First of all, I want to clarify that there’s no perfect allround shoe. The most important step in finding the right shoes is to determine your foot shape. To find out how to do it, click here – when you scroll down there’s astep by step guide. There’s also a version for men.
When buying shoes that will be used in walking for long distances, it is important to consider the following important factors:
The best shoes for walking long distances are light in weight to enable the wearer use little energy. However, if the terrain is steep, a wearer can consider putting on heavy (hiking) shoes, because they will protect the feet when going down a steep slope.
These shoes should be fitted with collars made using soft material located above the heel, so as to prevent possible injuries to the Achilles tendons. The collars should also be made of material that can easily absorb moisture.
They should be specially designed with heel counters which enhance the stability of the heels, therefore preventing excessive movement that may lead to injuries.
The shoes should be made from material that is waterproof, such as leather. This is to prevent infiltration of water, which may encourage fungal infections on the feet.
Large toe box
This feature is important in providing enough room to move the toes, preventing friction between the toes and the shoe surface, while also protecting them against injuries resulting from striking hard surfaces.
Durable mid soles
The mid soles should be uniquely designed with features that can absorb shock resulting from walking for long periods. In normal shoes, the mid soles can only absorb shock for a limited period of time.
This feature plays the important role of providing extra stability and cushioning while walking on uneven surfaces or rocky ground.
Ideally, these shoes should be designed with features that provide for flexibility, especially at the balls of the feet, located between the archs and toes. When the heels are on the ground, the balls will be bent and in a “push off” position. This “pushing” is critical in the transmission of energy. Therefore, if the shoes are designed with flexibility, most of this energy will be transmitted with little effort.
Sneakers that are used for walking long distances are designed with slightly wide and elevated heels. This is different from running shoes, which are usually made with narrow heels that are generally flat.
Right Size / comfortably fit
When buying shoes to be used for purposes stated above, the buyer should ensure that they are of the right size, and should neither be too small or too large. When walking for long distances, the feet usually swell and increase in size by up to 25%. Read more: Comfortable shoes for fitness-walkin
People who walk for long distances are advised to buy new pairs after using the older ones for more than 6 months, or after covering a distance of more than 500 miles. This is because the shoes will have worn out after this time period. The alternative is to have more than one pair of shoes which can be interchanged regularly.
Good walking shoes should be fitted with overpronators, which are important in preventing a condition referred to as overpronation.
Overpronation has the potential of causing serious injuries. While walking for long distances, feet usually roll inwards, which results in additional stress exerted on the ankles.
Overpronators are special features that prevent the ankles from excess rolling during the walking process.
While walking for long distances, there is inadequate inward rolling of the feet after landing on hard surfaces. Additional stress is exerted on the feet, which may result in serious conditions such as plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band, tendonitis or Achilles syndromes.
Therefore, such shoes should ideally be fitted with supinators, i.e., special features that enhance inward rolling of the feet after landing on hard surfaces for extended periods of time.