As spring weather approaches, many of us will be taking our exercise activities outside. Walking is one of the most popular and easiest ways for us to improve our health. But, you won’t walk for long if your feet are hurting. It is important that we have properly fitting shoes to protect our feet and make walking more enjoyable.
• There are 26 bones in the foot – in fact, 25 percent of all the bones in the human body are found in the feet!
• There are more than 30 moving joints in the foot.
• We put more than 200 pounds of pressure on each foot with a step.
• In an average person lifetime they walk more than 115,000 miles.
What should you consider when purchasing new walking shoes?
The best time of day to shop for new shoes is later in the day, after you have been walking and your feet are the largest. The shoes you select should be comfortable and fit your feet well. If possible, have both feet measured to ensure a good fit – your feet are often slightly different sizes. Take your current walking shoes with you to the shoe store. A trained professional can look at the wear on your shoes to suggest a new pair that will provide the best support for your feet.
A walking shoe should be light weight and provide good shock absorption. A professional can help you sort through all of the different features available in shoes to help you find the perfect shoe for you. The shoe should conform to the shape of your foot – never try to have your foot conform to the shape of the shoe! Shoes that are too wide or too narrow can cause blisters and calluses.
The arches of your feet help distribute your body weight evenly over your feet. There are three basic types of arches: neutral, low or high arches. If you have a neutral arch look for shoes with a firm midsole, a semi-curved last (the shape of the sole) and moderate rear-foot stability; those with low arches (sometimes called flat feet) should look for shoes that stabilize your foot and a straight last; and if you have high arches, you should look for shoes that have cushioning to absorb shock and a curved last.
Always try on both shoes and walk around the store in them to be sure they are comfortable and supportive. Wear the same type of socks that you will wear when walking. Your heel should fit snugly in the shoe with no slipping.
Once you have found the perfect shoes for your feet, don’t forget that they should be replaced when they start to show signs of wear. Your shoes may still feel comfortable but may no longer cushion or support your feet. Never sacrifice your feet for fashion!
Written By: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, email@example.com.
The Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ00885_D
The Ohio State University Medical Center, http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/wound_care/Documents/Choosingtherightshoe.pdf
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,