Walk Your Way Fit: The Best Walking Shoes For Overweight Men and Women

Many Americans experience issues with excess weight retention. This is caused largely by a sedentary lifestyle, a high stress environment, and poor food choices encouraged by a frenetic life pace. Selecting and preparing quality foods takes time, and many often only have the “spare” time to exercise before or after an extra-long stint spent in a chair at work. They are mentally exhausted and they’ve also been conditioned by society and personal experience to associate aerobic exercise as painful, time-consuming, and boring. Weight accumulation and the accompanying health issues tend to first creep up and then escalate when lifestyle changes are not made.

You’ve decided you want to end this cycle because you don’t feel well, you don’t like the way you look, and maybe you even want to be around to enjoy your retirement. But what’s the first step? Do you pursue a drastic exercise program with a restrictive diet plan? Only if you want to know what failure feels like, because that’s what happens for most people who try to shift immediately from no activity and a diet heavy in fat, salt, low-grade protein, and simple carbohydrates to a high-intensity work-out program and a diet program filled with none of the things you have come to enjoy eating over the course of your life. Your best bet is gradual change from one state to the other, with plenty of leeway. One of the most optimal exercises for people of all fitness levels is walking. It’s low impact and aerobic, so it burns fat, and you can do it just about anywhere—be it at the park, around your neighborhood, or in a gym.

But there are some very important things to keep in mind once you are ready to embark upon this enormous and positive life change. Walking is your weapon of choice, but are there issues of which overweight walkers should be aware? Yes. First, not all shoes are created equal. Don’t just rush out and buy the cheapest pair of “athletic” shoes you can lay hands on. Take time to do a little reconnoitering. You’ll find that shoes are often separated into activity-specific styles that vary in levels and types of support, firmness, and general design. Many types of walking shoes are currently designed with very thin soles, which won’t give the support any heavier walkers need. Cross-trainers are made for a variable range of activities and are often too stiff for many walkers. Comfort during and after walking is essential, or you won’t stick with it.

Other considerations that must be taken into account to achieve an optimum level of comfort and effectiveness are dependent upon the individual. Many of those who are overweight do not walk in a squarely situated heel-toe gait. Rather, pronated or supinated gaits are common. This means walking with weight shifted to either the outside edge or inner edge of your foot. There are a number of custom shoe stores that will provide you with an analysis of your gait, so you’ll know which shoe is for you. Shoe makers design different models of shoe that will give you the type of support you need most, so just take the time to be sure you know what you need. Your feet will thank you.

Other issues you need to take into account when shoe shopping are the degenerative aspects of excess weight. Your joints have likely been protesting for some time before you decided to start a walking program, so treat them gently and avoid shoes that fit your feet too closely. This places pressure on stiff and swollen joints, as well as creating friction at pressure points that will lead to painful blisters. Additionally, your range of motion and energy levels have probably been lower than others in your peer group who maintain a healthy weight. Assessing these concerns will help you to maximize your program without wearing yourself down completely. To review: Start slow and don’t expect overnight results. Buy the shoe that fits you in every respect, right down to the amount of toe room and heel insulation, as well as arch support if its determined you need it. Respect your body and care for yourself in your efforts, that’s how you improve.

Some of the best shoes recommended for new walkers with weight concerns are New Balance 793’s, with additional cushion and support to help you distribute your weight and preserve ankles, knees, and hips; Drew Men’s Force Shoe offers both antimicrobial protection to prevent sweating and chafing, as well as offering additional cushion and support in the rubber outsole; Spring Boost Tour Walking Shoes help you correct your gait and remedy the issue of fallen arches that many overweight people experience. It also comes equipped with features that protect and support your foot while maximizing the kinetic output of your leg muscles, which means you’ll be less worn out afterward. Dr. Scholl’s also offers a comfortable, easily available shoe that provides all these benefits. Good luck. You can do it!

