The PureKit Blog

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Tips for Choosing Walking Shoes

Getting out and active in the great outdoors is one of life’s great pleasures, and it has major health benefits too. Walking helps to improve cardiovascular fitness, exercises the muscles throughout the body and gets them conditioned, and it gets the endorphins flowing ad makes you feel great. It has long been known that walking - and exercise in general - has major implications for long term heath, with active people less likely to suffer from many terminal illnesses as well resisting common ailments such as coughs and colds. If you want to charge up your immune system, getting active in the great outdoors is one of the best ways.

Getting out in the open air and away from the smoke of the big city allows outdoor enthusiasts to leave the worries behind, clear the mind, and get some much needed breathing space, both mentally and physically.

With the stresses and their cause’s miles away, both the body and the mind can relax. Walking also offers many cost advantages over other sports and pastimes, requiring little in the way of equipment. A pair of trainers, weatherproof clothing and a water bottle is all that is needed to get out and start enjoying exercising.
However, if you really want to get the most from your walking, and stave off foot problems, aches and pains, it is worth every penny to invest in a high quality pair of walking shoes. They will offer the support your feet need, the comfort for long forays out into the countryside, and at the end of the day your feet, and in fact your whole body, will thank you for it.

There is an extensive range of walking shoes on the market, with each of the major manufacturers all claiming to be the best, with the most advanced technology. With such a choice, making a decision on the right shoes to buy can be difficult. With that in mind we have put together a short guide to ensure you get the features you need, and don’t end up paying through the nose for those that you don’t.

Waterproof Walking Shoes

If you want to get out in all weather conditions, you will need to choose a pair of waterproof walking shoes.

Walking shoes from the major outdoor suppliers usually all have waterproofing to some degree, but for the maximum protection look out for Gore-Tex and eVent fabrics. Many high quality manufacturers have developed their own technologies; however Gore-Tex and eVent are considered to be the best. Both offer total waterproofing and wind protection, whilst being highly breathable to let steam and heat escape. If you are only ever going to head out in fair weather, then these fabrics will add a little extra weight and will be extra warm, so it is best to choose lightweight walking shoes without the extra layer of waterproofing fabric.

Outsole design

Vibram sticky rubber is perfect for the trail, and will really give you excellent traction. The Italian rubber manufacturer is widely regarded as the best for off road grip; however as with all rubber compounds there is usually  a trade off between stickiness and durability. If you expect to be walking off road and taking on the trail, then sticky rubber is the way to go. However for urban walking and for heavy duty hiking consider a more robust compound and tread which will resist the abrasion from concrete, asphalt and jagged rocks.  For the maximum lifespan choose a pair of walking shoes which can be re-soled, as whilst modern rubber compounds are hard wearing, it is the outsoles which often determine when the shoes need to be replaced, and will not last as long as the uppers.

Lightweight Construction

Whilst a few extra grams may not seem very much, they add up as the miles are clocked up. Carrying around excess weight will sap your energy and can cut short any trip in the great outdoors. When the muscles get fatigued they fail to perform at optimum levels and injuries can occur. The weight of walking shoes can vary considerably with hundreds of grams difference between different models. It all adds up, and if you want to keep light on your feet, and keep up the speed light shoes are certainly the way forward.

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