It’s time once again to decide on a shoe to wear for this years long training walks ,and of course , the race itself. So far, Ive narrowed it down to either the Asics Hyperspeed 2s, or the Loco Banditos . I’ve used the Asics on my 5 milers a few times and they worked out well for the racewalking segments, but because of their extremely lightweight design I’m not sure how my feet and shins will hold out over the longer distances. I’m going to wear them this weekend for my 15 miler and see how they do.
For the actual marathon walk , though not as comfortable, I’ll probably have to go with the Locos again. They have more cushioning over the mid foot ,which really helps absorb the shock when you’re walking over the cobble stone street of Rome.
It probably sounds silly, but if you walk /racewalk as much as I do, you tend to be real picky about the shoes you wear. If you pick the wrong ones, they can really screw up your feet and potentially cause injury to other parts of your body. A good shoe can make all the difference in completing a marathon distance with relatively minor foot discomfort or finish in total agony. You need shoes that are kind to your feet though, but also that are functional and designed for the sport your doing. I’m proud to say, that after walking 3,500 miles and training for and completing 4 full marathons and 9 half’s, that Ive only suffered one black toe, and 5 or 6 blisters . The last two full marathons….. no blisters at all!
You wouldn’t believe how many shoes Ive purchased and had to return just to make it to this point. Either they didn’t fit right or the heel was to high to racewalk in. And it’s not cheap! On average I pay $80.00 for a pair of shoes that will last about 3 months.
Most companies that sell racewalking suitable shoes are web based ,which means not only do you have wait for them to be delivered, but you don’t know if they are going to fit until you receive them. And, if they need to be returned or exchanged, you need to pay for the return shipping which can average $6-10 .
One of the challenges for me in shoe selection (and I’m sure for most racewalkers and/ or marathon walkers) is finding a shoe that I can walk actually walk marathon in , but at the same time, a shoe that I can also racewalk in over different types of terrain. Unlike bulky running shoes, I need a pair of shoes that not only offers decent cushioning, but also a shoe that is fairly wide in the forefoot (I have fat feet) , and one that also has a low profile heal . There are tons of racing comps or track type sprinting shoes on the market, and those work fine for racewalking shorter distances, but I need shoes that have enough substance to them to allow me to walk for 7 hours without trashing my feet, toes and shins.
Most of the shoes out there that are suitable for racewalking/marathon walking are sprinting shoes, or what they call racing comps. There are only two shoes companies in the world that I’m aware of, that make shoes specially for racewalking. One is a Chinese company called “New Health”, which produces and ultra light weight racewalking shoe.. The other is a company here in the USA called “Hershey” that custom makes all of its racewalking shoes, but they are very expensive , and frankly, very ugly. I own a pair of the New Health shoes which I really like , but they have virtually no cushioning and are designed primarily for very short distances , 5K or less , on a soft surface (They’re more like slippers than shoes).