8 Tips to Find the Best Sneakers for Walking

Walking up stairs

Finding the best sneakers for walking can be complicated – but it doesn’t have to be.

We’re all looking for our sole mate: Walking shoes that feel like they were made just for us. With all the bells and whistles available, staring at that huge wall of shoes can be pretty overwhelming. Sure, there are oodles of cool features available nowadays, but which features are necessary versus not? Is there a way to uncomplicate the process?

The short answer: Yes. Here’s how to find the best sneakers for your next stroll:

1. Know your feet
The cushioning your clodhoppers will need depend on your foot type. To learn more about your feet, dip your foot in water, step on a piece of cardboard and check out your footprint: If you can see most of your footprint, you probably have low arches. If you see very little, you likely have high arches.

2. Know your routine
In order to find the best sneakers for your lifestyle, you need to define what you’ll be using them for. Are they shoes you’re going to be commuting and running errands in, or will you be going on fitness walks? Make sure you’re clear about your intentions before even stepping into the shoe store.

3. Shop later in the day
Your feet swell during the day, so if you buy shoes in the morning and they fit perfectly, for an afternoon walk you might find they become too snug. Never buy shoes that immediately feel too tight – yes, there’s a break-in period, but if they’re already uber-snug they’re too small.

4. Bring your old shoes with you
It’s helpful to shop at a specialty store as opposed to a department store. A knowledgeable salesperson could be the difference between the best sneakers – and you know, the worst – for your feet. Bring your old sneaks in so they can see your wear pattern and help you find the perfect fit.

5. Know what to look for
The best sneakers for your feet should be lightweight and provide dependable shock absorption: After all, they need to be able to handle the repetitive heel-to-toe rolling motion of avid walking. Find kicks that feel secure (snug but not tight), and are roomy enough to wiggle your toes. You should also be able to easily bend the shoe’s forefront.

6. Worry about style last
Of course you want them to look great with your outfit, but you don’t want your tootsies to suffer the wrath. Trust me, you’ll be able to find a shoe that looks and feels great.

7. Take them for a spin
Try on at least three pairs of walking shoes so you have room to compare. Don’t be swayed by what you “should” buy – if something feels off or you don’t love them, put them back on the shelf. Lace up and walk around the store to get a feel for each shoe.

8. If you’ve found your sole mate, buy more than one pair
Companies have this pesky habit of phasing out or upgrading shoe models, so if you’ve found what you feel are the best sneakers in the world for your feet, buy more than one pair. Otherwise, before you know it you’ll have to start the selection process all over again (womp, womp).

How did you find the best sneakers for your tootsies?

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Image: Beverley Goodwin

Krissy Brady

Krissy Brady is a women’s health + lifestyle writer who’s so out of shape, it’s like she has the innards of an 80-year-old. Instead of learning how to crochet, she decided to turn her emotional baggage into a writing career (genius, no?). You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (you know, if you want).