How to choose the best walking shoe

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How to choose the best walking shoe

Walking is the best form of exercise most of us can do comfortably…unless the shoes you’re wearing are killing your feet.  What should be an enjoyable form of aerobic movement helping you get in shape can turn into a dreaded experience. What you need is a good pair of well-fitted walking shoes. This will be your biggest investment but is well worth the price in keeping you comfortable and walking consistently as they support your feet protecting you from injury. When you spend the time and money choosing a good pair of walking shoes, it can keep you walking for exercise for years to come.

Know your feet

The first step towards buying the best walking shoe is to know your feet. Here are several things to consider before making a final choice:

·      As you age your feet change

Over time, your feet will become wider. Years of walking, running, climbing stairs, etc. results in stretched out tendons, muscles, and ligaments within the feet. You may also notice that your feet have gotten longer – that’s due to the fatty pads that cushion the bottoms of your feet can start to thin out. It’s important that every time you shop for shoes, to have both feet measured. It’s not unusual to have one foot longer than the other; if so, buy the shoes in the larger size.

·      Factor in pain

Pain in your back, knees, or heels will require a good, supportive shoe with cushioning under the heel. If you have bunions, arthritis or gout which can affect the big toe joint, stick with a wider, softer shoe.

·      Consider the climate of where you live

Depending on the weather and climate of where you live, also determines the right shoe for you.  Live in a rainy climate? Be sure to invest in shoes that are waterproof. Do you live in a cold climate with lots of snow? Make sure your shoes have good traction. Do you walk for miles every day? Look for sturdy, well-made shoes protecting your feet.

Time to go shoe shopping

The best place to shop for walking shoes is an athletic shoe store. If you have friends or family who are athletes, ask them for their advice on where to shop. 

It can be intimidating walking up and down the rows and rows of walking shoes.  It’s best to start by picking shoes that catch you eye to see how they feel. Keep in mind, walking shoes should first and foremost, be comfortable when you try them on. They should be able to absorb 1.5 times your body weight when you walk, making them designed to cushion your foot.

Here are other tips for finding shoes that fit:

·      Always try the shoes on.  Never go just by the size listed on the box. Try on the shoes on both feet and not just one foot.

·      Choose shoes that fit as closely as possible to the shape of your feet.

·      Can you wiggle your toes in the toebox of the shoe? When on, the shoes’ toebox should be roomy enough for you to wiggle your toes freely and without pressure, but not so loose that your feet slide around in the shoes.

·      The best time to buy shoes is at the end of the day. As the day goes on and the longer you have walked or stood throughout the day, the more your feet will swell.

·      Bring the socks you would plan to wear with walking shoes to get a good idea if they fit well within the shoe. It’s recommended to choose socks made of a combination of acrylic, nylon, and spandex, which helps keep your feet dry and will provide extra padding for comfort.

·      Make sure the widest part of your feet fit comfortably in the wide part of the shoes when you are standing.

·      Avoid buying tight fitting shoes. While you may expect your shoes to stretch out after wearing them for awhile, don’t count on it. What likely will happen is your feet may push or stretch shoes to fit, but this can cause foot pain and damage and should be avoided.

·      Always walk in the store with the shoes you are considering buying. Make sure they fit and feel good. If they ‘slip’ or your heels are slipping around in the shoes, do not buy them.

·      Avoid rushing your decision when choosing walking shoes. Having the right fit is worth it even if you have to spend more time and money for the extra comfort.