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Walking is an excellent form of exercise that helps improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress levels, and strengthen muscles. However, without the right pair of shoes, walking can be uncomfortable and even cause injury. This is where walking shoes come in. In this guide, we will discuss what walking shoes are, their benefits, how to choose the right pair, and some recommended options.

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Key Features to Look for in Walking Shoes

When selecting walking shoes, it’s crucial to focus on features that enhance comfort, support, and durability. Walking shoes are specifically engineered to support the foot’s natural movement, promoting a smooth transition from heel to toe, through a variety of environments and surfaces. They should offer a combination of flexibility and stability to cater to the unique demands of walking, which differs significantly from running shoes or high-impact activities like court shoes.

The right pair of walking shoes can make a significant difference in your walking experience, providing the necessary support to prevent injuries and reduce the impact on your joints. Here are some essential features to consider:

  • Cushioning and Support: Look for EVA foam, gel, or air cushioning that offers a good balance of comfort and support, helping to absorb shock and reduce stress on your feet.
  • Breathability and Moisture-Wicking: Choose shoes made from materials that allow your feet to breathe, keeping them cool and dry to prevent blisters and discomfort.
  • Traction and Stability: Ensure the shoes have a durable, non-slip outsole with well-designed grooves for safe walking on various terrains.
  • Proper Fit: Beyond length and width, consider the depth of the shoe to accommodate your foot comfortably, preventing issues like blisters or corns.

Selecting shoes with these features will not only improve your walking experience but also contribute to maintaining healthy feet and joints.

Benefits of wearing walking shoes

Wearing walking shoes when walking has several benefits, including:

  • Reduced risk of injury: Walking shoes are designed to provide support and cushioning to the feet, which helps reduce the impact on joints and prevent injuries.
  • Improved comfort: Walking shoes are designed with comfort in mind, providing a snug and supportive fit that reduces pressure points and prevents blisters.
  • Better performance: With the right pair of walking shoes, you can walk longer distances without experiencing fatigue, pain, or discomfort.
  • Improved posture: Walking shoes can help improve your posture by providing proper support to your feet, which in turn helps align your body and reduce strain on your back.

Differences between walking shoes and running shoes

Walking shoes and running shoes are two different types of shoes designed for different purposes. The main differences between the two are:

  • Sole: Walking shoes have a more flexible sole than running shoes, which allows for a smoother heel-to-toe transition and better shock absorption.
  • Cushioning: Running shoes typically have more cushioning than walking shoes, as runners need extra protection from impact when landing on their feet.
  • Weight: Walking shoes are generally lighter than running shoes, as they do not require as much support or cushioning.
  • Shape: Walking shoes are designed to provide support to the entire foot, whereas running shoes have a more curved shape to support the arch of the foot.

Did You Know?
Accordingn to ACE, waiters walk an average of 23,000 steps a day, nurses 16,000 steps, and retail workers 15,000 steps.

Walking shoe features

When choosing walking shoes, there are several features you should look for:

  • Arch support: Look for shoes that provide proper arch support to prevent overpronation or underpronation.
  • Shock absorption: Choose shoes with adequate cushioning to absorb shock and reduce the impact on your feet and joints.
  • Flexibility: Walking shoes should be flexible enough to allow your foot to move naturally and comfortably.
  • Breathability: Look for shoes made with breathable materials to prevent your feet from getting sweaty or overheated.
  • Designed to Move the Foot Forward: Supports natural foot movement, promoting efficient heel-to-toe transition during walking.

How to choose the right walking shoes

To choose the right walking shoes, follow these steps:

  1. Foot type: Look at your feet to determine whether you have high arches, low arches, or neutral arches. This will help you choose shoes with the appropriate level of arch support.
  2. Foot size: Measure your foot size to ensure you choose shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support and cushioning.
  3. Consider your walking style: Do you walk with a heel strike or a midfoot strike? This will help you choose shoes with the appropriate level of cushioning and support.
  4. Try on shoes: Try on several pairs of shoes and walk around in them to ensure a comfortable fit.
  5. Test shoes on different surfaces: Try on shoes on different surfaces such as concrete, grass, and gravel to ensure they provide adequate traction and support.

Common types of walking shoes

There are several types of walking shoes to choose from, including:

  • Athletic walking shoes: These are designed for power walkers or those who walk at a brisk pace.
  • Casual walking shoes: These are designed for those who walk for leisure or on a daily basis.
  • Trail walking shoes: These are designed for those who walk on uneven or rugged terrain.
  • Stability walking shoes: These are designed for those who need extra support or have overpronation.

Recommended walking shoes for different needs and budgets

Here are some recommended walking shoes for different needs and budgets:

Best Overall

New Balance Fresh Foam 860 Running Shoe

New Balance Fresh Foam 860 Running Shoe
A stylish running shoe for men, the New Balance Fresh Foam 860 offers long-lasting cushioning and a lightweight feel.
CHECK PRICE
Color:

Black, Green

Size:

8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 13

Width:

D, E, 3E

Best For Comfort

Men's Light Weight Athletic Shoe | Ultra 267 FX

Men's Light Weight Athletic Shoe |  Ultra 267 FX
Introducing the Ultra 267 FX by Propet, one of the most comfortable athletic styles available from Propet.

FREE Gift with purchase - one set of custom heat moldable inserts. A $80 value included FREE!
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Color:

Black, Gunsmoke, Navy

Size:

8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Width:

D, E, 3E, 5E

Best For Stability

Men's Brooks Addiction Walker 2 Shoe

Men's Brooks Addiction Walker 2 Shoe
For a comfortable and secure stride, it has a sturdy leather upper and a firm, cushioned sole.
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Color:

Black, White

Size:

7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Width:

B, D, 2E, 4E

Best For Trail Walking

Men's Waterproof Hiking Shoe | Orthofeet Sorrento

Men's Waterproof Hiking Shoe | Orthofeet Sorrento
The Sorrento by Orthofeet is a men's waterproof hiking shoe that is ready for what Mother Nature dishes out.

FREE gift with purchase - one set of our custom heat moldable inserts. An $80.00 value included FREE.
CHECK PRICE
Pros:
  • Comfortable and supportive: Premium orthotic insoles with anatomical arch support and cushioning heel pad provide all-day comfort and reduce foot pain.
  • Accommodates foot conditions: Wide toe box with extra depth offers space for orthotics and foot issues.
  • Waterproof: Seam-sealed leather upper and breathable membrane keep feet dry in wet conditions.
  • Protective features: Non-slip rubber outsole with moderate tread provides traction on various terrains.
  • Durable: Leather upper and rubber outsole ensure long-lasting wear.
Cons:
  • Bulky design: Compared to narrow toe box trail running shoes, the Sorrento may feel heavier and less flexible.
  • Not ideal for high-performance activities: The bulkier design and moderate tread might not be suitable for technical hiking or fast-paced outdoor activities.
Color:

Brown, Grey

Size:

7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 13, 14

Width:

D, 2E, 4E

Tips for caring for your walking shoes

To keep your walking shoes in good condition and prolong their lifespan, follow these tips:

  • Clean them regularly: Wipe them down with a damp cloth and mild soap to remove dirt and sweat.
  • Allow them to air dry: Do not put them in the dryer or expose them to direct sunlight.
  • Rotate them: Alternate between different pairs of shoes to allow them to rest and recover.
  • Replace them when necessary: Replace your walking shoes when they are worn out or no longer provide adequate support or cushioning.

Commom Questions About Walking Shoes

Here are some frequently asked questions about walking shoes:

Can I wear walking shoes for other activities besides walking?
While walking shoes are specifically designed for walking, they can be worn for other low-impact activities such as light jogging, yoga, or weight lifting.

How often should I replace my walking shoes?
It is recommended to replace your walking shoes every 300-500 miles or every 6-8 months, whichever comes first. Be sure to check your inserts as they will typically wear out before your shoes do!

Are expensive walking shoes worth it?
Expensive walking shoes may offer more advanced features and materials, but they are not always necessary. The most important factor is choosing shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support and cushioning.

Can walking shoes help with foot problems such as flat feet or plantar fasciitis?
Yes, walking shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can help alleviate foot problems such as flat feet or plantar fasciitis.

Are walking shoes suitable for hiking or trail walking?
Walking shoes are suitable for light hiking or trail walking, but for more rugged terrain, it is recommended to wear hiking shoes or boots with more support and traction.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, walking shoes are a must-have for anyone who enjoys walking for exercise or leisure. They provide support, cushioning, and comfort to the feet, helping to reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance. When choosing walking shoes, consider your foot type, walking style, and the features that are most important to you. With the right pair of walking shoes, you can enjoy all the benefits of walking while keeping your feet comfortable all day.

Reach out and contact a DT Footwear fit specialist for personalized assistance via phone, email or text. Our fitment experts are here to guide you towards achieving Happy Feet. With a variety of footwear options available, stepping into comfort and style has never been easier.

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Disclaimer: Educational Information Only

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment, including any foot-related concerns. If you have any health issues or questions about your feet, please consult a qualified healthcare professional, like a doctor or podiatrist. Don’t ignore medical advice or delay seeking help based on what you read here or elsewhere. We’re not responsible for any harm caused by using this information. Everyone’s response to treatments can be different, and medical recommendations may change over time. If you experience a medical emergency or serious foot problem, seek immediate medical attention, or call your local emergency services. By using this resource, you agree to these terms and understand the importance of getting personalized medical advice from a qualified professional.

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