When it comes to the topic of the best shoes to wear at Disney World, Disneyland, or any theme park for that matter – there are really only three things that matter: comfort, comfort and … of course, comfort.
I mean sure, it would be nice to add some stylish footwear to your packing list that matches your carefully crafted Disney bounding outfit. Maybe you have some cute Teva sandals, slides or flip flops in mind.
But as someone who blogs about Disney theme parks for a living – frequently getting in over 20,000 steps a day while at the parks – I can promise you, you won’t give a Mickey Mouse’s rear end about how you look on mile eight of your trek at the end of a long, scorching hot day.
Get Disney World deals and discounts delivered straight to your inbox from HeyOrlando.com
My personal shoe journey
My search for the perfect theme park shoe began when I dragged my friend Rachel along with me on one of my recent trips to Disney World. Rachel just so happens to be an orthopedic physician’s assistant.
On this particular Disney trip, I decided to bring along my favorite pair of AllBirds.
Rachel brought her On Clouds.
Upon arrival, she immediately scolded me about my choice in footwear accusing my comfy cute AllBirds of lacking support. I, of course, blew off this criticism and assured her that I would be fine despite the particularly long day ahead.
But after a few hours, just as she predicted, my feet were throbbing, swollen and scabbed.
In fact, I was in so much pain I ended up buying a backup pair of shoes in the park just to give my tootsies a break. I ended up buying an equally painful pair of Vans (pictured above) which just gave me fresh blisters in new places for the duration of the evening.
Meanwhile, Rachel and her fancy On Cloud sneakers finished out the day like champs.
I don’t like it when she’s right.
4 best shoes for Disney World
Today, I am an older and wiser blogger. I’ve learned from my past mistakes.
And now, dear reader, I’ve decided to share my findings with you.
Do keep in mind, this isn’t just a list of good shoes. This is a list of the best shoes – the G.O.A.T’s if you will. And thus, some options may be a bit cost prohibitive.
And so, at the end of this article, I will also provide a brief list of value brands with solid reviews – even though I cannot personally vouch for them.
Editor’s Note: This isn’t going to be one of those generic articles where I mention shoes I nor anyone I know actually wears. The pictures below are being modeled by the real-life people mentioned in this list, who love and recommend their footwear.
I’m going to start with my personal favorite theme park shoe – the Hoka.
These are, in my opinion, the most comfortable shoes on this entire list.
As someone who relies on good footwear for both exercise and for her job, I can confidently say these shoes are life-changing. For the first time in years, I can finally walk for miles without pain.
Plus, there’s a style to accommodate virtually any personal preference or need.
Some Hokas are even waterproof great for water rides). Some boast slip-resistant technology. Others have memory foam collars for extra comfort.
Our other HeyOrlando.com Disney contributor, Kirby Russell also wears Hokas (Hoka One One) while at the park.
Hoka – if you’re listening – sponsor us! *bats eyelashes*
Hoka Trail Runners are probably your best option if, like me, you like extra cushion and moderate support. In fact, these are the most cushioned shoe on this entire list.
I have fairly flat feet and a slightly bowed leg that causes me to lean a bit too much on the right edge of my foot while walking (I think the technical term is called “supinate”).
While I recognize, for both of these reasons, that I need support, I often find that competitor brands are either too hard on my heels or have ultra-high arches that tend to cause pain.
Hokas have been the only shoe that I’ve personally found that provide the right amount of support while still managing to correct my gait without leaving my arches feeling worse for the wear.
The average Hoka will run anywhere between $120-$250 on Amazon and at Hoka.com.
Hoka comes in many different styles and options, I recommend looking at either the Trail Running or the Road Running selections for theme parks. I personally own the Stinson 6.
Hokas run true to size albeit ever so slightly narrow – so when in doubt, order a pair in wide.
2. On Clouds
My friend Rachel, the aforementioned orthopedic physician’s assistant, swears by her On Clouds.
These are the shoes she relies on to both get her through her work day (as she is constantly on her feet) and through her tagalong theme park treks with me.
As a whole, they are slightly less cushiony than my Hoka shoes but also tend to have better overall arch support – which she loves. And most models feature an engineered mesh upper for breathability.
She always says Hokas are for people who love cushiony support, and On Clouds are for those who prefer a firm arch.
Like the Hokas above, the biggest drawback to On Clouds is the price tag. The average On Cloud runs between $120-$200 on Amazon. But they can also go as high as $400.
But if you’re on your feet all of the time like we are – the right shoe is worth every penny.
On Clouds also run true to size. But if you’re in between half sizes, it’s generally advised to round up with this brand.
3. Brooks Running
If you’re in the market for a great trail runner with great cushion, a wider toe box (for people with wider feet) and a thicker midsole for more stability, you might want to check out Brooks Running shoes.
My mother, an avid hiker, swears by this brand.
She also raves about their durability. My mom’s pair (pictured above) is about seven years old and have endured hundreds of miles of trails but still holding up.
Brooks Running, like the others on this list, also run between $99-$200 on Amazon but they can last for years.
These, like the other brands mentioned in this article, also run true to size.
4. Hey Dudes
To be clear, this final pick is NOT approved by my orthopedic PA friend. In fact, she warns against the long-term use of shoes with soles so flimsy you can easily bend them into a U-shape.
And it is true that athletic sneakers will always provide the best support and comfort on a Disney vacation.
However, I wanted to end this post with at least one light-as-air, non-sneaker option.
This one is best for those who are more concerned about the heat than arch support and don’t plan on a lot of walking – or at least not as much walking around the parks as I usually do.
While these shoes fail the U-bend support test, they are ultra ultra ULTRA lightweight and surprisingly comfortable – especially for a loafer.
In fact, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a lighter-weight shoe — which is always a nice feature for hot as-heck Florida, as well as packing — and ultimately this is the main reason they made the list.
These shoes would probably be my go-to for a half day at Disney Springs rather than a full park day.
Regardless, Hey Dudes are available at a very reasonable $30-$70 price point on Amazon. Some have leather footbeds and others do not. I suggest upgrading to the leather footbed – it’s well worth the extra $5-$10.
Hey Dudes fit true to size but they do not come in half sizes. If you happen to normally wear a half size, and you plan on sweating in them you probably want to size up.
More budget-friendly options
Finally, as promised, I wanted to wrap this article up with a list of popular value brands for those on a budget. While I cannot personally vouch for any of these, most have at least 10,000+ positive reviews on Amazon.
And with that many happy customers, I’d say that most of these are likely safe bets.
Below are some of Amazon’s top picks for both the best men’s walking shoes and the best women’s walking shoes.
- Salomon SpeedCross 4 (Men’s and Women’s)
- Skechers Go Walk (Men’s and Women’s)
- ASICS Gel-Venture (Men’s and Women’s)
- New Balance Shoes (Men’s Trail Runners and Women’s Trainers)
Editor’s Note: When in doubt, find a local shoe store and just try a few different things on until you find your “solemate”. And remember, always complete your footwear ensemble with a pair of comfortable, functional socks. Bare feet are rarely happy feet after several miles.
Now that I’ve shared my top picks for the best Disney shoes – I want to hear from YOU!
Do you know of any comfortable walking shoes not mentioned in this article? What do you normally wear on Walt Disney World vacation? Let me know in the comments below.