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I quickly learned during my first visit to Walt Disney World as an adult that footwear is everything when it comes to all-day comfort, and those stylish but flat sandals do not cut it.
My feet actually burned in pain after spending 12 hours our first day walking from one side of Magic Kingdom to the other and back in an extremely cute pair of sandals that had zero support.
Honestly, walking in those shoes all day was the equivalent of walking barefoot on concrete. If I had to take one more step in those, I probably would have laid down on the sidewalk and pitched a hissy fit that could put a tired and hungry two-year-old to shame.
That was the first and only time I made that mistake.
Nothing ruins a day in your favorite park quicker than painful feet. You are going spend several hours each day in whatever shoes you choose as you navigate parks (I average about 30,000 steps each day at WDW), so it is important to be thoughtful in regards to footwear.
When I returned to WDW the following year, I was well-versed in proper foot attire.
I packed Chacos, Tevas, and Sperrys. All of which had provided me ample comfort in the past.
The Chacos and Tevas were perfect walking shoes. The Sperrys? Not so much.
They felt great on my feet for about four hours before rubbing blisters on both heels somewhere between France and China in Epcot’s World Showcase.
By the end of that night, my feet burned as badly as they did during my first visit.
Now I know that Sperrys are not made for the magnitude of steps one takes at Disney World.
With my next trip, I felt like I had an even better handle on what shoes to bring. And I was right.
My Chacos remained on the list — the Tevas would have as well if my new puppy had not eaten them — and I added Vans low tops and a pair of cute but supportive sandals made by B.O.C.
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winning combination!
I have found that the trick is to not wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row if you can help it. As long as you are wearing comfortable and supportive shoes, switching it up each day helps alleviate some of the stress on your feet. That’s true for me, at least.
I also like to mix up my shoe styles from day-to-day — I pack a minimum of three pairs to alternate between. I am not a fan of wearing sneakers anyway, but I do believe they are a necessity for Disney World — for at least one park day. I prefer to wear some kind of sandal or shoe that I can easily take off and on, but finding the perfect shoe that meets all my requirements, let alone multiple pairs, can be difficult.
That is why I have put together a comprehensive list to help make shoe decisions easier and prove that you don’t have to sacrifice attractiveness for comfort when packing for the house of mouse.
If you are going for something more feminine and fun that still provides comfort and support, I suggest Keds X Kate Spade. Personally, I prefer the glitter style, but there are plenty of adorable pairs of choose from.
As I mentioned above, Chacos are my go-to sandal for walking all day in a WDW theme park. The arch support that Chacos provide is unmatched. I have flat feet that fall in, so I find that Chacos are best at supporting and lifting my ankles.
Teva sandals also provide a great level of comfort — especially the ones with the Mush bottoms. Assuming I know what walking on a cloud feels like, I would say that Tevas are the closest shoe to that.
Also, I have had a great experience with B.O.C. and Born brand sandals. Those typically have more arch support than other fashion sandals and it is easy to find attractive styles at an affordable price.
I know a lot of people who opt for Toms at WDW because they are light with comfortable soles. They also look cute with shorts, skirts, and dresses.
Tieks are another great option in the flats category. Like Chacos, you definitely get what you pay for in terms of comfort with Tieks — they are pricier than other options but are built to mold to your feet and flex as you walk. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and can easily go from a day-in-the-park look to dinner date fashion.
Whatever footwear you decide on, make sure to take them on a “test drive” before unleashing them at WDW; never wear new, never-worn, shoes on a park day.
Don’t forget to activate your Ebates account before ordering shoes for your next Disney vacation.
Wishing happy feet and magical travels to all!