Walking is Good for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit but with Proper Shoes

While we are all hoping the spring weather breaks soon, many people begin walking programs to begin to enjoy the weather and to increase their exercise levels after a sedentary winter due to the cold weather.

Here are 7 points that can help guide you to proper shoe selection.

1. Size Matters

Often times, people buy the size they have always thought they wore. However, when being properly measured, individuals find out they are in a shoe a half size too small or a half size too big which can have drastic effects on how the shoe fits including toe placement in the toe box, arch placement, and security of the heel in the shoe. Some keys to having proper footwear is to measure both feet, as they can be different sizes. Also a benefit is measuring your feet at the end of the day when your feet are the largest and when many people begin to experience discomfort with their shoes.

2. The Same but Different

A 8 is not always an 8, and a 12 is not always a 12. What do we mean by this? A specific size can vary across shoe brands just like there is variety when buying store brand versus name brand. Is there anything wrong with one or the other? No, they are just slightly different and therefore may fit different. It is important to always try shoes on in the store and make sure they fit you properly prior to purchasing the shoes.

3. Toes, Toes, Toes

At this point, you have now been measured, pick your shoe based on what your size was, but where is your toe? Do you remember as a kid having someone press their thumb down to see where your toe fit in your shoe? None of us truly understood why they did that, it was just part of the process. The measurement is supposed to be 3/8” to 1/2” from the tip of your longest toe (sometimes your 2nd toe) to the end of the shoe, or approximately the width of your thumb.

4. Do These Shoes Make My Feet Look Big?

Does the shoe resemble the shape of your foot? Many times the toe box is narrow or too wide for proper fitting. This can result in your foot being too tight in your shoe or sliding around and causing your heel to slip out of the shoe. A rough guideline for individuals is that the shape of your foot should resemble your shoe and vise versa. Since we cannot change the shape of your foot it is important to change your shoe to match for proper fitting.

5. Are My Toes to Big?

Toe boxes are more than just for getting stains on. Toe boxes are one of the most overlooked parts of the shoe. If the toe box depth is not large enough it can result in unwanted rubbing causing sores and/or calluses on the toes. As individuals age,the small joints in our feet begin to change. Therefore, it is important that the shoe wear is properly fitted and not causing any unwanted discomfort.

6. Supportive > Stylish

While we all have a preference on what we like to wear from the style to the color to the size, it is important that our shoe is supportive and not just a fashion statement. While they may be fashionable, your feet will pay the price at a later date. The shoes should match what you do functionally and be the appropriate size, support, and style for you.

7. Mileage Matters

Depending on your walking and/or running style, shoes tend to break down between 300 and 500 miles. This may seem like a lot of miles but let’s look at this in a different manner. According to the American Heart Association, the goal for the average American is 10,000 steps per day. If you obtain 10,000 steps per day then it is approximately 5 miles, depending on stride length, a day. In turn this equates out to 1,825 miles per year, if you hit your goal of 10,000 steps per day. If you obtain 1,825 miles, that equals 3 new pairs of shoes per year! When was the last time you bought a new pair?

Several factors go into proper shoe wear and can be overwhelming at times. However, if you obtain a proper shoe then this can decrease your headache further down the line because you will not be dealing with injury from improper footwear. Remember you should have comfortable shoes all day not just when you first put them on in the morning.