Nothing can make or break a long day in the parks faster than your chosen pair of kicks. After all, Cinderella is proof that the right pair of shoes makes all the difference.

First, let’s take a moment to realize just how much torture our feet are in for during a typical park day. Popular theory suggests that the average Disney Park visitor will log 8-10 miles per day in the parks. So, for this article’s sake, let’s pretend you’re an average park goer who will be on your feet most of the day. That’s 8-10 miles mostly in the sun and on hot, hard concrete. Good for walking off those Mickey waffles, not so nice to your tootsies. Now, once you get where you’re going, chances are there’s a line. I don’t know about you, but it’s almost worse on my feet to stand still on a hard surface for an extended period. All that taken into consideration, if you make the right footwear choice, you’ll be sitting (or standing) pretty!

What shoes should you wear to Disney World? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Tennis Shoes

This seems to be one of the most popular options around the parks and for good reason. A good tennis shoe has a great fit, is supportive and may even offer a little cushion. There is one caveat, though, to this universal pleaser. Please, please, please make sure you’ve worn them around town for a while before you debut them at Disney. Nothing like a long day traipsing around the Magic Kingdom in shoes that, it turns out, are about a half an inch too narrow (or wide or short or long). Break ’em in before you break ’em out! This, of course, goes for all types of shoes you may be considering taking on your Disney vacation.


Get Park Wise: Even if your tennis shoes fit like a dream and make you feel like you’re walking on clouds, a splash through the briar patch or a tour of Kali River can soak your socks and make you miserable in an instant. If you choose the tennis shoe route, consider packing an extra pair of socks or flip-flops if you’re planning on water rides.


Maybe you want a breezier option on a summer day. Flip-flops are a very tempting option – easy to put on, lightweight and, not gonna lie, I kinda love that fact that we’re usually asked to leave them on the ground at Soarin’ and float through the California skylines barefoot. Of course, that’s also why I only sit on the top row. Feet just aren’t a pretty visual. But back on track here. While it can be easy to don your shower shoes to the parks, be aware that they’re not typically the best option. I will admit that some flip-flops are great (in fact, I have a couple of pair of Crocs and Nike flip-flops that have been very kind to me in the Florida heat), but they do offer less support than a tennis shoe. Additionally, flip-flops can be a slippery mess should you get caught in an extended afternoon downpour. That said, I have had happy feet with a mix of flip-flops and tennis shoes over the course of a week.


All-Terrain Sandals

Full transparency: Although I’ve tried these on, I’ve never made the commitment to them, so I’m going solely on the opinions of my expert panel. These seem to offer the best of both worlds boasting both a breezy, breathable structure of a sandal while offering the support and stability of a tennis shoe. I couldn’t get over the fact that they looked like my little mouseketeer’s toddler shoes, but if you’re not as silly as I am, these may be a contender for your trip wardrobe.



You know these were coming. I see them all over the parks and even for sale in the gift shops. I’ll admit to having a couple pair of flip-flops from the popular brand, but I’ve never been able to completely throw fashion to the wind and buy the clogs. I’ve tried them on, and, yes, they were ridiculously comfy, but I just couldn’t do it. Again, relying on my expert shoe panel, Crocs can get a little slippery, as well, so if you choose these be sure to step carefully after your run through Grizzly River. The comfort and breathability apparently make these rubber-like shoes a nice choice for the parks if you can get over the aesthetics.


Get Park Wise: If you’re sporting Crocs or flip-flops in the parks, don’t forget to slap some sunscreen on the tops of your feet. I’ve seen some fantastically hilarious tan “lines” on Croc-clad feet, so make sure you protect that skin, too.


What’s your footwear of choice when it’s time to stroll the parks?

  • BradyNBradleysMom

    Oh, Jessica, I just love you. Every column you give us something new to think about. What I like best about you is that you have this way of standing back and saying, wait a minute world, I’m going to rethink this. And everyone else around you is doing stuff like they always did, but not you. You think, can I do this better? Can I try it differently?

