walking shoes

Happy National Walking Day!

Walking is a non-intimidating form of cardio exercise that everyone can do. You don’t have to be a coordinated athlete or a marathoner to get this dose of cardio. A daily 30 minute walk improves circulation and loosens stiff joints. When coupled with healthy eating and a healthy emotional lifestyle, walking can improve our overall mental and physical well-being.

As runners, we often think walking is boring, slow, or not a sufficient enough cardio workout. However, walking is one of them most underrated exercises. It’s cheap, it’s mind clearing, it gets us outside, and it improves cardiovascular health. It’s a great shake out for the legs on a rest day, and it’s something you can pull friends or family into.

Here’s 4 reasons why walking is a great workout and everyone should do it:

You can walk anywhere.

You can step outside your house and walk down the street, walk down the sidewalk, or walk to work. If the rough terrain of a single track trail is too much to handle on a run, walk the trail instead. Need more of a cardio challenge? Find a trail with a big hill and walk up and down it a few times. This can be a great chance to work on your power hiking for a long trail race. However, if fresh air is not your thing, you can walk on a treadmill and catch up on your favorite show.

Walking increases mental peace.

One of the worst things we can do to our body and minds is sit all day. Stepping outside of a florescent-lit office and walking 30 minutes during a lunch break allows your mind to clear itself and your eyes and brain to take a rest. Plus, the exercise releases endorphins and serotonin to give you a natural high, often helping solve complicated work problems or restoring a positive attitude.

Walking provides time to connect.

Catch up with a friend by inviting them on a short walk after work or before you pick up the kids from school. After dinner, connect with the family on a short walk to easy your bellies after a full meal. All of you will reap the health benefits of exercise without the boredom of suffering alone.

Are you an introvert? Download your favorite podcasts and listen while you walk. But always stay alert of your surroundings when walking (or running) with headphones.

Walking provides a cardiovascular workout.

Many runners scoff at walking, however walking can ramp up your heart rate just as much as a slower tempo run. Walk for 30 minutes to an hour on a trail and work on your pace and stride. Pick a hilly route to push your quads and glutes. Still too easy? Try mixing in strength training exercises. Walk near a local park and add in squats and lunges. Use a bench for tricep dips and pushups or a playground bar for pull-ups. Challenge yourself!

Of course, with all athletic activities, we recommend you wear the right shoes. Many people stop exercising because of foot pain. Get fitted at your local running store for shoes that support your arch and allow your toes to move and operate like they were made to! Remember to replace your shoes after 4-6 months, so that you can keep on walking.

Now go explore a new part of town on a walk!

Enjoy National WALKING Day!

The Best Shoe Fit for Jobs on Your Feet

There are many occupations that require being on your feet all of or most of the day. Nursing, retail, restaurant industry, hospitably, security, technicians… you know who you are. And you probably know the feelings of back pain, sore feet, and achy knees. When our feet suffer, our enjoyment of work suffers, which can lead to less productivity, unhappy bosses, and eventually job loss.

Ok ok, that may be extreme, but your feet are important! The proper shoe with the proper fit can make the world of a difference for your arches, back, and knees when you work long hours. Your work conditions may not be changeable, but what supports the foundation of you body definitely is!  

Running and walking shoes offer lots of cushion and support for long hours of standing. But there is not one, three, or five best shoes for long hours of standing. Every foot is different, and one shoe does not fit all people. It is best to be fitted in person so that you can try on several shoes to find the right fit.

Here are a few qualities to ask about and look for in shopping for the best shoe for retail, nursing, or any job type with lots of movement on your feet.

Cushioning

This one may seem obvious, but we see a lot of nurses and factory workers wearing little to no cushioning in their shoes. One reason is because they are old and need to be replaced. (Hop over to this blog post to see if your shoes need replacing.)

When buying a shoe for a standing job, look for a shoe with higher cushion to provide support and shock absorption for your joints. These shoes will have an obvious extra foam in the foot bed.

Just a warning, higher cushion usually means a higher price, but they will also last longer because of the extra foam. So the cost pays off.

Proper Length

It is already important to be fitted for the correct length with running and walking shoes, but it is even more so for someone who stands on their feet all day. Feet swell and if a shoe is too tight, then the toes will not have enough room to breathe and move correctly, causing more pain and fatigue in the arch and bottom of the foot.

To find the size of a running or walking shoe, we measure the length of the ball arch. The widest part of the forefoot should fit comfortably in the widest part of the shoe. If the fit is correct, you will have about a 3/4” (a thumbnail size) space between the end of the toe and the end of the shoe. The space prevents your toes from jabbing into the end of the shoe when your feet swell and you are walking around.

Proper Width

Along with the correct length of the shoe, you want to have the right width. This is a BIG deal! If the shoe is too narrow, when your feet swell from hours of walking around, your poor feet will be screaming for relief.

When we measure a foot, we look at the width of the widest part of the foot. There are several different widths in both men’s and women’s shoes. If your foot is hanging off the sides of the footbed, you need a larger width, not necessarily a size up in length. A running or walking shoe is supposed to fit more like a slipper and less like a soccer cleat.

Arch Support

(read this if you are required to wear a specific shoe)

If you cut off the fabric around the top of a shoe, you will find an almost flat surface. There is very little arch support in a walking or running shoe. But if you are standing all day, it is very important to support the arch from collapsing.

Our solution is the Powerstep insert that was designed by a podiatrist as an over-the-counter orthotic to support the foot and relieve pain. A flexible plastic cushioned with foam provides built-in arch support. In the heel, there is a cradle to cup the natural fat pad to provide more cushion. The good news is that the Powerstep can go into about any shoe (even high heels) and comes in several shapes, sizes, and thicknesses.

Compression Socks

We know we know, these are not shoes. But compression socks will help deoxygenated blood in the veins flow from your feet and calves back to your heart to be replenished with fresh blood and be sent back to your tired legs.

Think of how much shock you body takes as you walk across concrete floors for 8, 10, 12 hours. These vibrations eventually cause fatigue in the muscles. The tight compression around the foot and ankle and lighter compression going up the calves assist getting fresh blood to flow into your legs. Compression socks will help decrease fatigue as you work on your feet. In our store, we sell CEP socks and Tennessee made Sockwell socks. Stop by to have your calf and foot fitted for the right size.

Whether you are required to wear a specific work shoe or have the freedom to wear any shoe at work, there are several steps you can take to support your arches, increase blood flow, and relieve fatigue and pain. Stop by the store to talk to one of our fit experts about your job requirements and what shoe is best for your feet.