Why choosing the right walking shoes is crucial for your health

The right walking shoes can make a whole lot of difference to how you move and feel. Check out the factors you must consider before buying a perfect pair.
right footwear to avoid shin splints
You must wear comfortable shoes for running to avoid shin splints. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Dr Palak Dengla Updated: 20 Feb 2023, 10:47 am IST
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Shoes are facilitators to health and fitness. We almost walk 5 times the circumference of the earth in an average lifetime. Yet we seldom pay attention to our feet and footwear despite the fact that they bear the entire weight of the human body. Most people have a single pair of shoes to serve all purposes of walking, running and gym activities. But believe it or not, it is crucial to not defeat the purpose of different shoes according to the sport biomechanics and agility required. Here’s why the right walking shoes are important for your health.

What to look for in the right walking shoes

1. Stability
The right pair of shoes give you good stability and cushioning throughout the range of movement of walk.

2. Flexibility
Your walking shoes should provide with an easy push-off phase.

3. Comfort
The shoe should fit adequately, especially around the heel and the mid-foot, with some room for toe off in the forefoot.

Tips for walking shoes
Follow important tips for choosing your walking shoes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Why choosing the right walking shoe is important

It is quality rather than quantity that matters when choosing the right walking shoes. Proper walking shoes are fundamental in maintaining correct walking technique, as well as preventing injuries. It maintains proper bio mechanics of the foot as well as all the other joints connected to the foot while walking.

The benefits of a scientifically designed comfortable shoe surely outnumbers the cost of investment around it. Repetitive issues of acute or chronic episodes of musculoskeletal issues of back pain, knee pain, foot pain and in fact, even neck pain and headaches would come down if a wrong shoe was a cause for them. Sometimes, a simple footwear modification results into immediate relief of chronic knee and back issues.

The right pair of shoes help keep your body safe from injury. Research also shows that good footwear determines an individual’s attitude as well.

Whenever a patient comes to doctors with any kind of head-to-toe issue, the first thing we check is his foot arch and the correspondingly worn shoe. Around 95 percent of the times, they are a misfit, and so, a change of footwear immediately helps relieve the pain drastically by 30-40 percent.

Also read: 5 effective ways to walking for weight loss

Good walking shoes have health benefits
Good walking shoes have health benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the side effects of a wrong pair of walking shoes?

You can differentiate the wrong pattern of shoes by checking the following in a pair of walking shoes:

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* Tight pointed shoes may cause corns, bunions and other toe deformities such as hammer and claw toes, cross-over toes, ingrown toenails. There are great chances of falls in the elderly due to wrongly fitting walking shoes.
* High heels can cause back pain, headaches, ankle injuries sprains and plantar fasciitis.
Wearing flat-surfaced shoes, with little to no arch support, keeps the feet from functioning optimally and can lead to knee, hip, and back problems.
* Lack of arch support is the most common cause of a painful heel condition called as plantar fasciitis advancing into a calcaneal spur at times.
* Wearing ill-fitting footwear forces the joints of the body to compensate for the faulty foot angulators, leading to a long term functional and structural and change in the body. So, after logging between 300 to 400 miles in your walking shoes, it is better to buy a new pair of shoes.

How to select the right shoes

Try these tips to measure your foot the right  way and choose the right footwear.

1. The human feet tend to swell up as the day progresses. Consequently, the foot gets bigger in the evening compared to earlier in the day, so measure your foot size later in the day. Try the shoes with the type of socks that you wear on a regular basis.

Measure your foot size
Measure your foot size the right way. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. While buying shoes, stand and check your feet size, as your foot will go for maximum stretch in this position.

3. When you move your ankle up and down, in and out, the shoe should not come out. You should be able to move your toe up and down.

4. Adequate padding is required, and at the same time a snug fit over heel and mid-foot helps to walk those miles at ease.

5. A quick way to assess one’s arch is stamp on wet sand or draw your foot on a piece of paper. One can get a fair idea about the arch pattern.

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About the Author

Dr Palak Dengla is the Head of Department - Physiotherapy, at Aster RV Hospital. ...Read More

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