How Do I Find Out What Kind of Walking Shoe to Buy?

If You Are Confused About Walking Shoes, Take This Advice

Neutral Shoe Wear Pattern
Neutral Shoe Wear Pattern. Wendy Bumgardner © 2008

How do you know which type of walking or running shoes to buy to match your foot type? How do you know if you overpronate, have high arches, etc.?

Find a Running Shoe Store

The first and best answer is to find a specialty running shoe store where they will do the work right—watch you walk or run, look at the wear pattern on your current shoes, and determine what type of shoe you need. Use the map on Specialty Running Store Finder from Runnersworld.com. These stores have staff who are experts in fitting athletic shoes and generally have a generous return policy with the aim to get you into the right shoes and make you a lifelong customer.

Try a Pedorthist

If there is no specialty running store in striking distance, look for a pedorthist or podiatrist. The Foot Solutions chain aims to fit problem feet and use computerized diagnostics to do it. The analysis is free, and you will learn about pronation, arch support, etc.

Look at Your Shoe Wear Pattern

Look at how you have worn down your old shoes. This can tell a shoe fit expert whether you overpronate, have a neutral gait, or underpronate (supinate). That determines whether you need a motion control shoe, a neutral shoe or a stability shoe. Bring your old shoes with you when shopping for new shoes.

  • Pronation: Excessive wear on the inner side of your running shoes. Your shoes will tilt inward if you place them on a flat surface.
  • Supination: Shoes wear on the entire outside edge, with the side of the shoe becoming overstretched.

Online Shoe Fitting Help

If there is no store or expert near you, you can use online tools to help determine what kind of shoe is best for you.

  • Roadrunner Sports Shoe Dog: Visit Roadrunnersports.com and select the Shoe Finder to visit the Shoe Dog. Input your gender, weight, injury status, arch type, running/walking mechanics, number of days you walk/run per week, miles per week, pace and surface to get a list of recommended shoes.
  • Best Shoes for Walkers: This top picks lists includes athletic shoes of each type for walkers: neutral, motion control, stability, cushioned, sandals, trail shoes and more.
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