I took a family trip to Disneyland back in 2007 and aside from some good times, one of the things I remember most was how much my feet hurt at the end of the first day. I wasn’t wearing the best shoes for Disneyland. It felt so good to take my shoes off at the end of the day. By the next morning, my feet felt fine. I was ready for day two at the park. I even stopped off to get some of those gel inserts you put into the shoes to make it more comfortable. About an hour in, my feet were in pain again. I don’t even know how I made it through the rest of the day.
A couple of years later I went back to Disneyland with guarded optimism. I really had no plan on how to combat the eventual pain I was preparing to experience. I figured I’d just suck it up. To my surprise, I made it through the two-day adventure practically pain free. Sure, my feet were tired but the entire park experience was so comfortable that I didn’t even notice the absence of pain until we were headed home. There are quite a few forum discussions that give you multi-step tips on how to keep your feet fresh for the parks but what (surprisingly) worked for me was a pair of Nike Free Run shoes and some thin, moisture-wicking socks.
I was introduced to these running shoes by a friend who was raving about them. He said they were the most comfortable shoes he’s ever worn. So I decided to see what the fuss was about and picked up a pair. After wearing them for a day, it was clear that his praise was 100 percent correct. What makes these shoes so comfortable?
The outsoles of Nike Free shoes feature siping (deep slices) and reverse flex grooves that encourage flexion and extension in both directions. With a lightweight, seamless upper on top of a flexible outsole, Nike Free shoes merge the natural, healthy motion of a bare foot with the protection of traditional footwear. – Nike.com
Check out this video (fast forward to 40 seconds if you just want to get to the point):
My Un-scientific Analysis
As you can see from the video, and by the explanation above, the Nike Free Run 2.0 is extremely flexible. They’re going to bend and flex to your natural movement which will drastically reduce the wear on your feet during a 10+ hour day at Disneyland.
The shoes I wore on that 2007 trip were the complete opposite. They were Nikes, but I’m pretty sure they were some type of cross-training shoes, which were really stiff. Comparing a stiff shoe to the Nike Free Run makes it really easy to see why my feet were in so much pain. The cross-training shoes actually hindered my flexibility so my feet were working overtime as they fought against the shoe.
I’ve retired my 2.0s since they were starting to develop some holes on the top. I had them for over five years and took them on multiple Disneyland trips. Each trip was a success for my feet and they held up really well. I bought another set of shoes in the Free family and I’ll probably always have a pair of Frees in my shoe collection. If you decide to check these out, make sure you put them through the bend test so you can see exactly how much flexibility they’ll offer. If you visit Disney parks annually, then these shoes are worth the investment.