Imagine walking in your won shoes because they fit so well and have an all-day comfort level. Too often casual walking shoes are picked out based solely on style or brand. But choosing a shoe specifically for fashion purposes can do damage on your posture and gait.
Importance of Walking Shoes
If you have an unstable pair of walking shoes or you have been wearing the same shoes for over five years, more than likely the shoes are causing more harm to your body. While wearing well-fitting shoes can create comfort and sometimes correct your walking technique. Shoes are tools for your body, they allow your body to walk correctly and perform the way that it needs to without you hurting yourself. Wearing the right kind of walking shoes can provide many more benefits than just all day comfort.
Even though it may seem like walking shoes are only good for comfort, there are other health benefits for wearing them. For people who have poor circulation in the arms and legs, the right kind of walking shoes can help improve the blood supply for cellular respiration. Of course, walking in general can provide many benefits to your health, such as;
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Efficient heart and lung growth
- Controls blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Maintains weight
- Burns calories
- Mental health by releasing endorphins
With that being said, wearing walking shoes can help you in many ways, but the key to having these benefits of wearing walking shoes is that they have to fit you properly.
Knowing Your Size
The key to making sure your shoes are providing you with healthy benefits is that these shoes are fitting you properly. A lot of times you may think you know your shoe size, but you may actually be wrong. It is important to get your feet measured by a shoe fitting expert. Having your foot properly sized can determine whether or not you need narrow or wide fitting shoes. It is important to know that most sales men (or women) are unaware of the correct way to measure feet sizes. But most local running shoes stores have fitting experts that can accurately size your feet for the perfect fitting walking shoes.
Photo Credit: (http://wootten.com.au/faq/size-guide/)
What to Look for
The most ideal walking shoes will have a stable and snug fit. The shoe should provide comfort for an all-day wear. There are certain things to look out for when purchasing the right walking shoes. All of these qualities together can provide you with the best walking shoes;
- Heel Height
- Heels should be no higher than a one inch sole under the ball of the foot.
- Flex in Forefoot
- Shoes should twist and bend only at the ball of the foot
- Light Weight
- Shoes should be lightweight so they do not put strain on the ankles and muscles in the foot
The most important aspect of walking shoes is the comfort level. Wearing uncomfortable shoes all day long can cause many issues, including shin splints and blisters. When purchasing walking shoes there are four specific areas to look at to maximize comfort.
- Heel counter
The heel counter holds the back of your heel in place, just underneath the Achilles tendon. This area should fit snugly, but not too tight. You also want to guarantee that this part of the shoe is soft and cushioned well, if this area is too thin or too tight it could rub along the back of your heel and cause blisters.
This area falls between the tread and cloth upper of the sole. It is the most important component of walking shoes because it provides support and flexibility. The midsole also provides the most cushioning of the shoe which provides the most comfort.
Sometimes this area is removable and replaceable. It is the inside of the shoe on the sole of the foot, and if the shoes you purchase are great walking shoes you will not need to replace your insoles. The insoles should fit comfortably in your shoe and can help provide shock absorption, to eliminate injuries.
- Toe Box
The Toe box area of the shoe is the area that surrounds the toes. There should be enough room in this area to be able to move your toes around, but not too much space to where your feet are shifting within the shoe.
Photo Credit: (http://sneakerfactory.net/sneakers/2014/12/shoe_parts_diagram/)
Different Types of Walking Shoes
After learning what you need to look for when purchasing walking shoes, it is imperative to know that there are different types of walking shoes, for the different types of walkers. Deciding what type of walking shoe is best for you there are varying things to consider. Do you plan on walking long distances? Do you have an over pronation problem? Are these shoes just for walking around through the day? If you are unsure what types of shoes you need you can consult a local running shoe store.
- Light weight shoes: These shoes are best for an all-day wear, whether it is around the house, office, or for running errands. Light weight shoes will provide your foot with the needed support and will not put a strain on your muscles and tendons.
- Durable Cushioned Shoe: If you are someone who plans on walking for more than five miles at a time you should take into consideration a shoe that is more cushioned than the average walking shoes. You want your foot to be in comfort the whole time you are walking long distances.
- Stability Shoes: These shoes are best for mid weight people who do not have any motion control problems when taking every step. But these shoes will provide more stability so you do not create a motion control problem.
- Over pronation Shoes: For anyone who has an over pronation problem, which is when the foot rolls inwards and the arch of your foot flattens. This is also called having flat feet.
There are many things to consider when purchasing the best shoes for walking. The first thing to do is to get sized, it is important to have shoes that are fitting you correctly to prevent any injuries. After figuring out your true size you should determine what type of walking shoe is going to be best for you, it all depends on how you spend your days walking. Lastly, pay attention to the things to consider when purchasing walking shoes. You do not want to make the mistake of buying shoes based off of what is the latest fad.