Walking Shoes and Socks for Fitness Walking
To begin regular fitness walking, the only equipment you need is a pair of well-cushioned, supportive shoes. As your feet can take 2000 tons of weight each day, it seems only fair that you should provide them with a little cushioning. Although you can walk in almost any kind of shoe, you will go further and faster, in more comfort and have less chance of injury if you wear the right kind. Choose either a shoe which is specially made for walking or an all purpose ‘cross-training’ shoe which you can use for walking and other fitness activities. Many shoe manufacturers now routinely build in cushioning support in their shoes, even smart business shoes made by companies such as Ecco, Rockport or Clarks. Walking is a cheap and safe way to exercise and keep fit but it’s still important to have the right equipment. If you look after your feet they’ll look after you. The following tips will help you buy the right shoes:
- Try them on late in the day – your feet tend to swell as the day wears on
- Wear socks similar to those you will be walking in – perhaps you like wearing thicker socks
- Do they feel flexible – do they support your weight?
- Is there enough space in the toe-box for you to wiggle your toes? When you push off, your toes will want to expand and spread
- Is the heel firm enough? It should be firm but not rigid
- Walk around the shop. If they are not comfortable, don’t buy them. Don’t fall for sales talk that they will wear in and expand – they probably won’t
Sock It To Me
Although feet are tough, walking on surfaces as different as sand, earth and concrete can take their toll. So let’s talk about how to look after your feet and how to pamper them a little.
Some people don’t wear socks but that’s not a good idea either for you or for your shoes. Socks not only protect the feet from injury but they disperse or ‘wick away’ perspiration which would otherwise eat into the lining of your shoes. Since each foot can sweat as much as a cup of perspiration a day, shoes can be easily damaged and they can become uncomfortable, causing corns and blisters.
The best socks are those which provide cushioning and which draw perspiration away from your feet leaving them dry and cool. Cotton alone absorbs moisture whereas blends of synthetics with cotton or all-synthetic socks such as orlon, polypropylene and stretch nylon, or a mixture of these, allow the moisture to evaporate. Change your socks every day and, on long walks, if your feet perspire a lot, change your socks whenever they get wet. Consider socks that are padded in high-impact areas like the heel and toe and others with additional cushioning on the sole and top of the sock. You really will be ‘walking on air’.