Six Tips When Looking for Walking Shoes
Finding a good pair of comfortable walking shoes can be a difficult task. There are so many things to consider such as comfort, support, and fit. But what are the most important characteristics of a good walking shoe and how does one go about finding the perfect pair? Below are some tips to help you get started:
1. Get Sized Properly
Many people wear the wrong shoe size and don’t even realize it. Sizes can vary between brands or shoe types, such as work shoes and athletic shoes. It’s important to get both the length and width correct. People often wear walking shoes that are too small and tight, which can lead to a variety of foot problems and pain. Get your foot sized using a Brannock Device, which measures your true toe length, arch length, and width. Generally, you’d want a walking shoe that is larger than your true foot size because your foot expands after an extended amount of time on them. Accounting for that expansion will prevent your foot from feeling sore. For that reason, the ideal time for trying on shoes is at the end of day or after exercising, when your feet will be at their largest.
2. Match Your Foot to the Shape of the Shoe
Getting the right shaped walking shoes is just as important as getting shoes with the right length and width. Just as feet come in all shapes and sizes, so do shoes. A shoe that conforms to your feet most naturally will provide the best fit.
3. Find the Appropriate Amount of Support
Walking shoes come in a variety of support levels: from very flexible and light to very rigid. The midsole of shoes also vary in foam density and arch support. Your foot type, gait pattern, and intended use for the shoes are important factors to consider when determining the proper support level. When your feet are supported appropriately, less stress is placed on your arches, ankles, knees, hips, and back.
4. Find the Appropriate Amount of Cushioning
Walking shoes range in cushioning from barely-there to ultra-plush. The right amount depends on foot pathologies and preference. If you’ve been suffering from pain in the heel, ball of foot, or arch, having additional cushioning in the midsole will be more helpful than a flat shoe with little to no midsole.
5. Function Matters
How you use your walking shoes is an important factor in the type of shoes to get. Exercise walking, working, and hiking will require a more stable, durable, and cushioned shoe than just walking around the grocery store. Remember, picking your shoes based on color and fashion is not as important as how the shoes functions on your foot and how they are being utilized.
6. Get Fit By a Specialist
It may be tempting to simply pick a shoe based on looks or price, but taking the time to seek out a professional can make all the difference. Stores that specialize in fitting people for shoes have employees with extensive knowledge about the shoes they carry and how they function. They can help you differentiate between the plethora of options to help you select the walking shoe that best fits your unique foot. They also have experience sizing feet and analyzing walking gait, which can result in a more comfortable fit.