If you made a resolution to walk more this year, whether to shed some pounds or promote heart health, before you take your first step you should invest in a good pair of walking shoes. Supportive walking shoes help you walk farther in comfort and protect your feet, ankles, knees, and other joints from damage and pain. There are so many shoes on the market, though, that finding the right one can sometimes be confusing. These tips will help you find the shoe that fit your foot care needs.
Know Your Foot
It is important to know the size and shape of your feet when picking a walking shoe. You can measure your feet at home in order to make sure you are ordering the right sizes. Measure your feet or try on shoes toward the end of the day, as they may swell after you’ve been on your feet. You want a shoe that’s really going to fit well during exercise.
Different shaped feet have different needs, too. Make sure you’re wearing the right width shoe. If your shoes are too narrow they can cause blisters or bunions. If your shoes are too wide you’re probably not getting the right support and stability. If you have flat feet or over-pronate, find a shoe that has a straight sole to stabilize your feet. If you have high arches or over-supinate, look for well-cushioned soles to compensate for any strain that might be put on the arch of your feet.
The Mayo Clinic also has a handy diagram of the different parts of a walking shoe. The best walking shoes are flexible, supportive, and do not have flared heels. Since walkers strike on their heels first, you want the heel to be supportive of your gait.
Enhance Your Shoe
If you have specific foot-related issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, or high arches, there are plenty of ways you can further enhance your shoes to get the most out of them. Because of the importance of supportive heels in walking shoes, heel cups can help you walk with proper posture. Bunion sleeves help protect your bunions from rubbing or getting inflamed when you walk. Or, if you have a temporary issue such as plantar fasciitis, a plantar fascia wrap can help keep you in your routine.
Monitor Wear and Tear
It’s important to replace your walking shoes when they get worn out. Monitor your shoes for wear. If you have high arches your shoes might especially wear out on the inside of the foot, while the outer edge of supinators’ shoes are likely to break down first. It’s recommended that you replace your walking shoes every 500 miles or roughly every 6 months, but you should consider changing your shoes when you start to notice that you’re not getting enough support. Everyone’s gait is different, so your body’s signals are important indicators.