These shoes are made for walking

Did you know that walking shoes have specific features that other shoes might not have? Wearing walking shoes that are comfortable and fit your feet can help prevent injuries such as blisters and calluses. A walking shoe should also be fairly lightweight and provide good shock absorption. But not all walking shoes are created equal.

How a shoe is built makes a difference in its fit and function. Knowing the basic parts of a walking shoe can help you sort through the many available styles and brands.

  • Achilles notch. Reduces stress on the Achilles tendon.
  • Ankle collar. Cushions the ankle and ensures proper fit.
  • Upper. Holds the shoe on your foot and is usually made of leather, mesh or synthetic material. Mesh allows better ventilation and is lighter weight.
  • Insole. Cushions and supports your foot and arch. Removable insoles can be laundered or taken out to dry between walking sessions.
  • Midsole. Provides comfort, cushioning and shock absorption.
  • Outsole. Makes contact with the ground. Grooves and treads can help maintain traction.
  • Toe box. Provides space for the toes. A roomy and round toe box helps prevent calluses.
  • Gel pad. Cushions and reduces impact when your foot strikes the ground.

Get the best fit

The best designed shoes in the world will not do their job if they do not fit properly. Here are some tips for finding the best fit in a pair of walking shoes:

  • Wear the same socks you'll wear when walking, or take the socks with you to the store.
  • Shop for shoes after you've been walking for a while, and later in the day, when your feet are at their largest.
  • Buy shoes at an athletic shoe store with professional fitters or at a store where you have lots of options.
  • Ask the salesperson to measure both feet, measure them yourself, or have a friend or family member help you. Measure your feet each time you buy shoes, because your foot size can change gradually over years. Stand while your foot is measured to get the most accurate measurement.
  • If one foot is larger than the other, try on a pair that fits your larger foot.
  • Be sure the shoe is wide enough. The side-to-side fit of the shoe should be snug, not tight. If you're a woman with wide feet, consider men's or boys' shoes, which are cut a bit larger through the heel and the ball of the foot.
  • Walk in the shoes before buying them. They should feel comfortable right away. Make sure your heel fits snugly in each shoe and doesn't slip as you walk.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org

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