Best Crosstrainers for Bad Knees and Ankles

While getting in shape and using cross training as a means to do that is a great goal, it can be quite challenging for those who have knee or ankle problems. The wrong shoe can not only feel uncomfortable, it can severely exacerbate any knee or ankle issue. When choosing a shoe that will allow for untroubled use, it is important to consider the specific problem and find the shoe that addresses it. Here are some common knee and ankle issues and the shoes that should help:

Chronic Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is a common injury that usually goes away after 2-6 weeks of rest and treatment. However, when it becomes chronic, it is likely a sign that improper footwear is being worn. A motion control shoe should help with the pain associated with this condition, and it should be a shoe that is neither super cushy nor super firm.

A shoe with too much cushioning will cause the heel to sink down lower than the toe and put even more stress on the Achilles tendon. A shoe that is too firm will also overuse the tendon. For a shoe that has the proper balance of motion control and suitable cushioning, consider the GT 02 Cross Trainer from UK Gear.

The GT 02 is a highly supportive, extremely stable shoe that should reduce some of the strain put on the Achilles tendon. It is well suited for a wide variety of training, including running, tennis, soccer, and more. With stretching before exercise, these should help minimize discomfort.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The bane of athletes everywhere, this condition results in knee pain due to tightness of the iliotibial band. Athletes who tend to wear the outsides of their shoes seem to be more prone to this condition, but anybody can get it. In addition to proper treatment, getting a shoe that puts less stress on the iliotibial band and induces the band to stay stretched is critical.

The Saucony Grid Cohesion 4 is an excellent cross trainer that will assist in keeping the leg properly aligned during workouts. This will help ensure that the iliotibial band does not bear too much of the brunt in exercising. It also assists in correcting outward pronation, which is sometimes called supination, to make for a more comfortable workout.

Ankle or Knee Arthritis

There is no cure for arthritis, but finding a good cross trainer can significantly decrease the pain experienced during workouts. As most physical therapists will advise, “movement is the best medicine.” Careful cross training can benefit arthritic knees and ankles by prompting the body to produce joint fluids that keep the joints properly lubricated.

While cross trainers are ideal shoes for arthritis sufferers, the New Balance 856 Motion Control Cross Trainer is perhaps the best in class. Roomy in the toe box and narrow at the heel, the 856 provides maximum support to decrease wear on achy joints.

Cartilage Damage

Working out can damage cartilage, especially in the knees. For those looking for a shoe that will take some of the impact off that torn or damaged cartilage, a shoe with good heel padding is essential. Proper heel padding will help stave off some of that damage that knee cartilage takes with the pounding of a hard workout.

A great shoe to help with this condition is the Asics Gel Synthesis. It is comfortable and provides superior cushioning in the heel and throughout the shoe. The gel compound that Asics uses both lessens and distributes the shock of impact throughout the shoe, allowing for the shoe to take the brunt of the force instead of the feet and knees.

These shoes are also very breathable, keeping the feet as cool as possible during training. They are also lightweight but sturdy enough to handle the rigors of cross training. Asics has long been known for shoes with great cushioning, and the Synthesis makes workouts that would ordinarily be painful a breeze.

Final Thoughts

General considerations to keep in mind for any cross trainer include making sure the shoes are about 1/2 size bigger than general purpose shoes. This is because with exercise the feet tend to swell, causing a shoe that fits snugly to become uncomfortable when used for exercising.

It is also important to break in any athletic shoe before prolonged usage. New shoes need to be stretched a bit, and going through an intense workout in brand new shoes will undoubtedly cause pain.

Best workout shoes for lifting

One of the reasons weightlifting is such a popular form of exercise is its simplicity. Not only does lifting provide myriad health benefits, but it doesn’t require a large investment in fancy equipment and accessories to get involved. But, like many activities, weightlifting safety and performance both begin at the ground level. Choosing the right type of shoes can go a long way toward improving results and avoiding injury.

It’s not unusual to see people lifting weights in the gym wearing the same shoes they use for jogging or for an aerobics class, but that footwear is absolutely wrong for weightlifting. The very qualities that make them ideal for running can make them dangerous for lifting. Their heavy cushioning results in instability while lifting. In effect, the lifter is pushing against a mushy surface, making it more difficult to control technique. This is particularly dangerous when performing squats or deadlifts, where heavier weights carry a larger potential for injury.

