How to choose walking shoes
Like bikes for road cycling trail cycling mountain biking and cycle cross, there is footwear to suit a wide range of walking. In the summer and at lower level it might be possible to choose one pair of walking shoes or boots to suit a range of walking terrains but in general, and especially in winter when conditions under for are more extreme, it is best to choose footwear to suit the walking.
The difference between walking shoes and boots
Walking shoes are ideal for easier-going trail walks and dog walking in the park-type activities. Many walking shoes have good grip on the soles and hold the feet firmly in place but they lack ankle support. If you are walking on very uneven terrain or in wet and muddy conditions then ankle height boots will be a better choice. The ankles on boots offer good support and also keep the wet out.
However, walking boots can be heavy, especially if you require sturdy walking boots suited to wintry conditions, so a walking shoe might suit people who are looking for speed over a shorter distance. Children often prefer walking shoes, too, because of lightness.
Walking shoes make a versatile choice if you enjoy a range of easier-going walking, so they are great for country trails, riverbank walks, dog walking, going to the park with the kids or wearing on snowy days walking the children to school.
Walking shoes are on trend
The range of styles of walking shoes is amazing. Shoes are styled – and come in all kinds of colours – for men, women and children. The shape of the shoes are also designed to fit the average foot of a man, woman or child. So, for example, a woman’s walking shoe will be narrower and have a slimmer heel fitting. Of course, no one should buy a walking shoe simply because it looks good – fit is most important – but if the shoe is comfortable and stylish then all the better.
Many people now buy walking sheos for everyday leisure wear because they are as comfortable as a pair of trainers, yet still good looking enough to wear to the shops or to the pub. Walking shoes are also very versatile and suited to wearing on tarmac, grass, country trails and even some easier going hills.
What to look out for when buying a walking shoe
Fit: Comfortable but not too tight. It is also a good idea to try on a shoe while wearing the kind of socks that you’ll pop on for your walk. So buy a shoe a size bigger if you’re planning to wear thicker socks. Make sure that you can tighten the shoes easily with the laces to give a snug fit. Make sure you leave around a thumb's width of space at the front of the shoe from your big toe so that when descending on trails and hills, your toes do not bang off the front of the inside of the shoe.
Soles: Look at the base of the shoe to see what grip they offer. And read the label to find out what the manufacturers suggest you use the shoe for. Or read a review.
Cushioning: Looking for padding in the heel and at the sides. Trail walking can involve loose stones and rocks and a few knocks and turns so it’s important that your feet are protected and comfortable.
Uppers: If you plan to wear the walking shoes in summer choose an upper that offers lots of breathability. If they’re for winter walking, go for waterproof uppers. Gore-tex is a great invention but this adds cost to the shoe and might not always be necessary. If you will be walking through a lot of mud it might be worth choosing a darker coloured shoe, or be prepared to wash the shoes after wearing them.
There are a huge range of walking shoes on the market so read about the ones you fancy before buying, and then try them on. This reviewer has given a pair of Hi-Tec Lady Camelia Walking Shoes a very thorough review. The information should help you to decide on these shoes or other walking shoes.
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