Sole Search: The Best Walking, Running, and Hiking Shoes
Support from a Non-Sneaker?
Q. Are there any sporty shoes that are good for everyday walking?
A. Beware, not all athletic brands put technical smarts into their streetwise styles. But some companies, like Keen, Clarks, and Rockport, offer all the bells and whistles you need. Look for these four essentials in a shoe you intend to make your walking partner: arch support, a firm grip around your heel, room to wiggle your toes, and extra cushioning in the heel and forefoot. "Without arch support, your foot may flatten out, which can overuse bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles," says Michael J. Brunetti, DPM, a podiatrist for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "Wear unsupportive shoes long enough and you're at risk for plantar fasciitis, stress fractures on your metatarsals and shins, and tendinitis on the inside or outside of your foot." If you want to make your favorite flats more arch-friendly, Brunetti recommends trying custom inserts or over-the-counter options, such as Powerstep ($34-$44, powersteps.com) and Lynco ($60, aetrex.com) insoles. But if you are experiencing foot pain, talk to a podiatrist before you pad your problem pairs.
Originally published in FITNESS Magazine, October 2009.
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