Power Walking Shoes

The beauty of Power Walking is that you can do it any time and anywhere. Whilst you may want to consider investing in a good all-weather jacket, the only essential piece of equipment that you will need, is a good pair of walk specific shoes!

What to look for

Whether you walk for the love of walking, or you’re preparing to take on a challenge, by looking after your feet and spending some time on buying the right shoes, you can feel more confident that your feet will go the distance in comfort and in all weather conditions. Wearing the right shoes will allow you to focus on your walking, help to prevent injuries, and really can be the make or break of achieving your goal successfully.

What is a walk specific shoe?

Different sports put different demands on your feet so, just as you can buy football boots and running shoes, a walk specific shoe is designed to support and protect the vulnerable parts of your feet whilst Power Walking. The market is becoming awash with shoes that profess to be ‘ideal for walking’ so our advice is to aim for a make such as Solomon who make good Walk specific shoes or ideally look at buying a good trail shoe, or a flexible cross trainer.

Below are key points to consider, so that you can create a profile on what you are specifically looking for, and narrow down the field on what might best suit your feet.

A good toe box

This is the area around the toes. Make sure it is rounded, roomy and deep enough to wiggle your toes easily. Each time you push off from the back foot your foot will naturally slide forward a little so having plenty of room and toe protection will prevent your toes from hitting the end of the shoe and ultimately giving you black toes!

Worth noting that on running shoes the toes box is usually very soft and also slightly pointed. Whilst they suit running they are not suitable for Walkers.

Low heel profile

The angle of a walker’s foot as it pushes off is much greater than that of a runner. Consequently, look for a shoe with a low heel profile that will not continually press on your Achilles tendon.

Your Achilles is one of the most vulnerable areas of your feet. It is very easy to damage this area, and very difficult to heal, so important to take care of it.

Flexibility

Walking shoes must be flexible and supportive, you should be able to flex the sole easily, usually, the fabric of a walking shoe is gortex or even leather, and well cushioned underneath the ball of the foot, and around the heel - both areas take quite a pounding!

The right width and the right length

Before you go shopping get to know your feet and make a few notes: are they a narrow or a wide fitting, do you have a slim heel, which is your longest toe? This usually means that your Power Walking shoes could be a full size larger than your normal shoe size, don’t worry this is normal. Go for the correct fit and you will avoid all sorts of foot complaints not least of all black toenails… not attractive!

When possible, we recommend going to a specialist sports shop where they will spend time finding the right pair for you, and in some, have a treadmill to try them out!

What footwear to buy

Top tips

  • Buy shoes at the end of the day when feet are usually swollen and at their largest.
  • Allow enough time to try different ways of lacing your shoes as that can make a big difference to the fit.
  • Often in sports shops there is a treadmill so you can put your shoes to the test!
  • Always wear the socks that you intend to wear with your walking shoes, thin or thick socks can make a big difference to the final fit and even size of your shoes.
  • Remember to replace your shoes every 500 miles or after one marathon, after which time they tend to collapse (if you haven’t!) and stop giving you sufficient support. Unlike some shoes the older they get the more uncomfortable they become.
  • Walking Boots… Whilst boots are ideal for hill hikes and soft ground, they are a big NO for tarmac and road walking as they do not allow your ankles to flex and you will pay the price!

Nina recommends

We are currently looking into shoes that we can confidently recommend. Salomon generally does excellent shoes, they come in various widths, half sizes and many of their shoes are made from Gortex so waterproof. They do a walking shoe and also very flexible trail shoes, so explore both options to see what works for you.

Altra is another good make, the toes box is particularly good on these shoes as it is so square so plenty of room to wriggle your toes!

If you are looking around, just make sure that whichever shoe you look at it ticks the boxes, and if you find a good shoe then share it with us... I hope this helps!

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