Thursday, March 13, 2014

Walking Shoes That Will Keep You in Stride

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From avid foot-commuters and speed enthusiasts to casual daily walkers the right pair of shoes can dramatically improve overall form and keep exercise fun, easy, and pain-free. Shoes need to be able to handle the repetitive rolling heel-to-toe motion of the feet while providing complete heel, arch, and toe support. Poor fits and disregarded orthopedic conditions can lead to debilitating aches and pains as well as longer-term issues with the knees, hips, and general posture.

A good walking shoe will have secure support across the instep and heel while also providing plenty of room for the toes and ball of the foot. When choosing footwear it is important to remember that everyone's fit will be unique, so learning the specifics of shoe design and function can help to make a quick assessment when selecting a new pair.

Finding Shoes Made for Walking

In addition to providing a tight fit that will prevent calluses and blisters, walking shoes should be lightweight and offer plenty of shock absorption. Orthopedic shoes and custom inserts can be an excellent solution for individuals with aggravated conditions, but learning the basics of good shoe construction can also help to ensure that footwear provides sufficient support and comfort. When looking for a good walking shoe, pay attention to the following footwear features:

  • Achilles Notch: Well-placed notching at the back of the shoe reduces stress on the Achilles tendon and can prevent uncomfortable chafing and irritation at the top of the heel.

  • Ankle Collar: Cushioned collars provide extra support at the back of the leg and ensure proper fit during exercise.

  • Upper: The upper portion of the shoe should hold your foot firmly in place; lightweight and breathable materials allow for good ventilation and greater comfort.

  • Insole: Many walking shoes are designed to provide natural cushion and support for the foot's arch, and removable inserts can be easily taken out for laundering or replaced with orthotic inserts.

  • Outsole: The portion of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. Look for shoes with grooves, tread, and durable materials that will maintain traction on a variety of surfaces.

  • Toe Box: Make sure that this portion of the shoe provides plenty of space for the ball of the foot and the toes; roomy and round-toed boxes can prevent calluses, chafing, and painful cramping.

Getting the Best Fit for Your Foot

The arches of the feet provide complex support for the upper body. An intricate alignment of muscle, ligament and bone forms an effective arch both cross-and lengthwise over the foot, providing springy shock-absorbers that distribute the body's weight evenly across the feet. The arches of the foot and any footwear support helps the body to quickly adapt to various surfaces while maintaining grip and stability.

Orthopedic Advice

Those looking for more expert advice on proper footwear fit should be able to find a local retailer that specializes in providing comfortable and orthopedic-friendly fittings. Some locations will even offer fitting and measurement sessions that can help with specific issues and offer advice on orthotic inserts that can help provide support where general fits fail.

About the Author:
 
Feel free to contact Ella Gray at ella.l.gray@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.
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1 comment:

  1. We bought new shoes for Roel last weekend and I think it could have been better if I had the chance to read this beforehand. Orthopedic advice is truly worth considering :)

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