Fitness

Are You (and Your Shoes) Ready to Rock? A Primer on Fitness Walking

Today, across the country, many will be walking and marching in their home cities in honor of the Women’s March movement. Here are some tips on how to best manage the demands on your feet — akin to fitness walking — and the proper shoes to wear.

Brisk walking at least two and a half hours per week is a great way to exercise and meet the minimum aerobic activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But most women (57 percent) don’t meet this standard. There are probably lots of reasons for this, and not having comfortable shoes for fitness walking could be one of them. So let’s break down what proper fitness walking shoes should look and feel like.

First, you should recognize that fitness walking is not running, nor is it hiking. Those are two completely different activities and require their own specialized shoes. Fitness walking is also not strolling around, an activity for which casual shoes or sandals work fine. Shoes that are ideal for fitness walking are designed specifically for that activity and there are a number of brands and styles to choose from. Sometimes, you can find a shoe that is good for both walking and light jogging, but mostly, the shoes are in separate categories. (I recommend that you actually try shoes on in a store before buying them, as opposed to purchasing online.)

Comfort, fit and support are the three areas you need to consider when shopping for fitness walking shoes. In terms of comfort, look for shoes that have “seamless uppers.” This means that the upper part of the shoe (not the sole) has little stitching and no rough edges to rub against your feet. This feels nicer when you are walking fast and means you can have a lighter sock.

In terms of fit, make sure the shoes have plenty of room for your toes. A wide toe box will fit your foot more naturally and allow your toes to move so they don’t get scrunched and bent. Also, make sure that your heel fits snugly in the shoe. If it slips out even a little when you roll onto your toes to push off, it could lead to blisters on your heel.

Lastly, a good fitness walking shoe should offer good protection and support. Don’t go with the “minimalistic” designed shoes, even if they look more fashionable. Remember, you’re going to be walking, not dancing, and that means stepping the whole foot down and pushing off. If you plan to do some of your walking on roads or pavement, rather than just on a treadmill, that means you need a shoe that can handle some rough surfaces.

The good news is that once you have good shoes for walking, nothing can stand in your way for better health!

Skechers Performance Go Walk 2Skechers Performance Go Walk 2—$65

New BalanceWW1765New Balance 847v2—$110

ASICS GEL - Tech Walker Neo 4ASICS GEL Tech Walker—$88

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