Anyone who’s ever been to Comic-Con will tell you: it’s murder on the feet. Tons of walking involved, usually while carrying things. You do what you can to get through it. This year I bought two brand-new, super comfy pairs of shoes the week before and alternated which pair I wore each day:

All in all, it made a huge difference, but there’s only so much you can do. So, since my feet sure feel the mileage every year, this year I thought I’d find out just what that mileage was. So I bought a pedometer to count the number of steps I took during the con, and therefore approximately what distance I traveled. I forgot to get one before leaving for my train, but after walking the few blocks from the train station to my hotel and dropping off my bag, the first thing I did was walk another couple blocks to Long’s Drugs to buy a pedometer. A Gaiam Beginner Pedometer, to be precise.

Now obviously these results must be taken with a grain of salt. The length of my stride in a crowded convention hall and the length of my stride walking to and from the hotel will obviously be different. I also forgot to wear the pedometer for about four hours on Thursday, and there were probably several times when I bumped into something or banged the pedometer with my bag and caused it to register a step without me taking that actual step. Those stipulations aside, here are the results. Whenever I got back to the hotel, or sat down for a while in a panel or for a meal, I would record the time and number of steps, so you can get an idea of the progression:

04:22 PM – 4,779
11:26 PM – 13,759

01:45 PM – 22,771

01:28 AM – 29,063
04:30 PM – 37,117
06:40 PM – 41,822
07:24 PM – 42,500

02:34 AM – 46,277
02:10 PM – 56,785
07:07 PM – 65,684

02:45 AM – 75,150
12:06 PM – 80,798
03:38 PM – 83,761
06:25 PM – 90,028

So the total number of steps for the con was 90,028. According to the pedometer, based on my average stride as measured on Wednesday, this means I traveled 36.39 miles (58.57 km). Pretty crazy considering I stayed within ten blocks of the convention center at all times and, indeed, spent most of my time inside the convention center.


UPDATE: Others have tried this before as well. Check out the comments below for their results.

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20 Responses to The San Diego Comic-Con Pedometer Experiment

  1. kelly says:

    With the amount of walking my family and I do at Comic Con, I can totally believe this.

    Thanks for doing this!!! It’s a great idea for next year!

  2. Caleb says:

    Kelly, if you do it next year, be sure to let me know. Maybe if enough people do it we can figure out some sort of average…

    Jason Rodriguez, ladies and gentlemen! Man-about-comics and editor of this year’s Eisner-nominated POSTCARDS. He did an experiment of his own this year, driving cross-country to SDCC and taking a nationwide survey of comicdom as he did it. I’ll blog about it soon, but in the meantime you can go straight to the horse’s mouth.

  3. Gaiam says:

    Kelly it’s amazing how far we walk at conferences isn’t it? I think I’ll be taking a pedometer with me next time just to see. :-) By the way, that product page on our site has a link to leave a comment/review and I’m sure our customers would love to hear about your experiment.



  4. Keely says:

    Great idea! Seriously though – my feet hurt just looking at those totals.

  5. I only reached 5 miles in 1996 on the Saturday of Comic-Con. I tried the pedometer that year. The con was the same size. I just stood around talking too much, or going to panels, I suppose.

  6. Caleb says:

    Keely – There was definite foot soreness involved. Next year I think a reflexology session on Sunday night or Monday morning is in order.

    Augie – Five miles is still a big total for a day inside a single building. By Sunday this year I found myself going to more and more panels…

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  8. Wow, 36 miles? That’s impressive. Now I know why the con takes so much energy each year. Maybe next time I’ll carbo load.

    Nice job on the experiment. Looking forward to hearing what you do next year.

  9. John Platt says:

    Holy cow! Great idea!

  10. David Oakes says:

    I did the same thing two years ago with pretty much the same results, averaging 8 miles a day. (Including Preview night.)

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  12. Tom Galloway says:

    A few years ago, I looked at the convention center specs online. Seems each of the aisles on the dealer/exhibit floor is about 100 yards. And there are 52 of them. So just to walk down the middle of each aisle, not even going side to side to look closer at things, amounts to a 5200 yard walk, or about 3 miles.

  13. Empty Nest says:

    what did you do to Gagnon?

  14. Caleb says:

    Speaking of BOOM! editor extraordinaire Matt Gagnon, he was looking rather dapper down at Comic-Con.

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