The importance of healthy living cannot be overemphasised in a world where lots of people are exposed to life threatening diseases and illnesses that arise from maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle. Exercise plays a very pivotal role in helping individuals achieve their health goals, it is a physical activity intended to improve strength, health and fitness, helps you lose weight and lowers the risk of some diseases. Exercise as an activity isn’t done in isolation, it requires some basic tools and equipment to aid the process, one of such tools is: Walking Shoes.
Walking is the simplest form of exercise, it makes workout fun and anyone can indulge in it. Some people do not engage in exercises because they feel the process is too rigorous thus it becomes an excuse to avoid registering with a gym or fitness houses. Walking goes beyond moving from point A to B, it involves movement of the entire body frame, from your limbs, to your legs, your hips, foot, even your arms, it is thus safe to say that with this form of exercise, one is sure to enjoy a robust workout experience. A farmer cannot achieve good yields or harvest without his farm tools, same goes for exercise, a fitness addict must be properly equipped with necessary and comfortable tools that will guarantee the actualization of his health goals. This discourse considers how to identify, purchase and utilize the most comfortable walking shoes aimed at bringing out the very best of your ‘walkout’ experience.
World over, women are taking the message of healthy living very serious with emphasis on good dieting, workout plans and increasing awareness on the need to stay healthy even after childbirth. This forms the basis for the rise in the purchase of workout gears that include walking shoes. In this analysis, our focus will be on the most comfortable walking shoes in the market for women. Our emphasis on the word ‘comfort’ steams from the fact that exercise should be done from a position of comfort! Most women often overlook the importance of comfortable walking shoes, but this shouldn’t be the case as comfort plays a vital role in determining the results of your exercise. This and more will be thoroughly discussed as we highlight the importance of good walking shoes, key features of comfortable walking shoes to look out for, excellent products that can stand the test of time as well as how best to use your shoes. Getting excited already? Let’s begin.
IMPORTANCE OF HAVING COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES
When purchasing walking shoes, before any other thing, comfort should come first. Do not be swayed by the popularity of a product, its brand name or the number of buyers. These are not factors that determine comfort, we will be discussing the features of comfortable walking shoes later on, do look out for that. So why is it very important to purchase comfortable walking shoes?
- THE AVOIDANCE OF INJURIES: Walking as a form of exercise should be taken seriously. It should be brisk, fast and intense. Now, would you really want to indulge in such a routine with tight shoes that compress your feet together causing injuries? Your entire body can feel pain if your feet is also in pain, hence your shoes should be crafted in such a way that it helps you maintain the right walking mechanism devoid of hurts. Blisters and calluses can occur when your feet are compressed tightly in your shoes or when your shoes are not as comfortable as they should be. In order to avoid such occurrences, take your time when shopping for walking shoes so you can own a comfortable pair that is sure to help you achieve your desired health goals.
- HELPS YOU ENJOY YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE: There is absolutely nothing enjoyable about discomfort. Exercise as an activity is meant to be enjoyed because you are taking steps towards putting your body in the right shape. If your shoes are uncomfortable, you might want to stop walking from the moment you begin, this will make the entire process futile and unproductive. Research has shown that most people who enjoy their workout experience get faster results, are much more relaxed and happy, they always look forward to working out and enjoy better health. With very comfortable walking shoes, you are bound to go on walks more often, as the absence of pain surely means the presence of fun.
- BENEFICIAL TO GOOD HEALTH: There is a plethora of health benefits associated with walking as an exercise. With regards metabolism, walking helps control your weight, it puts blood sugar in check and maintains your cholesterol levels. A lively walk is sure to get rid of 100 calories per mile, awesome right? On the contrary, if the walking shoes you have on are not a comfortable fit then all of these amazing benefits will elude you. Getting a comfortable pair of walking shoe can increase the effectiveness of your blood vessels which in turn increases the supply and circulation of blood for proper respiration.
- FOR SPEED: Walking as a form of exercise is quite different from taking a stroll on the street. If you intend getting the most effective result, then it has to be done right, this is where speed comes in. If your shoes are comfortable, your walking speed will increase, as your walking speed increases, you are bound to do more miles which helps in burning off calories. Also, uncomfortable shoes, will make you walk a shorter distance and spend less time walking, no one wants to spend a lot of time exercising whilst nursing an injury. It is easier to endure a walk even in an unfavourable weather with comfortable shoes, so for more speed, walking more miles whilst having fun, comfortable shoes are a necessary requirement.
