How do I Choose the Best Walking Sneakers?

Dan Cavallari

As is the case with any type of shoe, comfort is key when choosing the best walking sneakers. If a shoe does not fit well and causes discomfort, the rest of the shoe's features will not matter at all. Therefore, when deciding on a pair of walking sneakers, it is important to get the right fit to keep the foot from moving excessively within the shoe or from binding too tightly on the foot. Once a proper fit has been established, one must decide what other features are necessary for the type of walking being done.

Supportive shoe insoles are important for walking sneakers.
Supportive shoe insoles are important for walking sneakers.

A loose pair of walking sneakers can cause hot spots on the heel, toes, or ball of the foot, which can lead to uncomfortable blisters. Too tight of a shoe can restrict natural movement of the foot, causing other types of discomfort. One must make sure to choose a shoe that fits correctly and allows for natural movement of the foot without allowing excess movement that can tire or even injure the foot. Laces should run from as close to the toe as possible to as close to the ankle as possible to promote proper support.

Walking sneakers.
Walking sneakers.

Walking sneakers come in a wide range of designs, so much so that choosing the right one can be daunting. Some walking sneakers feature an arched sole that promotes a smooth walking motion, while others feature specially designed flat soles that allow the foot to move naturally and without strain. For stability, a flat sole with some tread is best. The sole should be stiff enough to provide support but flexible enough to allow the foot to move naturally. Within the shoe, the insole should have enough arch support that the inside of the foot does not move downward too much. If the shoe does not offer enough arch support, aftermarket insoles can solve the problem.

A properly fitting sneaker will allow natural movement of the foot, but not too much movement.
A properly fitting sneaker will allow natural movement of the foot, but not too much movement.

If the wearer plans on using the walking shoes in all conditions, he or she should consider waterproof or water resistant uppers. One should be sure to choose a material that will keep rain and snow out of the shoe, but allow the foot to breathe — that is, the material should allow perspiration to escape from within the shoe. This will ensure the foot stays dry and prevent blisters. For off-road walkers, a more durable sole may be in order. Special rubbers often come on trail running shoes that are tougher and harder to wear out than the rubber on typical walking sneakers.

Springs added to the heel act as shock absorbers in Z-Coil® shoes.
Springs added to the heel act as shock absorbers in Z-Coil® shoes.

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Discussion Comments


When I was a kid, we wore the same cloth tennis shoes no matter what we were doing. I played basketball in the same shoe I played basketball in. Of course, when I played organized football we had spikes, so that was a little different.

It wasn't until I got to college that I realized that I if I was going to play five sports then I needed five different types of shoes. In some cases the shoes are overrated, but not always. I had a friend who used to wear his running shoes on the basketball court and at some point during a game he would turn an ankle.

For some reason, he could never get it through his head that it really was the shoe. I say this to make the point that a good walking sneaker can be a worthwhile investment. Your feet will thank you.


I agree with the article that comfort is the most important consideration when you are choosing a walking shoe, or a dress shoe, or any type of shoe for that matter. I have friends who are always dishing out small fortunes for the new high tech walking shoes and sneakers.

I have to admit that some of the fancy running and walking shoes for ladies are really cute, and one time I did buy a pair that were really overpriced, but I wanted to see whether they made a big difference when I walked and I also liked the way they looked.

I liked them, but they were basically the same as the cheaper brand shoes I usually walk in. However, I did look more athletic with them, and I need all the help I can get.

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