Medical experts have long expounded the benefits of morning walks. If you do a little bit of research about the concept, you’ll see the ample number of benefits this simple exercise carries. From maintaining a healthy weight to preventing deadly diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart issues and high blood pressure, there’s no dearth of health benefits of a brisk walk. Besides, strengthening your bones and muscles, running also improves your mood, coordination and balance.
So if you’ve decided to kickstart your own morning walk ritual, you’ve made a wise decision!
Fun Fact – Until the 18th century, there was no difference between the shoes worn by men and women.
From that, we have come a long way. To a space where footwear is available for different activities and events.
Running (quite literally) or walking requires the right set of gear. But most importantly, what you do need is the right shoes, like trail shoes, motion control shoes or stability shoes and many others. Your feet carry out most of the work, therefore, making it all the more important for you to know the essentials of an effective morning walk shoe.
If you’re wondering how to choose the right walking shoes for yourself, this comprehensive guide will help you to pick the right one for yourself.
We have covered it all – the types of shoes, how to choose the right walking shoe and more.
- Different types walking/running shoes
- A good walking shoe has 3 most essential qualities
- How will you choose your right walking shoe?
What are the different types of walking/running shoes?
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Choosing the right running shoes becomes easy if you know the kind of shoes existing in the market. You’d be spoilt for choice!
There is a distinction between walking and running shoes. Well, there’s no need to be apprehensive about picking a running shoe for walking purposes; if it doesn’t have too much heel, you can opt for it.
Anyway, you’re here to know more about the different types of walking shoes and that’s exactly what we’ll get to now.
- Motion control shoes
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Let’s start with what motion control shoes are not. They’re not flexible. They’re very rigid and the reason being that they’re meant to control overpronation.
Overpronation, commonly known as flat feet is a phenomenon that takes place when you’re walking. If the arch of your foot rolls downward or inward excessively, you’re said to have overpronation. People who have it are prone to many injuries. For such individuals, the motion control shoes protect you from falling.
One of the key advantages of motion control shoes is that they’re quite heavy and durable, so one can be sure they will last you a long time. They come with dual density midsole to correct overpronation.
Motion control shoes are also the perfect choice for people who are overweight. The only problem with such shoes is their weight! Every step you take will feel like you’re climbing up the hill. Besides, motion control shoes can be expensive. The best time to buy them is during a sale online or offline.
- Stability shoes
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A cousin to the motion control shoes, stability shoes are much lighter! They’re not as rigid as motion control shoes but provide ample support and last long.
Stability shoes are good for those who have mild balance issues and are mid-weight. Bear in mind that stability shoes have a thick heel, which means that every step you take will tend to feel heavy.
That said, they’re still not the best running shoes around so you might want to think before investing in them.
- Cushioned shoes
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If you imagine yourself walking in shoes that feel as soft as clouds, you get yourself a pair of cushioned shoes. They have the softest midsoles and are extremely flexible!
Be warned though because they do not provide much support. That makes them ideal for those who do not overpronate and don’t need any kind of additional support.
They are perfect for people with high arches, those who suffer from heel pain and need extra cushioning.
As for arguments against these shoes, they have thick soles. As a result, you may feel heavy on the feet while walking.
- Race walking shoes
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Race walking shoes typically have thick midsoles. Nonetheless, they even come with lugs or knobs on the exterior side of the shoe.
If you want to go running every morning, you should stick to this type. Its extreme flexibility, low heel and light weight will ensure that you feel a spring in your step as you go.
The downside is that they don’t have much cushioning and hence, aren’t very stable or durable.
- Lightweight performance shoes
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If you have neutral and you don’t overpronate, you should choose lightweight performance shoes.
The plus point of lightweight performance shoes is that they are very light and flexible. This helps you to acquire speed and momentum as you run, making them the best running shoes for a half marathon.
But, if you intend to go for a long walk, these might not be the best ones for you as they don’t provide enough cushioning for your feet. Lightweight performance shoes even wear out quicker as compared to the other types.
- Lightweight trail shoes
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Ideal for a hilly area morning walk!
These shoes are your best bet if you live in a rocky area and you love walking and hiking on the trails that surround you.
Trail shoes have special designed soles that protect your feet against the unevenness of the rough terrain and ensure balance and stability on natural surfaces.
