The Best Shoes for Walking

CHOOSING THE BEST SHOES FOR WALKING BASED ON YOUR ARCH

The most comfortable shoes for walking depend on a great majority of things. Every activity puts a different bearing on your beloved feet, so the best shoes for walking are those that cater to repetitive heel-to-toe motion when rolling forward. Have you ever stopped to think about what your feet go through every single day? Walking shoes for women are different from walking shoes for men in the sense that women’s styles may be trendier and edgier, but the bottom line is that your kicks should be supportive and comfy to prevent any injury—whether you’re walking, strolling, or commuting.

The Best Walking Shoes

1.Because feet come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, you should always pick a shoe that fits you perfectly.

The best shoes for walking should always consider the structure of your feet to avoid any painful issues in the future. Do not assume that just because you are simply walking towards a certain place that you can just wear whatever kind of shoe you want. Walking around puts just as much strain on your feet as any high impact activity does. The shoes, that is, the width and length of the shoes, are the ones that should conform to your feet. It should never be the other way around.

The Skechers Performance Men’s Go Walk 3 Slip-On Walking Shoe has GOga Mat technology that fits nice and snugly on your feet.

Skechers Performance Men’s Go Walk 3 Slip-On Walking Shoe

  1. When shopping for the perfect walking shoes, it may be common for everyone to pick a good size—after all, that’s how the shoes are categorized in most stores. But when it comes to the arch type, this is where people often make mistakes.

To determine your arch type, try dipping your foot in water. Afterwards, step on a piece of cardboard and check out your footprint. If you can barely see your print, you most likely have a high arch. If your whole footprint is visibly obvious, then you probably have a low arch or flat feet. This simple classification is not something you can just dismiss—having the wrong kind of shoe for the arch of your foot can be very damaging to not only your feet but also your joints. Picking the correct arch for your walking shoes can save you hours and hours of torture on the concrete when you are walking from place to place.

  1. The flexible arches of our feet are crucial to evenly distributing body weight when we walk.

As such, the metatarsal and longitudinal arches dictate the stability of your feet. For people with a neutral arch, opt for firm midsoles. This means that your feet are not too arched, nor are they too flat. For flat-footed individuals or those with a low arched foot, go for straight sole shapes with good motion control to prevent muscle stress due to destabilized feet. As for high arched feet, you should stay away from excessive strain on your joints by choosing extra cushioned shoes for more shock absorption.

The Earth Women’s Redroot Walking Shoe has arch support for reinforcement.

Earth Women's Redroot Walking Shoe

  1. Another big factor to consider when looking for the most comfortable shoes for walking is your history of feet injuries.

Pay attention to where you usually get blisters or painful calluses. If you normally get injured toenails, then the toe box of your shoes are most likely too small and there is not enough space for your toes to move. If your skin peels off at the sides of your feet, your shoes may be too small. If you develop raw calluses on your soles, then the cushion of your shoes are too thin or worn out. Whatever the case may be, your previous feet injuries can say a great deal about what is wrong with your shoes—and this is the perfect way to prevent those from happening again. Note that if your ankles, joints, knees, or even your hips are prone to pain, then your shoes probably don’t have the proper cushioning, either. Make sure your feet can walk naturally in your shoes—never prioritize style over comfort and function.

  1. Keep your walking surface, speed, and daily mileage in mind.

High performance walking shoes have reinforced heel counters, removable insoles (so that you can remove the insoles and dry them off separately during laundry days when you need to wash your shoes), springy cushioning, sturdy nylon mesh uppers (for ultimate breathability), stability straps, and natural flexibility.

The Puma Women’s Slip (Black Geranium) is lightweight and has a breathable mesh upper with synthetic overlays.

Puma Women's Slip Black Geranium

SHOPPING FOR THE BEST SHOES FOR WALKING ALL DAY

Paul Langer, author of Great Feet for Life, says, “A 150-pound woman’s body encounters between 900,000 and 1,350,00 pounds of impact over a three-mile walk.” This means that the most comfortable shoes for walking all day should be able to bear the brunt of your daily life on foot, not to mention keep those pesky calluses and blisters at bay. “I emphasize to all my patients that shoes – conventional or otherwise – are tools to be used as needed for the given conditions. Using myself as an example, I use lightweight trainers, stability shoes, trail shoes, minimalist shoes, insoles, and custom orthotics as part of my running program. I decide which to use based on how I feel, whether I am dealing with an injury or ache or based on what type of workout I’m doing that day,” Langer says. “I do not run exclusively in any of my footwear options and I encourage the runners I treat to be smart and listen to the signals their body is giving them about their footwear choices and training routine because in the end, runners really have to be their own expert on what works best for them.”

That said, what are the best shoes for walking all day? There are several factors to keep an eye out for:

1.The fit and function of a good pair depends on how a shoe is built.

