(MayoClinic.com) 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. Find the fit and features that are right for you.
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. Note: Not all walking shoes have roll bars or gel pads, though many have features that provide stability and cushioning.Consider the shape of your feet
Feet come in many shapes and sizes. To avoid painful problems, consider the shape and size of your feet when buying a pair of walking shoes. Remember, your shoes should conform to the shape of your feet. Your feet should never be forced to conform to the shape of a pair of shoes.
Width and length
Shoes that are too narrow or too wide can lead to painful blisters and calluses. In addition, a toe box that's not high enough — and doesn't provide enough room for your toes — can aggravate foot disorders such as bunions and hammertoes.
The intricate alignment of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons in your feet forms side-to-side (metatarsal) and lengthwise (longitudinal) arches. As you walk, these springy, flexible arches help distribute your body weight evenly across your feet. Your arches play an important role in how you adapt to various surfaces as you walk.
Choose walking shoes that accommodate your arch type. Generally speaking, your feet fall into one of three categories:
Not sure about your foot type? Dip your foot in water and step on a piece of cardboard. Examine your footprint. If you can see most of your footprint, you probably have low arches. If you see very little of your footprint, you likely have high arches.
You can also look to your old shoes for clues to the shape of your foot. Bring your old walking shoes with you when you shop for a new pair — most shoe professionals can give you some tips on what to buy based on the wear of your old shoes.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:
All walking shoes eventually show signs of wear. And even if they still feel comfortable, they might not be providing enough support or shock absorption. Pay attention to the condition of your shoes. If the outsole is worn through, it's time for a new pair.Make an informed decision
Improperly fitting shoes are the source of many problems. Now that you know what features to look for, you can shop with confidence. Wear walking shoes that are comfortable and properly fitted for a walk that's worry-free.
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