    I wish I was more like you. I can’t think of new things the way you do. I kind of get stuck in my ways and I don’t even have the idea to try it a different way. I am learning so much from your columns Jessica. Some day I am going to be just like you and my life will be happier. 🙂

    • DobbysCloset

      You beat me to it! I saw the feature panel on the home page and thought, “I love you, Jessica.” “I have not met you but I love you.” And now I shall read the column….

    • Glad to be of service! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • tofubeast

    My favorite parks shoes are my Keen closed footed sandals (and their other styles of non-sandal shoes.) They provide good support (arch), and many of their sandals are made to get wet and dry perfectly. I used to swear by the sneaker/Croc thing, but my feet would still ache by the end of a long day. I don’t feel that way when I wear Keen. (There are many sandals that are Keen-like, and I’m sure those would work well too).

    • I played with Keens for a while and would try them on every now and then but never took the plunge. I know some who swear by them, though. And I see them all over the parks!

  • katy621

    My faves are the now defunct skechers shape up sandals. I haven’t had any problems with them and have been wearing them to both WDW & DL. I do have to put sunscreen on when I wear one particular pair, because in the hot Florida sun last year, I had a weird looking tan line on my feet.

  • Amy VandenBoogert

    I wore my trusty Adidas until they got ruined by paint getting splattered on them. Then I switched to my Skechers D-Lites, which I completely wore out. Now I have a replacement pair of Skechers. They’re comfy, great support and they don’t make my feet/legs tired and never got blisters.

    I see people wearing flip-flops in the parks and it makes me wonder how people can walk in those for hours on end, My feet hurt just watching them. They must have feet made of steel or something. I only wear flip-flops when going to the mailbox or getting a pedicure.

    • I can totally do flip-flops for a day, but I can’t do them for an entire trip. But I have hearty Polynesian feet, so…

  • Kurtoon

    Hi Jessica
    Great article as usual !
    I always look forward to Park Wise…there is just something about the way you put words on paper…errr…you know what I mean.
    Yes !
    I agree on breaking in the shoes before vacation. I choose the tried and true tennis/athletic/walking shoe. I want my feet to be comfortable …but I also need protection with a closed toe shoe.
    My feet have been stepped on by guests and family in the queue and run over by strollers and worse.
    I also need shoes to stay attached to my feet incase I need jump into action and chase a runaway stroller, child, adult, toy, Mickey Ears, etc.
    I’ve heard clothes make the man….but comfortable shoes make the vacation.
    Thanks again Jessica.

    • Thanks! Haven’t been attacked by a stroller yet, but I can see why you’d opt for the closed-toe shoes.

  • KENfromOC

    Interesting Jessica that is exactly what I am doing now- looking on the Crocs web site for some shoes for our upcoming trip.
    I love Crocs, and many not realize that they ate not simply those clunky garden- type shoes. They have a huge selection , from top-siders, sneakers, etc. I have several pairs and I’m looking at their new Beavh Line all weather boat shoe specifically fior WDW. My last trip there in July of 2005 there was the heavy afternoon rains and our shoes go so wet they remained damp enough to cause blisters.
    We go to Disneyland often, and Crocs have proved their comfort even if you have wide feet and occasional sore feet as I do.
    And no, I have no vested interest in Crocs!

    • Crocs work for a lot of people, and I’m a fan of their flip-flops! I have two pair that’ve lasted several years (actually bought them on a WDW trip). And they do have tons of different styles!

  • Disney Adventure

    Nike Shox running shoes.

    They are PERFECT for Disneyland. They are light, they have a lot of give between the pavement and your feet, and your feet are surrounded in a very quick drying mesh should you go on Splash Mountain or Grizzly River Run.
    As a child we only went to Disneyland once a year for one day, so my mentality is to be there open to close. That can be up to 14 hours a day on my feet multiple days (since my wife and I go for 3 to 5 days) and my feet have never hurt once and I’ve had zero blisters. It’s like Nike made them for Disney Parks.

    • I have a friend who wears those every day of his life, and he LOVES them! I’ll have to ask how they worked on his recent trip.

  • sdawn99

    Sketchers Go-Walks are a must! Love them.

    • Haven’t seen those yet. I’ll have to check them out soon.

