American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), walking is the most popular physical activity in the United States. (AP Photo/George Widman)
If you're getting serious about walking for exercise, make sure you're pounding the pavement in the right shoes.
Most walking shoes are actually too stiff and heavy for walking at fast speeds or for long distances, according to walking expert Dave McGovern.
"[T]he truth is most shoes labeled for walking aren't designed for serious walkers at all," says McGovern, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. National Racewalk Team.
Ideally, your walking shoes should be relatively lightweight and flexible with a low heel, like a good pair of running shoes.
"Since a walker’s feet hit the ground with only about 1.25 - 1.5 times body mass with each step compared to 4-5 x body mass for runners, we don't need as much cushioning in our shoes as runners do," says McGovern. "Too much cushioning in the shoes and the heels will make it too clunky and difficult to 'spin your wheels' smoothly and efficiently, preventing effective walking technique and causing shin soreness."
To find the best walking shoe for you, know your feet. The shape of your arch and the degree to which your foot pronates are two important variables. Read more about finding the right walking shoes here at Walk With Walgreens.