So what are the best workout shoes for lifting? For most types of weightlifting you want to find shoes with low heels, lacing that runs all the way to the toes, flexibility in the ankles and a sole that is non-slip, flat and at least fairly hard. A shoe that fits these criteria gives a lifter a firm base with a stable connection between foot and floor. This means more muscle power goes to lifting the weight, not just compressing the “marshmallow” cushioning of modern running shoes.

Despite all the high-tech footwear on the market, a simple pair of Converse Chuck Taylors is still a top choice for use in lifting. Their list of advantages is long: They’re cheap. They have a flat, thin, firm base. They can be laced snugly all the way down the shoe. Low-top Chucks don’t bind the ankle. Plus the shoes are darned near indestructible… and look cool.

Other good options include the Superstar and Samba models from Adidas. Skateboarding shoes from various manufacturers are often more than serviceable, just make sure the lacing runs far enough down the length of the shoe and that the sole is thin and flat.

Olympic weightlifting — a more advanced sort of lifting with explosive movements like the Snatch and the Power Clean — requires a different sort of footwear. For this sort of lifting it is best to wear shoes with a raised heel, unlike the flat sole recommended for basic lifting. A main benefit of a raised heel is that it puts the foot in a position where it can move quickly, a necessity for Olympic-style lifts.

A snug fit across the width of the foot is extra important in Olympic lifting, so many of the best models of shoes have not only laces running all the way to the toe, but also one or more straps across the breadth of the shoe to assure a locked-down fit.

Adidas’ Power Lift Trainer, the Rogue from Rogue Fitness and the Weightlifting Shoe from VS Athletics are all trusted options for Olympic lifters.

Best Workout Shoes For Running

Today’s market is flooded with options for various running shoes, making it difficult to choose which one is best. With hundreds of styles from dozens of brands, each offering their own unique benefits, it can be near impossible to start looking for the best workout shoes for running. However, there are a few good hints to keep in mind, as they will help narrow down any runner’s search, making the choice that much easier.

When looking at potential running shoes for purchase, a lot of customers wind up confused and overwhelmed, as they don’t know exactly what they should be looking for. As each running shoe will offer different specifications, it’s best to know what is required in terms of fit, support, and flexibility, so the best choice can be made.

The fit of a shoe will usually be found through trial and error, but that doesn’t mean a customer must try on each and every shoe to know which will be best. As many runners will claim, the best fitting shoe will be one which is comfortable but form fitting, so it hugs the foot. A snug fit will help prevent from sprained or rolled ankles, as loose shoes lead to improper form. Furthermore, a properly fitting shoe provides good support for the legs as well, so having a shoe that feels comfortable and fits properly is doubly important. Finding the proper fit starts with a good analysis of the runner’s foot. If the foot is wider, it’s best to avoid slimmer style shoes. If the foot is slimmer, then anything too bulky should be passed over.

A good amount of support will benefit any runner, as little or no padding can lead to pain in the feet and leg joints, causing knee and ligament problems later on. However, a running shoe can have different padding in different areas, such as more in the toe box and less in the heel, and vice versa. Finding the shoe with the right padding means understanding the needs of the feet and legs. If a runner has knee or shin pains when running, then extra heel support should be sought. Oppositely, if a runner notices a lot of pain across the balls of the feet and along the arch of the foot, then extra toe box support may come in handy.

Flexibility is often overlooked by those looking to purchase new running shoes, but it’s a vital aspect for any shoe purchase. As running can require quick foot movements and high agility, the flexibility of the shoe is a crucial aspect to supporting the foot properly. If a runner enjoys trail running, a shoe with high flexibility is a great choice. Typically these types of shoes will have a mesh exterior and a very malleable sole, both of which are perfect for tight turns. A runner who enjoys the treadmill or local track, however, can stick to a shoe with less flexibility, as the movement of the foot will be very uniform.

There are plenty of options available, so finding the best workout shoe for running may take some time. However, a smart shopper can narrow down their options by understanding their body before they browse, so they can get a good idea of what they will need in terms of the above mentioned qualities. These shoe characteristics can help any runner choose the shoe that’s best for them without the hassle of trying every pair at the store.

