selecting a walking sneaker

For years, “sneakers” meant any footwear that was “casual” compared to “brown” shoes. Converse and Keds canvas and rubber shoes, founded in the early 1900s, were the standards for decades.

Now, footwear has evolved into technology specific to different sports. Your biomechanics when moving forward at a consistent pace—as when walking or running—are entirely different from short side-to-side sprints or moving backwards, which you do in pickleball and tennis.

Many people consider walking their exercise of choice. Whether it’s a daily walk around the block, power walking three to 10 miles, or hiking a trail, proper footwear is important for your comfort. An improperly fitting sneaker can lessen your enjoyment of and ability to stick with a healthy lifestyle.

The proper shoe for walking should feel like it’s a “natural ride” for your personal stride and gait. Variables in support, cushioning, size of the toe box and width will affect your comfort, muscle fatigue and blistering. Find a store with a large selection and try them on. Don’t just stand there…move in them! Walk in the store with your natural pace and gait.

People also tend to wear their shoes too small. You need enough room for your toes to wiggle so they can help balance and propel you. Remember, you will slide forward when walking downhill and your feet will likely swell a bit.
Today’s popular sneaker brands include Hoka, On, Brooks, Saucony, Asics and Nike. All have a variety of models addressing cushioning, support and widths. Hoka and On are widely popular for opposite reasons. Hokas are packed with cushioning and a full cut while On gained its popularity as a casual slip-on sneaker now expanding into more cushioning.

Get to a good store, find the right walking shoe, and hit the road. Enjoy all the health benefits moving offers!


Article provided by Mel Siegel, the owner of Sportech, a retailer of sporting goods and recreational equipment in the Rye Ridge Shopping Center in Rye Brook;; 914-934-0001

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