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Walking Shoe Guide

How to Choose the Best Walking Shoes


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Brooks Adrenaline

Brooks Adrenaline

© Brooks Sports

Walking shoes are your most important item of gear. We will help you decide which are the best shoes to buy for fitness walking.

The Best Shoe

There is no one best shoe for all walkers. The best shoe for you is the the one that fits you best, the one that gives you the proper support, flexibility, cushioning, and compensates for any stride problems you may have, such as overpronation. Each person's feet are different. Take all advice with a grain of salt. Find a shoe fitting expert to help you find the shoe that is best for your walking distance, speed, style, and surface as well as your weight and stride.

Walking or Running Shoes?

Shoe manufacturers put the best design and technology into running shoe styles, while walking shoe styles are designed primarily for market appeal rather than performance. Follow the tips on the upcoming pages to see whether that walking shoe you are interested in buying really meets your needs, or if you should go with a running shoe design.

Essential Walking Shoe Qualities:

  • Flexible: You must be able to bend and twist the shoes. When you take a walking step, your foot will flex as you roll through a step from heel to toe. If the shoe is too stiff, your foot will fight it with each step.
  • Flat: Walking shoes should have a relatively flat heel.
  • Heel Not Flared: Since walkers strike with the heel first, you do not want a big flared heel. In fact, a slightly undercut heel is preferred.
Boots for Walkers?
Many long distance walkers wear hiking boots. This is very common for longer-distance walkers in Europe. However, boots do not provide motion control features that many people need, and may be inflexible and heavy. Walkers may discover that they need a boot for the trail but not for the street.

Next page: Shoe Types and Top Picks for Each Shoe Type

Walking Shoe Guide
1. Walking Shoe Guide Intro
2. Top Picks for Shoes by Shoe Type
3. What Do Shoe Lasts and Shapes Mean?
4. Are Your Walking Shoes Flexible Enough?
5. How to Get Fitted for Walking Shoes
6. Finding the Right Shoe Store
7. Walking Shoe Reviews

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