Picking Cross-Training Shoes Correctly

Cross-training involves a combination of exercises and sports that trade off between cardiovascular exercises as well as anaerobic activities. Because the approach is a hybrid of exercising, shoes for cross-training need to be flexible and open enough for running but strong and stable enough for quick turning and pressure. As a result, a standard running sneaker or tennis shoe is not going to perform well in the mixed sport application of cross-training.

Start With Your Feet

Most people getting into cross-training focus immediately on exercising and then chose more comfortable shoes later. This approach sacrifices good form and foot support, which can lead to early, unexpected injuries in many of the leg joints and muscles. Instead, a beginning cross-trainer needs to first go to a good sport shoe store with staff who understand sport shoe science. This sort of expertise is usually found in dedicated sports stores rather than generic stores found in shopping malls. A good shoe person will first talk with a person to find out what sort of training will be performed, how much the person weighs, their exercise skill level and more facts that help pinpoint proper shoe fitting. With that information, the staffperson will then match a true cross-training shoe to the person.

Forget About Standards

Too often with television and marketing people get caught up thinking a particular shoe brand or model is the key to good cross-training. What a person will find is that different shoes work good or bad for different exercise skill levels. For example, someone with chronic knee pain (common in older people with thinning knee cartilage) needs more heel and impact support. A beginner may need more ankle support to stabilize the foot and leg to avoid sprained ankles or overcompensating in the knees during exercising. An experienced athlete will likely want a very minimal shoe to maximize performance and reduce weight or foot drag. And so on. No specific shoe model works correctly for everyone.

Consequence of Not Planning Your Shoes Wisely

Some of the most common exercise injuries, especially with beginners, when using the wrong cross-training shoes involve ankle twists, knee damage from repetitive impact especially on hard surfaces, and believe it or not leg muscle pulls. Injuries tend to aggregate if not addressed. The most immediate result can be in the ankle or knee joint. When these points get tender or hurt, usually in one leg or the other first, a person will usually overcompensate on the other leg or leg part. This then exposes the body to more injury which can include over-stretched leg muscles and even hamstring pulls or tears. A serious injury can take a person out of exercising for up to six months, and that’s not even involving surgery if a tear is severe instead of partial.

Conclusion

There is no reason to rush finding the right shoes for cross-training, and fortunately there is plenty of help and resources in expert sport shoe stores as well as on the Internet. With a bit of research a person can find a variety of shoes that work for what’s needed. As with any shoe, the buyer should try them on and thoroughly test the fit, working with the store staffperson on how they feel.

Different small discomforts can signal a bad fit or the wrong shoe choice. Further, even when cross-training shoes are bought, if a foot pain begins a buyer should replace the shoes after consulting with a trainer or even better, a podiatrist. A person may have a unknown foot condition that needs further help beyond just a good pair of cross-training shoes.

Best Workout Shoes for Trail Running

Trail running is an exciting, challenging sport. It can also lead to injury, so it’s important to have the right shoes. The best workout shoes for trail running will vary between runners. Determining the best shoe relies on trail conditions and the runner’s technique. Nonetheless, some generalizations can be drawn on what makes the best trail running shoe. Knowing what to look for makes it easier to enjoy this sport with greater comfort and fewer injuries.

Trail running typically provides a softer impact surface than road running. This is beneficial to the joints. However, trail runners encounter obstacles like roots, rocks and corners with which most road runners never have to contend. Accordingly, trail runners need good support and cushioning as well as outstanding traction and durability.

The upper of a great trail shoe should be durable. It is made of more durable substance than the average road running shoe. The upper doesn’t have to be waterproof. Instead, it makes sense to choose an upper that will drain freely. Many waterproof shoes do not live up to their name, eventually allowing in water that is difficult to get out of the shoe. Uppers that drain freely keep feet drier and more comfortable.

A trail running shoe is heavier than road running shoes because it is made of more durable materials. However, it is still essential to choose the lightest trail running shoe possible. Trail running shoes may pick up mud and debris, so it’s important to start with a lightweight shoe that doesn’t weigh down the leg.

