Choosing the right shoes for walking or running is one of the best investments you can make. You wouldn’t play tennis with a badminton racket, so why go for walks in a shoe made for another sport? If walking is your sport of choice, you need the right equipment.
What are the proper walking or running shoes?
Walking or running shoes are made to support a forward direction of movement. They have good heel support, a slight lift at the toe box and proper cushioning and support. In contrast, shoes for tennis or basketball are made to assist in forward and side-to-side movement and require a lot less cushioning.
What to look for in walking or running shoes?
- Make sure the shoes are made for walking or running (most stores will specify this).
- Take a look at your arch:
- Does it flatten out when you stand or cave in while you walk? You will need shoes with proper arch support (most often called a “stability shoe”). If your arch completely flattens when standing, you might need shoes with additional support (most often called a “motion control shoes”).
- Does it look high? You will likely need “neutral” shoes that provide ample cushioning and shock absorption for your foot.
Do you have enough clearance to wiggle your toes? You should have one finger-width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Feet swell as you walk or run so you want to leave space to accommodate this. Make sure not to forget the width of the shoes, you don’t want blisters on the big toes or pinkies.
Where to find the proper walking shoes?
The best place to find shoes for walking or running is usually in specialty boutiques (Running Room, Boutique Endurance or Boutique Courir to name a few). The staff there are trained to look at your feet in standing and when walking and look at your arch to figure out how much stability vs cushioning you would need. They also make sure you get properly sized for your foot length and width. Most of them allow you to try them out indoors. If you aren’t satisfied with the fit, you can usually exchange for another pair.
Properly addressing your feet during sports and activities can prevent you from injuring your ankles, knees, hips and even lower back. That’s why it’s so important to be properly equipped, even for a walk!