How to Choose the Right Shoes for Walking

Used to be there was pretty much one shoe choice for running, walking, skipping, jumping, tiddly-winking, etc.: Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars. They weren’t flashy, but they were cheap and they could handle anything a 12-year-old kid could throw at them.

Times have changed. Today theres a mind-numbing variety of shoes for every possible activity. But why? Do walkers, for example, need different shoes for strolling vs. racewalking vs. hiking? Does it really matter?

Well, in a word, yes. All walkers were not created equal. Just as Cinderellas slipper fit only her foot, your shoes may fit only one fitness activity. Different ways of walking require different shoe designs and materials. The lightness and flexibility of a racewalking shoe would spell disaster on a tough hike over rough terrain.

Here’s a rundown—er, walk-down—of the things you should look for in your shoes:

Casual Walking

For casual fitness walking, anything goes … almost. Fitness walkers—as opposed to racewalkers—who aren’t planning to cover more than three to five miles at a time are safe using anything from lightweight running shoes to cross-trainers to real racewalking shoes.

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