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How to Choose The Best Walking Shoe

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If you love checking out new parks and places in Boston and other cities, you’ll know very quickly the importance of choosing the right walking shoe.

Shoes significantly impact your gait, joints, bones, tissue, and muscles. Even though you are not planning to break any world records in athletics, a little sports science knowledge is essential when choosing a walking shoe, and the correct choice of footwear eventually helps you realize the health and therapeutic benefits of walking while mitigating specific problems. Remember, you should also prioritize some factors when choosing a walking shoe based on your health goals.


Stable footwear provides ample lateral support, which is essential for walking outdoors. You can easily change direction and manage your movement without falling over. Such efficiency prevents fatigue and injuries.

A stable shoe bends at the ball of the foot if you bend the toe when holding it by the heel. The shoe should also offer average resistance if you twist it when holding the toe and heel. You may also consider purchasing shoes with a broad base for hiking and trails. Stable shoes also partially restrict your foot’s natural movement. The shoes may also have a medial post to rectify overpronation.

Heel to Toe Drop

The heel-to-toe-drop factor depends on the activity for which you will use the shoes, ankle dorsiflexion, and foot strength. This factor compares the cushioning beneath the heels and that in the toe area. Hence, this ratio shows how steep your shoes slope from heel to toe. The heel-to-toe drop significantly differs for running and walking shoes.

Overall, your shoes for walking outdoors should have a low drop. A high drop causes the leg to strike back further than usual, and you end up walking with an awkward gait. Of course, you may experiment with different shoe designs to enhance your comfort and walking posture.

Cushioned Versus Minimalist Shoes

Minimalist shoes have little to no cushion, and are designed to mimic walking barefoot. Because you have no support system, your feet build strength naturally the more your walk in them. A minimalist pair of shoes also minimizes the mid- and forefoot impact—however, the lack of cushioning for a long time strains your calf muscles. It can, however, take some time transition over to walking in barefoot shoes.

Cushioned shoes absorb much of the shock from the ground reaction force to your foot’s impact—such insulation is vital in shoes for walking outdoors for long distances. Hence, the application often determines your choice, whether cushioned or minimalist, when choosing a walking shoe.

Room for Your Feet

Your feet and toes should have some wiggle room, but not too much. The toe box of your shoe should provide room to wiggle toes. Consider the width of the shoe for your foot, particularly if you have wider feet – there are wide-size options that should fit your feet.

Keep Your Feet Happy and Healthy

Test the shoe that feels most comfortable for you and durable for the amount of walking you plan to do.