From the importance outlined above, you will agree that every woman should own at least a pair of walking shoes that holds the promise of comfort and an effective workout experience. Some women are concerned about the peculiar features to look out for when purchasing walking shoes. Comfort is a major feature that should cut across all product types but there are other key things to note at the point of purchase as well, these features are the parts and make up of good walking shoes.
KEY FEATURES OF COMFORTABLE WALKING SHOES
Different types of walking shoes currently exist in the market, these products vary according to the specs and peculiar design of various manufacturing companies. Despite the slight differences in products, there are some major factors that cut across all shoe types. Simply put, every shoe regardless of the product type should embody these features and there are: Insole, Midsole, Outsole, Upper part and Toe bumper, so let’s explore.
INSOLE: This refers to the inner part of a walking shoe, it is a very important part because it is where your feet will be placed on directly. When shopping for a walking shoe, take time out to touch the insoles with your fingers to ascertain how soft and comfortable it feels. Insoles should be light, should be able to cushion the feet and absorb moisture. The insoles do not come in contact with the environment outside but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be cared for, insoles should be changed from time to time as they do a bulk of the work so they are susceptible to wear and tear.
MIDSOLE: The midsole is the layer of a walking shoe that is stationed between the outsole and the insole, it’s placed there for the absorption of shock. The midsole also protects the foot from feeling hard, sharp or hurtful objects when walking. The best midsoles of walking shoes that guarantees comfort are made with EVA (ethel vinyl acetate). EVA is a man-made material that is known as foam, it is soft, flexible, easy to process and manipulate during production. EVA is the perfect choice because of its low temperature, crack-resistance and eco-friendly features. EVA also comes with waterproof properties which is an added advantage for women who intend using their walking shoes in areas filled with water (please note that not all walking shoes are waterproof, check the features of the shoes before making a final purchase).
OUTSOLE: The underside of a walking shoe is what is known as the outsole. The outsole is what supports your feet when walking and it is important that you purchase a shoe with comfortable outsoles. The outsole of a comfortable shoe should not have high heels, the heel should not be more than one inch higher than the sole under the ball of the foot. It is important that the outsole of a shoe is thick as, a thin sole will wear out faster though it does give the shoe a lighter feel. Some women prefer a lighter outsole because it’s easy to walk around in but if you prefer a much more durable shoe then you should go for walking shoes with thicker outsoles.
UPPER PART: The entire part of the shoe that covers the foot is known as the upper part. It is the part above the sole, usually this part is the first part that catches the buyer’s attention. The upper parts are made up of different materials that include natural and synthetic such as leather/suede. Shoes made with leather are suitable as their skin pores allow for the passage of air thus keeping feet at a constant temperature when walking but they are heavier than shoes made with suede. Walking shoes made with suede are lighter, this will hold much appeal for women who seek a lighter shoe for longer walks. Your preference for either one of them is dependent on your fabric of choice and past experience with these fabrics. Point is, when considering the shoe to buy, regardless of the material used on the upper part, comfort should be paramount.
TOE BUMPER: The toes are very sensitive hence it is important to protect them when embarking on walks. The toe bumper is at the front part of walking shoes, this is the part where the toes fit in. Whatever type of shoe you buy should have a very solid toe cap/bumper that can protect your toes from accidents or bumps in the course of your walk. Taking a walk in rocky terrain will be much more comfortable when you purchase a great walking shoe with protective but comfortable toe bumper. Now you know the features of a comfortable walking shoe, the importance of getting a pair has also been discussed so what are the major things to consider before purchasing a pair?
Firstly, if you are uncertain about the product to buy or if you do not have sufficient knowledge about the shoe that will just be right for you, then you might have to seek the advice of a podiatrist. A podiatrist is in a better position to give you information on the best shoe to buy especially if you have health challenges. The next thing to consider is the weather, the weather in the area you wish to exercise or walk in is very important. For example if you intend walking in an area with weather that is prone to lots of rain, then you might want to buy a waterproof walking shoe. If the weather is very hot, then go for shoes with a leather upper part for easy penetration of air and the maintenance of body temperature. More so, the area you choose for your walks is vital as well, if you will be walking in rocky areas where there are stones, rocks and sharp objects, the shoe you purchase should embody a stronger outsole and effective toe bumper. A lighter shoe will be suitable for areas that are devoid of sharp and hurtful objects. Also, price is another consideration, when purchasing comfortable walking shoes it should be quality over quantity, if you buy the best, you will experience the best! Do not buy shoes that are cheap yet uncomfortable.
