Walking can be done in just about any kind of shoe, but a good pair of walking shoes will allow you to stay comfortable while walking for long stretches. With so many great walking shoe options available, though, how do you choose the right ones? We’ve got some guidelines to help.
- Consider where you plan to walk. If you’re going to be walking on surfaces like gravel paths and cobblestone streets, hiking and trail-running shoes are good options. Road running-shoes are lightweight and good if you’re going to be walking at a brisk pace on pavement or want just one pair of shoes for both walking and running.
- Your shoe should have good support, uniform cushioning, and a good fit.
- Hold the shoe in your hands to test its stability. Bend the toe upward while holding the heel to make sure it bends at the ball instead of a random point in the arch. When you twist the shoe, you should feel moderate resistance. If your feet roll inward as you walk, consider stability shoes or motion control shoes. Hiking shoes and trail runners typically have better stability than road-running shoes. Road-running shoes sometimes have rockered soles, which curve slightly upward at the toe and heel. This can smooth the stride and reduce the stress of impact, but choose a traditional flat sole if you prefer more stability.
- Cushioning is a matter of personal preference. Running shoes come in barefoot, minimal, moderate, and maximum cushioning. Hiking shoes generally have minimal cushioning because walking creates less impact for your feet than running does. Many walkers look for a shoe with an even cushion, rather than extra cushioning at the heel.
- Fit is the most important factor in choosing a walking shoe. When your shoes fit properly, you’ll avoid painful blisters, bruised toenails, and more serious problems with your feet. Your shoe should be snug everywhere but not tight, with some room for your toes to splay a little bit. There should be a finger’s width or more between the end of the shoe and your longest toe, so consider buying a half size bigger than you wear in casual shoes. The shoe’s volume, or height, makes a big difference. Too much volume allows the foot to move around too much. Too little can be uncomfortable across the top of your foot. The best way to ensure the right fit is to be fitted by an expert.
- Consider switching your insoles. Aftermarket insoles offer an easy way to slightly modify your new shoes, providing better arch support or stability.
When you’re looking for a great place to work out and get good fitness advice, check out the Wellbridge Family of Athletic Clubs. At our clubs, you’ll be greeted by our friendly team before you’re challenged and motivated by top-notch instructors in our fitness classes. You’ll make new friends because you belong here. Join today or contact us to learn more.