Shin splints can easily zap the energy out of a walking routine. This pain in the calves is caused when the muscles that lift the foot and pull it down are at an imbalance. While some shoes are better than others, if you plan on walking or hiking long distances, drop into a sports shop and have your feet professionally analyzed to make sure you find something with a proper fit.
The Right Style
When shopping for the right walking shoe, avoid those with a high heel and instead look for flat-soled shoes that are flexible. If you go into a sporting goods store, the shoes are often categorized by sport—aim for the section that specializes in walking shoes. While it is tempting to go for all the fancy gizmos and gadgets on shoes, the key is to just find a soundly constructed shoe. On the other hand, don't just grab the first pair you see. Try them on, and take a long walk around the store to make sure they are comfortable for you.
The Right Fit
You also will want to know whether or not your foot pronates, and you will want to be sure to have your foot properly measured. The size of your arch also will tell you a lot about the kind of shoe you need; high arches require more cushioning. Wear the socks you will wear while walking when you go to the shoe store. In addition, try going after you have been on your feet for a while, as your feet will be bigger. If your feet are different sizes, buy according to the larger foot.
When to Buy
Every shoe has a lifespan, and it's possible that it's time to toss your shoes. The average lifespan of a shoe is 500 miles. Sometimes, the cushioning of shoes wears down before the more obvious signs of heel and sole wear. You can also alternate a several pairs of shoes to preserve their lifespans.
While the same shoe won't be for everybody, "Prevention" magazine gives high marks to: Asics Gel Fluent LV; New Balance 760; Adidas Supernova Glide; Teva X-1 Control 2; and the Under Armour Revenant. In 2009, a good pair of walking shoes can run you anywhere from $40 to $100, according to Dummies.com.
When in doubt, consult the sales clerk for more information. However, if you aren't in a specialty store where the staff is fully knowledgeable, take that advice with caution. Don't be afraid to spend a little extra money to purchase a good pair of shoes. The money you save in medical bills will be worth it.
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