With trail shoes on, you don’t have to worry about tripping or falling. Trail shoes are made of breathable material and have cushioned feet for added comfort and durability.
A good walking shoe has 3 most essential qualities
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Your quest of how to pick walking shoes can be a lot easier if you know what to look for in your pair. According to the general thumb rule, you should look for the following 3 qualities to get the best walking shoes for yourself-
- Undercut heel on the outside
When you walk, you normally hit the ground with your heel first. So you don’t want a shoe that has a large, flared heel. You want one that has an undercut heel. An undercut heel will prevent your feet from feeling the pressure as you walk. However, if you intend to run, a flared heel will be good because of its stability and support.
- Flat heel on the inside
The best walking shoes are ones that have a flat heel on the inside. You won’t be able to make out the insole shape from the outside. So don’t worry even if the outside looks jagged. As long as the inside is flat, you’re all set. Check the inside to know the drop between the heel and the toe. Ideally, it should be less than 8mm. You can even get shoes with zero heel drop.
Your shoes should be able to bend and twist as your feet do, so there’s no friction or stiffness. In case your shoe is too rigid, your feet will have to fight with every step you take. The result?
Foot problems such as shin splints and numb toes among others.
If you opt for online shopping for walking shoes, check the product description carefully for these three must-have features. Don’t purchase a pair that doesn’t fulfill the above criteria.
How will you choose your right walking shoe?
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So we’ve come to the last and most important section of this running shoe guide – how to pick a walking shoe!
Hmm. That’s a tough one. Apart from focusing on the essential features we just discussed in the previous section, you need to ensure that the shoes you get for yourself provide you with the maximum comfort.
That’s something you can guarantee with absolute certainty by sticking to the checklist we’ve prepared for you below.
- Roomy toe box
If you want to know how to choose the right shoes for walking, you need to need to examine the shoe you intend to purchase. One of the features you need to keep an eye out for is a roomy toe box. The toe box is the part that covers your toes. This should be slightly roomy so that your toes can bend and wiggle freely; but not too roomy either or you’ll end up with a loosely fitting pair.
- Cushioned midsoles
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One of the most important parts of any walking shoes is the midsole. Sandwiched between the upper sole and the tread of a shoe, the midsoles should be resilient and soft when you press on them with your fingers. Typically shoes with air, foam or gel midsoles prove to be the best as they’re soft and help minimize impact.
- High traction outsoles
When the question of how to pick a good walking shoe hits your mind as you’re in the store browsing, check the outsoles of the shoes you like. The outsoles should have plenty of grooves to allow for good traction as you walk. That’ll prevent accidental slips and falls.
- Shock absorbing insoles
The insoles in your walking shoes should always be of high quality. No comprises there! Not only should they cushion and support your feet as you walk, but they should also absorb the impact your feet create on your shoes.
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A daily morning walk routine means sweaty feet. Hence, you need shoes that offer some level of breathability so your feet don’t stink or suffer from sweat induced infections. Walking shoes with a breathable membrane are a must. Wear breathable socks too so you don’t get blisters.
- Right size
Different brands have different sizes. So even if you’re confident of your shoe size, check it at the store once again when you step in. Each store has a foot measuring device you can place your foot on to know the size you are. That’ll help you ensure you get a snug fit from your purchase.
Bonus: Always go shoe shopping in the evening
So you know how to find the right walking shoe, but there’s one thing you still need to do if you want to end with the absolutely best pair possible. And that is go shoe shopping only and only in the evening!
The reason for that is your ankles and feet swell up in size throughout the course of your day. So if you try out shoes in the late afternoon or evening, you’re most likely to end up with a better fit. Buy your shoes in the morning and you might find them a bit too tight.
Also make sure you try out shoes in the store with socks on. Bring your own pair in and put them on before you slip your feet into shoes you wish to try. If you get a snug fit with socks on, you’ve got the right shoes for yourself.
If you still want to be extra sure that you’ve indeed ended up with the right pair, there are still two more things you can do. First, wiggle your toes in the shoes you’ve tried on. If you can wiggle your toes comfortably, you’ve got yourself the right shoes. If it’s too tight or too loose, you need to go a size up or down. Second, walk around in the store with the shoe. Only purchase the pair if you feel absolutely comfortable walking around in them.
So that’s it! We hope this walking shoe buying guide helps you make the right purchase.