Choosing the Right Shoe

Finding the Right Support

Walking shoes are designed specifically for the heel-to-toe roll your foot makes each time you take a step. Some manufacturers make special models for individuals who may turn their foot either inward or outward -pronation or supinatien, respectively.

Running shoes are okay to walk in (and they have extra cushioning), but they do not provide as much stability as walking shoes. The toes of a running shoe are less flexible than those of a walking shoe; more important, the heel of a walking shoe is rounded, whereas the thicker heel of a running shoe usually flares out. This design is fine for the slapping steps of a runner but will slow down the forward momentum of a walker.

Stay away from tennis or basketball shoes that are built with the flexibility to accommodate lateral foot movement on the court.

Getting the Right Fit

Look for a shoe with a solid, rigid sole. Turn the shoe upside down and try to bend it in half. You should be able to bend the shoe slightly, but too much flexibility is a bad idea. If you suffer from back, knee, or heel pain, choose a shoe with extra heel cushioning. And softer, wider shoes can help ease pain from bunions or corns.

Your feet tend to get wider and longer as you age, so have them measured each time you shop for shoes. If your feet are different sizes, buy the larger-size shoe. It's also recommended to buy shoes at the end of the day when feet are naturally swollen from the day's activities. Your toes shouldn't touch the tips of your shoes. You should be able to wiggle your toes but not slide your foot around.

Bring along any inserts you normally use, and be sure to try on shoes while wearing the same socks you will wear while walking. What socks you wear is really a matter of taste, though some people prefer a cushioned athletic sock.

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