FINDING THE RIGHT WALKING SHOES
Find comfortable, functional walking shoes that take you where you need to go.
- Walking shoes have a low-profile heel with a slight bevel on the lateral (outer) side of the heel to steady the foot and ankle. This prepares the foot for roll-through and promotes an efficient foot strike.
- The heel on a walking shoe should be specially designed to accommodate the natural roll-through motion of walking
- Walking is a low-impact activity, so shock absorption is not a key factor in your walking shoes.
Cushioning & Heel Height
- Walking shoes have low heel profiles because walkers need less heel cushioning than runners
- Most walking shoes will have a relatively low midsole profile since a walker’s cushioning needs are only moderate
- Heel counter–This is a plastic or composite material used to reinforce the heel area and increase stability. It will keep your foot snugly in place and centered in your shoe as you walk.
A walker’s foot flexes more than a runner’s during toe-off, therefore the make-up and construction of a walking shoe must allow for this flexibility.
- Cut horizontally across the forefoot of the outsole or bottom of the shoe, allowing the foot to bend and flex properly
- In shoes without flex grooves, the outsole materials should be flexible
- Walking shoe uppers are sturdy enough to be supportive but are also breathable and lightweight
- All-leather shoes are the sturdiest and most stable, but they are heavier and less breathable
- Shoes that combine leather and lightweight, breathable, synthetic mesh materials offer both durability and breathability and are typically more lightweight
- Walking shoes offer more room in the toe box to allow your toes to flex up during heel plant and spread out and flex during the toe-off portion
- A toe box that is too small will restrict the muscles and tendons in the foot and lead to pain and cramping
- As a general rule, you should have about half-inch (about a thumb’s width) between your longest toe and the front of the shoe and half -inch between your longest toe and the top of the shoe
WHEN TO BUY NEW WALKING SHOES
- The easiest way to tell if you need new walking shoes is to look at the soles. If they are worn out or unevenly worn, they should be replaced.
- Walking shoes should be replaced every 500 miles, or every six months, mainly due to the breakdown in cushioning that occurs
- If you are wearing your walking shoes for activities besides fitness walking, those miles count, too