Wearing most comfortable walking shoes that fit is always in your best interest. Uncomfortable shoes can cause dire injuries such as calluses or blisters and you certainly don’t want that more so if you are the walking type. Any shoe you walk in should not only pack sufficient shock absorption, but also be fairly lightweight besides being breathable. Of course, the aesthetic features of a shoe play a significant role while out shopping, but this shouldn’t rank high on your list of priorities when it comes to walking shoes.
Most Comfortable Walking Shoes For Women
Most Comfortable Walking Shoes For Men
Walking shoes differ greatly from running shoes. The latter in particular, are well padded, really breathable and lightweight; hence making them ideal for walking at a fast pace. In fact, most running shoes pack great features such as stability control, in-built motion technology and extra cushioning among others. These features therefore make them superior in comparison to walking shoes. However, if you are looking for the most comfortable walking shoes for travel or fitness purposes, you have a wide range of options – only if you are aware of the features to look out for.
Finding comfortable walking shoes is certainly no mean feat to achieve as it varies greatly from finding stylish shoes. Yes, it is a possibility to find stylish and comfortable walking shoes, if you look harder but it’s not guaranteed. Ensuring that you don’t get injured during exercise should be your top most priority when heading out to grab a pair of walking shoes and to achieve this, there are a number of factors to consider. Before delving on a guide on how to find the most comfortable walking shoes, it is advisable to start by doing some research of your own.
This means knowing the type of terrain you will be walking, the type of exercise you plan on doing, before heading online to look at the options you have. If you are here, though, you’ve certainly come to the right place as we have you covered. Below, we have a look at the things to consider when out looking for the perfect match when it comes to walking kicks. Good luck in your quest.
A Guide on How to Find the Most Comfortable Walking Shoes:
As stated earlier, finding the perfect fit revolves around a number of factors. If you are aware of what to look for, you will be shocked by the wide variety you have. Indeed, most shoes are designed to support walking, meaning most types can be worn for walking. Here are some walking shoe considerations to scrutinize in your quest.
#1. The Shape of Your Feet
Contrary to common perception, feet vary greatly and in a plethora of ways. The size, width, arch type and length of your feet can never be the exactly the same as another person’s feet. To avoid injuries, it would be in your best interest to know the shape and size of your feet before heading out to buy a pair of walking shoes. The rule of thumb is to always find walking shoes that conform to the shape of your feet and not the other way round. If you invest a pair that forces your feet to conform to the shoes’ shape, you are likely to face painful problems in future. That said, what are the specifics to scrutinize in this case?
- Arch type – the distinctive alignment of ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones in your feet form metatarsal – from side-to-side – and arches – lengthwise. Arches help to uniformly distribute the weight of your body across the feet as you walk. Therefore, the flexible arches on your feet play a lead role in determining how well you adapt to the terrain or surface you walk on. It is advisable to find most comfortable walking shoes that complement your arch type from the three listed below.
- Low-arched/flat feet – while there is no direct correlation, flat feet are known to cause joint issues or muscle stress in some individuals. If you fall under this category, it is advisable to look for walking shoes with effective motion control features and straight lasts (footprint around which the shoe is designed) to stabilize your feet. These features are intended at helping individuals with low-arched feet to adapt to different terrains without causing injuries.
- High-arched feet – high arches are also known to cause significant strain on muscles and joints, being that people with such feet cannot absorb shock as well more so while jumping or performing impact exercises. If you have high-arched feet, it would be in your best interest to look for walking shoes with extra padding or cushioning to compensate for the lack of natural shock absorption capabilities. Also, shoes with curved lasts can be quite helpful for such individuals.
- Neutral-arched feet – most people fall under this category – feet that aren’t overly flat or arched. In such cases, all you require is a pair of walking shoes with semi-curved lasts, firm mid-soles and moderate rear foot stability features.
If you aren’t sure about your specific foot type from the three above, try dipping your feet in water prior to stepping on a cardboard to examine your footprint. If you can see most of the print, chances are you have low arches. If all you see is very little of your footprint, you likely have high-arched feet. Another great idea is to carry an old pair of comfortable shoes with you next time you head out shopping. Most shoes retailers have professionals to offer tips and free consultation services.
