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Walking is a great alternative (or complement) to running, especially for overweight individual and absolute beginners. It is no coincidence that virtually every beginner running training plan alternates periods of running with periods of walking.
Walking offers similar benefits to running, both in terms of cardio-vascular exercise and calorie burn: walking three miles burns the same amount of calories as running three miles, while being much gentler on heart, bones, joints and muscles.
We are splitting this guide into two sections: shoes that are meant for walking and running shoes that can be used for walking as well - taking into account the differences in bio-mechanics between the two activities.
Walkers tend to move from the heel to the balls of the feet — in a rocker like motion. This helps the body’s weight be distributed on the feet more evenly. Feet need to absorb shock of 1-2 times your bodyweight while walking where running should absorb the shock of 2-3 times your bodyweight. It is important to keep this in mind while looking for walking shoes.
When you find the right pair of walking shoes, you will notice an increase in comfort, injuries can help be prevented, and being more comfortable will help you stay active. While trying shoes on, keep in mind they should be comfortable as soon as you put them on. The heel should be snug and not slip out of the shoe. In addition, the shoe will not stretch as you wear it, so if it is a little tight then try a half size up. Walking shoes tend to last around 300-500 miles and then they start to break down. After this, they need to be replaced to keep you comfortable and injury free.
Men and Women have very different bio-mechanics and - to be honest - different taste in shoes. While women can successfully and safely walk in the above recommended shoes, here is a selection of three more shoes that we believe have a better appeal for women.
Sometimes you need shoes that can handle both running and walking. The following are versatile shoes that offer comfort and durability, together with a design that can accommodate both activities correctly.
Is there actually a difference between walking and running shoes? There is a big difference and it is important to know this before you head to the shoe store.
Walking shoes tend to be stiffer than running shoes and are designed more for comfort, rather than performance. Both types of shoes are pretty flexible, but walking shoes should flex more in the forefoot area where there is more push off. Furthermore, since fitness walkers tend to strike with the heel and roll through the step, a lightweight, flexible, and flatter shoe is best while walking.
Keep in mind that you should stay away from minimalist/barefoot shoes for long walks because they do not provide enough cushioning. Another feature to look for in a walking shoe is a heel that is not flared. Typically, running shoes have a flared heel and walking shoes should not. If you do wear a shoe with a flared heel while walking, it can keep you from rolling naturally through your step.
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