One of the most important aspects of choosing trail running shoes is traction. The right traction makes trail running fun and reduces injuries. An open traction pattern works great for muddy or sandy conditions while a tight, soft pattern is ideal for hard surfaces. Getting optimum traction is one of the reasons that many trail runners have two pairs of trail running shoes. One is reserved for wetter conditions while the other is intended for use during drier weather.

The midsole of the shoe is another important component for comfort and injury prevention. Trail shoes tend to be less supportive in the midsole than a road running shoe. This reduces the chance of ankle sprain on uneven surfaces. Similarly, trail shoes feature less cushioning in the midsole to reduce weight. This also provides the runner with a better feel for the trail, increasing their efficiency.

Choosing the best trail running shoe really comes down to the individual runner and their feet. It makes sense to work with a trained professional who can help diagnose the runner’s stride, and can recommend appropriate shoes that offer the right traction, cushioning and support.

A few trail running shoes are perenially popular with avid trail running enthusiasts. One of these is the Montrail Vitesse, which is a solid, all-around trail shoe. The sole features an innovative outrigger for added stability and excellent fit guarantees comfort. Other runners swear by La Sportiva’s Pikes Peak. These shoes offer outstanding heel support and cushioning. The tread is ideally suited to most surfaces, and the shoes provide comfort throughout the run. The Salomon XA Pro is a lightweight shoe that is adapted to easy climbing. It has great stability for scrambling over rocks and roots, and is considered to be a high quality shoe.

Finding the best workout shoes for trail running is often the result of experimentation. Knowing to look for things like durable uppers, light weight and stable traction makes it a great deal easier to find the right shoe for any runner.

Best Workout Shoes for Minimalist Running

Minimalist, or barefoot running, is a much-publicized running style which aims to duplicate the feel of running barefoot while providing support and protection for the feet. Advocates say that minimalist running is a more natural experience that connects the runner with the ground in a way that overbuilt, heavily padded running shoes just can’t do. A variety of shoe types and styles are available to support a minimalist running regimen.

Standard running shoes come in a staggering variety of styles and forms designed for specific purposes. Intended largely for daily runs on sidewalks, roads and perhaps trails, these shoes are constructed with padding and molding to provide stability and cushion against impact. A key feature of these typical running shoes is the ratio of heel to forefoot height, with a midsole to bridge the drop between heel height and the lower forefront area of the foot.

Minimalist running shoes generally eliminate the midsole and most of the padding of a typical shoe, and reduce the “drop” between heel and forefoot to nearly nothing – a design aimed at simulating the feeling of running barefoot. In all their variations, these shoes feature light weight and flexibility while protecting the foot.

Perhaps the most notable addition to the running shoe market is the so-called “barefoot shoe,” a type of bare-bones shoe that works like a glove for the foot. With space for each toe and no cushion at all in the heel pad, these shoes feature a very thin layer between the foot and the ground and zero drop between the heel and forefoot. The barefoot shoe promises a running experience that is as close as possible to truly running barefoot.

Barefoot shoes, manufactured by Vibram and a few other brands, have no midsole at all. This lack of support may cause discomfort in runners with low arches or those whose feet tend to pronate, or flatten, during weight-bearing exercise. Experts caution that this kind of shoe may require a long adjustment period, but for many runners, the feel of barefoot running is worth the effort. Some even contend that given extremely careful training and a slow buildup (using excellent form) will slowly help develop a more pronounced arch in relatively flat feet.

Some styles of minimalist running shoes resemble traditional footwear but in a lighter form. A cross between true barefoot running shoes and the usual padded variety, these shoes are very lightweight and, like the barefoot shoes, offer little or no arch support. The drop between heel and toe is generally between 4 and 8 millimeters, less than a standard running shoe but offering more support than the barefoot shoes with their zero drop.

These shoes offer an experience close to barefoot running with more stability. Sold by most leading shoe manufacturers such as Saucony and New Balance, these shoes offer protection against heel bruises and other running injuries. Promising greater stability and safety with increased comfort, these shoes can help runners transition to true barefoot running shoes.

Minimalist running offers a different kind of running experience by removing most barriers between the foot and the road. Fitness experts caution that people who have been running in heavy shoes that stabilize the foot may need time to adjust in order to avoid injury. The best workout shoes for minimalist running offer comfort and safety for the most natural way to run. If you’re going to try it, make sure to study proper form, such as heel strike and gait, and increase volume slowly.