- Width and length of your feet – it is common knowledge that any type of shoe that is too wide or narrow can cause calluses or extremely painful blisters with time. You need a pair of walking shoes that perfectly conforms to the size of your feet. This also means finding a pair with a moderately sized toe box with just enough room for your toes to wiggle around freely. By doing so, you can avoid common foot disorders such as hammertoes or bunions, which are extremely painful.
#2. Flexibility and Support Features
As a walker, flexibility is of paramount importance, meaning you want a pair of kicks that make you feel light and mobile. To determine whether the prospective pair you have in mind can be used for fitness and travel purposes, try out these tests.
- Try twisting the shoe sole right from the heel to toe. If it compares to a wet noodle, it is probably not the right shoe to invest in. However, if there is some form of resistance, it may serve you just right. The idea is to find a pair with subtle resistance to avoid twisting your feet in rough terrains.
- Next, try picking up the prospective shoe by the heel and toe prior to bending it in an upward direction. If the shoe bends halfway along the arch, it is probably not your safest bet as a walker. However, if the shoe bends all the way to the ball of the foot, it is an indicator of just how flexible it is and hence, worth investing in for walking purposes.
In a nutshell, flexible shoes that support your walking style can just end up being what you’ve been looking for all along. The flexibility of a pair simply defines how well the shoes conform to the terrain or surface you walk on. On the other hand, the kicks should support your feet so as not to cause twisting among other related injuries.
#3. Walking Style and Terrain
Before investing in any item, it is always advisable to start by asking yourself of what use the product will be. In short, determining the role it plays and how effective it is at playing its role. As a walker, it should all start with determining you walking style, besides identifying where you plan on walking. If you plan on adopting a more casual walking style, let’s say strolling everyday to and from work just a couple of blocks away, your options are wide open to bluntly put it.
Go for a shoe that complements the surface you’ll be doing most of your walking and in this case – on pavement. On the flipside, if you often go on nature paths and adventurous hikes or walk along dirt trails most of the time, picking a light hiker-styled shoe or trail runner would certainly be in your best interest.
Even if you rarely hit nature trails, the weather is likely to get bad at some point. You can’t be confined to your house all day, every day or perhaps, put on halt your fitness routine until its sunny enough. Indeed, a pair of waterproof walking shoes does come in handy in such conditions and as sure as we are of bad weather, so should you in regards to having a pair of waterproof kicks.
Most trail-running shoes are designed to beat rainy weather conditions thanks to a number of innovative features such as waterproof uppers, great support technology and sturdy soles of ample protection. True, most comfortable walking shoes with waterproof liners can be a pain during summer or in dry climates due to limited breathability. However, it doesn’t hurt to have such a pair in your collection just for safe measure. You just can’t afford to go on health sabbaticals every now and then, with bad weather as an excuse.
Of course, the goal here is to find the most comfortable walking shoes and the amount of padding in a shoe is the measure of it. A properly cushioned shoe can determine just how comfortable your walks will be and hence, a priority while out shopping for kicks. Generally speaking, properly cushioned walking shoes prevent your feet from impact emanating from the surface you are strolling on and in the process, hinder injuries.
The most comfortable pairs are those with extra padding along the heels unlike running shoes. While running shoes are designed to focus on the ball of the foot, walking shoes tend to cushion the other areas including the heels. To find a comfortable shoe for walking, always go for a pair with extra padding.
#6. Weight of Shoes
If you regularly walk, or perhaps, jog for long distances, heavy shoes may just end up being your worst nightmare and for valid reasons. If fitness is your sole goal, finding a pair of low-weighted kicks with plenty of support would certainly be in your best interest. Basically, running shoes are ideal for most walking applications because of their enhanced support technologies. This means, they’ll serve you just right on treadmills, pavements and just about any other surface as long as it is a linear motion.
