The basics of buying walking shoes.
Sure, you want shoes that look chic, but there are three much more important factors to guide your purchase:
- 1. Stability. Do they hug the contours of your foot and offer support throughout a range of motion?
- 2. Flexibility. Does the sole have give? Does it move with your foot, especially at the toes?
- 3. Comfort. How padded are they? How’s the support in the arch? Do you have lots of room around your toes?
Advanced considerations for buying walking shoes.
So, they’re stable, flexible, comfortable and cute. Here’s what else you should consider when shopping for a pair of shoes that best suits you:
- 1. Foot shape. Are your feet wide? Are they narrow? Shop for shows with a snug fit, but room to move, especially at the toe. Too much movement or not enough can result in blisters and bunions.
- 2. Arch type. Are your arches low, neutral or high? Feel out the arch support and make sure the shoe’s shape matches your requirements. Additionally, high arches will need extra cushioning while low arches require more structure.
- 3. Health conditions. Are you already injured or living with chronic pain? If your back, knees or heels are already an issue, so might need extra structure and support with extra heel cushioning. Bunions, arthritis? Go for a softer, wider shoe.
- 4. Walking conditions. Think about the weather and landscape you’ll come across. Rain and snow? Consider waterproof or water-resistant options. Snow and ice? Look for more traction. Taking to the trails? Look for structure and tread (and maybe even opt for a trail shoe instead).
Walking shoes to look for.
There are many running shoe brands that are now focusing on developing shoes specifically for walking. Some brands, like Saucony, have styles that are even podiatrist-approved. Even better, retailers are also taking note, and now feature walking shoes. Here are a few of our favourite walking shoes:
- L.L.Bean’s Comfort Fitness Walking Shoes are available for men and women. The outsole walking technology is designed specifically to stabilize your foot throughout your stride. Don’t forget, CAA Members earn 4%* in CAA Dollars® when they shop online with their CAA Membership number through our link.
- The La Sportiva line of GTX shoes, available at PRFO, are designed for walking or running trails and uneven ground. They’ve got a wide, comfortable fit and GORE-TEX® waterproof protection – a lifesaver when you’re caught in the rain. When CAA Members shop at PRFO online, they earn 5% in CAA Dollars*.
- Saucony shoes are known for their ultra-plush footbeds and have been designed for all-around support. Both SAIL (where CAA Members earn up to 5%* in CAA Dollars when they shop online) and Altitude Sports (where CAA Members earn 4%* in CAA Dollars when they shop online) have a large selection of Saucony shoes for men and women.
- The Newfeel by Decathlon collection, available exclusively at Decathlon (where CAA Members earn 10% in CAA Dollars* when they shop online) is a range of affordable walking shoes designed for sport, nordic or athletic walking. We love the incredibly lightweight and well-priced Newfeel Soft 140 mesh fitness walking shoes. Available for both men and women, they’re easy to tuck into a knapsack and bring on your next walking trip.
Tips for trying on walking shoes.
When trying on and testing out walking shoes, keep the following in mind:
- 1. Size matters, but it differs. Trust how the shoe feels on your foot, not what the size says.
- 2. Your feet are not a perfect match. Always try on both shoes to see how they fit each foot.
- 3. Wiggle your toes. You want about half an inch between the tip of your big toe and the shoe.
- 4. Walk around. Test out your shoes (indoors, so you don’t tarnish the sole) to see how they feel when you’re in motion.
- 5. Try shoes on at the end of the day. It’s strange but true: Your feet are larger later in the day and when you’ve already been walking for a while.
- 6. When in doubt, go bigger. If you feel that you’re between shoe sizes, opt for the larger pair. More room is better than not enough.