The transition from big chunky shoes to minimal footwear is a stark one, and requires a different footstrike. Until your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones catch up to this more natural style of running, take it slow and listen to your body.

Best Shoes For Walking

As a rule, the best types of shoes for walking are ones that aren’t “flat,” “flimsy,” or that restrict foot motion. Conversely, walking shoes that are heavy, tight, and stiff will cause sore, aching, and tingling feet quickly into the walk.

Walking shoes should easily cede at the ball of the foot when the shoe bends. The shoes also need to allow sweat to evaporate. The best walking shoes breathe in warmer weather during normal walking exercise, and conversely, keep out the chill when walking during colder months.

Walking shoes must be sized properly and comfortable “right out of the box.” Shoe-shopping is best done later in the afternoon when the prospective wearer’s feet tend to be bigger. Try on shoes with socks normally worn during walk-exercising. Proper sizing can be measured by placing your thumb on the top of the shoe, measuring a full thumb width from the tip of where your toe sits inside the shoe to the front or end of the shoe.

Walking shoes should be free of bulging inner seams and manufacturing irregularities. They should immediately feel comfortable when they are tried on in the store. Good walking shoes will not need to be “broken in”!

Its preferable to purchase walking shoes at athletic footwear stores rather than from department or discount footwear stores. The athletic footwear salesperson is more likely to be able to answer walking shoe, shoe fit, and walking exercise questions.

Training – Walk to Lose Weight

Walking is good. It feasibly gets rid of fat (around the middle) as quickly as jogging without the impact to joints. New Balance 800 Walking Shoe tops the 2012 list for the best walking shoe.

If walking is good, speed, or power walking is better. Speed walking is more athletic since it involves quickly shifting weight from one foot to the other. Doctors contend it results in less joint impact, injury, or soreness than jogging with similar fat-burning results. A University of Virginia report states that women doing three short, fast-paced walks as well as two longer slower walks per week were more likely to lose five-times more belly fat than a consistent, moderate walk exercise.

The New Balance 860 walking shoe is best for speed or power walking due to its ankle padding and super-flex toe. The flex-toe makes push-off easier so the walker can maintain a faster pace. Meanwhile, the walker’s heel remains snug due to the ankle padding.

Quite a bit has been said about toning shoes and how the more one walks, the shapelier and more muscular their legs become. Toners are designed to create balance instability. That is, the soles of toner shoes shift one’s weight. As a result, toners alter the wearer’s posture and step. Although there are claims toning shoes such as Sketcher Shape-Ups might cause more leg injuries, the American Council on Exercise contends there is not difference between toning and regular sneakers, especially when worn for short periods at a time, as for walking exercise.

Other Best-Rated Walking Shoes

There are walking shoes for all activities and wearers.

The suggested best walking shoes for heavier-overweight walkers are Reebok DMX Max ReeDirects. The upper mesh allows the shoe to breathe. Injury-resistant and comfort air pockets that lessen force impact are embedded in the shoe’s rubber bottom. Thin, lean-weight walkers also endorse the Reebok DMX Max ReeDirects for long walks.

The flexible, lightweight Ahnu Rockridge II is the best walking shoe for hikers. They have a similar design as the heavier, bulky, high top brands, including the tough sole grips for climbing. The toe is reinforced to prevent injury from stubbing, roots, and rocks. The flexibility of the Ahnu Rockridge II walking-hiking shoe that allows the wearer to maintain a uniform gait on level ground also qualifies them to be “the best” in their category.

The best everyday, running-errands, walking shoe is the Saucony Bullet. They ranked “the best” due to their relatively inexpensive cost, “full coverage,” style, arch-support, and light weight. The additional arch support is particularly important when feet are moving and supporting weight for long periods.

Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo 2 are considered the “best walking shoes for bunions.” As the Boomers age, so do their feet. The Asics Gel-Tech Walker Neo 2 walking shoes have a wider, roomier, width with an inside “expandable bunion window.” Wears say they walk longer, easier, and more comfortably.