That said, runners are simply not designed for activities that require side-to-side movement or fast-paced lateral cuts. If you have to buy a pair of walkers and comfort doesn’t rank high on your list of priorities, running shoes should serve you just right.
Additional Features to Look At
The bottom line is, the exact design of any shoe you come across, defines its function, use and fit. Therefore it is paramount to stay enlightened on the basic parts entailed in walkers among other shoes, so as to help you identify the pair that works for you.
- Ankle Collars – as the name implies, ankle collars are designed to cushion the ankles from injuries and enhance a proper fit. Walking shoes with effective ankle collars can help you walk for long distances without feeling any pressure around the ankles.
- Achilles notch – the Achilles tendon is prone to injuries especially for those that indulge in extreme sports or walk over long distances. Walkers with Achilles notches significantly reduce these risks, besides reducing stress on the tendon.
- Uppers – this refers to the upper and larger part of the shoe designed to hold it on your foot. In most cases, uppers are made of synthetic, leather or mesh material. The latter in particular, serves as the ideal material for walkers thanks to its great breathability and light weight.
- Outsole – this refers to the bottom part of your shoe that makes contact with the surface. A good outsole entails quality treads and grooves to maintain traction while walking and hence, avoid slips.
- Midsole – the midsole is one of the most important parts of any walker. Generally, you want walking shoes with a high quality midsole to provide effective shock absorption, cushioning and extra comfort.
- Insole – this is the removable inner part of your shoe – in most cases at least – put in place to support the foot and arch. Would be wise to invest in a pair of walkers with removable insoles just in case you need to take them out in between long walking sessions.
- Toe box – this refers to the front part of a shoe. Basically, toe boxes provide space for the toes and hence, you don’t want a tight one. You want a sufficiently roomy toe box to help keep calluses at bay.
- Roll Bar – to help stabilize the foot just in case it rolls inward as you strike the ground, shoes with roll bars can certainly come in handy. However, not all walkers have roll bars meaning it would be in your best interest to consult with a shoe expert before investing in any pair.
- Gel Pad – walkers with gel pads are basically the best pair to invest in and for good reason. In basic terms, these are additional pads fitted in some walking shoes to help reduce the impact on your feet and joints when they strike the ground.
Comfort and Fit of Walking Shoes
As you may have gathered so far, finding the most comfortable pair of walking gear is pegged to a number of factors. However, top on your list and above everything else should be the shoes’ fit. In a nutshell, a proper fitting pair of walkers can not only help keep injuries at bay, but also keep you from getting painful heel blisters, calluses and bunions.
The long and short of it is, you will never regret investing in any fitting shoe regardless of whether they are runners, walkers or fashion accessories. How can you define a perfect fit, though? Well, a perfect fit compromises of a snug around every part of your feet, without being tight in any part. The main idea is to just have enough wiggle room for your toes. If you aren’t sure about whether or not the prospective walking shoes you try out fit perfectly, try out the tests below.
Walk up stairs – try walking up some flight of stairs – two at a go – to check for any form of heel lift. If you notice that your heels are lifting off the insoles with every step you take up a staircase, this may be an indicator of heel blisters in waiting.
Walk down stairs – try descending down an incline and while at it, scuff your feet to try check whether the toes of your feet will come into contact with the front inside part of your shoe. Even if you’ve laced the walking shoes loosely, they shouldn’t let your toes get that far in the first place. It is worth noting that any type of shoe regardless of the material used to make it will stretch and widen over time. This therefore means that if your toes can already touch the front part of the walkers while still new, they will get wider and bigger within a short period of time.
In conclusion, a comfortable pair of walking shoes can ultimately decide whether or not your quest for fitness will be successful in the long run. As we have seen, comfort and fit go hand in hand, meaning the most comfortable walking shoes are those that fit perfectly. If you are unsure about the exact fit of a shoe you like, try putting on socks with more padding on the bottom side or better yet, substitute the walker’s insole with an aftermarket one.
Ultimately, what counts is finding a shoe that isn’t tight, while conversely, limiting the up and down movement of your heels while walking. Fit translates to comfort in walking, and comfort is the key to your success.