Health Team

Start Off on the Right Foot With the Right Walking Shoes

Posted April 16, 2008 3:15 p.m. EDT
Updated April 16, 2008 11:39 p.m. EDT

— Walking is a great way to lose weight and strengthen the heart. If the exercise is causing achy feet, though, it may be time for new workout shoes.

The key is finding a shoe that supports the foot and will help it roll through the landing of each step, said Mike Zimmerman, owner of the Athlete’s Foot store in Raleigh's Cameron Village.

Zimmerman said the “inward roll is how your foot helps disperse shock as you pass through the gait cycle.”

Zimmerman says the problem is most people look for low price and appealing style first.

“The shoe is the most integral part of the exercise program. It doesn't pay to scrimp on your equipment,” Zimmerman said.

By dispersing weight evenly, you may be able to get by with only a good cushioning shoe. if there are other issues, you'll need a more advanced shoe.

"You'll find stability shoes which are designed for mild to moderate over-pronation,” Zimmerman said.

Excessive pronation means the heels need extra motion control on the inside edge because the foot tends to roll inward.

Size also matters. Zimmerman suggests a thumb’s width between your toe and the end of the shoe.

Doctors recommend patients exercise about 30 minutes at a time for five days a week, with the goal being a 15-minute mile.