The Best Walking Shoes for Women Are Ones You'll Never Want to Take Off
Walking — yes, plain old walking — is considered one of the best forms of exercise. In fact, a recent study published in theBritish Journal of Sports Medicinefound that strolling at a brisk pace, which is defined as a speed that makes you sweaty and slightly out of breath, was associated with a 20% reduced risk of mortality.
But if your sneaker isn't comfortable, it can cut your mileage short faster than you can say, "Are we done yet?" To help you find your best fit, Miguel Cunha, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City, says you should shop for walking shoes after the sun goes down. "Your feet are most swollen at the end of the day, so if the sneakers feel comfortable at night, they should be comfortable any time during the day," he says.
Another tip: Try on at least three different models, as sizing differs across brands (not to mention the length and width of your foot changes over time), to see what feels best. And no matter what, you should always, always perform the toe test. "Make sure the tip of your thumb fits between the end of the shoe and the end of your longest toe," Dr. Cunha explains. "There should be enough room to slightly wiggle your toes."
To narrow down your search, Jacqueline Sutera, a board-certified foot surgeon and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), says to steer clear of trendy sneakers that are labeled as free, super lightweight, air, or minimal. “These shoes may not have enough support and could lead to injury if using them for long periods of standing and walking,” she explains. Instead, look for a walking shoe that provides plenty of shock absorption, arch support, and cushioning.
Now that you're in the know, these are podiatrists' picks for best walking shoes for women. Grab 'em before you hit the track, treadmill, or sidewalk for a sweaty workout.
Dr. Sutera says this sneaker’s “Rapid Rebound” technology, combined with its extra-cushioned midsole and forefront support, offers the stability you need in a comfortable walking shoe. It's also designed with synthetic material, which she says makes it durable for long-term use.
Dr. Sutera worked in the Vionic innovation lab to help develop the foot-friendly design of this shoe. The breathable mesh uppers, for example, help hold your foot in place without overheating. And the duel-density midsole has a contoured arch that makes it a solid choice for anyone suffering from foot-related pain, including plantar fasciitis.
“Even though this shoe is a running sneaker, it is also perfect for walking,” Dr. Sutera says. The reason: This shoe’s technology allows for high energy return, meaning some of the energy you expel while walking will come back to you, rather than being absorbed by the ground (and forcing you to work harder). The absorbent crash pads also allow for smooth transitions as your foot moves through a full step.
Dr. Sutera is a fan of the cushion technology of this shoe, specifically the proprietary active foam with built-in cushion for extra comfort and support. The engineering behind the shoe's design also offers adequate shock absorption, which Dr. Sutera says will keep joints happy.
If your pronation (the natural way your foot rolls inward while walking) is basic — meaning your foot rolls slightly while it evenly distributes your body weight — this moderately-cushioned shoe may be your new BFF. “I highly recommend them for people with a neutral or low arch as they provide great stability, as well as extra padding for shock control,” Dr. Cunha says.
Dr. Sutera gives this sneaker two thumbs up for its gel cushioning system, which absorbs shock and provides comfort for walkers. But Dr. Cunha also loves its durability. “This shoe was designed for walking on rough and rocky surfaces, so it can be worn for longer periods of time,” he says. It's also made for all arch types, and will work well for anyone recovering from foot or ankle injuries.
The top-selling sneaker is popular on Amazon thanks to its memory foam insole, flexible outsole, and shock- absorbing midsole, all of which come together to form an insanely comfortable walking shoe.
Video: How to Choose Proper Running or Walking Shoes. Best Information.
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