You may be tempted to purchase the most expensive pair of running or walking shoes you can find to ensure quality. Although quality running shoes typically do cost more, fancy features and celebrity sponsorships do not indicate which shoe is best for you. Fit and shoe construction are more important. When deciding on a pair of shoes, it also is critical to match your needs with the shoe's purpose. Do not use the same pair of shoes for walking and running. The best walking shoes have stiffer construction, while running shoes have extra cushioning for shock absorption and extra flexibility.
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Shoes For Your Foot Shape
Find the shoe that is best for your foot shape and type. Dip your foot in water, then step on a piece of brown paper or a paper bag. Observe your footprint. If the entire sole is visible with no curve on the inside, or just a slight curve, then you may have low arches or flat feet. Those conditions cause overpronation, where the foot rolls inward excessively.Protect your feet by choosing a shoe with plenty of support and motion control.
However, if your footprint shows a part of your heel and forefoot with a narrow connection in between, you have high arches and probably underpronate, or supinate. This means your feet roll out as you stand and walk. Look for a shoe with plenty of cushioning and a soft midsole.
Before You Shop
Your shoe size changes frequently, even as an adult. Measure your feet about twice a year to find shoes that fit the best. Sizes also vary between brands and styles, so always judge by fit and comfort rather than simply shoe size.
Shoe size also can be affected by when you shop. Consider shopping toward the end of the day, when your feet are more swollen. This is particularly important for running and walking shoes, because your feet expand while you perform those actions. Bring the socks you will wear while running or walking to ensure a realistic fit.
Finding the Best-Fit Shoes
Walk or even jog around the store to test fit and comfort. The best walking and running shoes feel comfortable right away. You should not have to break them in. Best-fit shoes have a 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch space between your big toe and the inner edge of the shoe. Your heel should fit snugly, and not slip out when you walk or run. The top part of the shoe, including the tongue, should not be too tight in any one area. The best shoes also allow you to wiggle your toes freely.
Other Size Considerations
If one of your feet is larger than the other, purchase the walking or running shoes that fit the larger one. If you have a wide foot, you may need to try a wide size or men's shoes, if you're a woman. Boys and men's shoes are cut wider in the heel and balls of the feet. Even the best walking and running shoes will wear out eventually. Even if the shoes are still comfortable, check for wear. They may not provide shock absorption or support after a certain point.
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