Tip #3 – Choosing the right Shoes

You can start to Power Walk as soon as you leave your front door but there is one bit that you can't do without and that's the correct footwear. The beauty of Power Walking is that you can do it anytime and anywhere. While you may want to consider investing in a good pedometer, and an all-weather jacket, the only essential piece of equipment that you will need is a good pair of walk specific shoes. Your feet are going to need some tender, loving care so it really is worth spending some time on buying the right shoe. Injuries can be prevented by wearing a well fitting shoe that is comfortable and it is so much more fun walking without sore feet! Different sports put different demands on your feet so, just as you can buy running shoes and soccer cleats, a walk specific shoe is designed to support and protect the vulnerable parts of your feet while Power Walking. Walking or Cross Training shoes as they are often called can now be found in most sporting goods stores. Here are four important points to look out for.

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 so that each time you push off from the back foot you have plenty of toe protection.

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 and avoid injuring your Achilles tendon.

Flexibility
Walking shoes must be flexible, supportive 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 narrow or wide fitting, do you have a slim heel, which is your longest toe? 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!

Some additional shopping tips:
Allow enough time to try different ways of lacing your shoes as it can make a big difference to the fit. If there is a treadmill handy, 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. 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. Do NOT wear walking boots. While these may be great for hill hikes and soft ground, they do not allow your ankles to flex and you will pay the price.