We all have our own unique ways we walk, just as there are various walking shoes you can choose. When choosing walking shoes then, you have to consider whether you walk neutrally or over-supinate or over-pronate. You also have to consider the anatomy of your foot. Do you display a high arch, average arch, low arch, or no arch at all?
The Medial Longitudinal Arch
When any discussion of arches ensues, it usually refers to the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. This arch spans from the ball of the foot to the heel and serves as a balance for distributing one’s body weight and absorbing shock.
When a medial arch is high, low, or collapsed, the body weight distribution is disrupted across the foot, which, in turn, impairs shock absorption as well. Low or collapsed arches are frequently associated with over-pronation, while high arches are related to walkers who over-supinate (or under-pronate). However, these examples are not a hard and fast rule. You can still over-pronate with a high arch or under-pronate with a low arch.
The Transverse Arch
Most people are not familiar with a transverse arch. This arch, on the foot, runs perpendicular to the mid-foot and the medial arch. Forefoot issues, such as hammertoe, bunions, pain, or numbness are usually associated with a low or collapsed transverse arch. Sometimes the problem can be corrected by supporting this arch, thereby increasing the room available for the blood vessels and nerves in the mid-foot.
You can tell your foot type by simply standing barefoot in the sand. For example, if you have a high arch, you will not see this part of the foot embedded in the sand. Flat feet or a collapsed arch will display the whole foot.
Walking on Air
Once you know the anatomy of your foot, you can better make a decision for a walking shoe. Many women favour Skechers and similar styles of shoes for walking. Men also have their favourite brands. Some shoes for walkers almost make you feel like you are walking barefoot. Shoes made for walking that are extra comfortable are made of fabrics and in a design that makes the walker feel like he is literally walking on air.
One thing is for certain, you do not want to opt for a walking shoe that is less-than-comfortable, tight-fitting, or is painful to wear. Walking is an enjoyable activity. Therefore, shoe comfort is imperative. Reviewing your foot type then will help you choose a walking shoe that is made especially for you.
Besides looking at your arches, you also need to determine your gait. While walking is easy, most people do not walk right. Blame it on bad shoes or shoes that do not allow you to walk naturally. You can improve the way you walk by choosing shoes that permit you to walk naturally while offering support. However, you do not want a shoe that is over-supportive either, since it can negatively affect your gait. A good walking shoe should be comfortable, moderately supportive, and made with materials that are flexible and strong.