Getting the Right Shoes

When it comes to walking shoes, no single pair is going to be a good fit for everybody. The most important thing to keep in mind is comfort. Make sure that walking right in your shoes feels comfortable and that the shoes fit properly. Try to leave about 1/2 inch between the tip of your toes and the end of the shoe. Here a few more things to keep in mind as you select your hiking footwear:

  • Try to find a shoe that is both lightweight and breathable. Thicker, heavier shoes will be less comfortable both to walk in and to wear for extended periods of time.
  • Having a supportive heel is much better than a thick one. A shoe with a thicker heel causes your foot to slap down all at once rather than roll naturally.
  • Make sure that you find a shoe with a sole that bends easily at the ball of the foot. Your foot needs to be able to lead with your heel, then roll to the ball of your foot. A thick sole will always get in the way of this.
  • Go shopping for your new shoes in the evening. Why? After walking around all day, your feet may be a little swollen. You want to be sure your shoes fit comfortably after being on your feet all day, and this is the best way to do it. Also, make sure you aren’t in a rush when deciding on walking shoes. You really need to take the time to walk around the store, to get an initial feel for the fit.
  • After you pick out your new shoes, wear them around the house for a few days to break them in. The last thing you want to do is limp home the first time you “officially” go walking in them. This way, if anything about the shoes doesn’t agree with you, you’ll be able to take them back before they get all scuffed up outside.
  • If you can, keep track of the number of miles that you walk while wearing your shoes. As a general guideline, it may be best to replace them every 250 to 500 miles. Of course, if they become damaged or worn out before then, be sure to replace them rather than wear them while damaged.