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Needless to say, one of the most significant pieces of equipment you will need for walking is a pair of walking shoes. It is vital that you find the most suitable pair designed specifically for walking instead of strapping on running shoes. This may be an additional expense, but it is one that will be a long-term investment ensuring increased comfort and preventing instability, foot pain, and injuries.
What Are The Walking Shoes Categories?
Walking shoes fall into one of three different categories: the performance trainers, the cushion shoes, and the stability shoes.
Performance trainers are lightweight walking shoes designed for people who do not need any motion control. Cushion shoes offer more comfort for people walking longer distances at a single time (five miles or more in a single session). Finally, stability walking shoes are designed for individuals who do not have severe stability problems but can benefit from additional motion control.
What Are There Different Walking Shoes?
Regardless of how good a shoe looks, it will not be any good if it does not fit your foot correctly. To ensure that the shoe is suitable for your needs, it is recommended that you purchase the shoe from a top athletic shoe store. Personal trainers are available to find a suitable walking shoe because they will offer foot analyses for your needs. This analysis will help indicate whether the shoe is anatomically suited to your foot or not.
Walking shoes differ from the average running shoe because they address the way a person moves. A walker strikes the ground with the heel first and rolls through the step. In contrast, runners strike the ground midsole and require a raised heel to reduce the impact, as well as a flared heel for motion stability. Walkers do not require built-up or flared heels at all.
Another important consideration to take into account is flexion. As a rule, a walking shoe needs to be flexible in the forefront or the person’s foot will fight against the shoe as it rolls with the step. This will not only cause lumbering in the gait, but can increase the chance of shin splints.
How Can I Choose The Best Walking Shoe?
To find the ideal pair of walking shoes, it is important that the candidate follow this quality testing process:
Firstly, evaluate the shoe heel. The heel does not need to be more than an inch higher than the sole under the ball of the foot. Moreover, there does not need to be any flare to the heel. Drew Shoes provide a good example of this.
Next, you should grip the shoe in your hands and twist it. The ideal shoe will be able to twist latitudinally and bend easily at the ball of the foot, not at the middle of the arch.
Finally, set the shoe back on the ground and poke the toe area. If the walking shoe is well-designed, the toe will be slightly off the ground and rock when poked.
A good pair of walking shoes can be purchased for between $60 and $120. If you need to pay more than this, it is likely that you are paying for appearance or brand name.
What Are Motion Control Shoes?
If you walk in a manner where your foot tilts either inward or outward to the arch, this is known as overpronation and you may need to purchase these type of shoes to compensate for the tilting. This is particularly true if you have certain mobility issues, such as a weak hip or knee, or are overweight. A motion control shoe is often heavier than the average pair of walking shoes, but they do offer increased support and can assist in balancing the gait when walking.
If you are in doubt, it is recommended that you have your gait analyzed at an athletic shoe store. If the gait pronation is severe, it may be necessary to purchase a pair of custom shoes or use orthotic insoles to provide suitable support.