The 5 Rules For Finding The Best Walking Shoes
Many people have shoes for every occasion. If you walk regularly, you really should consider purchasing a pair of shoes that are specifically made for walking. However, you might wonder if you can use your walking shoes for other things.
5 Rules to Follow When Buying Walking Shoes
When picking out walking shoes, there are a couple of things to consider. Walking shoes have a very flexible sole to help with movement. With beveled heels, walking shoes are meant to allow the person to strike at the heel. They also have less stability than running shoes and are usually heavier.
Keep a few things in mind when shopping for your walking shoes:
- Measure both feet (and try shoes on both feet!)
- Shop later in the day when you have been on your feet for a while.
- Shoes should not be too tight! This can cause blisters.
- Be certain you can wiggle your toes and that you have ample room in width.
- Wear your favorite walking socks when you try shoes on.
How Should Walking Shoes Fit?
Your new shoes should fit snugly. They should feel comfortable when you first put them on. The heel of the shoe needs to be secure so that your heels don’t slide up with each step you take.
Keep those words in mind: snug but not tight.
Are Walking Shoes Supposed To Be Tight?
Repeat after me: snug but not tight. What happens if your shoes are too tight? Well, there are many problems that people find themselves experiencing if they wear their shoes too tight.
One problem is foot pain. If you are an avid walker, the last thing you want is sore feet! Tight shoes can also lead to blisters or calluses which can end up putting a pause to your walking.
People end up with ingrown toenails, as well as problems such as hammertoe or bunions, due to wearing ill-fitting shoes. At the end of the day, you really need to be sure your shoes fit properly.
How To Lace Walking Shoes
There are actually many different ways to lace up and tie your shoes to improve the fit. We have actually published some great advice through the years on the best ways to lace and tie for your comfort and foot health!
Here are two articles that can help. These modifications in lacing and tying are relevant for running, walking and hiking!
How Long Do Walking Shoes Last?
Walking shoes last about the same amount of time as running shoes. Your average pair of shoes typically are good for somewhere between 350 – 500 miles.
Even if your shoes appear in great shape on top, they might not be providing your feet enough support and/or cushion from impact. You should replace your walking shoes if the outsole is worn or you have reached the number of miles described above.
Please know that there is no “magic number.” Some people find that if they wear their shoes past 300 miles they develop problems. Another athlete might be able to wear a pair for closer to 600 miles. Your best bet is to track walking miles and be cognizant of the rule of thumb for replacement.
Are Walking Shoes Good for Standing All Day?
There are many types of shoes included in the list of the best for someone who is on their feet all day. If you check out the feet of a nurse at a local hospital, for example, you will often see running or walking shoes peeking out from under their scrubs!
Someone who is planning for a job where they will be walking and/or standing a lot should certainly consider a good quality walking shoe! In fact, RunnerClick editors reviewed shoes as top picks for those who stand all day.
What Walking Shoes Are Good For Plantar Fasciitis?
Shoes for plantar fasciitis should have ample arch support, a firm but flexible midsole and a forefoot cushion. If you use an insole specific to helping with PF, you should also have a removable insole.
What Walking Shoes Are Best For High Arches?
Are Walking Shoes Good For Hiking?
It depends on what you consider hiking. I have friends who do family walks through parks. Many of the paths they find themselves on are paved recreational trails. While they are going through beautiful parks and enjoy a lovely time together, it is not exactly hiking. These types of “hikes” would do great with walking shoes.
If you are going down secluded and rustic trails, I would advise a pair of shoes specific to hiking. Those tend to have nubbier tracking on the bottom of the shoes, as well as a thicker sole to protect the bottom of your foot.
Can Walking Shoes Be Used For Running?
Can they? Yes. Should they? No. Sometimes I am approached by someone who does run and walk intervals and they are often unsure which shoe they should wear, one for running or one for walking.
If you are doing intervals, I would advise a running shoe. Walking in a running shoe is far less likely to lead to injury than running in a walking shoe.
Can Walking Shoes Be Used For The Gym?
Here, you need to ask yourself what you are doing at the gym. For me, I tend to do fairly low-key lifting or I jump on the elliptical unless I am using the treadmill (in which case I absolutely want my running shoes). If you lift as I do, you probably can wear just about any kind of shoes.
If you are planning to take a high-intensity interval training class, you want shoes made specifically for those types of activities. Cross trainers are made for the type of lateral movement you experience in these classes.
What Walking Shoes Are Made In The USA?
If you are looking for big-name shoes that are made in the United States, there are a couple of brands that make some of their styles there. New Balance makes select styles in the US. Reebok also has a line of walking shoes made in the US.
Splurging On Walking Shoes? Yes Is The Answer
If you do not yet own shoes specific to walking, I strongly encourage you to splurge on a pair. There are actually some good reasons to have sport/activity-specific shoes.
First, it is healthier for your body. You are less likely to get sidelined by injury. Second, you are then putting less miles on other pairs of shoes. Third, you simply deserve it!