Walking shoes are different to other types of shoes.
Because walking requires a full range of motion, we need something that’s flexible, highly comfortable and able to stand the test of time.
It’s not about going out and buying the best and most badass looking shoe out there.
It’s about being more smart with your approach. You need a shoe that’ll benefit you on your walking travels and keep you comfortable for longer.
In this walking shoe buying guide I will show you how to find a walking shoe that fits you.
Lets get right into it!
Make Sure It’s a Walking Shoe
First and foremost, you need to make sure the shoe you’re choosing is actually walking shoe.
There are different shoes for different activities.
And the easiest way to cause an injury, pain or discomfort is choose the wrong type of shoe.
For example: tennis and basketball shoes include a flat outsole for extra stability in all directions.
On the other hand, a running shoe is stiff and has a flare behind the heel for stability.
But what about walking shoes?
Well they need to be lightweight, breathable and have more flexibility since walking requires a full range of motion.
The Shoe Should Fit Right Out of the Box
Forget about your old beliefs that your shoe needs “breaking in”, or that it might get comfortable after a few times walking in the shoe.
News flash, a shoe should fit comfortable as soon as you put your foot inside and definitely will NOT “stretch out”.
I bought some walking shoes about 4 months ago from a store.
The second I put my feet inside and took a few steps, I knew they were the ones I wanted and I was instantly sold (even though they were a boring plain black color).
And that’s how you need to feel when trying on a pair of walking shoes.
If they don’t make you feel like walking on clouds, they are the wrong fit and you should continue shopping for something else.
Forget About Appearance
Everyone I know focuses on appearance before anything else.
I’m guilty of it, you’re guilty of it, and so is the next person.
As humans we are attracted to things that look good because we always want to look our best, so it makes sense that we want to focus on something aesthetically pleasing.
However, this is a bad approach because now we are only limited to a few amount of shoes.
And the less shoes we try on, the less chances for us to buy one that’s comfortable and going to hold our weight properly.
Spend a Little More Money for Comfort
Comfortable shoes is a HUGE deal.
Comfortable shoes allow you to walk all day, everyday, without experiencing any pain or discomfort.
That is the end goal in mind, so it’s not worth skimping on comfort to save a little money.
I always say comfort is #1 priority and it will stay that way.
Don’t be afraid to spend $100 for something that’s going to keep you on your feet all day without any pain.
Rather than settling for a cheapo $40 pair of shoes that cause you pain every single day and makes your life a hell of a lot more difficult.
At the end of the day you’re paying for quality and comfort so it makes sense to pay a little more for a pair that will last!
Go For Lightweight and Ventilation
Lighter is always better and that is why walking shoes are much lighter than any other shoe.
A lightweight walking shoe will feel like there’s nothing on your feet, which is what we need to focus on when shopping for walking shoes.
So what do we look for?
A mesh upper!
A mesh upper makes it easier to move around and keeps your feet breathing, stopping sweat buildup as much as possible.
Typically most walking shoes have this anyway.
But if they don’t, I say keep shopping until you find one that does as it’s going to make your walking travels that much better.
Arch Support is a Big Deal
Arch support is a big deal when it comes to finding a shoe that fits.
What one person might find comfortable, you might not since your arch height is different.
There are 3 types of arches.
- Low to flat arch
- Medium/neutral arch
- High arch
When shopping for a new pair of shoes, it’s ideal to find something with a neutral arch support unless you have unusually high or unusually low arch feet.
As a rule of thumb, the higher the arch the more cushion you need.
On the other hand, the less arch you have, the less cushioning you need.
If shopping online, I recommend looking for shoes with a neutral arch and checking reviews to see if others with a high/low arch find them comfortable too.
But shopping in store is easier as you can try on different shoes with different arches until you find one you like.
Shoe Fitting Basics
So now we got the most important things out of the way, how do you actually know if the shoe fits?
Below are some shoe fitting basics to keep in mind when shopping around for a new pair of shoes.
- Ensure 1/2 an inch from your big toe to the front of the shoe. As a rule of thumb, your index finger should be able to push down through the empty space without touching your toes
- Allow 3/8 of an inch in the back of the shoe. This prevents rubbing on the heels and ankles which will only cause blisters and calluses
- Wiggle your toes. The toe box should be large enough for your toes to wiggle around freely. If they do not, the shoe is too tight. If your feet move around, it is too loose
- Adequate ankle and heel support. Make sure your ankles and heels feel snug so there’s little to no movement when walking around. A quick way to painville is to have lots of space around your heels and ankles which will move around when you walk and cause immense pain
- Try the shoes on both feet and walk around for a couple minutes. You don’t know if something is comfortable until you try it on and move around. This is the easiest way to know if it’s right for you
Bonus: Get Moisture-Wicking Socks
While lightweight and breathable shoes stop your feet from sweating, moisture-wicking socks absorb any sweat that does occur, keeping your feet as dry as possible.
These socks are designed to pull sweat away from the skin and pull it to the outside of the sock, evaporating the moisture and keeping you dry.
Absorbing the sweat prevents friction and rubbing and stops blisters from happening.
The Best All-Round Walking Shoe Out There
The best walking shoe that I recommend is the Adidas Ultra Boost 19.
These shoes are durable, made to last a long time, make great walking shoes due to the flexibility and even has Primeknit technology to keep the shoe fitting snug.
They are also lightweight due to the mesh upper and weigh a tiny 11 ounces.
People from the shoe community love them for all the reasons above and why I recommend them for walking.
Buying walking shoes is an easy task when you simplify the whole process.
Simplify meaning, making sure the shoe fits comfortably before worrying about anything else such as: appearance, color, features, etc.
I mean, who cares if the shoe is an ugly brown color, it’s going to keep you comfortable for longer.
The end goal is your health and fitness in mind, so when you take your eye off the prize, your health will suffer and you’ll constantly be buying shoes that’ll only do more harm than good.
Well after reading this article I hope you know how to properly buy walking shoes for your fitness journeys.
If you’re still scratching your head or have anymore questions, please ask me in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can 🙂
And remember, the Adidas Ultra Boost 19 is my recommended walking shoe.