9 Tips for Buying New Walking Shoes


At Gentle Professional Foot Care, we encourage our patients to walk for fitness and good health. After all, walking has much to recommend it:

  • Free
  • Easy to do
  • Can be done practically anywhere
  • Fun with friends; relaxing on your own
  • Many health incentives: helps lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, control blood sugar and elevate mood

However, even the simple activity of walking can harm your feet, especially if you don’t have the right shoes. Conditions such as blisters, plantar fasciitis, corns and calluses, bunions, athlete’s foot and ingrown toenails can all be caused or made worse by poor shoe choice. Below are 9 tips for getting the shoes that will maximize the benefits of walking and minimize the risk of unwanted foot problems.

  1. Start with an examination by our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey (you can request an appointment online or by calling our Venice office at (941) 493-7999). The foot doctor will want to check on any chronic foot problems you may have and can also offer valuable advice on the best shoe design for your feet. If the foot doctor prescribes a custom orthotic device for your shoes, be sure to take it with you when you go to the shoe store.
  2. Always get your foot professionally measured and shop for walking shoes at a store that specializes in fitness footwear.
  3. Try on shoes at the end of the day—that’s when your foot is at its largest and most swollen.
  4. Wear the same type of socks to try on walking shoes that you will wear while you are doing the activity for a better fit.
  5. Choose a shoe that is snug in the heel but has space in the toe box. There should be about half an inch between your toes and the front of the shoe and you should be able to move your toes freely in the shoe.
  6. Look for breathable materials that allow air to circulate.
  7. Shoes with laces (as opposed to Velcro) generally provide more support and a snugger fit.
  8. Run your hand around the inside of the shoe to check for rough spots or loose stitching that could cause friction against your skin.
  9. Take plenty of time to walk around the shoe store and try out the walking shoes you are considering. Shoes should feel comfortable from the time you purchase them.