Other than just showing up the next most important equipment needed for walking are shoes. They are the foundation, quite literally, for the success of your walking goals. If your shoes are not functioning well your feet may blister, your back can hurt, as well as injuries may occur.
Choosing something like shoes seems like it would be a no brainer, but we aren't choosing shoes for looks. They have to be high functioning because you will using them daily with one goal in mind, to enable you to reach your walking goals. There are a few key features you should look for in the search for your perfect walking shoes.
Remember to bring a pair of your socks when trying on new shoes. Socks vary in thickness and if you have a specific brand that you use for walking it is best to try on your shoes with those socks to get the best fit. Also, your feet swell throughout the day so it is best to try shoes on in the afternoon or evening.
Pick up the shoe and bend it, being sure that the shoe bends at the ball of the foot. Make sure that the shoe fits well. They should fit snug without being too tight. Give your toes a little wiggle room without sliding in your shoes.
Check the fit of your shoe by walking at an incline and see how much your foot slips forward. If your foot slides forward too much try a different shoe. Test your shoe out on some stairs to see how much your heel moves in the shoe. If your heel is moving quite a bit then they are not fitting properly and you will develop blisters.
Consider the type of walking you will be doing. Will you be walking on a track, at the park, along hiking trails? Be sure to buy a shoe that fits your walking style. If you will be walking in all weather you may need to invest in a pair of good waterproof shoes. If you enjoy walking along your local hiking trails then invest in a pair of protective hiking shoes or boots.
You should look for a lightweight, breathable, cushioned, and shock resistant shoe for most walking programs. Walk around in them for a while. Never buy a pair that you plan to “break in”. Get the right fit at the beginning to avoid blisters and foot pain.
The best shoe is the one that is comfortable and fits right. Remember that they are truly the foundation for all your walking goals. Most walkers do not need top of the line, expensive shoes but it is worth the investment to get the best comfort that you can. If you find a pair that you still love after a month of walking in them go back or watch the sales and buy several pair of them.
If you have tried and loved, or hated, a specific walking shoe, come over to the Walking forum and let us know about your experiences.