Technically, you can wear any shoes for walking.
However, wearing the right type of footwear provides more comfort and stability, especially on long-distance walks.
Finding the right pair is possible if you know where to get fitted for walking shoes with the help of an expert.
It’s rare to find a shoe-fitting expert from a general sporting goods store.
Hence, you must go to an athletic or specialty walking and running shoe shop to get the service of one.
An expert shoe fitter will use different clues to determine the right kind of walking shoes suitable to your style.
What To Look For in a Good Pair of Walking Shoes?
Consider these essential factors before you go ahead and buy that pair of walking shoes you’ve been eyeing for some time.
Comfort is one of the most vital aspects of a walking shoe, so choose footwear consisting of padding and contours closely fitted to your feet.
Also, your walking shoes must give your forefoot ample room to move and have a snug fit at the midfoot and heel.
Flexibility is a factor worth considering before buying new walking shoes. There should be a sufficient bend underneath the toes for a smooth motion.
Last but not least is the stability of the shoes. They must provide an overall secure and balanced feel with a wide range of motion.
How Should the Major Parts of a Walking Shoe Fit?
Remember to check the following walking shoe parts whenever you buy a new one to ensure you get a suitable pair.
The part holding the back of your heel is the heel counter, just beneath the Achilles tendon.
This area must be snug without any tightness, as it cups the back of your heel comfortably to prevent supination or over-pronation.
Technically, an insole is the inner bottom of the shoe that your foot’s sole comes in contact with, comfortably conforming to its contours.
It provides shock absorption, reducing the impact between the shoes, your foot, and the ground.
The midsole is an essential component of all footwear placed between the cloth upper and the shoes’ tread.
Midsoles provide lesser or greater degrees of cushioning, flexibility, and support depending on the type of material used.
The toe box surrounds the entire area of your toes, allowing them to move freely.
This part should allow your toes to wiggle and bend at the knuckles without restrictions. On the other hand, too much toe box room can cause discomfort and shifting.
How To Ensure Walking Shoes Fit You Well?
Finding the right shoes and ensuring they fit comfortably are essential factors in keeping your feet healthy.
Besides protecting your feet and making them look fashionable, shoes also cushion your body weight.
Ill-fitting shoes can cause pain and foot problems, including bunions, calluses, corns, stress fractures, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.
Here are some guidelines to follow when buying new walking shoes:
1. Have your feet measured.
Let the salesperson or shoe fitting expert measure your left and right foot separately. Don’t rely on your previous shoe size because they change over time.
Also, your feet expand as they carry your weight, so it is better to measure your feet while standing.
2. Follow the size of the larger foot.
Measure your left and right foot, and you’ll most certainly find the one larger than the other.
Then, you will want to rely on the larger foot size when buying new walking shoes. Never buy tight-fitting shoes, hoping they will stretch over time.
3. Measure your feet later in the day.
Your feet swell as you walk throughout the day, making them larger in the latter part of the day.
4. Don’t rely on the indicated shoe size.
The marked size inside the shoes varies greatly depending on the brand. Use it only as your starting point when shopping for a new pair.
5. Check the shape of the shoes.
Ensure that the shoe’s shape conforms to the contours of your foot and has a comfortable fit.
6. Check the shoe’s width.
Ensure that the widest section of the shoes can comfortably accommodate the broadest part of your feet.
7. Check the shoe’s depth.
Your new walking shoes must have enough space to hold and contain your toes, especially if you suffer from foot problems like hammertoes.
Having a small toe box will cause sores and calluses as your toes rub against the top of the footwear.
8. Check the gap at the shoe’s end.
Ensure there is a space between the end of your shoe and the longest toe, approximately a finger’s width. This way, there’s enough room for them to move as you move.
9. Test the fit of the shoes.
Walking shoes provide flexibility at the ball of your feet and are designed with a shock-absorbing heel.
Walk around wearing the new walking shoes with regular socks to test how they feel on your feet.
They should fit well and be comfortable without chafing or rubbing. Also, your heel should not be slipping or sliding while you are walking.
10. Ensure good shoe construction.
Look for a soft and breathable upper material for a more comfortable experience. This material type also prevents rubbing and skin irritation.
Also, check that the durable shoelaces can keep your feet steady and in place while walking and active.
Lastly, the inside of your shoes or the included factory insert should provide excellent arch support to distribute the pressure evenly.
11. Use the right lacing pattern.
Using the right lacing technique can significantly affect your walking shoes’ overall comfort and fit. It can also prevent heel blisters and other unpleasant foot concerns.
Where To Get Fitted for Walking Shoes?
You don’t need fancy gear or special equipment for walking. However, an excellent pair of walking shoes is a necessity.
Footwear that hurts your feet will not allow you to walk comfortably, defeating the purpose of the shoes.
That said, make sure you get the right foot gear by knowing where to get fitted for walking shoes so that you can enjoy their benefits.
Go to an athletic or specialty shoe store and ask for assistance from a knowledgeable salesperson.