We’re starting a new occasional feature here on the blog where we take a question from our readers and have our writers, blog staff, and other TouringPlans people weigh in with their opinions to help improve your experience with the parks.
Today’s question is:
What shoes do you wear when you’re visiting the parks?
I have bad feet. Really bad. My wife and children like to say that I have “baby feet” because I will get blisters so fast that they break the sound barrier. Over time I’ve realized that some of my problem was that I was wearing bad shoes. Now, when I’m walking a lot, I exclusively wear performance running shoes. I tend to gravitate toward Nike because I really like their Free line for walking due to the wide toe box and lightness. Watching sale prices I can usually nab a pair for under $60. Of course, I still wear two pairs of socks and tape my toes, but that’s probably a story for a different time.
My favorite shoes are the Sketchers yoga foam Meditation — Studio Kicks. I love them because they are still flip flops, so you don’t have to worry about the Florida rainstorm ruining your shoes, the yoga foam is extremely cushy, and they have a heel to them, giving you support, so your feet don’t get as tired walking all day.
I started off way back in the day wearing ugly old-school Crocs, because they worked great when they got wet and were light enough that my feet weren’t sore. When it got colder, of when I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be spending all day in the parks with the possibility of wet shoes, I switched to Sketchers GO Walk because they are lightweight and have good cushioning. Recently, I’ve switched my summer shoes to Keens — specifically, Keen Whisper. They are relatively lightweight, easily adjustable to avoid rubbing and blisters, and they dry out pretty quick from getting wet. Only down side? They leave very funny tan lines on my feet. Seriously, it looks like I have zebra print feet.
One of my favorite parody articles recently was “Aging Punk Loses Battle With Comfortable Clothes” and I remember the good ole days of the Bad Shoe blog, which documented bad footwear in the parks. In the past I’ve worn Sperrys (bad idea for anyone staying with you), Onitsuka Tigers, and adidas Sambas. Now I wear cloud foam adidas (all white) if I’m going stylish or Brooks Ghost running shoes otherwise.
In some instances the simplest, easiest answer is the best one . . . and this is definitely one of those instances. For a day or a week of walking around Walt Disney World I always go with my most comfortable walking sneaker. In my case, a New Balance (with a custom-made orthotic insole because of my heavy treading ball-of-foot and the fact that I’m thirty-three going on sixty-four years old). I once tried to switch things up and went with my favorite and most comfortable Crocs, but even they were no match for a night at Disney Springs, let alone a full day of park touring. Go with your most comfortable and most well-constructed sneaker. Don’t overthink it!
When it comes to footwear at Disney, comfort is the first, second, and third thing I care about, because you walk a lot more than you might realize. At home, I tend to be a leather sandals guy, but at Disney, I wear the most comfortable running shoes in my collection. Right now, that’s a pair of Nike LunarEpic Flyknit 2s. They are lightweight, have a significant amount of cushion, and are highly breathable, making them a good option for logging 8-12 miles a day walking around the parks. As an aside, however, whenever possible I try to have at least two pair of running shoes with me on a trip. Even the most comfortable of shoes are still in constant contact with your feet, and having different shoes so you can alternate makes it less likely that you’ll develop hot spots or blisters. Right now, my alternates are New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v7s—another high-cushion shoe designed for distance running.
The answer is “the ones you usually walk around in that match what you’re wearing and are weather-appropriate.”
After one (or maybe a dozen) too many unintentional slip-and-slides across slick surfaces when wearing my flip-flops in the rain, I stick with my Asics running shoes. They come with the added perk of not having to worry about face-planting when someone accidentally steps on the heel of a flip-flop anymore, and they allow me to set the walking speed on my customized TouringPlans to ‘fast’. (Bring it on, optimizer!) I bring two pairs on most trips. That way I can swap them back and forth if they get wet or cause blisters. Crocs flip-flops or Chaco sandals still make an appearance for the pool or water park, and I’ll usually wear those on the way to fancy dinners. Then I can just change into heels at the restaurant and throw my sandals in a bag. When you’re on your feet most of the day, there’s no shame in going with comfort over style!
My absolute favorite park shoes are Crocs flip-flops. They’re not quite as hilariously hideous (sorry Crocs lovers) as regular Crocs, but just as comfortable! Plus if they get wet, which happens frequently in Florida, they can dry within a few minutes. I can wear them for days with no blisters.
That’s out take on shoes for the parks. What type of footwear keeps you fun and fancy (and blister) free?
Got a question you want us to weigh in on? Let us know in the comments.