Walk of Life – How to Choose Walking Shoes

Walking is the easiest form of exercise for most people, but proper footwear and fit are essential for reaping maximum benefits. Well-constructed shoes can help alleviate or avoid many common foot ailments, including blisters, strains, sprains, heel spurs, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and more.

Many walking shoes have removable insoles that can be replaced with an orthotic for a customized fit. Styles from leading brands feature a generous toe box, such as those from Dansko, Merrell, and KEEN, while Rockport and New Balance sizing ranges from narrow to extra wide.

Thanks to significant improvements in footwear design technology, people can now have walking shoes that look good and feel great.

Basic requirements:
o Out-of-the-box comfort
o Cushioned midsole (e.g. EVA, polyurethane, gel, air)
o Contoured or “anatomical” footbed
o Substantial arch support
o Roomy toe area
o Durable sole with reliable traction and slip resistance

Optional but desirable:
o Extra side support (e.g. medial posts, torsion bars) to control pronation.
o Snug heel counter (providing support and additional cushioning)
o Removable, replaceable insoles
o Lace or Velcro® closure for maximum adjustability
o Toe protection
o Antibacterial properties
o Ventilation or waterproof construction
o American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance.

TRAVEL

Whether you’re going to the shore for the weekend or embarking on a six-week European tour, walking shoes are indispensable. Bring two pairs on longer trips so you can alternate.

Rockport provides athletic-shoe comfort in styles that range from casual to chic-perfect for travel. Consider a sandal from KEEN’s water-friendly H2 line for versatility, support and antimicrobial protection. New Balance shoes with ABZORB® lend superior cushioning to standing and walking. Dansko offers comfort and support in styles fashionable enough for upscale environments. For uneven urban terrain, try shoes from KEEN and Merrell with ankle support and a more rigid sole.

FITNESS

For all but the most physically challenged, walking is an effective way to increase overall fitness. (Note: there’s no reason not to use a favorite running shoe as your go-to walking shoe. Running shoes offer excellent support in a lightweight package, but designs are often flashier than comparable athletic walking shoes.)

Featuring extraordinary support, Rockport’s ProWalker line is their flagship and an APMA favorite. Look for DMX; air-pocket technology that cushions and absorbs energy with every step. Merrell produces a wide array of sport- and season-specific styles, many of which also make excellent walking shoes. Serious walkers love the wide, roomy toe box, adjustable fit and support offered by KEEN’s Trailhead line. New Balance is distinguished by features such as Velcro® closures and the range of widths they offer – no excuses about not being able to find a good fit!

CITY

There are two main types of city walkers-people who plan to change into dress shoes upon arriving at their destination, and those who want footwear that’s comfortable and style appropriate for an entire day.

New Balance shoes keep you comfortable for four blocks or 40. Sandal or shoe, Dansko offers professional office-worthy styles that don’t skimp on comfort and support. Check KEEN’s BLVD and Market St. lines to blend into an urban backdrop. Merrell has a wide variety of walk-friendly options to suit the entire family. From casual to dress, Dynamic Suspension-featured in many Rockport styles-uses a cushion of moving air to put a spring in your step, so you can go straight from the office to a night out.

TRAIL

When you head for the hills or go into the woods, always be prepared.

The KEEN Trailhead line offers waterproof or ventilated hikers and sandals in varying heights, weights, and flexibility, all with the KEEN patented toe bumper. Many Merrell styles are equipped with a lug sole and sticky rubber to take on any terrain. Check out New Balance trail-specific shoes and ankle boots for exceptional off-road performance. GORE-TEX® or waterproof leather keep you dry, a Rollbar® adds motion control and an Ndurance® Outsole contributes lightweight, superior midsole support.

EVERYDAY

Errands. Work. School. Shopping at the mall. Leather or synthetic, waterproof or breathable, everyone needs a reliable, by-the-door favorite.

Since 1971, Rockport’s specialty has been walking shoes; many styles meet APMA standards. Features like a contoured footbed, superior arch support, rated slip-resistance, APMA-acceptance and a Dri-Lex® lining give Dansko an edge. Merrell shoes with an Air Cushion® midsole, molded heel protection, slip-lasted construction and an In-Board(TM) EVA footframe offer reliable comfort, flexibility and stability. Thanks to their dedication to performance and quality, New Balance is a perennial favorite for everyday wear. KEEN boasts a devoted fan-base who can’t get enough of their out-of-the-box comfort and youthful, funky vibe.

Season of Travel: Getting Excited and Ready?

