Consider these 5 tips before buying your next set of walking shoes

On a daily basis podiatrist Greg Robinson will see many enthusiastic novice walkers of all fitness levels trying to get healthier and fitter but presenting with lower limb muscular and tendon strains due to incorrect or worn-out walking shoes.

A passionate sportsman and fan himself, Greg has agreed to write for us - emphasising the importance of purchasing the correct athletic shoe for your foot type.

Selecting the correct walking shoe may be an overwhelming task as shoe stores and online sites are saturated with several brands, styles, models with ever changing marketing terms and innovative technology.

Greg Robinson, Podiatrist

You may notice shopping for a pair of athletic shoes may come with a lot of confusion as walking shoes are categorised within various ranges, being. ‘soft, neutral, mild to strong anti-pronation’, to the minamilistic and maximilistic trainers. These come with differing arch support, shoe sole stiffness and differing heel/ sole height andthickness.

The fact incorrect shoe use may lead to foot and lower limb aches and strains particularly as walking distance increases.

You may have heard the term foot ‘pronation’, the inward rolling of the foot. Most people pronate, pronation is not bad as it is a form of lower limb shock absorption. The problem comes when the foot ‘over-pronates’. Over pronation can lead to pathologies in the foot, shins (broadly shin splints), knee and hip issues etc. Whereas the term supination refers to a stiffer foot. These walkers will land on the outer side of the foot.

Greg recommends following these guidelines before selecting the good looking trendy athletic footwear off the shelves.

Recognise your foot type

Visit a podiatrist or reputable running shoe store to have your foot and gait (walking style) examined, or do so at home by dipping your feet into water, step and apply your weight on a piece of dark paper and note the imprint formed.

Walking (and running) shoes have a different variation of stability, so depending on the foot reactions to landing and the amount of foot range of motion we can consider the type and correct running shoes for you.

Generally three foot types can be identified:

1) Flat feet with dropped arches. This will leave the fullest imprint as it covers mоst оf thе arch area in contact with the paper. Most often this foot type will roll inward too much (overpronate) when walking. This type of foot is often unstable, but will absorb shock well.- With flat feet and excessive pronation, generally consider а stability shoe type. Тhіs will prevent уоur ankles frоm rolling іnwаrd as well as protect and stabilise lower limb structures. With excessive pronation you may require a custom orthotic from your podiatrist for added foot and lower limb control.

2) With a high arch you will notice little imprint in the arch area. Consider а cushioned, flexible shoe. Often footwear within the neutral shoe category is sufficient as high arched feet do not absorb shock well.- Rigid feet tend to supinate (or you may hear the term underpronate) meaning you walk more on the outsides of your feet. Consider purchasing a trainer with a roomy upper to accommodate your foot high arch.

3) Іf уоur imprint hаs а medium arch (between the two describe above) you fall into the ‘optimal range.- Yоu want to shop among the neutral shoe category as your feet are well balanced and roll, or pronate, almostperfectly.

Greg advises to follow these simple guidelines before purchasing your next pair or athletic trainers.

Visit your podiatrist or athletic shoe store to make sure you are purchasing the correct fit and size for your feet:

Have both feet measured by a podiatrist or in a reputable running shoe store while standing with a device called aBrannock device for correct foot length and forefoot width. Note one foot may be larger and the shoe should fit comfortably on that larger foot.

Fit the shoe with the socks you'll be using during your activity, as well as if you are using an in shoe orthotic.

Purchase shoes at the end of the day since feet swell during the day and may swell during or after activity to be certain they won’t be too tight.

Shoe sizes vary among shoe brands and styles. Decide on a shoe by how it fits your foot, not by the marked size of the shoe.

Walk around the store in the shoes. Your feet should feel comfortable. Do not expect shoes to stretch to fit your foot. Shoes do not have a ‘break in’ period.

Find Podiatrist Greg Robinson at www.fixmyfeet.co.za

Related News

Engineering Council of SA is ready for MTN Walk The Talk. Are you?

Engineering Council of SA CEO Sipho Madonsela says they're excited and ready for the walk and to check out the road construction.

Share your top spot for walks and you could WIN with Thule!

We’re in search of Gauteng’s beautiful, quiet, safe places where families can enjoy a walk together.

10 benefits of walking

As we face down Winter, here are 10 reasons why you should get walking!