Does it have good stability and cushioning? Is it lightweight and has quality shock absorption?  Features such as an ankle collar to keep stress on the Achilles tendon at a minimum as well as a roomy toe box that provides ample space for toes can be a big plus when choosing the best shoes for walking all day. Impact-reducing gel pads, grooved outsoles that maintain traction, and cushioning midsoles are also added bonuses. You should also take note that when looking for a good pair of shoes for walking long distances especially when you are travelling (for instance, shoes for walking in Europe), you should pick one that has a roll bar to stabilize your feet when they strike the ground. It’s also best to go for mesh material for your shoes for improved ventilation.

The padded collar and tongue of the ASICS Women’s Gel Quick WK 2 Walking Shoe provides easy comfort for your feet.

ASICS Women's Gel Quick WK 2 Walking Shoe

  1. The best shoes for walking all day can’t be bought in a hurry.

Every shoe store has a myriad of options for you to choose from, so it is best not to get too overwhelmed. A good specialty store rather than a department store is always better when shoe shopping because chances are that the salespeople will be able to assist you more accurately as they are specialized in what they are selling. Make a list of your walking program and your daily activities. It would be better for you as well to bring along an old pair of walking shoes so that you can show them to the salesperson assisting you. Your trusty old pair can determine your wear pattern. Don’t forget to wear or bring the socks you would normally wear with your shoes so that everything will be accurate when you try on a new pair.

  1. Shoes for walking long distances should be thoroughly examined before buying them.

Turn them over and check if the shape of the shoe matches your foot type. Is the forefoot flexible? Is the heel counter strong? Try each shoe on and lace them up; then, walk around the store. It’s a bonus if the store has a hard floor surface so that you can get a feel of how the shoe would fit when you go out and about. Don’t think about breaking the shoe in after a few uses. The pair should fit perfectly well even on the first try. It’s also important to remember that our feet swell throughout the day, so when you’re shopping for the best shoes for walking all day, do so late in the afternoon. This is when your feet are slightly bigger. “Feet expand a half-size or more when you exercise,” Paul Langer continues. This means that you might get a more accurate size of your shoe after a good evening workout.

The Hylan iRunner Sophia Women’s Therapeutic Athletic Extra Depth Shoe Leather-and-Mesh Lace has a large toe box for extreme comfort and roominess.

Hylan iRunner Sophia Women's Therapeutic Athletic Extra Depth Shoe Leather-and-Mesh Lace

  1. When you’re choosing the most comfortable shoes for walking all day, ask yourself the following questions:

What do you expect the weather or the climate will be when you go out with your new pair of shoes? What is the type of terrain where you will be using your shoes? Are your shoes waterproof or not, and if not, will they be able to survive any wet encounters while walking? How exactly is the comfort and fit of your new shoes? When you’ve got these considerations down pat, you can safely go out and get yourself a new pair.

 

 

SPOTTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WALKING AND RUNNING SHOES

Now that you know how to pick the right kind of shoes, it’s important to know what you will be using those kicks for. Are you scouting for the best shoes for walking on concrete? Are you planning on running a marathon? Or is it something more specific, like, say, shoes for walking in New York City? Most laymen think that owning a single pair of shoes for both walking and running should suffice, but the question is this: can you wear running shoes for walking? There is indeed a big difference between walking and running shoes, so here’s a handy guide for you.

1.The best shoes for walking on concrete are completely different from running shoes, sports shoes, or even the best tennis shoes for walking on concrete.

Concrete is unforgiving, and while there are a few similarities in choosing walking and running shoes, it’s still best to pick a shoe that’s specialized in the activity you are planning to do. Because your heel strikes the ground more forcefully when you are running, you need more heel control and the highest level of shock absorption.

The Saucony Men’s Cohesion 8 Running Shoe has a stability heel grid system for support and shock absorption.

Saucony Men's Cohesion 8 Running Shoe

  1. Walking shoes require cushioning that is evenly distributed.

When you are walking, the shock absorption you need should be both at the midsole and at the heel. To help distribute your body weight more evenly, your walking shoes need to have rounded soles, as well as rounded toe areas. “When you’re walking or standing, your weight should be distributed more evenly,” says Anthony Wall of the American Council on Exercise. Hence, walkers need more support than normal athletic shoes. The ideal thing to do is to choose the best shoes for walking and light jogging that are able to support your natural gait.

The New Balance Men’s MW759 Country Walking Shoe has shock absorbing cushioning and midsole support for even distribution.

New Balance Men's MW759 Country Walking Shoe

  1. It is best not to run in your walking shoes.

“Believe it or not, the human body is amazingly efficient at absorbing the impact forces of running without any artificial assistance at all,” says Paul Langer, DPM. “Human gait is so unique that runners do not respond in a systematic way to varying levels of cushioning in footwear.” However, that’s not to say that cushioning is not important. The best shoes for walking on concrete have a beveled and thicker heel to help improve stability because this is the part that absorbs shock when you’re typically walking in heel to toe motion. The ball of your walking shoes should be more flexible as you push off when walking.  On the other hand, when you run, you land flat footed in this high impact activity. This means that your running shoes should be more lightweight and should have more arch support as well.