  • I have a secret. Shhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

    I can’t stand the thought of wearing an ugly pair of Crocs. HOWEVER, they have a line of mens slip-ons with canvas uppers and a Croc sole that look great and feel like walking on air. Better yet, the inner support can be easily removed so you can wash it (which is great if you’ve been sweating all day in the Florida heat).

    Here’s a link to the crocs Men’s Santa Cruz Slip-On that I wear

    • I’ve worn Sanuks to the parks a few times (same general design with yoga mat soles), and they were pretty comfy. And, don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me.

  • TTFN92

    Mine have always been Crocs and will throw in my Birkenstocks occasionally. I have now found Skechers Go Walks to be the best option. They were heaven on my feet last trip. I would never wear flip flops, not enough support.

    • Another Go Walks shout out. Now I’ll definitely look them up.

  • daveyjones

    flip flops in the heat, vans slipons in the cold. i walk so slow around disneyland, just relaxing and taking it all in, that there’s no need for “sneakers.” at WDW, however, i’d probably opt for better shoes. lot more hoofing to be done in florida…

    • One of my girlfriends wore her Vans all over WDW and did ok, but she is bringing a second pair on our next trip so switch out. Haha!

  • waymire01

    On our last trip I bought a really nice pair of fur lined slippers to wear on the plane (easy on and off for security). They were spendy.. covered the entire foot, had a nice sole and memory foam. They were so comfortable I wound up wearing them, with socks, the entire trip. We were there for 18 days.. so my feet took a pounding and I’m pretty sure they would have no matter what I wore, but they were like a cloud on my feet.
    I would also remind anyone with kids to pay attention to their footwear as well.. not just the actual shoes but frequent “foot checks” to head off any problems ahead of time and carry bandaids or blister covers at all times. Kids tend to get caught up in the excitement and ignore an issue until they are actually in pain. It’s a lot better to cover a hot spot proactively than have to deal with a blister for the rest of your trip.

    • Interesting! I think my feet would get too hot, but it’s great that you found an unexpected park shoe.

  • DobbysCloset

    I wear Crocs at home for dog-walking in wet grass. The clogs with socks work well on cool, just slightly damp days. On hot days they make my feet sweat, which I detest.

    But for Disneyland I have, since the mid-1970’s, worn the Converse Original Chuck Taylor High Top Sneakers so that I can feel the hallowed ground beneath my flat, wide, Donald-Duck-shaped feet. I carry flip-flops for water rides, two pair socks in ziploc bags, bandaids and sunscreen. Also extra ziploc bags and bandaids… The park is missing a merchandising opportunity by not pushing trial-size bottles of Disney Sunblock and extra Mickey Mouse Bandaids at Exorbitant Park Prices!

    • I was wondering if someone would bring up Chucks. I wear them a lot at home, but I just don’t think I’d do well in them at the parks.

  • clj7181

    I have a pair of the Sketcher Skech-air I really like and wore my last trip. I have a pair of keen sandles I use for hiking in the summer – I may have to try them for my May trip since all my prior trips have been in the winter where heat has not really been a big issue. I do always pack two pairs of shoes on vacaiton and rotate them every other day – I think that has helped with blister since your feet get a day off from a shoes unique rub points.

    • Yes, yes, yes! I’m a big fan of rotating shoes. I mean, I’m a big fan of shoes in general, but being able to switch up the feel on your feet during a long trip is fantastic!

  • Skimbob

    I wear Crocs most of the time in both WDW and DL. I use a product called Glide which helps eliminate the whole blister problem. I have been in downpours on both coasts but my feet do not blister because they are well protected. They actually are more popular in Europe than here in the US. In Switzerland and the surrounding countries a lot of people wear Crocs so I fit right in when I was there.

  • tgdiver

    Keen sandals all the way! I have arthritis, so my feet are extremely sensitive. I’ve gotten to the point where even running shoes are too restrictive, but my Keens are great. Nice and wide, good arch support, and they are year-round (yeah, I wear them with socks when it’s cold, ok?). Totally agree: whatever you wear, make sure they’re broken in first. And ladies, heels may look fine on the dance floor, but they look stupid as all getout in a theme park. Sorry.

