As far as exercise choices go, there’s nothing simpler and more effective than walking. It comes naturally to everyone, and the benefits can be numerous. For starters, walking might be the only option for obese people looking to turn things around. It’s friendly on the joints and doesn’t require a high degree of coordination nor athleticism to do right. By simply walking, one can burn around 100 calories per hour. You can easily do that watching TV on a treadmill at home, right? Increase the pace or walk uphill and you burn more.
In case you got sold on the above points, there’s one more thing you have to do before you can hit the pavement or the treadmill. You have to get yourself a pair of walking shoes. The athletic shoe industry is worth billions of dollars and companies are fiercely battling for position. This increases the choices available to you. It also increases confusion and a first-time buyer can get easily overwhelmed. Read on as we give you tips on how to choose one that’s perfect for you.
- Function over form. A walking shoe needs to give adequate cushioning and support in all the right places. Buying one that’s specifically made for the surface you are most likely to walk on is also important. Walking on concrete or gravel paths requires a different type of outsole than say walking on your home treadmill. The former needs to have a tougher sole while the latter can get away with a thinner, more flexible sole for more comfort. It’s crucial to get your priorities straight in this area – whether it looks good or not is supposed to be the least of your concerns. Don’t be swayed by flashy color or fancy, trademarked terms that companies come up with to make a shoe seem more advanced than it really is.
- Try it on. In fact, try both of them on. It’s quite common for people to have one feet larger or wider than the other. Shoe sizes are only guides and different manufacturers size their shoes differently. If your usual size seems looser or tighter, ask for the next one. If you bought it at a store, wear it around the mall while finishing up with your other tasks. If you have any issues with comfort, return it. Don’t ever fall for the notion that you have to “break it in” before it gets comfortable. A shoe has to feel right the first time you wear it. It has to conform to the unique shape of your feet – not the other way around. Wear the socks you are planning to wear them with or buy them as a set. Also consider buying walking shoes in the afternoon. Feet swell a significant amount as we go about our day. Buying shoes when your feet are at their largest will ensure a more accurate fit.
- Buying walking shoes online follows a different set of rules. For starters, you can’t try them on and get a feel for them before buying them. Then there’s the waiting – no instantaneous gratification here. But despite these issues, people still buy shoes over the Internet because online retail is where the best deals are usually found. If you want to prioritize savings, make sure that you only buy from reputable sellers. If a deal sounds too good to be true, trust your instincts and look elsewhere. The more trustworthy sellers usually offer liberal return policies. This is important and may come in handy. Wear your new shoes around the house for a few days before taking them outside. This minimizes the possibility of scuffing them up and complicating the return process if they don’t work out for you. Armed with these tips, you can get the most use your cash back credit cards to buy shoes online with confidence.
- Seek professional help. You’re bound to get sound advice on fit and features you need – and those you don’t – in a dedicated athletic footwear store. At the very least, you’ll get better advice than what you can get at a big department store. Get a feel for the general atmosphere of the store and take note of its sales personnel. It’s best if they are avid walkers or runners too. This means they are speaking out of experience and not just reciting a memorized spiel. The better stores also have ramps and small paths with varied surfaces like grass, gravel, asphalt, and concrete. Take advantage of these added services to get a real feel for your new walking shoes before actually committing to buy. Your feet will thank you for it and reward you with miles of pain-free walking.
- Know when it’s time to retire your favorite pair. As the above tips are more for choosing the perfect pair, this last one is all about knowing when it’s time to do just that. A walking shoe that’s way past well-worn may be super soft and comfy, but you may be doing your feet a disservice by continuing to use it. When a shoe doesn’t offer firm support and cushioning – a sure sign that it’s already falling apart – it’s time to replace it. It’s not uncommon for avid walkers to go through a couple of pairs annually. A better alternative is to buy several pairs and develop the habit of rotating them. Having different shoes on rotation will allow them a chance to dry out and get back to their original shape. This significantly prolongs their useful life and you get more miles out of each pair when you use them this way.
Walking is not only effective for fitness, it can also help you relax. Ashyia Hill from Credit Donkey says, given the minimal costs involved, everyone can get into it and reap the benefits of better health and wellbeing. With the help of the above tips, you can take your first step towards a new you and choose the perfect walking shoe today.