Finding comfortable walking shoes doesn't have to be a chore. Our tips can help you choose the best walking shoes for your next trip.
Time Required: Varies
- The best way to choose comfortable walking shoes is to try on several pairs. Start early; this is one travel essential you can’t afford to buy at the last minute. You’ll need to choose the best walking shoe for your foot and break it in before you travel. To do otherwise is to risk ruining your trip with blisters and hot spots.
- If you prefer to shop online, look for retailers with good return policies, including postage-paid return shipping. You’ll be able to try on shoes at home (don’t wear them on flooring unless you intend to keep them) and return the pairs that don’t fit.
- You’ll need to try on more than one pair of shoes, because not all walking shoes are alike. As no two feet are alike, this stands to reason. If, for example, you have a wide foot and a narrow heel like I do, about 80% of the walking shoes you try on won’t fit properly. Either the heel will slip or you won’t have enough wiggle room for your toes. If width is an issue, look for shoes with a wider toe box.
- Finding proper arch support is another critical issue for many people. If you’re battling planar fasciitis, for example, you’ll want to carefully test each walking shoe to make sure that you have enough support. Be sure to bring custom orthotics or your favorite insoles to the shoe store so you can try them with several pairs of walking shoes.
- Wear the socks you plan to use on your trip when you try on each pair of walking shoes. It's important to be consistent about this, or you won't be able to properly compare the shoes.
- Once you've decided on a pair of walking shoes, take them home and wear them on carpet (only!) for a little while. Try to do this at the end of the day, after you've been standing or walking for a while. Feet tend to swell as the day goes by, and you'll want to be sure your new walking shoes fit you all day long.
- If you can't decide on one pair of shoes, ask a trained expert - not a high school-age seasonal employee - to help you fit your shoes. A little expert advice can help a great deal.
- Once you’ve chosen your walking shoes, you’ll need to wear them, preferably daily, to break them in. You can wear them on walks around your neighborhood or to the grocery store; it really doesn’t matter, as long as you wear the shoes while you walk. Wear the socks you plan to take on your trip.
- Don’t wait until the week before your trip to break in your shoes. If possible, start breaking in your walking shoes at least a month prior to your departure date.
What You Need
- Socks - the ones you'll wear with your new shoes
- Insoles or orthotics, if you normally use them