When it comes to walking shoes, many don’t think much about it. You get up, get dressed, and throw on a pair of shoes. Well, it isn’t as simple as that. More people though are understanding the importance of grabbing the correct pair of shoes for the right occasion. As time progresses, many start to suffer from foot issue that can range from pain to the change in structure in their feet. Shoes are mostly seen as a fashionable aspect more than a comfort factor. As most manufacturers create shoes with aesthetic appeal, they also create shoes with specific technologies to support the foot. As technology becomes more advanced, and we learn from past issues, shoes are now put into separate categories, more specific to fit the different activities of every person. Still, many don’t understand how imperative it is to choose the right pair, where the right pair, and do this continuously to prevent long term damage.
Utilizing a walking shoe, for, well, walking, is essential. Ok, that may sound obvious, but people can make the easy mistake of confusing or simply not caring what a walking shoe actually is. Now, sneakers have elevated in style and design. They are more comfortable and feature extras. This is great, but the perfect shoes aren’t always perfect if they aren’t being used correctly. They can slowly be damaging your feet. With that in mind, the most comfortable walking shoes will protect your feet from these issues if used properly.
The Difference Between Walking Shoes And Running Shoes
This is an imperative topic because it is so easy to confuse the walking shoe from the running shoe. Most people do not know there is a difference. When a person walks, there are different movements that require different support. When running, the game completely changes. For athletes, this is key because wearing the wrong fit can accelerate the damage. You wouldn’t wear boots to play your best game in basketball, so walking and running shoes are just as different.
For starters, the difference between walking and running shoes is the very construction. Walkers can wear running shoes in most cases but runners shouldn’t wear walking shoes. As explained before, muscle movement in shoes when doing various activities varies differently. If you are a walker, you can wear running shoes, but there are more comfortable options for those who may stand all day. Another difference is not just feet also. The body uses a different position when walking or running, a runners knees bend more, so they will need much more support. For this reason, those who walk more frequently and endure heavy lifting, like nurses, may consider running shoes. This all depends on, though. Since runners hit the ground with a force three times their body weight, running shoes are built for more pressure. Walkers do not apply this much pressure. Walking shoes are designed to spend more time on the ground. Then, to make things more complex, they are also designed to be on the ground longer on different terrains. That is one of the reasons it is important to have multiple walking shoes for every occasion needed, but we will go into this later.
When it comes to motion, is should be heavily considered. This affects the design of the shoe greatly and may not be what a walker wants. The flexibility factor is inhibited for those who need more motion control. Since runners use more sporadic motions, their shoes have a firmer fit. This might not be the best option for a walker who just wants the most comfortable walking shoes. Walking shoes offer more flexibility in the sole also. This allows the walker to bend and walk easily and they tend to use the heel of their feet, the ball and toes. They use this system to walk so flexibility is necessary.
Everyone should like a good support system and comfort. So, as a walker, you will need to decide how much of that cushioning you really want. It may sound wonderful to have the absolute most cushioning possible, and that may be best for some, but access cushioning in shoes means more weight. This is why typically, running shoes are heavier than walking shoes. When runners hit the ground, they are applying more pressure to the shoes, so running shoes are designed to handle that shock. Walking shoes still provide a great cushion for comfort, but if you walk on flat surfaces most times, it may not be necessary to get extra padding in a shoe. Walking shoes, however, have been designed with more padding, and can be bought. Those walking shoes that come with more cushion provide all of the construction of a walking shoe but allows that walker to handle more terrain types with the extra cushioning. So, the extra padded walking shoe would be great for those who walk not as flat terrains or walk longer distances.
This may be more noticeable when trying on the walking and running shoes separately. The height of the heel in a runners shoes is higher. Is this what you want? Again, walkers can wear running shoes, but if you do not do an accessive activity, walking shoes may be best for you. Runners tend to use their midfoot so this is why the heel is designed with more support. This can be difficult to determine what heel height is, again, trying the shoes on will let you know because visually, they are not much different. This is why it is so easy to confuse walking and running shoes. Walkers use their heel more in most cases, so this is why the walking shoe would be comfortable for a person who has less activity. The lower heel may provide more of a comfort factor for the user. Also, when it comes to the heel of the shoe, running shoes provide extra heel flare. This may not be your best bet if you are a walker. For a walker, it can hinder the motion of rolling forward in a step. For athletic power walkers, shoes with an undercut heel will usually be best.
What Should You Choose
That’s obviously up to you. Walking shoes are for those who are really just going to walk. Although you can wear running shoes for walking, many may not be as comfortable in them because of their build. So, you may have been buying running shoes and think they are good enough but you may like walking shoes better if you are walking all day. If you travel on different terrains at a steady pace, walking shoes with more cushioning may benefit you better. When everything is said, a walker should probably stick to, well, a walking shoe.
Why You Should Buy More Than One Pair Of Walking Shoes
Now that we went over the difference between the walking and running shoe, you should also know that buying multiple pairs of walking shoes can benefit you.
Shoes can easily get dirty, scuffed, or become drenched in rain. Most people who purchase a pair of walking shoes will use it daily. Having a backup is always great because you don’t want to wear those muddy, dirty, wet shoes the next day. While you are cleaning those shoes, you can have a nice dry, clean pair waiting for you.
This mistake can easily be made. Many think it’s fine to wear one pair of walking shoes consistently. When you purchase the pair of shoes, you may be planning on wearing it for a while. Alternating shoes though can prevent your feet from adapting to one type of shoe. If this happens, you may not know when the shoe wears out and is not providing enough support for you. This is how feet get damaged. Making the investment in at least two quality walking shoes can help your feet in the long run, or should I say walk.
There are different types of walking shoes. You may wear one pair for work, then wear another to walk trails for enjoyment.
- Motion Control
Although we talked about motion control earlier and that it makes the shoe less flexible, som walkers may need this. They may need motion controlled shoes but the build of a walking shoe. This motion-controlled walking shoe is designed for those who may have flat feet or those with heavier weight. Many with this issue can get injured easily because the weight is distributed differently and can cause twisted ankles or other injuries. These shoes have better protection against this.
- Trail Walking Shoes
These walking shoes are specifically designed to handle rough terrain while providing the comfortable features of a walking shoe. Terrain shoes are built with more durability and the soles should take longer to wear out. It is imperative to not wear out the soles of your walking shoes that are designed for flat surfaces.
- Extra Cushioned Walking Soes
These are the shoes we talked about earlier also. They are made for those who may need a little extra comfort because of pain while walking. They are great for those with high arches and can be worn all day.
Walking shoes can make your life more comfortable and help you avoid common foot issues caused by wearing the wrong pair of shoes. So, think twice before you grab that pair of shoes and walk out the door!