Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How do I pick the right walking shoes?

     Did you know that the foot has 26 separate bones, 30 different muscles, 56 tendons, 250,000 sweat glands, and 33 joints?!

     Selecting the right pair of walking shoes is crucial to both the effectiveness and comfort of your workout. The right pair of shoes for your best friend isn’t necessarily the best pair of shoes for you. Everyone’s feet are different and require different things. Fortunately, getting a good pair isn't a difficult task-as long as you're aware of a few key points.

Keep these tips in mind:
  • Every pair of walking shoes should have good arch support; appropriate tread; sufficient durability, flexibility, and cushioning; and they should be comfortable! 
  • Before you go shopping, do your research. Go to an athletic or specialty store with a large inventory. They will have a variety of sizes available to meet your specific needs. 
  • The best time of day to try on new shoes is at the end of the day, when your feet are their largest. Foot size can increase by a half of a size during the course of a day. 
  • Be sure to wear the socks that you plan on wearing when you’re exercising. Wearing the nylons provided won’t give you the correct sizing because a sock is thicker. 
  • If you have high arches, you'll most likely require greater shock absorption than those with average feet. Conversely, if you have low-arched, "flat" feet you'll probably want shoes with less cushioning but greater support and heel control. If you have questions, be sure to ask the associates. They can direct you to different kinds of support. 
  • Allow 1/2 inch, or the width of your index finger, between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. If one foot is larger than the other, buy the larger size. 
  • If the shoe has variable-width lacing, experiment with the narrow and wide eyelets to achieve a custom fit. If it feels too tight, it is! 
  • A good walking shoe should be mostly leather, to absorb shock, while running shoes are mostly made of lightweight, nylon fabric. If you're walking in running shoes you "run" the risk of getting painful shin splints. 

     It is important to be aware of when your shoes need to be replaced. If they are no longer absorbing the pounding and jarring action of the sport, you are more likely to sustain knee and ankle injuries.

     Shoes normally need to be replaced every three to six months, however, if your budget doesn't allow new shoes that often, try replacing your insoles-they can provide additional support for a fraction of the cost.

By Kayla Murphy

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