A good way to prevent injuries like blisters and calluses is wearing walking shoes that fit your feet well and are comfortable. Ideally, a good walking shoe should be lightweight and offer ample shock absorption. Since each walking shoe will be made unique, it is important to find one that fits right and with the desired features.
The making process of a shoe defines its fit and purpose. Understanding the parts that make up a walking shoe comes in handy when choosing from a plethora of shoe brands and styles.
Achilles tendon protector. It is the part that locks the shoe around the heel, thereby decreasing the pressure on the Achilles tendon.
Heel collar. Helps with proper fitting and also protects the ankle.
Upper. Typically made of leather, synthetic material or mesh, whose role is holding the shoe on your foot. Mesh is a lighter material and promotes better ventilation.
Insole. Protects and supports the foot and arch. It is easy to wash removable insoles or even take them out to dry in the middle of walking sessions.
Foam, gel, or air midsole. It cushions and significantly decreases the impact whenever your foot hits the ground.
Outsole. It’s the part that touches the ground. It consists of grooves and treads that help maintain traction.
Toe box. Makes room for your toes. A round and spacious toe box is paramount to preventing calluses.
Keep in mind the shape of your feet
There are various feet shapes and sizes. To keep away painful problems, keep in mind the size and shape of your feet when shopping for walking shoes from the Orthotic Shop. Don’t forget that your shoes should go with the shape of your feet. You should never force your feet to fit into your shoes.
Length and width
Whenever your shoes are too narrow or too wide, you’re at risk of developing blisters and calluses. For a toe box that’s not sufficiently high – and fails to provide ample room for your toes – you could easily suffer the pain that comes with disorders like bunions and hammertoes.
The side-to-side (metatarsal) and longitudinal arches come about as the result of the complex arrangement of bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons in your feet. While walking, these flexible, bouncy arches evenly distribute your body weight across the feet. Your arches are crucial to how you adjust to the various surfaces while walking.
Go for shoes that are in line with your arche type. Feet can be broadly categorized into these three groups:
Neutral-arched feet. These are feet that aren’t overly arched or overly flat. Shoes with firm midsoles, straight to semi-curved lasts are ideal for those with neutral arches. (Last here means the sole’s shape and the footprint that dictates the shoe’s build).
Low-arched or flat feet. Some individuals may suffer joint issues and muscle stress due to flat feet or low arches. However, there isn’t a direct correlation. If you’re one with this type of feet, it would be beneficial to go for a walking shoe with a straight last and motion control for foot stability.
High-arched feet. With high arches, your feet may not soak up pressure as well, and could be the reason for the excessive stress on joints and muscles. This is especially the case for those who are actively involved in impact or jumping activities. Your ideal shoe is one with cushioning for shock absorption. A shoe with a curved last could also help sometimes.
However, the most important thing is comfort. The “best shoe” for a particular foot type is just theoretical, as comfort and right fit are the main criteria to use.
Get the right fit
Without fitting properly, even the world’s best-designed shoes won’t be functional. Below are tips from the Orthotic Shop to help you find a pair of walking shoes with the best fit:
- When heading to the store, wear the same socks you’ll wear when walking or carry the socks.
- Shop for shoes later in the day, or after walking for a while, as this is when your feet have reached their optimal size.
- Your preferred store should be an athletic shoe store, one with professional fitters, or one that offers lots of options.
- Measure your feet or have a family member, friend, or the salesperson do it for you. Do this each time you buy shoes as your foot size might change over time. Standing while you get your feet measured will help get the most accurate measurement.
- Try on a pair of shoes that fits your larger foot if the size of your feet isn’t identical.
- Check the fit by trying on both shoes. Wriggle your toes to find out whether you have at least a half-inch (1.3 centimeters and about the width of your finger) of space between the end of the shoe and your longest toe. If you don’t have this space, try on a larger size.
- Ensure that the shoe is wide enough. Ideally, your shoe’s side-to-side fit should be comfy, not tight. Females with wide feet may go for boy’s or men’s shoes since these are cut a little larger through the heel and the foot’s ball.
- Take a short walk in the shoes before making the purchase. You should be comfy in them. Ensure that your heel fits comfortably in both shoes and slip while walking.
Buy new walking shoes to prevent injury
Walking shoes will eventually go through wear and tear. Even if you’re still comfy in shoes that don’t seem worn out, they might not be properly protecting you from shock and stress.
Buy new shoes when:
- The outsole is visibly worn
- Your running or walking shoes have clocked 300-400 miles.
Despite looking good, a shoe will no longer provide ample impact protection after about 300 to 400 miles. Mark on your calendar when you’ve hit the maximum mileage for your shoes as a reminder to replace them. This also helps you find out how long it takes you to cover 300-400 miles.