Guest Author - Hellie T.
Once you have decided on the type of footwear you need (see Footwear) use these pointers to guide you when purchasing boots or walking trainers.
Do not go shopping for walking footwear on a whim!
Plan your purchase by going in the afternoon and taking with you the walking socks or socks you would normally wear.
Try on several different pairs.
Different makes of trainers and shoes vary in their fit and styling details, so take your time.
Everyone's feet are different so remember to take into account the shape and size of your feet when buying a pair of walking shoes.
Get your feet measured if you haven't had them measured lately. It is best to have your feet measured when you are standing up as this gives you a more accurate measurement.
Check the width and length or the shoes/trainers/boots.
Walking shoes that are too narrow or too wide can give you painful blisters and calluses. Buy footwear that is comfortable from the moment you try it on - don't think they will give with age.
The trainers or shoes should feel snug and comfy, but not too tight.
Can you wriggle your toes? You need about 2cm between the end of your longest toe and the end of the toe box.
Your heel should fit snugly in each shoe and shouldn't slip as you walk about.
If you like the style but your usual size is too tight or loose then try the next size.
Put the shoes or trainers on laced up, and walk around the shop. If there is not an incline board then ask for one.
It is important you see how the footwear feels when walking down a slope.
Your feet should not slide around in the trainers or shoes – if they do you will be guaranteed sore toes!
Look at the tongue.
This is usually padded to help protect the top of your foot. Different makes vary in the depth of padding so make sure it is right for you.
In many lightweight boots or shoes the tongue can be bellowed - this stops mud, small stones or thorns from getting in and can be more comfortable to wear.
My walking shoes have a bellowed waterproof fabric tongue which I find adds to the ease of putting them on and makes for cosy wearing.
You can get different types of insoles to finely tune the fit of your boots or shoes.
The insole or foot bed (they are removable) needs to be cushioned and will have air vents in or be made of wicking material – this will help to minimize the smell and aid ventilation of sweaty feet.
For more on foot care tips click here
The tread on the bottom of the trainers or walking shoes should be substantial for good shock absorbency and increased stability.
When buying for children all the above points apply but do make sure you have your child’s feet measured properly.
Their feet grow so quickly that it is best to go for a well made trainer.
Don’t be bamboozled into buying them a named brand unless you are sure that it actually meets all your expectations! Click this link for more info on walking with children