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.
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.
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?