Looking to buy a new pair of walking shoes?
It is important to understand the things that make a good pair of walking shoes, long before you make a purchase.
This post will focus on the 4 steps you should take to help you find the right pair of walking shoes.
How Important are Good Shoes?
You have started a new walking habit, perhaps with the purpose of losing weight through walking.
The daily walking is going fine until the game changer occurs; you get injured.
An injury is a frustrating obstacle when striving to achieve health goals.
When beginning to walk after not being active for an extended amount of time, aches and pains will occur. However, normal aches can become more serious when a person is missing one important thing; a good pair of shoes.
Injuries that commonly result from the wrong kind of shoes include:
I know, that can seem a bit unnerving, but not to worry. All of these injuries can be prevented by throwing out those 5-year-old tennies with no tread or shocks, or whatever shoes you use for running that may not be ideal.
Opt to invest in some good shoes now, and save money and time later by avoiding injury.
Now, you may be asking, what are good shoes? Here are 4 steps to follow to find a good pair for you:
Step #1: What Arch Type Are You?
Finding what type of arch you have for your foot is the most important step in finding the right pair of shoes. There are 3 general types of arches.
- The Raised Arch—this type of arch is in the form of an arc so that only the heel and ball of the foot contact the ground. Arch support is extremely important in order to properly disperse pressure between your lower back, hips, ankles and knees. That’s right, arch support is important to your entire body’s alignment.
- The Neutral Arch—this arch type has an advantage because the foot equally absorbs the shock from walking and reduces the instance of injury.
- The Low Arch/Flat Foot—this means that the whole foot contacts the ground like a pancake. This often causes the foot to roll inward when walking which offsets the shock absorption and can cause injury.
Regardless of the arch type that you have, you can find a shoe that compensates to balance your impact.
There is a trick to identifying your arch type. Follow these steps.
The Arch Test
- Use a shallow pan large enough for two feet and fill it with water.
- Lay a heavy paper bag next to the pan.
- Step into the pan without shoes or socks.
- Step onto the bag, leaving your foot marks
- Wah lah! You can observe your marks to see what kind of arch you have.
Once you know your arch type, you can head to the shoe store (or even make your purchases online if you desire).
One tip is to look at running shoes in contrast to walking shoes because they are made to go the distance.
Running shoes typically are more durable, which you will need for walking 10,000 steps per day.
The next thing to know is what type of shoe matches your arch type.
Here are three solutions:
- Supination (under-pronation) – for the raised arch
- Neutral pronation– for the neutral arch
- Over-pronation (70% of the population has this) – for the flat foot
Step #2: Visit a Specialty Store
Have you ever been into a specialty store for running shoes?
It is a pretty neat experience as there are typically trained employees to help you find the right shoe.
In many cases, they will measure your foot, observe your arch, watch the way you walk and ask you to do a little jog. You often get a customized recommendation which can be very helpful in finding the shoe you need.
The shoes from this specialty stores can be more expensive than you might otherwise pay, but as I said, you either pay now or you pay later (with foot injury).
Step #3: If the Shoe Fits…Go Bigger
This may seem a bit off, but you want to buy running shoes that have a bit of space in the toe area.
When walking for long distances, the feet generally expand. If there is not sufficient room, walkers and runners often encounter ingrown toenails or black toenails. Avoid this problem by bumping up a half size past your normal shoe size if you plan to walk long distances in them.
Step #4: Shoe Shopping Checklist
Now, you know the basics. Here is a checklist to ensure you cover everything when you head in to get your shoes.
- Bump up your normal shoe size by a half size.
- Each pair of shoes has about a 500-mile life. After this, throw them out to minimize your risk of injury.
- Don’t forget the date you bought your shoes, grab a sharpie and write the day on the insoles.
- Take the terrain you will be walking on into consideration when buying shoes.
- Do you have a wide foot or a narrow one? Be sure to properly fit your shoes for both length and width.
- Be sure to purchase shoes made for your gender. Male and female shoes are made differently.
- Stick with what works. When you find a shoe that supports you well, buy the same kind when you hit your 500 mark.
While walking or running, a pedometer is a great tool for measuring distances and keeping motivated.
Now, You Are Ready
With these tips, you are now armed and ready to go shopping for a good pair of running shoes.
Remember, your health is a priority and you don’t want to damage your body when you are trying to improve your weight.
Take precautions to cover all your bases, including one of the most important, good shoes.
To learn more, I encourage you to check out my book 10,000 Steps Blueprint: The Daily Walking Habit for Healthy Weight Loss and Lifelong Fitness to start adding a powerful walking habit to your daily routine.
To see more reasons WHY you should be walking discover the many walking benefits.