Choosing the Right Walking Shoes

The right type shoes will keep you comfortable and pain-free to help you walk longer distances.

Walking shoes:

  • Have heels and toes that are rounded upwards to lessen the impact of your heel hitting the ground.
  • Maximize the energy you use when you push off for each step.

What to look for in a walking shoe

  1. A flexible sole
    The sole of a walking shoe should be extremely flexible, especially at the ball of the foot. Flexible shoes prevent blisters.
  2. Breathable fabric
    Shoes made from leather, nylon or synthetic fabrics are acceptable for walking, but breathable fabrics are the most comfortable and lightweight.
  3. A comfortable fit right from the start
    • Your shoes should feel comfortable immediately. Don’t buy shoes you think you’ll need to "break-in." Take a good walk around the store to put the shoes to the test. Make sure none of the stitching on the shoe rubs your foot.
    • Over the course of the day, your foot swells and becomes larger, so get fitted for your walking shoes in the evening. Wear the socks you plan to walk in when getting fitted for your shoes.
    • There should be a thumb's width of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe, with room to wiggle all your toes when you stand. Your shoe should fit the widest part of your foot. Your heel should fit firmly and not move up and down in the shoe when you walk.
Replacing your walking shoes

Walking shoes lose their support and wear down over time. So if your feet or legs hurt during or after your walks, you might need a new pair of shoes. If you experience ongoing pain from your walking routine, see your doctor.

Ontario Active Living
Public Health Agency of Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living

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