Making Sure Your Feet can Handle the Magic!

Welcome! This is another post by Chris!

So, you’ve bought the tickets and booked your resort. You’re packing your bags and getting ready to travel hundreds or maybe thousands of miles to a Disney park to live out days of magic and memories. Or perhaps you are one of the lucky locals who live minutes away by car. You’re dazed with excitement as you throw your items into the suitcase: cute clothes, rad sunglasses, water bottle, sunscreen, passport, backpack….  Yep, you’re ready to go!

Wait, you remembered to pack your very best walking shoes, right?

Fans of Disney already know this, but it needs to be emphasized. When you’re at the Disney Parks, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking and standing. Trust me, I learned this lesson the hard way. You could be pounding-the-pavement to the tune of 20,000 to 30,000 steps each day. Your feet are absolutely going to be killing you if you didn’t bring comfortable shoes! So leave those boots at home, hide those sneakers in a corner, put the flats away, shove the wedges under the stairs, and for Goofy’s sake, throw those loafers in the garbage where they belong! What you need are real, actual, genuine, purpose-made walking or running shoes. You will definitely thank me later.

Consider my story a cautionary tale. I made the mistake of buying the wrong kind of shoes when I took Stacy to Disney World in 2016. With so many styles, brands, and materials to choose from, it’s not always obvious which shoes are right and which ones are wrong. Before our trip I walked into my local Sketchers store and bought a nice soft pair of shoes with the memory foam in the sole. They felt fantastic for day-to-day walking around town, but they turned out to be absolutely horrible for eight solid days of Disney World. Why? I only found out later that memory foam needs times to “recover” and is not meant to be worn every day. What?!?!?!

Enjoying the day, partially due to wearing Birkenstocks to the Happiest Place on Earth!

I’ll spare you the ugliest details, but I was in quite a lot of pain. Each day my feet would start to hurt in the early afternoon, and by the evening I’d be hobbling up and down Frontierland like a peg-legged Caribbean pirate. Every day my feet gained new and larger blisters, slowing me down and limiting the amount of attractions that I could visit. This is not how you want to experience your Disney vacation!

In the weeks following our return home, my feet recovered fully, but the emotional scars remain to this day. I vowed to never make the same mistake again. When we booked our next trip to Disney World in 2018, I returned to the Sketchers store to try again. This time I bought a shoe specifically marketed as a “running shoe” with a sole made of “yoga mat” material. But I was not taking any chances, so I also packed my trusty pair of Nikes that I’ve been wearing to the gym for years. Don’t be stingy with your packing, taking a back-up pair of shoes is never a bad idea! Fortunately, I did not need my back-ups because my yoga mat Sketchers held up great! I was swift and nimble for the whole vacation as they lovingly supported my tender toesies with ample padding and comfort. No more limping and no more blisters! Sure, my other body parts ached and throbbed as the 30,000 steps per day took their toll, but I had a much more magical vacation overall when my feet were as happy as I was!

Need to make it through your 57th ride on The Haunted Mansion, fam!

Just a quick disclaimer, I’m not saying that the shoes that worked for me would work for you.  Everybody’s feet and ergonomic needs are different. If you are a person who already does some amount of activity, chances are you may already know which kind of shoes work for you. If you’re not sure where to start, look for the ones that are specifically marketed for walking or running. Always get the best fit, and don’t just get the cheapest thing or settle for the pair on sale. Stacy swears up and down that her Birkenstocks were perfect for her, but with shoes like that it is especially important that you break them in before your trip.

In conclusion, when going on a magical Disney vacation, your feet should never be taken for granted and your choice of footwear should never be taken lightly. It’s a great excuse to treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, which is a small price to pay to ensure the full enjoyment of what is a very expensive holiday. You really do owe it to yourself and your travel companions to start your Disney trip with your best foot forward.

What footwear is your go-to for Disney? Comment, subscribe and/or follow Stacy on Instagram :)