how to buy the best walking shoesIt seems like every day you read about shoes that you shouldn't be wearing. And I admit, I've been a naysayer myself. Enough of that for now. It's almost summer and you want to take full advantage of the weather. Whether you like to walk around Greenlake in Seattle, the beach in Richmond Beach or Edmonds, or you prefer hiking on the trails of Hamlin Park in Shoreline there are shoes that will help keep your feet out of my office.

Shoes for Walkers

There are so many shoes out there, it can seem almost impossible to pick the best shoes for you. Here are 4 tips that will help guide you in making a sound purchase.  

  1. Where you walk
  2. Your foot type
  3. Shoe fit
  4. Weather conditions

Where You Walk

REI recommends that if you walk on sidewalks or pavement choose a casual shoe, multisport shoe, or a running shoe. If you walk in parks with trails like Hamlin Park in Shoreline or a beach that has uneven terrain choose a trail runner or a light hiker.

Your Foot Type

  • Normal arch - if you have a normal arch you'll still need supportive shoes but not to the same degree as someone who has flat feet.
  • Flat feet - if you have flat feet, your feet will tend to pronate (roll in). You're more likely to develop painful heel problems, bunions, and hammertoes. A running shoe is best since it provides the highest level of stability. In addition, purchase an insert like Superfeet or Powerstep to give you even more support.
  • High arches- if you have high arched feet you'll tend to supinate (foot rolls out or you walk on outside edge of your feet), have tight Achilles tendons, and calf muscles. Because high arched feet primarily come into contact with the ground at the ball of the foot and the heel, you're more likely to develop calluses on the ball, side or heel of the foot, hammertoes or clawed toes, and a condition called metatarsalgia. To get the best support for high arches look for:
    • A neutral shoe
    • With a lot of flexibility
    • A firm heel counter
    • Ankle support

e.g. A light hiker would be a great shoe for this foot type

Shoe Fit

Making sure you get the right fit is essential. That starts with getting your feet measured. After pregnancy women's feet will often go up in size. And the same is true as we age.

If you're walking hills or doing stairs, you'll also want to make sure your shoes fit in both of these situations. Stores like REI provide a downward incline for you to walk to ensure your toes aren't hitting the top of your shoes. Some stores may also have stairs you can use to check whether your heels are staying in your shoe or lifting out of the soles The latter can cause blistering.

Weather Conditions

You like to walk no matter the weather. You'll need a shoe that's waterproof like a trail running shoe.

You've found the perfect pair of walking shoes, but your feet still hurt. Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.


Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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