The perfect walking trainer
The perfect walking trainer
by Liz Neporent
Walking trainers may sound like a marketing conspiracy created by shoe-industry executives. After all, it's only walking - won't any pair of trainers suffice? Actually, the concept of a walking-specific shoe is valid.
Your walking trainers should have good shock absorption in the heels and in the balls of the feet. They should be a bit more stiff and more supportive than running shoes, although they need to have a very flexible forefoot to allow for the natural bend of the foot. The midsoles will be thinner than those of running trainers in order to accommodate the slower foot roll when you walk. Look for a shoe that features slightly angled heels to allow for a smooth heel-to-toe roll.
How to determine your foot type
Grab an old pair of walking or everyday wear trainers and place them on a level table. Get behind them and crouch down so that the top edges of the soles are at eye level. If the upper part of the shoe caves excessively inward relative to the soles, you're a pronator. If the uppers lean excessively outward in relation to the sole, you're a supinator. If the uppers break only slightly either way, you have neutral feet.
Look for a trainer that matches your foot type
Pronators are people who have feet that roll excessively inward when they walk. Look for a board-lasted trainer (the inside of the shoe is glued rather than stitched in place) that has a motion-control device in the midsole. A straight-shaped shoe, which provides support for the inside of the foot and thus prevents you from overusing the inside edge of your foot, is also preferable. (When you look at the bottom of the trainer it will have very little curve.) Another plus is a reinforced heel for control and stability. Sturdy uppers and stability straps can also help prevent inward roll. Trainers with too much padding can exaggerate pronation, so avoid them.
Supinators are people who roll their feet to the outside when they walk. Look for greater stability and a trainer whose outsole, insole and midsole are designed for extra shock absorbency. Slip-lasted trainers, with inside inserts stitched into the bottom of the shoe, are best, as supinators have such rigid feet. Look for a curved shape; when you look at the bottom of the trainer, the top will curve inward. Buy trainers with reinforced material around the ankles and firm heels for maximum ankle and heel support. Extra cushioning under the ball of the foot helps increase comfort.
Owners of neutral feet
These are people whose feet don't roll too much inward or outward – they can wear just about any trainer and be sure of proper support and comfort. But even if your feet are neutral and you don’t have injuries, don't skimp on the basic walking-trainer features.
Meet other walkers
For support, new friends, advice and tips, chat to others Walking off the weight and take a look at the live discussions taking place right now: