Every single year, we make the same promises to ourselves. That we’ll eat better, get more exercise. Every year, we start our fitness journey with the recommended 30 minutes of walking in hopes that it will revolutionize our lives.
Every year, our fitness goals grind to a halt. We sit there blaming ourselves for yet another disciplinary failure. And yet, we never pause to consider our footwear.
It’s hard to commit to walking an extra 30 minutes a day when the shoes you wear for it make your feet ache. So, it’s time to learn how to choose walking shoes for men. Proper walking shoes that will make committing to your fitness goals a breeze.
Shoes for men are one of the most important choices you can make for your feet. Shoes for standing all day need to provide a high level of support and cushioning to protect your feet from the impact of walking or running.
First, Know Your Feet
When choosing walking shoes that will work for you, it’s important to know your feet before you get started. After all, you’re going to have a hard time finding the right shoe when you don’t know how big your feet are or what kind of support they need. Let’s discuss each of these common issues in turn.
How Much Arch Support Do You Need?
Everyone hears the words “arch support” flying around when buying walking shoes, but very few know what those words actually mean. Arch support refers to the level of support that the arch, or the curve in your foot, requires. Different levels will require different types of cushioning. For instance…
If you have flat or low arches, you may experience muscle stress beyond what’s expected when you walk. To combat this, you need a walking shoe that has built-in motion control and a straight last (or footprint blueprint) to help stabilize your feet in the shoe.
Most walking shoes for men and women get built with neutral arches in mind. As such, you shouldn’t have a problem finding shoes to cater to your needs with a firm midsole and semi-curved last.
If you have high arches, your feet and legs may experience problems with shock absorption. So, you may want to find shoes with a higher level of cushioning and a curved last to provide the right support.
Do You Have Issues With Your Gait?
Do your feet have a tendency to curve inward or outward as you walk? If so, you may require shoes that can support you through either pronation or supination. Pronation means that you put too much of your weight on the inside of your foot. Supination means that you put too much weight on the outside of your foot.
What Size Shoe Do You Wear, Really?
When you step into the walking shoe store, do you know what size shoe you actually wear? While you may have a general estimate based on other shoes you own, it’s best to take your own, more accurate measurements when you arrive. These tips will help you better measure for the right size.
Wear Your Walking Socks to the Store
If you wear thin socks to the store the day that you try on your new walking shoes but wear thick socks when walking, that’s going to create problems. Make sure you wear your standard exercise socks while you measure and try on shoes.
Measure at the End of the Day
Your feet can swell to larger sizes after exercise and as the day wears on. As such, it’s better to measure for new shoes towards the end of the day or after you’ve exercised. That way, you don’t find your shoes threatening to cut off your circulation mid-walk.
Leave Wiggle Room
Make sure you leave wiggle room for your toes. If you try to wiggle your toes and find that you can’t, or that it feels too cramped to do so, you should probably go up at least a half a size.
Consider the Features You Need
Athletic and athleisure companies are in something of an arms race to produce the best exercise shoes for professionals and consumers. This constant game of one-upmanship has led to the standardization of some neat specialized features. Some more unique features you should consider when choosing walking shoes are:
Climate Control and Breathability
You want shoes that can let your feet breathe and wick sweat away from your feet. However, you also want shoes that can keep out rain or other inclement weather while you’re walking. Make sure you consider the climates you usually walk in as well as the comfort of your feet when looking for the best walking shoes.
Proper Shock Absorption
Shock absorption is a key part of walking shoes. However, some terrains may require heavier shock absorption than others. It’s hard to deny that the impact of a foot against asphalt is going to strike much harder than a foot against dirt or grass. If you walk or even run across difficult terrain, you’re going to need more shock absorption to prevent shin splints.
As we mentioned above, you may need correction to your feet if you tend to pronate or supinate. Throwing all your weight to the outside or inside of your foot when walking can lead to you rolling your ankle and seriously injuring yourself.
Understanding the Parts of Walking Shoes for Men
We’ve discussed finding the right fit for your feet and the features you may need. Now, let’s take a more granular look at the parts of walking shoes for men. Product descriptions for these shoes may mention these terms, so our breakdown should help you keep everything straight.
The heelcounter, as the name would suggest, holds the back of the heel. This is the part of the shoe nearest to the Achilles tendon. It should cup the back of the heel, feeling snug but not tight. If you have the right fit, a well-made heelcounter should prevent overpronation or oversupination.
If you’ve ever gotten orthopedic inserts for your shoes, you know where the insole rests. It’s the area inside the bottom of the shoe, where the sole of your foot connects with the shoe itself. In an ideal fit, the insoles of your walking shoes will contour to your feet and provide shock absorption.
This is arguably the most important part of the shoe. It rests between the shoe’s tread and its upper, and usually has the widest range of materials. From cloth to leather to various wicking meshes, the midsole determines the flexibility, support, and internal cushioning of a pair of walking shoes for men.
The Toe Box
The toe box of the shoe refers to the entire area that surrounds the toes. Too little space in this area will make your feet feel cramped and can lead to sprains or breaks in your toes. Too much space will lead to the shoe sliding around on your feet. For an ideal fit, you want the toe box to have about a thumb’s width between the biggest toe and the end of the box.
Make Sure to Replace Your Walking Shoes Regularly
You can have a pair of the best walking shoes in existence. However, if you wear them beyond around 400 miles of walking, you’re running the risk of injury. Make sure that you replace your walking (and other exercise) shoes on a regular basis.
Consider the Environment You’re Wearing the Shoes For
No, this isn’t related to the moisture-wicking or climate control that we mentioned above. While these shoes are meant for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do, you don’t often wear a pair of shoes just to walk. Most offices won’t be impressed about your morning walk if you stroll into work with highlighter orange mesh cushioning your feet.
Nor will you feel super appreciative of dressy leather walking shoes when you’re walking in temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. So, when looking for the best walking shoes, consider the environments you’ll wear these shoes into.
Where Can You Find the Best Walking Shoes?
If you want to find shoes for dad, and got some inspiration from our friends at Marcus Sherman, where can you buy walking shoes that will work for him? Some of the best options include:
Naturally, you can shop at online retailers like Amazon or eBay if you’re picky on brand names. However, when buying online, make sure that you have as many details about your (or the recipient’s) feet as possible. Returns can be tricky when it comes to shoes.
The best place to pick up walking shoes is from a brick-and-mortar store dedicated to athletes. These stores offer the widest selection and usually have trained experts on staff to help you pick the right pair.
If you don’t have the cash to go to a dedicated athletic shoe retailer, a general shoe store can offer some great walking shoes as well. Many of these stores will hold discounts or major sales around the school season or the holidays, so be on the lookout.
Want to Learn More About Walking Shoes for Men?
We hope that our guide gave you some tips on how to choose walking shoes for men. For more in-depth fashion-forward articles like this one, visit our blog today!