How to Fit Walking Shoes

How to Fit Men's Walking Shoes
Finding a pair of walking shoes that fit correctly is important to the comfort and overall performance of your fitness routine. The right shoes will aid the walker's stride and protect the lower joints, knees and back from damage and residual pain. Running shoes are not the same as walking shoes. The mechanics of walking are distinctly different from those of running, and it is important to consider this when you are searching for walking shoes. Nowadays, with the modern technology in athletic shoe designs, walking shoes have been specifically designed to manage the stress of fitness walking.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Pay close attention to heel construction. A walking shoe should have a low heel and a more structured heel cup than other athletic shoes. In order to support the roll-through of a walker's stride, the heel should have a bevel on the outer edge. The bevel design will help to steady the ankle and encourage proper movement of the foot.
Step 2
Check the shoe for flexibility. There is more movement and flex from toe to foot during a walking stride than a running stride, and this means that a walking shoe should be more flexible. Look for lightweight shoes with breathable fabrics and a flexible sole. A proper walking shoe will often have horizontal grooves on the bottom of the sole to allow the shoe to easily bend in the center.
Step 3
Determine your shoe size. Don't assume that your shoe size hasn't changed since the last time you bought walking shoes. While your foot may not have grown, the shape of your foot is constantly changing. Try on several sizes in your size point, including half sizes, and walk around the store with the shoes laced properly. There should be about a 1/2 inch between your longest toe and the end of the shoe (toe bed), and a 1/2 inch between your longest toe and the top (vamp) of the shoe.
Step 4
Determine your weight. Your weight is certainly a factor when considering new walking shoes, because it directly affects the support and cushioning you require. Rigid, motion-control stability trainers are great walking shoes for people who overpronate, and therefore are the best walking shoes for overweight men.
Step 5
Determine whether you over-pronate, supinate or have a normal walking stride. While overweight individuals tend to over-pronate, you don't have to be over-weight to do this. In order to determine your stride, check the bottom of an old shoe. If the inner portion of the sole is worn down more than the rest of the sole, you over-pronate. If the outer sole is worn down more than the rest of the shoe, you are a supinator. If the shoe is worn equally on both sides and in the center, you have a normal stride. Look for shoes that cater to your stride type.
Step 6
Try both shoes on. Walk around the store with the shoes properly laced for at least five minutes. Walking shoes should be snug, but they shouldn't be too tight. There should be a small amount of space between your toes and the end of the shoe, as determined in Step 3. You should never feel excessive pressure on any part of your foot when wearing your walking shoes. They should not make your toes or the top quarter of your foot go numb or make your foot fall asleep.
Step 7
Ask a salesperson to help you. Most sale associates in high-end sporting goods stores are trained to help customers find the right shoe for their needs. Your fit expert should be aware of the type of walking you do--fitness, extreme or casual--your general walking routine and how often you exercise.

Tips & Warnings

Many people make the mistake of putting a shoe on and immediately buying it without proper testing. It takes at least 15 minutes to adjust to a new shoe; almost any new shoe will feel good for 15 seconds.
Shop for walking shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are swollen.

Article Written By Jillian Downer

Based in New York, Jillian Downer has been writing travel, fashion and active lifestyle articles since 2004. Her work has appeared in "Travel + Leisure," "Outside magazine," "Women's Health," "Footwear News" and "US News & World Report." Downer holds a Master of Arts in comparative literature from New York University.

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