Picking the right shoes is a critical part of any Disney trip

There's a lot to do for a Disney trip but picking out the right shoes may be one of the most important parts!
Mia Angeles, 3, dressed up as Lilo, the Disney character.  Her dog, Stella, follows close behind,
Mia Angeles, 3, dressed up as Lilo, the Disney character. Her dog, Stella, follows close behind, / Mike Lang / USA TODAY NETWORK

Guests need to do many things before preparing for a trip to a Walt Disney park. However, perhaps the most underrated aspect is something so many people take for granted: proper footwear. 

Make no mistake, your feet are going to be put through a wringer at a Disney park. They will become sweaty, swollen and blisters can be possible if you’re not careful. That’s why good shoes are a must, but you have to be cautious in the right choice. 

The obvious idea is to buy a new pair of tennis shoes before your trip as a fresher pair can handle it better. However, it’s a bad idea to wait until you get to the parks to try them out, as that can cause issues with so much pressure put on them. It’s a better idea to break them in a bit while wearing them for a week or two before the trip and get used to them. 

Making your shoes choice

Picking the right type of shoes can be a tricky thing, too. First of all, sandals are fine for the hotel and pool but not for the parks, way too loose and not enough support. Indeed, support is the key to it all, you need something that can sustain you for hours of marching along, standing, be comfortable but also the right support for heels and arch. There’s also how it’s all too easy with sandals to accidentally stub a toe or catch on something which can be painful. 

That’s why breaking them in is good, make sure you avoid things like chafing too much or too tight inside. There’s also how you need to prepare for rainy weather in case they get too soaked and thus, a backup pair is good. 

Socks are also a must. Yes, they can be hotter, but they also reduce the chances of chafing and other problems for your feet. Going without them may seem freeing, but not at the end of the day when you have to massage them down. 

Another quantity is that people can have unique foot shapes, from flatter soles to arches and that can complicate the shoe choices. There’s also the classic issue in that men and women have different foot types and so have differing choices for the shoes. 

What types of shoes are best?

Keep in mind, there’s really no such thing as the “perfect” shoe, as everyone has preferences. However, for such hiking as Disney parks require, there are some good choices besides the typical sneakers. 

The best ones are “breathers” like Crocs, letting you air out a bit and thus not trapping all that sweat inside. They also dry out fast, a must on some water rides and a rainstorm. Brands like Hoka are great for how you can just slip them on, while Brooks Running is quite sturdy, another must for the hiking you do in parks. There are also things like “Ultraboosts,” which mix comfort with durability. 

Some may still want sandals, and it’s better to pick a pair that isn’t quite flip-flops but durable enough to handle this. Also, loafers may be okay for some folks although it’s critical to make sure they can stand a lot of walking. Still, tennis shoes are the better bet for long-term hiking around the parks. 

Another bit is that just maybe wearing expensive and super-stylish Disney-themed shoes isn’t the best idea. It sounds good, but these things will get some wear and tear (maybe literally) on the trip and aren’t as comfortable as they look. Another good idea is to get one of the cheaper interior comfort padding just for another level of support but not make the shoe too tight. 

At the end of the day, it comes to not only personal preference but also just how your feet can react. Just remember that while it’s not quite a hike in the mountains, a Disney park trip can be one of the hardest things your feet go through and so finding the right shoes is a must to keep you from needing a podiatrist at the end of your trip.