WALKING SHOE AT ITS BEST
To get the very best out of your walking shoe, you’ve got to know how best to care for it. The durability of a walking shoe isn’t totally dependent on the manufacturer rather how the buyer/user utilizes the shoe goes a long way in determining its life span. Walking shoes are specially crafted for walks so do not use it nor care for it like you do with a regular shoe. After your much needed walk, wash off the dirt or mud that may have gotten stuck to the outsole of your shoes. The leather can be damaged if you leave the shoes unattended to and grit can get into the material causing gaps and ultimately reducing the quality of the material.
Remove the insoles of your shoes, wash them separately and leave to dry out properly before putting them back in the shoe. Use good cleaning products that are specially designed for cleaning out walking shoes, ask properly at the point of purchase before using it. As you use your shoe, its utility decreases due to factors such as weight, distance, weather, terrain and accidents thus, it is important that you change your walking shoes often, you are required to change your shoes every six months if you use them all the time.
Our focus on comfortable walking shoes for women will not be complete without a comprehensive product review that cut across some of the most comfortable and excellent shoes available in the market, find below an array of walking shoes that are just right for you.
- New Balance Women’s WW1765 Fitness Walking Shoe
A lot of walkers buy this product, it is known for its superior quality in terms of providing layers of comfort for users. You are assured of great walking experience without pain because of the extra layer of cushion added to the shoes. This product is also very popular because it is one of the most affordable walking shoes, with prices that can suit just about any budget, walkers who have used this product vouch for its durability with its trendy synthetic material. It has also been described as one of the lightest walking shoes with enough padding within to protect your feet. When next you go shopping, remember this super comfy tool for that extra special feel.
- Salomon X Ultra Mid 2 GTX
Your search for the most comfortable walking shoes ends when you encounter the Salomon X Mid 2 GTX. This walking shoe offers good ankle support as you walk, it is an all season kind of shoe suitable for any climate and terrain. Slide into optimum comfort and support in these shoes that have sturdy outsoles, breathable mesh and tightened laces for a firmer feel and waterproof features for walks in wet areas. Women love this product for the feminine colours it is produced in, as it gives them an array of options to choose from.
- ASICS Women’s GEL-Tech Neo 4 Walking Shoe
This product is manufactured by a company that has made a name for itself in the production of sports shoes. This background of excellence has endeared lots of walkers to them as they keep raising the bar in the delivery of top-notch products. The ASICS Women’s GEL-Tech Neo 4 Walking shoe is exclusively designed to help prevent injuries such as blisters when taking long walks, this is because the shoes are so comfortable and perfectly designed for all arch types. With a history of quality delivery, you can be rest assured that this product is a worthy investment on your journey to healthy living.
- Berghaus Women’s Prognosis II GTX
This is for the woman who doesn’t do street walks, this is for the woman who conquers tough terrains and takes her fitness walks up a notch. With heavily built in soles and good heels that aid supple walks, this shoe stands out amongst others. The mesh at the top is so light, you will barely feel a thing and this helps in keeping feet dry while giving room for air. The stiffness at the heel cup is made for stability when walking, jogging or running, the fabulous synthetic suede and rubber used at the top gives it an edgy look that portrays class.
- Merrell Chamelon Wrap Slam Gore-Tex XCR Teak
Gore-Tex XCR is a blend of technology and comfort! This walking shoe is made by Merrell, renowned for making some of the most exquisite walking shoes in the world, this is definitely going to be a valuable purchase that fulfils your expectations and more. The mesh this shoe comes in is one that allows air in, the shoe is made in its own Gore-Texb XCR fabric lining and is swift in absorbing heat and sweat. With great body looks, excellent features all from a fantastic manufacturer, it doesn’t get better than this.
- Brasher Diablo XCR- Nut
Running through a stream? Then you can rely on brasher shoes that are very comfortable with versatile features. Brasher is recognised for manufacturing brown shoes and boots hence their range of walking shoes are brown in colour as well. Exquisitely made from brown suede, with very firm outsole and waterproof protection, this walking shoe is a beauty to behold and has set the bar high for other walking shoes.
Women are trend setters, they are at the forefront in the promotion of healthy living thus, they require excellent and comfortable shoes that will help them get by. From the benefits of walking to the importance to walking shoes, the features to look out for and how best to care for your shoes, we have given a comprehensive peek into the world of comfortable walking shoes for women. If you follow the guidelines above, you are sure to get walking shoes that are just right for you with a promise of comfort as you embark on the ever rewarding journey of good health.