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How to Avoid Shoe Mistakes at Theme Parks

Last Updated on February 15, 2023 by Themepark Freak

So often when walking around different theme parks, I see people limping around. They look miserable and very much like they have made a shoe mistake that they’re very much regretting. The question now becomes, what shoe mistakes are people making and how can you avoid it?

Why Shoes Matter at Theme Parks

While there are huge theme parks like Disney, or smaller ones such as the Silverwood amusement park in Idaho, there’s one thing that they all have in common. You will be doing a lot of walking.

I don’t think I’ve visited any theme park where I’ve done less than 20,000 steps in a single day. You’re constantly walking from one attraction to the next and that ends up putting quite a few miles on your footwear.

Nothing is going to put a damper on your day more than having shoes that cause blisters or hurt your feet! So to have the best day out possible (especially for the money you’re going to shell out), do yourself a favor and avoid making shoe mistakes!

Shoe Mistakes to Avoid

Now that you know why shoes matter, here are some shoe mistakes to avoid if you’re going to spend long days on your feet at theme parks.

1.) Don’t Wear New Shoes to the Theme Park

This is probably the #1 mistake people like to make when they’re going to go certain theme parks (ahem… Disney). People want to look fashionable, or at least not wearing their comfy dirty trainers. So a week before going off on holiday, they purchase new shoes and pop them on in the parks. Please, don’t do this.

It’s going to take at least a month to properly break in a new pair of shoes. It’s entirely possible that your feet will hurt and ache while adjusting to the shoe. This really isn’t all that fun and achy, painful feet will put a damper on your day.

2.) Wearing Shoes that Aren’t Allowed

Check the rules of the park or attraction you’re going to visit. You don’t want to miss out on the fun when the rules clearly state you need a certain type of footwear.

3.) Wearing the Wrong Shoes

Anything you have never walked 30,000 steps a day in. Do yourself a favor and opt for your everyday walking shoes over fashionable shoes.

Shoes that have no arch support, ankle support, or that are more fashionable that sensible may cause hot spots, blisters, or make your ankles and bottom of your feet hurt.

And here’s something a lot of people don’t realize. Once your feet and ankles start hurting, you’re going to start walking different to try to compensate for the pain. This may cause your hips and back to start hurting next and that pain may creep up to your shoulders and neck. Yes, ankle pain can cause your neck to hurt.

4.) Wearing Cheap Shoes

I get it, in this day and age money is tight. It’s easier to go pick up some cheap canvas shoes from Payless Shoes (or whatever the local cheap shoe shop is) or cheap trainers. Don’t wear these to the theme parks.

Once again, if it’s not able to handle 30,000 steps a day, just don’t do it. Cheap shoes are going to start falling a part, they’ll lose any sort of support and in the end, they’ll make you regret your life choices.

5.) Not Packing an Extra Pair of Shoes

This particular shoe mistake only applies to those that aren’t going to a local theme park. Then again, if you live in an area that rains a lot OR plan to go on water rides it may be useful to have a spare pair of shoes in the car!

An extra pair of shoes is great if your feet get wet (happens at Disneyworld or Universal Orlando) and don’t dry by the next day. Also, different shoes wear differently. Today the shoes you’re wearing might start making a hot spot in one place but another doesn’t rub in that exact same spot. By rotating through your shoes, you may save yourself from some blisters or other issues.

Fixing Your Shoe Mistakes

Ok, so lets say that you made one of the mistakes listed above. If you didn’t break in your shoes or your feet are killing you at the end of the day, there are a few tips and tricks to make you more comfortable.

1.) Pick Up Some Good Socks to Avoid Shoe Mistakes

Good socks can really help shoe problems. It’s not going to fix it 100%, but a good pair of socks (that fit well) will help with rubbing, blisters, and sweaty feet.

Socks to Prevent Blisters

Try to find socks that either have merino wool (i.e. Smartwool socks) or Coolmax in them. The material actually wicks away moisture, which is usually a factor in causing hot spots and blisters.

You’ll also want snug fitting socks. Looser socks can cause rubbing which cause blisters. Personally, while each pair is rather expensive, I love the Smartwool brand.

Socks for Sweaty Feet

Again, socks that have merino wool or coolmax will be your friend. Due to the way it pulls the moisture away from your skin, your feet will be left a lot dryer than cotton socks. Of course, this won’t help if your feet get wet due to rain.

If you’re prone to sweaty feet, it might be a good idea to throw an extra pair of socks in your bag to change into. You can put them in a ziplock bag and then throw your icky, sweaty socks in the bag once you change!

2.) KT Tape is Your Friend in Avoiding Shoe Mistakes

KT Tape, or Kinesio Tape, is used in physical therapy to “tape” muscles or ligaments in a certain direction. However, there are other uses for KT tape. Such as taping areas of your foot that your shoe tends to rub after wearing them for so long.

I discovered this use of KT tape while hiking. I wear orthopedic inserts in my hiking boots and there was a little gap between the insert and shoe that rubbed and hurt. Since I had some KT tape with me I taped the gap in my shoe. I also put a little bit over the “hot spot” on my foot. It was like magic.

Now before I do any serious walking (think 30k step days) or hiking, I always tape the areas on my foot that I know will be painful.

It is VERY important that when you apply the tape you do it to clean and dry areas. Also don’t get any creases, crinkles or rolls in the tape or it could cause blisters under the tape!

3.) Carry Compeed With You

If I only have a hot spot on my foot (hot red area, not yet a blister) I prefer using KT tape. With all the walking I tend to do, it doesn’t get gummy like Compeed can. Especially after showering.

However, if you already have a blister Compeed (or products like it) win hand down. Why?

Compeed (and other blister plasters) have cushioning and help spread the pressure over the area. This kind of puts a second skin over the blister and allows it to heal faster. It also helps with pain relief.

If you do get a blister, try not to drain it. The fluid will help the new skin grow and prevent infection!

4.) Pack a Lacrosse Ball to Help Fix Shoe Mistakes

I’m sure you’re asking yourself what do you need with a lacrosse ball (or any big, solid rubber ball). If your feet aren’t used to all of the walking you’re doing, there’s nothing like taking your shoes off and rolling your achy feet on the ball.

You can hold the ball in the arch of your foot or where ever else is painful. If you stand, you can put as much pressure on the ball as you need to.

As a bonus, you can use the ball to hit other areas of your body that may be sore or painful from all of the exercise. Like your calves (which can help with feet pain) or glutes!

5.) Soaking Your Feet in Hot Water

Doing a hot foot soak after you get back from the park could help! Whenever I’m traveling, I always try to choose hotels that have hot tubs. Not only to soak my feet, but my entire body!

Of course, make sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations if you have any sort of condition where foot soaking is contraindicative.

6.) Elevate Your Feet

If you decided to walk 30,000 steps on old or unsupportive shoes, you can always put them up and elevate them when you get home or back to your hotel! This will help with any swelling that may be going on!

Do you have any tips on avoiding shoe mistakes? Or to help your feet once the mistake is made? Make sure to comment below!

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