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WHAT ARE THE PROPER WALKING SHOES?

When choosing your walking shoes, don't be a slave to fashion. Pick your walking shoes because they are quality shoes, not because they make you look cool or color coordinated.

One should only wear these shoes when working out. Don't wear your walking shoes to the mall or to participate in other sports. If you can afford to have separate pairs from your everyday pair, it is preferable. Additionally, it is often good to have more than one pair of training shoes. Switching between two pairs of shoes will allow the mid-sole to decompress and if it rains, your shoes will have time for them to dry out. In short, you can achieve a longer life span on your shoes if you rotate two pairs.

Price obviously is a reflection of your budget. If you can afford it, I recommend walking shoes between $60 to $80. Those that are more expensive are usually so only because the shoe companies know that people are willing to pay more. While more expensive shoes may be marginally better, quality does not necessarily increase proportionally with price. Also be aware, walking shoes that are really inexpensive are usually less supportive, less stable, or less comfortable.

Choice of a favorite brand is very subjective. Don't pick the brands that are geared toward fashion. Pick the tried and true athletic brands. Second, pick a brand that is comfortable. You should realize that everyone's feet are different. People with narrow feet for example would enjoy Nike. In the last few years New Balance, a traditionally great running shoe catering to the plethora of foot types/pronations, have developed a race walking specific shoe that many of the U.S. elite and non-elites use. Try different brands, walk around in them (in the same style that you use when you walk), in the same types of socks that you wear to walk.

If you wish to race walk, it is my preference to buy running shoes and walk in them. I find the proper running shoe to be more stable and durable. However, if you are healthwalking a quality pair of walking shoes may be more comfortable. Either way, I would pick a shoe with the following characteristics:

  • Low heel.

  • Stable heel.

  • Flexible toe.

We recommend going to a specialty store. Don't go to a chain store where high school kids (no offense) are giving you advice. Until you find a walking shoe that you are happy with, get the best advice that you can. Once you've selected a pair you are comfortable with, stick with the same pair. You can buy additional ones wherever you like. If your model of walking shoe is discontinued, that does not mean there is anything wrong with them; buy them at a reduced price. “I often buy extra pairs to save money” says Jeff Salvage.

At a race, you can always pick out the rookies, because they are the ones wearing the new shoes. Most people do need to break in walking shoes. This will help prevent blisters and other foot ailments. It is best to do so before your old ones wear out. First, wear them around the house. If they are comfortable, wear them for a few short workouts, progressively increasing the distance you wear them.

Don't wait until your walking shoes are worn to find another pair. It is a good idea to have the next pair on hand. When you realize that you need a new pair, life often gets in the way and you tend to procrastinate. Another common problem may be that the store you go to does not have anything that is comfortable for you. Now you have placed yourself in the position of having to walk in worn out shoes.

As a general rule of thumb, you should replace your walking shoes when you have walked in them for about 400 miles. Everybody is different. Some people strike harder or softer than others. Some walking shoes wear better than others. By looking at the bottom and sides of the walking shoes, you can tell when it is time to replace them.

Walking shoes can wear out in many places. Simply waiting until there are holes in them, or your feet start to hurt is not a good idea. As a walker you will tend to wear out your walking shoes at the outer heel and at the point where you push off with your big toe.

Also, if your walking shoes are soft or you strike the ground very hard, you may compress the heel of your walking shoes. You may also see your walking shoe leaning to one side. If your walking shoes clearly exhibit these signs, you may want to replace your walking shoes.

 

People often come up with excuses for not performing well. One of the classics is, "it's not me its my sneakers." Although an improperly fitted pair of shoes can cause great problems, the variance between one quality well fitting pair and another is not night and day.

The difference between a good pair of training shoes and a pair of racing flats is usually 5 seconds a mile. While this may make a large difference in the place an elite walker finishes a race, the average novice walker is really only gaining an increased risk of injury, if he wears racing flats which typically have little cushioning.

For an 8 page comprehensive description of walking shoes, please visit our sister site, http://www.racewalk.com/Shoes/Introduction.php.



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