Apparently, there is a season of travel that is happening around the globe today. Both young and old folks enjoy going to different places, visiting different countries for that new travel experience everyone is ranting about. Many are even selling all the stuff they own just to afford a whole month of back packing to interesting places in Europe, America, and Asia.

People’s trips are recorded and can now be viewed online via social networking sites, travel sites and even blogs and travel journals which makes it interesting all the more for people to visit those places to get and feel the “experience”. Often we hear from frequent travelers how privilege they are to feel the excitement and experience of visiting interesting places on earth, interact with people of different nationality and culture, and getting along with them. Have you travelled outside the country before to visit interesting places on Earth? Have you tried going to another state just to relax?

With all the pictures of beautiful and interesting places posted all over the Internet, with recommendations, and travel tips from travelers, and with more travel packages and budget tours available, no wonder why more and more people are making plans to travel frequently. The season of travel has begun and it is now becoming a hobby for people who has the time, healthy body, and resources to see beautiful places or visit those top travel destinations with loved ones. Are you ready and able to go to places you’ve never been before? Ready your back pack and a pair of shoes as you make it a goal to visit interesting places on earth in the coming months and new year.

This year, my travel plans include family and friends. I feel travelling with them is more fulfilling and relaxing than just travelling alone or with just one companion. This year I plan to visit Ypres in Belgium with my family. Accommodation plans should be easy for me since I had a friend who is running a small hotel with B&B service in Ypres. Next year, I plan to visit London for the Olympics 2012 with my friends.

Have you prepared yourself for this season of travel starting this year? I just got myself a new travel bag and comfortable travel shoes. I even commit myself to an exercise routine to be physically fit and healthy as I plan ahead my 2011-2012 travel trips with my family and close friends.

How To Choose Walking Shoes?

Every woman has experienced this dilemma before every trip: “Should I take the beautiful shoes or the comfortable ones?” Or the higher cost version of the same question: “Doesn’t this trip justify the purchase of a pair of shoes that will be both beautiful and comfortable?” The good news is that many manufacturers have risen to the challenge and started making beautiful walking shoes. Still, we need to make sure these shoes fit us.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and comfort is also a personal issue that has a lot to do with every person’s feet and back condition. Still, there are some general advice that can be useful to anyone:

  • The heel of your walking shoes must support your heel and not be too thick. If the heel is too thick you can not do the rolling from heel to toe comfortably, the way you should be able to do it.
  • For the same rolling movement mentioned before, the sole of the shoe needs to be flexible and allow movement of the foot.
  • Companies like Geox make shoes that “breathe”. This will add much to your comfort, especially if you are going to travel in warm climates.
  • Sounds obvious, but it isn’t – buy a shoe that fits. Don’t get tempted to try and squeeze into smaller shoes hoping that they will expand. If anything, your feet may swell after a day of walking; this is why it is best to shop for shoes in the evening. A well fitting shoe is one in which there is a free half inch between your toes and the tip of the shoe, wide enough for the toes to move freely. Your heel should be well held in place, and the shoe shouldn’t press any part of the foot.
  • Break your shoes in before you leave. First, try the shoes at home for a few days. This way, you don’t get the soles dirty before you are sure these shoes are good for you. If you decide against them, you can still return them to the store. Walk in the shoes for several days to get over any blisters or chafing they may cause before your trip.
  • Old broken in shoes that were good for you on your last trip can be a great solution for this trip. One caveat – take a good look at them to make sure they are not so worn out that they may force you to hurriedly buy new, possibly uncomfortable shoes, during your trip.
  • Hiking boots are a different thing. If you are going hiking, you need hiking boots, with good ankle support and sturdy soles and leather that will protect your feet from slipping or getting bruised. Your beautiful, soft leather walking shoes may be damaged by stones, so you’d better not take them along.
  • It is a good idea to try insoles. Insoles that are personally fitted to your feet will give you the best support you can have. The good types are not cheap, but can relieve and even prevent many feet and back problems. If you intend to get insoles, you should buy them before you buy your shoes, and try the shoes on with the insoles.
  • Even with the best shoes, you could get blisters when you walk for hours on end. Take some foot care products with you. Dr. Scholl’s has very good padding and blister treatment products that can earn you an extra day of comfortable walking.
  • Turns out that it’s not only the shoes that matter, but also how you lace them. New Balance have made this page about how to lace your shoes for every possible problem: http://www.newbalance.com/productbrowser/performance/lacing_for_a_better_fit.html

And after all this, we’d still like the shoes to also be beautiful…