I never thought I’d be so passionate about the shoes on my feet. At least not enough to blog about it. But when my day is a minimum of 10 hours, what I wear becomes extremely important. I constantly see questions on Facebook groups about the best shoes for onset, best shoes for operating, best shoes in the winter, summer, rain, etc. You never know what you will encounter on set and it’s best to be prepared. Comfortable shoes are a must. Here’s what I wear, wear out and buy again.
Disclaimer: I am not a podiatrist. The best thing you can do is see one to determine the best shoes and souls for your feet. Most running stores will also look at the way you walk as well as your arcs to get you the best fit. So basically, this is what works for me and a ton of people I have talked to about it but it’s up to you to do your research and get the best shoe for your body. Ok, I think that covers me getting in trouble, on to the shoes!
There isn’t one perfect shoe for every type of shoot you will be on. But, if I had to recommend just one to cover almost everything it is without a doubt the Merrell Moab Waterproof. I am on my third pair and nothing compares. I have tried Keen and Vasque but instantly regretted it after a few shoots (Pro Tip! – Buy from REI or somewhere that allows you to return after wearing. Most stores you can’t return if worn outside. REI has the best return policy in the game.) I have heard great things about Solomon but this shoe is hard to beat. It is a hiking shoe that has tons of support while feeling like a soft sneaker. Being made for hikes, this thing handles rain, mud, rocks and off road environments like a champ. The downside? I’ve found it isn’t the most comfortable for standing on concrete all day. Not that it is bad, but there’s better for that. When I don’t know what the day(s) will bring this is the shoe I put on. It is the shoe that is always in my car and packed for travel shoots. Extremely popular with grips and electrics but I also rock it on MoVI shoots in bad weather and off the beaten path.
I’ve gone through tons of sneakers looking for the best operating shoe. Before I say what I’m using now, I want to talk about the shoe that I will never buy again. Nike Frees. Now, everyone is different and this could be an amazing shoe for you. I knew some people that wore them and got a pair. Loved the way they look and initially how they felt. However, myself and those I knew that also wore them, began having knee pains. It wasn’t until talking to others that I realized it was the shoe. The lack of support added pressure in my knees. Think about it. All that weight you are carrying (whether it is handheld, shoulder mount or gimbal) is adding pressure to your legs and joints. Not having a shoe to help soak it up is going to your knees. I don’t know about you but no shoe is worth knee problems. I switched back to Merrell and within a month my knee pain was gone. It’s been about 2 years and yet to have that pain again. But I wanted something lighter and better for gimbal operating. I landed on the Adidas Ultraboost and now on my second pair. Many of you have clicked that link and realize these aren’t a cheap sneaker. I’m sorry, but it is what I love. I don’t travel without them. There’s a ton of technology in that shoe that I don’t understand but what I do understand is my feet don’t hurt after a 12 hour day. Unless the weather is crap (they are amazing in summer but your toes will freeze in the winter) I prefer to operate with these on my feet.
A pair of Merrell Moabs and comfortable sneakers will get you everything you need out of shoes for being on set. But I didn’t stop there (my wife says I have a shoe problem). What about a pair of boots that you can wear all day and also to meetings, scouts, etc? I did countless hours on this. I wanted something when on concrete my feet would feel great. When it isn’t handheld intensive a shoot that gives me stability. A boot that has a bit of style to it and can wear when in client meetings or pitch meetings. The ultimate boot for this is Red Wing Iron Rangers. Red Wing has a ton of amazing boots but these caught my eye. I went to a few places that specialize in boots like this and nothing compared to how these felt. Again, price tag is a bit much but these are boots I will have for a few decades. No seriously, I can get them re-soled with Vibram souls for $65! They take a while to fully break in but when you do you will have a custom fit boot and cork sole that is molded to your foot. I wear this for every meeting, out on the town and non gimbal shoots. I even rock it for some easy-rig shoots but have a back up sneaker on my cart.
If you are still reading this you may have a shoe problem too – GOOD! My newest addition to my collection is the Columbia Fairbanks Omni-Heat Snow Boots. Looks like it could worn in Back to The Future and I love that. This is a soft, waterproof, boot that feels like a slipper. The insulation is the same Omni Heat technology they put in their jackets! I have yet to have cold feet but with thicker socks, they do get hot inside (Merino wool socks are perfect for this). I wasn’t sure at first. Thought I’d want a more supportive boot. But since they feel like a slipper, I’ve operated a ton with these, even with my MoVI. I’ve even hiked with them just to test out the durability and they worked like a champ (prefer my Merrell Moabs for this but it was a winter hike and wanted to push them a bit).
Thats what I wear and rotate through. What do you wear? Any favorites or must haves? Comment below or let me know on Instagram. If we get enough new shoes, we can write a follow up post for this. Cheers!