The Nike Women’s Flex 2014 Rn Running Shoe has a lightweight mesh upper and a midfoot webbing system for more support when you are running.

Nike Women's Flex 2014 Rn Running Shoe

  1. Wear what feels natural.

As mentioned, there are big differences between walking and running shoes. However, one thing is certain—your shoes should feel natural to your feet. This means that you should also consider the material of your shoes. Leather is more durable and waterproof, but it is heavier, more expensive, and less breathable. It is, however, easy to clean and provides a better kind of protection from the elements, and it is also guaranteed to last longer if cared for properly. As for fabric, it is lightweight, breathable, and takes less time wearing in. It is a bit harder to clean though, and performs more poorly against abrasive areas compared to leather shoes. This is why you should always consider if you’re going to be walking in wet or dry areas. A breathable membrane will help keep sweat build-up at bay as well. Whatever you decide, opt for the ones that feel the most natural. According to Run On’s Mitch Decker, “The shoe that fits the best is the shoe that you have the least awareness of when you’re walking or running.”

The Champion Men’s Gusto Runner has a memory foam insole so that it feels natural and fits seamlessly.

Champion Men's Gusto Runner

 

PICKING OUT WALKING SHOES FOR BABIES

Enough about us adults—what’s more difficult to buy are the ones for our little ones, especially hard bottom walking shoes for babies. What’s even more challenging is that walking shoes for babies need to be replaced every few months as their feet tend to grow very quickly. Still, even though buying these shoes can be a tad pricey, it’s best not to use hand-me-downs because no two feet are the same. “A toddler can’t use words to tell you that she doesn’t like the way something feels,” Ross Taubman, M.D. says. “To make matters worse, it’s really important to find shoes that fit properly when she’s learning to walk–otherwise, she could stumble more and take longer to develop the skill.”

To make sure you’re up to the challenge of buying hard bottom walking shoes for babies learning to walk, here are a few tips to remember:

1.Find the right size.

“If your kid has been happily wearing the shoes for months and suddenly starts taking them off, hobbling around, or rubbing her feet, those are late signs that she’s ready for a new pair,” says Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D.. When it comes to walking shoes for babies, one size does NOT fit all. A trained specialist in toddlers’ shoe stores can actually measure the right size for your baby’s feet, as well as the width. Remember to try on different shoes (with and without socks). To make sure you’ve got the right fit, your baby’s foot should have about half an inch from the big toe to the edge of the shoe for enough wiggle room.

The Bigood Baby Toddler Crib Butterfly Flowers Anti-Slip Shoes Walking Trainers Pink features soft material to allow babies enough room for their feet to grow freely.

Bigood Baby Toddler Crib Butterfly Flowers Anti-Slip Shoes Walking Trainers Pink

  1. Buy shoes that are actually for babies.

“Good shoes for little walkers are somewhat flexible and made of lightweight materials, such as leather or high-quality mesh,” says Ron Raducanu, D.P.M. from the American College of Foot and Ankle Pediatrics. The shoes need to be lightweight and flexible. The best walking shoes for babies should have breathable mesh as well as rubber soles to keep them from slipping and to provide enough traction when walking.

The Carter’s Every Step Bobby Stage 2 Stand Walking Shoe (Infant/Toddler) has molded outsoles to provide support, balance, and traction for babies learning how to walk.

Carter's Every Step Bobby Stage 2 Stand Walking Shoe

  1. It’s okay for your babies to have flat feet.

Unlike walking and running shoes for adults, hard bottom walking shoes for babies don’t need to have ankle and arch support. “We don’t recommend high-top shoes anymore because we found out there’s more risk for ankle injuries when toddlers fall in these types of shoes,” Larissa Isterabadi, M.D. says. Hence, you should just opt for soft leather or cloth shoes that don’t hinder development of the feet. Make sure that the soles are bendable with nonskid rubber. As with your own shoes, try to shop later on in the day to take into account your baby’s feet swelling.

The Carter’s Every Step Christy P3 Early Walker Shoe (Infant/Toddler) has sensory pods at the heel and forefoot to assist in your baby’s walking experience.

Carter's Every Step Christy P3 Early Walker Shoe

  1. Choose between lace and Velcro.

While Velcro snap-on shoes are easier to wear, your baby might learn how to take them off on purpose when you don’t want them to. Remember which one is best for what your baby will be doing for that day.

The Stride Rite SRT Elliot Bootie (Infant/Toddler) with laces features a rubber sole, moisture-wicking lining, self-molding foot bed, contoured heel cradle, and removable insole with check fit system for the best support for your baby.

Stride Rite SRT Elliot Bootie (Infant/Toddler)

Now that you know everything there is to know about the most comfortable shoes for walking both for you and for your baby, you can go ahead and make an incredibly informed decision about the shoes that you want and need to buy. After all, you walk every single day of your life—it’s time you invested in it.

 


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