It’s only a matter of weeks before the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference overwhelms Union Square in San Francisco, with thousands of biotech executives, investors and industry onlookers converging for four days of productive insanity.
The annual conference, always held in early January in and around the Westin St. Francis Hotel, is where life science companies create jam-packed schedules as they seek to garner excitement for their technology and pipeline. It all translates into nonstop, on-your-feet days of meetings, networking, parties and more parties.
Which, of course, begs the question: What shoes are you going to wear?
When this topic emerged during CanaleComm’s weekly team meeting, we realized that our many, many years of attending this frenzied conference has given us some valuable knowledge on J.P. Morgan shoe strategy. For the sake of comfortable feet everywhere, we’re sharing this wisdom with you today:
Keep the new shoes at home. One of the worst mistakes Ian ever made at J.P. Morgan was packing brand spanking new dress shoes as his main pair for the conference. He learned his lesson, and now only packs shoes that are already broken in. Even now, he keeps a few Band-Aids in his bag in case his days of extreme walking cause a blister. “You never wear new boots on a long hike,” says Ian, who recently completed the 16-mile Half Dome trail in Yosemite. “And you never wear new shoes to J.P. Morgan.”
During the day, sacrifice style for comfort. Carin doesn’t take style lightly. But even she keeps the 3-inch heels on reserve for the nice dinners and fun after-parties that fill her evenings. If there will be lots of walking to and from night-time events, she might even sneak a pair of back-up flats into her bag. Another comfort tip: Hold off on getting a pedicure until after the conference. Natural calluses will serve their intended protective function to prevent blisters when you’re pounding the pavement for four days.
Plan outfits around comfortable footwear.
Heidi’s go-to shoes for the J.P. Morgan conference.
Some of us like to pack an hour before leaving for the airport. Others, like Heidi, start two weeks in advance. Heidi plans her J.P. Morgan wardrobe around her favorite comfy shoes, including her red Chuck Taylors and leopard-print wedges. “You can laugh all you want, but on day three of J.P. Morgan, people will be walking up to me and telling me how smart I was to bring these,” she says. Wedges are a really great choice for women because they can be stylish and don’t strain your ankles or get stuck in sidewalk grates, she says.
Now that we’ve covered shoe strategy, we can get back to the other essential activities leading up to the big event: helping clients spruce up their presentations, schedule one-on-one meetings with reporters, arrange time with bankers and VCs, and plan networking events.
It will be a busy show this year for sure, but we’re not complaining. And our feet won’t be either.
(If you have a J.P. Morgan shoe strategy to share, we want to hear it! Tweet it to @canalecomm and use the hashtag #JPMshoes.)