There is something empowering about walking somewhere. Be it climbing a mountain or simply walking to the neighborhood store, stepping outside of your routine and going somewhere under your own power can be a nice way to shake things up. However, if a walk sounds painful or you have had bad experiences, maybe the problem is your footwear.
Why it Matters
Shoes are designed for different purposes. We walk differently on different surfaces, and the body mechanics behind our movements change depending on if we are walking, hiking, or running. On a car, different tires are used for different purposes. An off-road tire and a formula 1 tire look wildly different, but both are designed for peak performance in a narrow situation. If walking causes discomfort or injury, adopting shoes that will help your body to move more comfortably and healthily can make all the difference. Having shoes that help prevent injury and make you more comfortable will also encourage you to be more active and healthy.
Choosing a Shoe.
First, figure out how you will be using the shoe. Will you be hiking over rough terrain? Running through the woods or walking on asphalt and concrete? Your local shoe store should be able to help you find shoes designed for each activity. Make sure the shoe fits snugly but is not too tight. Make sure you have enough room on the sides of the shoe as well because if your feet are wider than the shoe is meant for, you can develop painful bunions or blisters. Pay attention to your arch. If you wet your foot and then stand on a piece of paper, you can get a good idea of your arch type. If you have a wide full footprint, your arches are flatter. Look for shoes with a lot of structure to alleviate joint stress. If you don’t see much impression on the paper, you have higher arches. High arches need more support, so you should find a shoe with ample padding. Find some inserts if you need to.
A good pair of shoes can get you going, but as you continue to walk around, your body should naturally become adjusted to the activity, and things will get easier. Keep your body and your gear in good shape to improve your health and well-being.