Here’s What Makes the Perfect Walking Shoe

Even with my limited-grasp of current fashion trends, I’ve realized that walking shoes are very “in” right now. Women everywhere are finally embracing all-day, every-day flats! But not all flats and sneaker styles are actually designed for walking. If you want to support your feet and look cute in those walking shoes, here are the features you need to seek out:

The 4 Features that Make for Great Walking Shoes Unless your careful, even those cute walking shoes can leave you with sore feet at the day's end!

  1. Shock absorption. You know what doesn’t feel good? Walking all day in a shoe with a paper-thin heel. That’s because your foot will be taking the full impact every time your heel or forefoot strikes the pavement. To prevent this type of pain, you'll want to find a style with shock absorption. The shoe should also have a bit of a heel drop—where the back is a little lower than the front of the shoe. And make sure that any shoe you rock is equipped with arch support, as this part of your foot needs the most TLC. sole should , with a good (rubber or cork-like sneakers are always a safe bet).
     
  2. Soles need substance. Any shoe sole that is very thin, completely flat, extremely flexible is unlikely to give you adequate support. Turns out, that’s almost as bad for your feet as spending the day strolling in stilettoes.
     
  3. Find fun in safe details. Instead of seeking out kicks with limited support but lots of design features, find well-cushioned, supportive styles in bright colors and playful prints, or with special details like studs, clasps or even bows (I hear these are especially popular with some of my youngest patients.) Yes, your walking shoes should be pretty—that style just shouldn’t come at the expense of support!
     
  4. Know when to stick with tradition. Yes, some slip-on sneakers and sandals may provide enough support to get you through an hour or two of casual strolling. If, however, you’re planning a full day on your feet, or if you are exercising (either outdoors or in the gym), true athletic shoes are just what the doctor ordered. After all, no walking shoe, no matter how many podiatrist-approved features it may contain, can ever truly replace a sneaker whose sole (get it?) purpose is to provide your foot with sufficient support as you move throughout your day!

One Perfect Walking Shoe: the New Chuck Taylors!

For decades now, the Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker, named for the 1920s basketball phenom, has been a dedicated component of the ‘cool kid’ uniform—no matter how young or old that ‘kid’ may be. Your parents wore them, you wore them, and now your kids are angling for a pair, too!

Unfortunately, the shoes' appearance belied their actual construction—they were not designed with comfort in mind. Between the lack of arch support and the ultra-thin heel, wearers felt the pain in their feet after even just a few hours walking around.

Well, no more. Even though some people are upset about the shoe’s first re-design in 98 years, demanding a return to the more authentic original, podiatrists like myself are thrilled about the shoe's new features!

The new Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II features Nike’s Lunarlon sockliner for full foot support, a foam padded collar, a special non-slip tongue (good-bye, blisters) and a perforated micro suede lining that can help combat foot sweats (and, by extension, athlete’s foot.)

All too often, style-minded shoe lovers are forced to choose between fashion, function and comfort. Hat’s off to Converse for making sure that its Chucks fans no longer have to make that tough decision.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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