Why choosing the right walking shoes is crucial for your health
By Emily Hagan | Published on Oct 18, 2023
Did you know that the average person walks almost five times the circumference of the earth in their lifetime? Our feet and footwear bear the entire weight of our bodies, yet we often neglect their health and importance. Many people use a single pair of shoes for walking, running, and gym activities, but it’s crucial to choose the right shoes based on sport biomechanics and agility requirements. In this article, we’ll explore why selecting the proper walking shoes is essential for your health and well-being.
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What to Look for in the Right Walking Shoes
When searching for the perfect walking shoes, keep the following factors in mind:
- Stability: The right shoes offer excellent stability and cushioning throughout your range of motion while walking.
- Flexibility: Look for shoes that provide an easy push-off phase during your stride.
- Comfort: Ensure that the shoes fit well, especially around the heel and mid-foot, with enough room for your toes to move comfortably.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Walking Shoes
Choosing high-quality walking shoes goes beyond quantity; it’s about the quality of your footwear. Proper walking shoes are vital for maintaining correct walking technique and preventing injuries. They also help preserve the proper biomechanics of your feet and the joints connected to them.
Investing in scientifically designed, comfortable shoes is worthwhile because the benefits they offer far outweigh the cost. Issues such as acute or chronic musculoskeletal problems, back pain, knee pain, foot pain, neck pain, and headaches can often be alleviated by wearing the correct shoes. Sometimes, a simple footwear modification can provide immediate relief for chronic knee and back issues.
Good shoes also play a vital role in keeping your body safe from injuries. Research shows that footwear choice can even influence an individual’s attitude.
In fact, when patients visit doctors with various head-to-toe issues, one of the first things that doctors check is their foot arch and the shoes they wear. Surprisingly, around 95 percent of the time, the shoes are ill-fitting. By simply changing their footwear, patients often experience a drastic reduction of 30-40 percent in pain.
The Side Effects of Wearing the Wrong Walking Shoes
Wearing the wrong shoes can have several side effects on your feet and overall well-being. Here are some common issues caused by ill-fitting walking shoes:
- Corns, bunions, and toe deformities: Tight, pointed shoes can lead to these painful conditions, increasing the risk of falls among the elderly.
- Back pain, ankle injuries, and sprains: High heels can cause these problems, along with headaches and plantar fasciitis. On the other hand, flat-surfaced shoes without proper arch support can lead to knee, hip, and back issues.
- Plantar fasciitis: Lack of arch support is a common cause of this painful heel condition, which can even progress to a calcaneal spur in some cases.
- Altered body mechanics: Wearing poorly fitting shoes forces the body’s joints to compensate for faulty foot angulation, leading to long-term functional and structural changes.
Considering these potential consequences, it’s advisable to replace your walking shoes after covering a distance of approximately 300 to 400 miles to maintain optimal foot health.
How to Select the Right Shoes
Follow these tips to measure your feet accurately and choose the right walking shoes:
- Measure your feet later in the day when they tend to be slightly larger due to swelling. Wear the type of socks you usually wear when trying on shoes.
- Stand while measuring your feet, as they stretch to their maximum in this position.
- When moving your ankle in different directions, ensure that the shoe doesn’t slip off and allows for toe movement.
- Look for shoes with adequate padding and a snug fit around the heel and mid-foot, enabling you to walk comfortably for long distances.
- To assess your arch type, either step on wet sand or draw your foot on a piece of paper and observe the resulting pattern.
Choosing the right walking shoes is crucial for your health and overall well-being. By prioritizing comfort, stability, and flexibility while considering your foot’s needs, you can enjoy the numerous benefits of wearing the perfect pair of shoes. So, take care of your feet, and they will take care of you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.