Shoe Function and Use
Walk into any outdoor gear store or athletic shoe shop and you are immediately overwhelmed with the choices. Many of the shoes available look similar, so why do you need one or the other? Shoe makers typically put the best and newest technology into running shoes, while walking shoes are designed for market appeal over performance.
Features of Each
Walking shoes are designed for heal strike first, so an undercut heal is an important feature when selecting walking shoes. Running shoes typically have a heal counter that surrounds the heal and is inflexible. Its function is to control the motion of the rear foot and heal.
Hey Flat Foot
Flat soles and heals are important characteristics of walking shoes. This gives the walking shoe a flexible fit, allowing the wearer to walk long distances or periods of time with little to no discomfort. Running shoes' soles and heals have support depending on if the wearer has pronation, where the outside of the foot strikes the ground first. To determine if the running shoe has support for pronation, unlike the flat support walking shoe, look at the back of the shoe where the sole connects to the upper portion of the shoe. If there is an angle to the sole where it connects to the upper, then there is pronation support. This angle allows the pronator's foot to land flat on the ground, preventing fatigue and injury.
Which Shoe is the Shoe for You?
There is no right shoe or wrong shoe out there. It comes down to what shoe is right for you. Seek out a good running store or athletic shop. This is where you will get the best and most knowledgeable staff who can help fit you with the proper shoe for your body and needs. Try to avoid large warehouse stores and discount stores unless you know what shoe you need and have been professionally fitted.
Motion Control, Stability and Cushion
Both running and walking shoes are designed with motion control, stability control and cushion. What level or type of each you need depends on your body type and heal. Have a professional help assess and fit you with the proper shoe. Like most things in life, there is no substitute for a proper fit. Now get out there and walk or run your way to good fitness and health!
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.