Walking requires proper footwear in order to prevent injury, improve your performance and keep you comfortable on long walks. Generally walking shoes have good shock absorption in the heels and in the balls of the feet. They tend to be a bit stiffer and more supportive than running shoes. They also have a very flexible forefoot in order to allow for the natural bend of the foot. They feature a slightly angled heel so that you have a smooth heel to toe roll. You should look for a shoe that meets your requirements in terms of foot type, injury patterns, speed and walking surface.
Knowing what type of feet you have and having a basic understanding of the terminology used to describe footwear will help you figure out what shoe is best for you. Remember, you should always try on any shoe you intend to buy for fit and comfort.
- Pronators: (those with flat feet and little to no arch) should look for a motion control shoe which will provide support for the inside of the foot and prevent you from overusing the inside edge of your foot. Pronators should also look for a reinforced heel for stability and control. Try to avoid shoes with too much padding.
- Supinators: (those with high arches) should look for greater stability and a shoe with an outer sole, insole and midsole for extra shock absorbency. Curved shoes are probably the best for supinators as they have rigid feet. Try to buy shoes with reinforced material around the ankles for maximum support and extra cushioning under the ball of the foot for extra comfort.
- Neutral feet: For those of you who have neutral feet you can wear just about any shoe and you will have proper support and comfort. You may find that shoes with a curved shape will fit best. Even if you have neutral feet and no issues with injury, you should still invest in a good pair of walking shoes.
Sportsmart stocks a variety of walking shoes for both men and women. You can view our walking shoes online or come into one of our stores to try them on and get expert advice from our footwear staff on picking shoes that are right for you.