Whether you are a casual walker or someone who walks each day for exercise, a comfortable, quality walking shoe can help you enjoy yourself, get more out of your workout and save your feet from wear and tear. Here are ten important things to remember so you can make sure you choose the type of shoe that is best for you.
1. The first key when choosing walking shoes is to remember that it doesn’t matter how stylish the shoes look if they don’t support your foot properly. Fortunately, this is such a big industry these days that there are a number of chic styles available for athletic walkers as well as casual walkers. Visit a store or a website that specializes in walking shoes to see what I mean.
2. Give yourself enough time to shop for your walking shoes. You need to try several pairs of shoes on and walk around the store in them. Make sure not to rush this process. The time to discover that a certain style of shoe hurts your feet is when you are still in the store.
3. Have the salesperson measure your foot so you can get an accurate size, especially if it has been a while since you have gone shoe shopping. While you are walking around in the store, check to make sure that your heel stays snug inside of the shoe and that you don’t have any pain while you walk.
4. When you try on the shoe, you’ll be able to feel how the shoe will fit over time. Unlike leather shoes, walking shoes typically won’t stretch out in places where they are tight. If you have a part of the shoe rubbing up against your ankle bone or if the shoe is too tight across your toes, find a different pair to try on.
5. Look for a shoe that is flexible. When you walk, your foot will flex the sole of the shoe so you need something that will flex along with your foot. Hold the shoe in your hands with one hand on the toe and one on the heel. See if you can flex the shoe’s sole back and forth in your hands. If the shoe won’t budge, you need to keep looking.
6. Another important feature of a good walking shoe is the cushioning. During a walk, your foot will hit the ground thousands of times. It’s important to have good cushioning underneath your feet. Check the construction of the cushioning and make sure it will hold up over time.
7. If you’re going to be jogging as well as walking, look for a shoe that can be used for more than one purpose. Cross training shoes or jogging shoes will work well for walking, jogging and running. Ask the salesperson for recommendations based on the type of activity you’ll be doing.
8. Once you get the shoe home (or if you order the shoe online), walk around on carpeted areas only for a time so you can make sure the shoe is right for you before it’s too late to return them. Quality walking shoes aren’t cheap, so it’s important to make sure you have invested in the right shoe before you go traipsing up and down the block.
9. If your new walking shoes are for your walking workouts, keep them in good condition for using them in your exercise program only. Don’t wear them around the house or while running errands, and your shoes will last a lot longer.
10. Know when it’s time for a new pair. Walking experts say you should replace your shoes about every 400 to 500 miles (or about 3 to 6 months). They also recommend getting two pairs of walking shoes and alternating them during walking workouts, so that the shoe is completely dry and the cushioning of the shoe is always at its full effect when you put them on.