: the “wear comfortable shoes” tip is more than just a tip. It is a need. You need comfortable shoes just like you need a ticket to get into the event. As you prepare for BlogWorld Expo over the next few months, take some time to really think about which shoes you’re going to wear. Even if you plan on doing a lot of sitting, you’ll thank yourself if you dress for comfort.

Remember, comfort doesn’t have to be boring or ugly. If you’re into fashion or aren’t willing to compromise your style, spend some money on new shoes that are both comfortable and interesting. Mine are pictured above. Wear them in the weeks leading up to the event to break them in, and plan your outfits accordingly so you aren’t tempting to go for the stilettos as you’re getting dressed at the hotel.

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. It’s true; she has the coolest sneakers of all time.

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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