Upcoming ACOM Event Calendar

October 2008

October 16, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Revenue Management

November 2008

Idea Network
November 20, 2008
1:00 PM EST
All Tracks: Current Trends of the Industry

January 2009

2009 Annual Conference
January 9-11, 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana
Westin New Orleans

A special thank you to the Annual Conference Sponsors:



Don’t miss the opportunity to have your name listed above. If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring ACOM, please contact ACOM Headquarters.

Comfy Feet

Contributed by ACOM Member Denise Suttle, CMP

Hands down, it’s all about the feet.

Convention services managers, meeting planners and exhibits managers spend hours on their feet working a convention or tradeshow. How do the pros survive and thrive despite the daily pounding their feet endure walking miles of hotel hallways, ballrooms, loading docks and show floors?

ACOMmodate asked both ACOM members and industry veterans for some of their tips for finding comfy, work-appropriate shoes as well as the best safety practices that will keep your toes tappin’:

Christine M. Pauley
Meetings & Events Manager
Exposition Management, Inc.

“I did my first show in 2003 and, being a novice, had no idea what kind of shoes to wear – ended up with bleeding blisters! After trying several types of shoes since then, I finally found Dansko shoes a couple of years ago. Even though they are known for their clogs, I’m not really a “clog person”, so I ordered a couple of their “professional-type” styles (closed toe, closed heel, etc.) .

Not only are they heaven on my feet and have made all the difference, but people actually stop to admire my shoes and say how cute they are – they don’t even realize that I wear them for comfort, not style. I love the look of the black ones so much, I wear them regularly – even when I’m not doing a show. As a matter of fact, I have found yet another wonderful shoe – they are called BeautiFeel and are absolutely amazing!”

Candace S. Adams, CTSM, CME, CEM, CMM, CMP
A.K.A.: The “Booth Mom”®
Trade Show Consulting

“I generally find a pair of shoes I like (often Naturalizers and other feet-friendly ones) and buy two pair... I wear a 6, so I buy a 6 and a 6-1/2. I start out the day in the 6, change into the 6-1/2 that I've put a foam or gel insole in... then a couple of hours later, take out the insole. My feet LOVE me!

I also pack men's and women's Dr. Scholl's foam pads in my trade show gang box for my exhibit staff – the ones that come with a size "grid" you can use to cut the largest size down to the smallest. That was one of the things that triggered my "Booth Mom" nickname.

There's a catalog/web site called TravelSmith, and they specialize in clothes for travelers. The latest shoes I purchased from them actually have egg crate foam insoles and great arch support...and they're not ugly! The brand is called "Soft Walk.”

Devon S. Sloan, CMP – ACOM past president
Director of Events
Hilton Tucson El Conquistador

We can wear open-toed shoes and sling backs, not sandals, as long as they are safe, which sure makes me more comfortable in the warm summers! We do not have a policy regarding flats or casual shoes, and when I have a group in house, I plan my wardrobe to make sure flats are a part of it. I do have some pumps that work for me, but comfy heels are few and far between.

To do a good job and be where our clients want us to be when they want us to be there, shoes should not even be an issue. If the outfit is professional and the shoes go with it, you should be able to wear what you want. Ah, if the male population (and some women who have only desk jobs) only knew what we go through for fashion AND comfort!"

Debbie Baker
Account Executive

“I wear black slacks whenever possible during pre-show days and set up because I can wear my black Nikes with them and still look respectable in case I run into a client or have a meeting off site.

Also, I have found that CROCS now has a Mary Jane style that I can wear forever! I just did the Farnborough Air Show in the U.K. which is the second largest in the world, and wore them for three days and had no discomfort until the end of the last day! “

Pamela C. Lopez-Davies, CMP—ACOM member
Convention Staffing Services Supervisor
San Diego Convention Center Corporation

“I work at a Convention Center, in Convention Services, and I wear Easy Spirit shoes, because I am all over the building on a daily basis. I have four pairs in different colors, and they are the most comfortable shoes I have found for the work I do.

We don't have a specific dress code regarding shoes, but we use common sense and dress for comfort rather than fashion. It's also safer when walking through exhibit halls and on the loading docks.”

Julia O'Connor
President & Founder
Tradeshow Training, Inc.

“During set-up and tear-down – Work shoes. If you can't wear work shoes, then a closed toe, flat shoe. Even tennis shoes are better than sandals.

During the show, if you are going to be working the booth, take three pairs of shoes, and discretely change them during the day. For example, walk to the hall in flats. Change to a low or mid-size heel for a couple of hours and a higher heel for a couple of hours – then reverse the process. Why? It takes the pressure off your legs, straightens your posture, gives your toes wiggle room.

A good trade show vendor works an 18-hour day and you have to be mobile for all of those hours. Remember – your feet are your friends. And when your friends hurt, all of you hurts.”

Tony Maiorino
Senior Director, Expositions & Meetings
Scherago International

“I am always amazed when I see individuals wearing open-toed shoes, sandals, or flip-flops in an exhibit hall during installation and dismantling. Yes, it is usually hot in the exhibit hall because the AC is turned off, and, yes, a person is on his/her feet a lot during those periods, but please...it is incredibly dangerous with all the debris on the floor.

Some convention centers have even implemented rules that require steel-toed shoes during installation and dismantling – nearly impossible to enforce – but maybe as a means to ward off potential litigation over this issue.”

Judi Taliaferro, CMP—ACOM member
Director of Convention Services
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

“Our dress code is pretty flexible and so for the most part, comfort is not an issue. When we are doing sites, most of us have dress flats that are appropriate. Personally, I like heels and I don’t buy any that hurt my feet. Ann Klein is my brand of choice. However, I always keep a pair of flats in the office and in my car.”

Nicole Emard
Meeting & Education Director
American Association of Attorney-Certified Public Accountants

“I recently underwent back surgery and as we all know in this business we stand a lot, walk a lot and lift a lot. I have now learned to tone down all of that. I recently decided to spend the money and bought a pair of MBT sneakers. They are grey and blend in well with jeans and khakis and I work for a casual office so that's good for me. I will say they are the best purchase I have made in a long time. I am a firm believer from here on out that good shoes are worth it. “

Denise Suttle, CMP
Assistant Director of Convention Services
Albuquerque CVB

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