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How to have happy feet at Disney World

HomeHow to have happy feet at Disney World
How to have happy feet at Disney World

 

This is a guest post from Stacey Hovey. Now, here’s Stacey…

The fact that you are visiting this site already shows you intend to plan your Disney trip and get the most out of it! But with all the details you can get absorbed in, your feet can be forgotten until there you are limping to your bus or hotel after a long day of touring wondering, “How am I going to make it through tomorrow?” 

Here are some tips to help your feet both before and during your trip so hopefully that doesn’t happen to you.

Before You Go

A Disney trip can be like running a marathon without training, for those of us in less-than-stellar shape. To help lessen the shock on your body and feet, try adding extra steps to your everyday routine as soon as you book that trip. It can be as simple as parking a little further away at the store or making extra trips to bring the groceries in from the car. 

If you don’t have one yet, purchasing a pedometer (like a FitBit or Garmin’s vivofit) to find out how many steps you are taking each day can be both interesting and enlightening. I, unfortunately, had not purchased mine yet on our last WDW trip, but I did have it for our last Disneyland trip.

In one day at one park, I took more than 26,000 steps (close to 8 miles I believe)!

Shoes

I prefer to wear sneakers for my park touring. Others prefer shoes like sandals, flip flops or even high heels. Personally, I’d never attempt to wear flip flops for a long day of park touring. But everyone is different and you know what works for you. 

For sneakers, I recommend a store called Road Runner Sports. They carry men’s, women’s, and children’s footwear. There are many locations across the U.S., but if there’s not one near you, they have a great online store and offer excellent customer service and even online chat. 

I was fitted for Shoe Dog insoles at my local Road Runner Sports. They are made specifically for your foot right in front of you and then an associate will help you shop for the perfect shoe-insole combination. This should be considered an investment in your feet – it doesn’t come cheap.

Insoles run about $70/pair and comfortable shoes can be $50 and up. But I still use/wear the very first pair of insoles and shoes I purchased from them 3 years ago, so your purchase should last a good while.

For shoes, I seem to like the Nike Air Pegasus. I’ve purchased two pairs and each time I feel like I’m walking on air! I also like the Brooks brand.  Do not be afraid to stay and try on shoes until you find the perfect pair. On my first visit, I was there over an hour and I tried on no less than 10 pairs of shoes before I decided. Road Runner also offers a 90-day guarantee, so if you find you do not love your shoes after you get home, you can return them.

I like to use my pink Nikes as “statement” shoes…

..and the blue Brooks to blend in with my jeans.

Moisture-wicking socks were also recommended to me. I was skeptical at first, thinking “How can that contribute to comfortable feet?” Boy, was I wrong! They are amazing! They really help cut down on the friction between your feet and your shoes. When used in conjunction with BodyGlide (see next tip), you almost can’t go wrong. I like the Drymax brand, which you can often find cheaper on Amazon than your local running store.

During Your Trip

You may have already heard of, or even use, a product called BodyGlide. This product saved me more than once on our last trip to WDW. You can find it at most outdoor stores or on Amazon. You apply it to any area that can be affected by friction, whether it be your toes, your heel, between your thighs, under bra straps, anywhere. It comes in a stick deodorant-type package and is applied in the same way. 

I’ve also seen a similar Band-Aid brand product in the bandage aisle in Target. Moleskin is also good at blocking friction. Use your choice, BodyGlide or moleskin, preemptively – do not wait for a blister to appear!  

Do not wear brand new shoes on your trip. If you take the advice above and shop for new insoles/shoes, make sure you buy and break them in at least a month before you leave. If possible, have more than one pair of shoes and rotate wearing them throughout your trip.

If you take all precautions and still get a blister, follow the advice from a Disney fan podiatrist:   

Most importantly RESIST THE URGE TO POP THEM! No you cannot sterilize a sewing needle, paper clip, safety pin etc….. by wiping it with alcohol, running it under hot water or kissing it up to God. You WILL introduce some bacteria which can cause a bad infection. The inside of a blister is sterile and the skin is a protective cover. You can use moleskin around the blister to relieve any pressure from the shoe. The best thing is to cover it with the Spenco Blister Pads. They will usually resolve on their own but if they persist, seek medical attention from a Podiatrist or other medical professional.

The day we left for our trip in September, I really stubbed my big toe good on our luggage trying to get it to the car! By the time we arrived in our room, after about 7 hours of travel, I was limping. I took the evening to elevate my foot and ice the big toe as best I could. I’m so glad I paid attention to my feet! Those few hours resting my foot made it fresh and pain free the rest of the trip.

Remember to treat your feet – they are an important part of what will get you through your trip successfully!

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Shannon Albert
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Jillian

Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

I agree with those that said you should wear what you're used to wearing!

I'm a daily Birkenstock wearer. On my first ever WDW trip a few years ago, I was told I HAD to invest in (and break in) a great pair of walking shoes for the trip. So I did. Halfway through day one, I was miserable. Overheated (I live in the Florida panhandle, so it wasn't the heat) regardless of the fact that it was December. It was my FEET, they were HOT, sweaty, toes sticking together, and swelling! I had taken all the precautions - foot powder & body glide & moisture wicking socks!

We took a break and went back to the room - I changed in to my Birkenstocks and was perfectly content for the next 4 days!

On every subsequent trip, I have relied on my Birkenstocks and been totally comfortable.

Marci Vass

Wednesday 28th of February 2018

My tip for tired feet is to bring epsom salt with you. You can bring a small dollar store container size or a pint size milk carton of epsom salt. You sprinkle a little in a tub at the end of the day and soak your feet. You will be amazed at how relieving it is on your feet. The fatigue is minimized and makes it easy to get up in the morning with refreshed feet.

Lacey

Monday 7th of May 2018

ive always done this. We always stay at pop century.. its like home for us. But the new rooms do not have tubs.. they have showers. I am so upset about this bc I always soak in the bath after a long day in the parks. And bathtubs are way easier with the kids... MOST families that stay at pop have children with them. I don't think they thought that one through when making the decision to remove the bathtubs. I am definitely going to miss my Epsom salt baths every night on our trip next month. Makes a big difference for my feet and back!

Dee

Sunday 14th of January 2018

I was pregnant in 2010 and had two big events during the summer: a work conference in DC in June (while 4 months pregnant) and Disney World in August (while 6 months pregnant). In April, I bought a pair of Keens and wore them to work almost every day. I then wore them, every day, to DC and Orlando, both requiring extensive walking. At the end of each day, I WAS NOT TIRED. You know the kind of tired you get from walking around all day with inadequate shoes on--I did not have it! I felt just fine. I've been on two more Disney trips since then and have worn Keens each time (one trip was in 2014 and I wore the same Keens I wore in 2o10) and had great experiences. I do value the socks/sneakers route (that's what I have my kiddos do) but I've been very happy with Keen sandals.

Aimee

Monday 18th of July 2016

I've got two tips to add. 1. I love my hoka shoes. Max cushioning plus the roomy toe box is what i need for heavy walking days. I like the density of the off-road version. 2. Slap some salon pas on the bottom of your feet at night. Buy in drugstore next to bengay. Cut patch in half if you find it too intense. Ingredients are Menthol and methyl salycilate. Both are analgesics or pain relievers. Methyl salycilate is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug).

Anna

Tuesday 5th of July 2016

Is taking teva sandals really the best, or sneakers?

Kelsey

Wednesday 12th of April 2017

Tevas are the way to go! I took my broken-in universal Tevas with me on my DW trip last June. They were super comfy and my feet weren't hurting after long days of walking. I didn't have to worry about them on water rides, or the occasional rain because they're also waterproof.