Walking Shoes

Monday, 28 April 2008 | Tags: , ,

The average person walks over 10,000 steps each day, and if you're into walking for physical fitness, it can be a lot more. A good pair of walking shoes may be the ticket to keeping your feet happy. Here's what to look for when buying walking shoes.

The Basics

  • A walking shoe isn’t as technical as a running shoe since the impact is far less, but they still need to fit right and offer support.

  • Sizing your feet properly is first thing to do to make sure you find a comfortable fit.

  • There should be a space (about the width of your thumb) between your longest toe and the end of your shoe to allow for movement.

  • Your feet swell throughout the day, so shoe shopping at the end of the day is the best way to find a good fit.

  • Remember to wear or bring the socks you’ll likely wear to do the majority of your walking.

  • Look for a shoe with a wide toe, a firm solid sole, and no seams in places that will result in pressure and discomfort on your foot.

  • Depending on the way you walk, you’ll want to look for different features in a shoe:

    • Pronators (those whose foot strikes the ground on the outside of the heel and then rolls inward) should wear shoes that have proper motion-control with straight or semi-curved lasts (the space between the in-sole and the mid-sole).

    • Supinators or underpronators (those whose high arches makes the body weight stay on the outside of the foot instead of rolling slightly inward to absorb the shock) require a cushioned shoe with curved lasts that encourage a proper inward roll.

    • People who neither pronate or supinate have a normal our neutral step and should look for stability-type shoes, which are more flexible than motion-control (for pronators), as well as some cushioning.

  • For serious walkers, shop at a smaller specialty store with knowledgeable staff to help you get the right shoes for your feet.

  • Make sure the store has a good return policy, and then take the shoes home and wear them around the house for a few days without getting them dirty. Your feet will soon tell you if the shoes are right. If they aren’t comfortable, try some different ones.


We walked 20 kms in a few different shoes with the help of some mail carriers and a walking group. We tested walking shoes and one pair of runners from:

  • Nike: $114.95
  • Rockport: $139.98
  • Mephisto: $389.98
  • New Balance (cross trainers): $99.98

Walking Test

  • The Mephistos blistered one tester’s feet badly, while another tester raved about them, saying they had superior comfort and no hot spots.

  • The Rockports didn’t seem to have enough support or cushioning for any of us. Our walking group liked the look of them but they complained about pressure points.

  • The New Balance cross trainers did fine. If you’re not planning on doing a lot of walking, a regular athletic shoe may do the job.

  • Nike got the most votes. The mesh overlay provided a really great fit as well as breathability; their cushioning gave a walking on a cloud feel.


Nike’s walking shoes had all of our testers walking on a cloud. They were our top pick in this test.


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