    • KENfromOC

      I had something similar to Keen on our 2005 trip to WDW when it would rain every afternoon – for me they were horrible as I did not wear socks and got huge blisters from the inner seams. Wet feet and blisters! They may or may not have been Keens, but they looked exactly the same. I ended up buying cheap Mickey flip flops and wore those !

    • I have to laugh when I see heels in the parks, too. I have a friend who always wears a small heel because of some foot issues, but it’s definitely interesting to see a pair of stilettos making their way through the parks, especially on uneven or cobblestone/brick surfaces (hello, Main Street USA). If you can do it without complaining, though, more power to ya!

  • Shark Bait

    Usually I wear Toms to the park. They’re lightweight, not super uncomfortable when wet, and have some padding. When it’s especially hot (and when I know my pedicure looks nice), I wear my Rainbow flip flops. When it’s cooler and I’m wearing yoga pants, I wear my cute Nike running shoes.

    What all three have in common is that I’m used to standing/walking around in them for hours at a time, so I’m not sacrificing comfort for fashion, or the other way around.

    • Toms were another shoe I was wondering if I’d see come up here in the comments. I know I’ve seen them marching through the parks quite a bit.

  • Mr. Disney

    For my last trip to Disney World, I was fine with classic TOMS, Sperry Top-Siders and a pair of nice flip-flops that I could carry around on a small backpack and used when the rain got heavy, and I was fine.

    Crocs and Nike’s were never an option (I’m not a fan of those…) . You should do a “How to Dress for the Parks in style Column!” 🙂

    • Style is just so subjective, so it’s really up to each person to decide what works for them.

  • Murrie567

    I love my teva sandals for when I got to Disneyland! I wear flipflops pretty much all the time, but I reized they were terrible on my feet in the parks. I really don’t like sneakers, so they are the perfect compromise. Comfortable, but I dont get that nasty squishy shoe feeling I do after riding water rides in sneakers.

    • snookers

      I am in the Teva camp as well. My last summer trip to WDW I did not even bother packing another pair of shoes (risky, I know). The pair I use (Teva Dozer model) have a closed toe cover (to protect from those stroller wheels) but don’t lose their grip when wet. The extra arch support keeps my feet from being sore and the open design keeps them from getting uncomfortable in the Florida heat and humidity.

    • Great suggestion!

  • Stormy

    I’ve got a Daisy Duck foot, wide toes, narrow heels. I’ve tried on a zillion different types & brands of park shoes & have come down to UnderArmour flip-flops for sunny days and Merrell walking shoes for cold days.

    I always make sure to put sunscreen on my feet when I wear the flip flops, although I admit to a slight, permanent tan line since I pretty much live in flips most of the year.

    For days when I wear the Merrells, I spray antiperspirant on my feet. I always wear ‘Smart Wool’ sox, either light or heavy ones. Yes, wool, even on a warm day. Smart Wools really breathe and wick the moisture away.

    Someone somewhere recommended changing shoes mid-day. Great idea!

    • You guys are cracking me up with your character feet. 🙂 I have that near-permanent tan line, too, but mine is mostly because my tan never fades. I’ve just now lost last summer’s tan line…just in time for spring! Haha!

  • Tinkbelle

    I wear flip flops! Or at least when the weather is warm/hot. Wearing closed toe shoes around the parks just makes me hot and my feet get sweaty and feel like they are suffocating. I also can’t stand riding a water ride and getting my tennis shoes wet – that makes for a very uncomfortable rest of the day – and I don’t want to bring along a change of shoes. I have a very comfortable pair of flip flops by Reef called Stargazers. They are stylish and soft under my feet. I can do a full 2 or 3 days in them without discomfort.
    In colder weather I’ll wear Sketcher Mary Janes (but these sometimes bug me because the velcro straps tend to come undone every so often), or my Nikes, or my cozy boots if it is a very chilly day. I’m up for better solutions for cold weather, but my Stargazers are staying.

    • I’m a flip-flop fan, too. I’ve played with Reefs but never actually bought them. I may have to try out a pair.

  • CCS

    Aw, come on. Don’t tell me there’s nobody else out there teetering through the parks on five-inch stilettos and wearing micro-miniskirts!! (tongue firmly in cheek). Seriously, I don’t know how those women do it. They must love the attention they draw. I’ll stick to tennies and socks, thanks.