Physical exercise doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as walking can have great benefits for your body.
Walking is a physical activity that people of all ages and fitness levels can easily engage in. It’s also one of the best ways to lose excess weight and get in shape. Plus, walking at least 30 minutes a day can help prolong your lifespan and overall quality of life by strengthening the heart, lowering blood sugar levels and protecting your bones.
That being said, if you want to get on the path to a fitter, healthier and better you – you better start walking! But like any physical activity, walking does carry the risk of injury. Luckily, most walking-related injuries can be prevented if you’re being careful where you step on and if you have great walking shoes on. To find the right athletic shoes that will make walking a walk in the park, here are some helpful tips.
Look for a Comfy Footbed with Optimal Arch Support
The footbed is often the main factor that determines whether walking shoes can keep you feel safe and comfortable. The footbed is the cushioning lining the insides of the shoes which comes into direct contact with your feet and affects how much arch support the shoes can provide. So ideally, you should aim to find shoes that have padded footbeds with ample arch support and which can mould to your foot.
But at the same time, the footbed should also help to keep your feet protected from shocks due to the rough terrain. That being said, Vionic athletic shoes are a good example of footwear with proper arch support. Their Orhtaheel footbed is biomechanically designed to hug your arches while also protecting your feet from the impact of the ground.
In addition, there are Vionic athletic shoes that are orthotic-friendly. In other words, if you have some kind of foot condition that requires the use of orthotics, you can comfortably fit the devices into your Vionic walking shoes. Getting to keep your orthotics on while engaging in physical activity is crucial for the health of your feet.
Sturdy Soles with Good Traction Are a Great Plus
But even the comfiest and most supportive footbed won’t be able to do its job right unless its paired with the right soles. The sole is the surface of the shoe that hits the ground directly as you walk. Considering this, you need to look for walking shoes that can offer impact protection, traction and be slip-resistant.
A thick rubber sole is a good sign that the shoe can absorb the shock your feet get from the ground. This way, the shoes can prevent fatigue so that you can walk longer distances with greater ease.
For shoes that offer good traction, you need to check the pattern on the soles underneath. A lug pattern that features deep and thick bumps can greatly improve your traction. As a result, you can easily move both on smooth, straight surfaces as well on a rocky, gravelly or up-heel or down-heel terrain.
Rubber soles with deep lug patterns also make the shoes slip-resistant. Some walking shoes can also feature a special heel brake built into their soles that helps reduce the chances of sliding down and falling during a steep descent.
The Material Matters Big Time
The materials a pair of walking shoes are made of will determine how much they weigh and how breathable and durable they are. For instance, it’s not recommended to pick walking shoes made of full-grain leather. Despite being breathable and having durable, leather shoes are often heavy and can tire your feet out when walking continuously.
That being said, it’s recommended to stick to shoes made of lighter, synthetic materials. Athletic shoes that have textile uppers are the most lightweight choice. What’s more, these uppers are also flexible and can mould around your feet as you walk, thus helping you stay comfortable and prevent foot problems such as blisters or chaffing. Walking shoes with a mesh upper are a really great choice as they allow the foot to breathe, keeping it dry and providing a healthy environment.
Get the Best Fit
But even if you manage to get all of the aforementioned factors right, the shoes still won’t do their job right unless they fit you perfectly. So, it’s essential that you pick shoes that are the right size and fit for you. That being said, if you have wide feet, focus on comfort footwear brands with wide feet ranges such as Keen, Ecco or Vionic walking shoes.
Of course, before buying make sure that you try the shoes on. It’s best to try the shoes on later in the day, when your feet are at their largest. This ensures that you get a good fit. Also, when trying the shoes on, make sure that you wear the same socks that you plan to wear when walking.
However, if it’s more convenient for you to buy walking shoes online, make sure that you read the site’s size guides before buying. To check what size from the guide is right for you, measure your feet later in the day with socks on. And if you plan to buy walking shoes to wear in the summer and your feet are prone to swelling in the heat, be careful not to pick the wrong size.