Whether you are planning for a big hike or simply want a comfortable pair of shoes to get around town in, finding the right pair of high-quality walking shoes takes a bit of time and research. A pair of flat shoes will inevitably end up hurting your feet while running shoes won’t offer the right kind of support for walking. Wearing the wrong shoes can be dangerous, particularly if you’re doing a wilderness trek, so make sure you gear up with the right shoes before you go!
Key Factors to Consider
When you are looking at a pair of walking shoes, whether they are sneakers, boots, or wool clogs, there are a few essential factors that need consideration. They are:
- Fit: Your walking shoes need to fit properly both length and width-wise.
- Stability: Your foot should feel balanced as you walk without any wobbling.
- Comfort: Do the shoes feel comfy or are there places where they are already rubbing against your foot?
- Arch Support: Whether you have high or low arches, you need proper support. Make sure the insole of the shoe touches every part of your arch and that weight is distributed evenly.
- Flexibility: The shoes should not be stiff; they should be able to bend and twist at least a little bit.
- Weight: Are the shoes lightweight? You don’t want heavy sneakers weighing you down as you walk.
Getting the Perfect Fit
Ready to try on some shoes? Be sure to do the following to get the best fit.
Try on Shoes at the End of the Day
Never go to the shoe store in the morning. Instead, shop at the end of the day after you have been standing and walking around. While the difference is minute, you want to know exactly what your feet will look and feel like after swelling during the day so that the shoes you buy fit you all the time.
Get Professionally Measured
If you haven’t had your feet measured by a professional in a while, now’s the time to do so before buying a new pair of shoes. Your feet can actually change during your lifetime, so getting re-measured every now and then is a good idea. Make sure the shoe salesperson measures your feet both length and width-wise and matches your exact measurements to the dimensions of the shoes you are interested in.
Try On Both Shoes
Many people make the mistake of only trying on one shoe, assuming that it will feel the same on the other foot as well. This is rarely the case, even for people who have the same size foot on both the right and left. Sometimes, a shoe will just rub differently on one area of your foot and you won’t know this unless you actually try on both shoes at the store. Make sure you lace them up fully and walk around for a few minutes before making a decision.
Don’t Count on “Breaking Them In”
You should always make the assumption that how a shoe feels at the store is how it’s going to feel outside the store. For some reason, many people rationalize that a shoe will stretch out and “break in” after wear and that’s generally not the case with sneakers.
If you have any kind of foot issues or have high arches, you might want to consider adding your own orthotic insoles into your sneakers. Ask for the help of your doctor in creating an orthotic insole that will support your feet and then simply replace your sneakers’ insoles with your custom ones.