Is it just me? or are there other walkers and/or runners out there who have problems finding the right shoes . I cant seem to find the ideal pair of shoes for my feet and for my type of walking. I don’t want to just own a pair of shoes that I can live with, I want to own a pair that I’m in love with. Maybe this has been tough for me because I’m into both racewalking AND distance walking and each of these variations requires different shoes.
For speed walking I need very low profile shoes with just a little cushioning and lots of toe room. For distance walking I need much more cushioning and stability. Then there’s a little thing called “Proper Fit” . This has always been problem for me. I have small – wide feet and Im a big time over pronator. Walking shoes don’t normally come in wide sizes. (though New Balance is starting to offer more of them) So, to correct for the narrower width, I go a half size up on the length. If the shoe is too big then I have a problem with blisters.
Then there’s the cost factor. Good shoes can be an expensive proposition when you consider that you have to purchase the shoes before you can see if they will actually work for you. I cant tell you how many pairs I’ve purchased after trying them on in the store, just to find out 3 days later that they’re not right for me . Another big hassle, is that most high end walking shoes are either special order or available only on the internet. I recently purchased a pair of New Balance shoes online for $79.00 ( on sale). In the description it said that “these shoes are true to size” . When I finally received them, they were too big . It cost me $8.00 to send them back for an exchange. A week later they send me the smaller size that I had requested. This time they were way too small, so I paid another $8.00 to have them sent back again. After wasting $16.00 on postage I decided to cut my losses and asked for a refund. A month later I purchased a pair of Asics Walkers on eBay, paid $50.00 ( half of what they retail for) I received them in 2 days and they fit perfectly…go figure. Assuming that you do find the right pair, they only last 300-500 miles! For me that’s only about 4 months. Hopefully after 4 months , the shoe company hasn’t discontinued the shoe.
Since I began fitness walking ( 22 months ago) I’ve gone through 10 pairs of shoes at a cost of over $1100. I would say about half of that, was wasted on shoes that either didnt fit correctly or weren’t designed for hardcore walking. Unlike runners who have tons of choices , fitness level walkers are generally limited in their selections unless they opt for a standard cross trainer.
I seem to learn everything the hard way but ,after 2 years of trial and error I think I’m finally getting closer to the right shoe. Currently I’m using Asics Gel KayanoWalker IIs for distances up to 10 miles, Asics Tiger Paws for racewalking and finally , New Balance 766 running shoes for marathon walking.