Get the best fit

The best designed shoes in the world will not do their job if they do not fit properly. Here are some tips for finding the best fit in a pair of walking shoes:

  • Wear the same socks you'll wear when walking, or take the socks with you to the store.
  • Shop for shoes after you've been walking for a while, and later in the day, when your feet are at their largest.
  • Buy shoes at an athletic shoe store with professional fitters or at a store where you have lots of options.
  • Ask the salesperson to measure both feet, measure them yourself, or have a friend or family member help you. Measure your feet each time you buy shoes, because your foot size can change gradually over years. Stand while your foot is measured to get the most accurate measurement.
  • If one foot is larger than the other, try on a pair that fits your larger foot.
  • Try on both shoes and check the fit. Wiggle your toes. If you don't have at least a half-inch (1.3 centimeters) between your longest toe and the end of the shoe — approximately the width of your finger — try a larger size.
  • Be sure the shoe is wide enough. The side-to-side fit of the shoe should be snug, not tight. If you're a woman with wide feet, consider men's or boys' shoes, which are cut a bit larger through the heel and the ball of the foot.
  • Walk in the shoes before buying them. They should feel comfortable right away. Make sure your heel fits snugly in each shoe and doesn't slip as you walk.

Replace worn-out shoes to prevent injury

All walking shoes eventually show signs of wear. And even if they still feel comfortable, they might not be providing enough support or shock absorption. Pay attention to the condition of your shoes. If the outsole is worn through, it's time for a new pair.

Make an informed decision

Improperly fitting shoes are the source of many problems. Now that you know what features to look for, you can shop with confidence. Wear walking shoes that are comfortable and properly fitted for a walk that's worry-free.

Feb. 18, 2014 See more In-depth

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