After a year in hibernation, we are ready to get walking into a fitter 2021. Last year was a mess for most of us but with the world slowly opening back up we can start to be more active and get back into a healthier lifestyle post quarantine. The simplest way for us to ease our way back into working out is by walking. It’s a low impact exercise that you are still able to do safely by wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from other people. Walking allows you to reconnect with your city and take in all the scenery that you don’t always notice when driving. Walking does not require any special equipment or clothing, just a pair of exceptional walking shoes.
Finding a comfortable pair of walking shoes is key to having the superior walking experience that keeps you wanting to explore on foot. What are the best walking shoes for women? By doing some research beforehand, you can find the best walking shoe to fit your needs. We rounded up our list of tips for finding what the best walking shoes for women are and help you kick your walking into high gear this year.
WHAT MAKES THE MOST COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES?
When it comes to finding the most comfortable walking shoes, everyone will have different needs based on their feet and what kind of walking they will be doing. Here are some essential factors that should be taken into consideration before purchasing a new pair of walking shoes.
- Stability – the shoes should have a balanced and secure feel throughout a range of motion. Some ways to test this is by holding the shoe by its heel and bend the toe upward. The shoe should bend at the ball of the foot, not a random point halfway along the arch. Another way is to grab the shoe at its heel and toe, then twist it. You want to feel moderate resistance.
- Flexibility – the shoes should allow for a good degree of give at the base of the toes, providing smooth motion. Flexibility is an excellent indication of how smoothly a shoe will move with the foot from heel-strike to toe-off. To test the flexibility of a shoe you want to make sure that it bends at least 45 degrees which is how much your foot naturally flexes while walking. The force required to do this indicates how pliable the shoe is.
- Comfort – Walking shoes should comprise contours and padding conformed closely to the feet, providing a snug fit at the heel and midfoot, with ample room in the forefoot. When shopping for the best walking shoes for women, an extra soft foam cushion doesn’t necessarily equate to the best comfort. In fact, the more cushioning a shoe possesses, the harder and more damaging on our joints it can be..
- Buy the right size – Don't choose shoes by the size marked inside. Go by how they feel on your feet. Even though you measure your feet, sizes can vary by style, shoe brand, company, and the country that makes the shoes.
- Match shoes to the shape of your foot – Choose shoes that fit as closely as possible to the shape of your feet. There are 3 types of foot types: Neutral arch, flat arch and a high arch. For a flat arch Motion control shoes are great for flat-footed and heavy runners who tend to overpronate. These shoes typically have rigid devices made out of plastic, fiberglass, or high density foam. Stability shoes are best for runners with neutral arches and only mild control problems. The extra stability these shoes offer comes from extra arch-side supports and high-density foam. Cushioning shoes support people with high arches and rigid feet who tend to underpronate. This highly flexible shoe is built on a curve and made of lightweight materials that provide minimal rigidity with optimal cushioning.
- Take the wiggle test –The toebox of the shoes should be roomy enough so that you can wiggle your toes freely and without pressure – but not so loose that your feet slide around in the shoes.
- Buy shoes at the end of the day – The longer you are on your feet, the more they swell. Most people's feet are actually largest at the end of the day, after their daily activities. It's important to fit and buy your shoes then.
- Bring inner wear – Try on shoes with socks or any special inserts you normally would wear.
- Allow a 3/8-inch to half-inch space – from the tip of your longest toe to the tip of your shoes. The longest toe is usually either the great toe or the second toe. If you can push the tip of your index finger between the tip of your longest toe and the end of the shoes, the shoe length is adequate.
- Don't expect shoes to "stretch out." – If the shoes feel too tight, don't buy them. With time, your feet may push or stretch shoes to fit, but this can cause foot pain and damage and should be avoided.
- Avoid slipping – Make sure your heels aren't slipping around in the shoes.
- Take a walk – Before you buy them, put both shoes on and walk around the store. Make sure they fit and feel good.
These factors will help you find the best walking shoes for women that fit your walking needs. It’s also important to find a comfortable walking shoe for the terrain that you will be walking on.
For hiking on soil or rocky trails, you should look for a cool, breathable shoe with a gripping sole to maximize your stability and minimize any slipping on steep hills. The weather can always change on a hike so it’s important to have a shoe that keeps your feet cool but also has some waterproofing just in case you come across a puddle or rain.
For walking on concrete, you should look for a comfortable shoe with a cushy sole to absorb the impact of your foot hitting the pavement. There are so many cute options that will give you the support your foot needs to keep you walking for miles.
Trust us when we say that doing the research on what makes the best walking shoes for women beforehand will ensure that you will be happy with the shoes you are buying with no buyers remorse. Since this is the only piece of equipment that you will need for walking it’s ok to spend more than you normally would on this staple shoe. It will be worth it to splurge on a comfortable pair of walking shoes that will make you feel like you’re walking on clouds all over town. Walking is the easiest way to get back into an active lifestyle and will benefit your mental health as well. Hopefully this guide will help you find your most comfortable walking shoes. Let us know in the comments which AVRE sneakers you like for walking!