There are so many brands of shoes out there, all different styles and lots of color combinations. The prices will make your head spin. So, which shoe is right for you? That is not a very easy question to answer. I always tell my trainees that they have to get the shoe that is right for their foot. What not to look for in a shoe:
1. Color – it does not matter if your shoes match your outfit. This is not a fashion show and function is much more important than fashion in the case of shoes for walking in.
2. What your friend wears – your friend’s feet are not your feet. You need what will work with how your foot hits the ground. Everyone is different.
3. It’s on sale – yes, sales are great and I know everyone is looking for the best deal. Just because you will save money on the shoes does not mean your feet will agree with you.
4. No “walking” shoes – I know it doesn’t sound right, but most manufacturers make walking shoes that are all leather and a lot of them come with Velcro straps. They remind you of something your grandparents would wear.
Now you know what not to look for, but what do you look for? First you go to a running store. Please do not go to those big chain stores. The chances of you getting someone that can really help you are really slim. Your local running store will have workers that actually run.
When I go into a running store looking for shoes they ask me what I am looking for. I make sure they know that I am walking, not running, but it will be competitive walking. They also ask if I already have a favorite brand that I wear. When I first started out I did not have a favorite brand. This made it easier for them to recommend what brands will work the way I walk. They will have you take your shoes off and watch you walk or put you on a treadmill. This is so that they can see how your foot hits the ground. Yes, it does matter. They need to know which shoes to recommend. This is not a quick visit, it will take time. You’ll want to have lots of time to try on various shoes. Once they see how you walk, then they will bring out shoes from various brands and at various price points.
Do not look at the prices until after you have tried them on. When you figure out which shoe(s) fit you properly, then look at the price. Chances are you will have more than one shoe that fits you really well. Then you can pick by price or color, whichever is more important to you.
Finding the right shoe can be fun. You get to try on lots of shoes and really get to know your local running store. Let’s wrap up your running store visit:
1. Make sure it’s a local running store – no big chain stores
2. Take your time – it’s not going to be a short visit
3. Be prepared to walk – they are going to want to see how your foot hits the ground
4. Don’t get stuck on price – the lowest priced shoe is not always the best fit
5. Get chatty – yes, talk with the person that is helping you, get to know them, the running/walking community, let them get to know you
The last part I want to touch on is getting chatty. You are going to want to talk with them about walking groups in the area. The store may already have a walking group or know where one meets up. They can also recommend local training programs and races. Welcome to the community of runners and walkers!