Walking is a valuable fitness activity. It's easy to get in to, doesn't require much equipment and can be done pretty much anywhere. Whether you are working up to running, enjoying a nice walk or training for something, it's important that you have the right footwear.
Why buy walking shoes?
While not nearly as interesting or diverse as running shoes, walking shoes play an important role in making sure you using good form, absorb shock to protect your joints and support your foot and ankle.
Can I walk in running shoes?
Most running shoes will also work well for walking. Because your form is different between running and walking, walking shoes focus more cushioning on the ball of your foot and running shoes focus on the heel. While minimalist shoes might not be great for walking, most neutral or stability shoes would be just fine.
One catch, though, is that you shouldn't be walking in the same pair that you use for running. The two activities create different wear patterns that can make your shoes uneven. It's also likely to wear them out a lot faster.
How do I choose a walking shoe?
First, make sure it fits comfortably. It should have a little room in the toe for your foot to move around as you walk, but not too much. Next, try twisting the sole. It should provide some resistance. Finally, bend the shoe a little. You want the ball to be flexible enough to give when you walk with good form.
Second, make sure it has ample foot support. If you have high arches (or simply have arch problems), you might want to look at adding an orthotic insert to your shoe.
How do I know if a shoe is a walking shoe?
Many stores have special sections for walking shoes. It's always a good idea to check there first. Honestly, a lot of them are very unappealing. New Balance makes some nice ones, as do a few of the other sports brands. Next, check out some of the running and cross training shoes and apply the criteria mentioned above. Most of these will work great. The most important thing is comfort.
How long will my walking shoes last?
A lot of that depends on how you use them. If you are walking over tough terrain, they are going to need replaced more frequently than they will if you are walking around a track. Generally speaking, you can go about 300 miles before you'll need a new pair.