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Wendy Bumgardner

Consumer Reports Rates Athletic Shoes

By June 30, 2009

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Avia A104wConsumer Reports rated athletic shoes for its upcoming issue. But they tested only 20 different shoes, out of the hundreds to thousands to be found on store shelves and online. They also rated them based on a variety of exercise activities, "from jogging and aerobics to weight-lifting and kickboxing." How valuable is that in finding a good walking shoe? In my opinion, not much.

Consumer Reports gave their best buy for men to the Champion Amp 2 from Payless ($45), which is a running shoe. Their women's top ratings went to the Ryka Core Strength XT (Compare Prices) and the Avia A104W (Compare Prices). Neither of these are running or walking shoes. I haven't had the chance to see them in person, but as crosstraining shoes they are likely to be heavier and less flexible than needed for fitness walking. The Ryka shoe gets raves from buyers on Zappos, but in general they aren't walkers. Browsing over to Payless ShoeSource online, the Champion AMP appears to be a lightweight running shoe that may be appropriate for walkers who don't need motion control.

I don't recommend buying crosstraining shoes for walking. I recommend going to the best serious running shoe store in your area and getting fit there by their experts. They will probably put you into a good quality running shoe that is flexible and has a low heel profile. They will be able to tell whether you need a motion control shoe, a stability shoe, or a neutral shoe.
Walking and Running Shoe Types

To their credit, Consumer Reports agrees. "Buying the right shoe is really an individual decision," says Gayle Williams, deputy health editor of Consumer Reports in a press release. "You have to pay attention to how the shoe fits your foot, no matter what you’re going to be doing." They go on to recommend "Get expert advice. Consumers will probably pay more at an athletic footwear store than they would at a discount store, but they’re more likely to find a seasoned salesperson who can help them get the best shoe for their needs."
Running Shoes for Walkers
How to Choose Walking Shoes
Photo courtesy of Pricegrabber - Avia A104w
Source: Consumer Reports press release 6/29/09

July 2, 2009 at 7:54 pm
(1) Sarah says:

I have seriously walked for a long time but finally got the nerve to go to a specialty store in my town about 18 months ago to get “real” shoes. They had me walk on a tread mill and video taped it. Then we looked at the tape and they told me about my walk and what kind of shoes I need. Ended up I have a great something and didn’t need the most expensive. They showed me several and I picked one. WOW, its made a huge difference. Plus I only wear them for my walks. I am now on my third pair of these shoes and I totally see the value in having the experts help you pick out walking shoes if you are a serious walker! Plus it was the first time I DID NOT pick out shoes according to what color they were!!

March 20, 2011 at 10:45 am
(2) Chelle says:

The worst running shoe I’ve ever bought…and I mean ever, after wearing Nike for 15 yerars…is the very pricey Nike Air 2010!!!! These shoes are heavy, do not bend appropriately, and are amazingly uncomfortable. And, don’t rely on the inexperienced sales reps from shoe stores. They are out to make a sale! I can assure you, you will feel like you are wearing weights!!!!!!!!

August 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm
(3) B. Foust says:

I am very athletic; I walk, run, do aerobics, play sports such as tennis, volley ball, etc.. The worst walking shoe I’ve ever worn are the Sketcher Shape-Ups. The front of these shoes turns upward, applying pressure on your toes and causing discomfort & over time a fungus infection. I had professional pedicures whereas I instructed the pedicurist to cut the toe nails as short as possible preventing the nail from protruding over the toe and the pain & fungus are still present. As a last result I had to throw them in the garbage because everyone that I tried to give them to experienced the same & refused them. What a waste of money.

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