How to Pick Walking Shoes

How to Pick Walking Shoes
Though finding a decently fitting pair of shoes might not sound like a challenge, a startling 72% of Americans walk around in ill-fitting footwear, according to an R.E.I. poll. When it comes to walking shoes, the fit and support they give are crucial, since they're designed for feet in constant movement. Pick walking shoes that wil keep you moving in comfort and style.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Brannock foot measuring device
Step 1
Measure the length and width of your feet with a metal Brannock foot measurer. Though you already know your shoe size, the shape of your foot can change with age, weigh fluctuation, pregnancy; sometimes even after athletic activity. Knowing your true size and width will help you find the right fit.
Step 2
Take a look at your worn-in walking shoes to see what type of walker you are. If your shoes have the most wear and tear at the ball of the foot, and some on the heel, this means you have normal foot movement. Those with shoes worn down along the inside edges are over-pronate walkers, while more wear along the outer edges signals under-pronation. Mention these factors to shoe sales associates who can help you find a shoe with the right support for your walking style.
Step 3
Consider each walking shoe's construction before picking a pair. Check out the thickness of the mid-sole, the middle cushion between the foot bed and the outer sole. Mid-soles with gel or air cushioning tend to provide more support than those without these materials. The flexibility of the material around the heel, known as the heel counter, is another important walking shoe feature.
Step 4
Wear the same type of socks you'd normally wear while walking when trying on shoes. Lace the shoes up sufficiently so that you don't feel excessive tightness from the laces yet have a snug fit.
Step 5
Walk around with both shoes on covering both carpet and hard surfaces. This allows you to judge the shoes' grip on different surfaces. Rock back and forth on the balls and heels of your feet to test the walking shoes' flexibility. Keep in mind that a good-fitting pair of shoes do not need to be broken in.

Tips & Warnings

Since your feet naturally bloat a bit after an activity-filled day or following athletic activity, a good rule of thumb is to try new pairs of walking shoes toward the end of the day, giving you a more realistic idea of how your feet will feel in the shoes after walking. If this isn't possible, walk around for at least 15 minutes before trying shoes on.
Pick a pair of shoes that gives you the necessary balance of fit, flexibility, and support in a style you enjoy.

Article Written By Laura Dixon

Currently based in France, Laura Dixon has been a freelance writer since 2008. Dixon specializes in various topics including health, travel and culture. Previously, she worked as a weekly newspaper reporter in Central California. Dixon holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and international relations from the University of California.

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