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There’s a lot of good basic information in this article. I don’t agree with everything, but I don’t agree with many of the absolute pronouncements in the comments either. I spent my childhood either barefoot or in sneakers that were just a covering of canvas. I also had a lot of foot and leg pain. My daughter’s coach recommended shoes that resulted in knee pain. A switch of shoes resulted in dozens of marathons included Boston.

I don’t need the expensive racing flats of professional runners, but I do need something that’s right for me. We all have to find our own path to living healthy, following basic guidelines but adapting the information to our own unique selves. It’s the same with our shoes. One size or method does not fit all.

Perhaps women could improve their overall foot health by limiting the time spent in shoes designed for fashion not comfort? But, that’s another story.
I went to a running shoe store and bought the perfect pair of shoes for $120. Last week I started running barefoot. In order to ease into it, I did one day barefoot and the next day in my expensive running shoes. The shoes made my feet feel weighed down.

I was always told that good running shoes are worth investing money in. The more expensive the better. Surprised to learn that the truth is the more expensive the shoe, the more prone to injury the wearer is. Barefoot is the cheapest AND healthiest option. Report
Recently recent has come forward showing that those expensive specialty running shoes are more likely to cause injury than inexpensive or scaled down light (or no!) running shoes. Our feet can't function correctly with all of the padding, stability or motion control, which changes the biomechanics of our take off/landing, etc. However, feet that have been wrapped in modern footwear for a lifetime are vulnerable without training them to withstand the force, very slowly and gently, perhaps with minimalist shoes or bare feet only for a small portion of time. This has been shown to relieve many of the issues runners (even other athletes) thought they would have to live with like achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, knee issues, etc. Take it slow to start!

p.s. those trendy rocker sneakers have not been shown to live up to the hype either.... they do not advance any benefit in toning butt or thighs that you would already get from walking, and some have shown that they lose some of the toning benefit - if they don't end up with musculoskeletal issues due to the change in mechanics used to walk in them..... Report
I have been walking for decades and after trying lots of 'walking' shoes I have discovered Kangoo Jumps, I have been wearing them for daily walks for about two years. They are fun, totally protect my vulnerable ankles, and burn double the calories on the same route, time, as wearing my second favorite Z-Coil boots, or standard walking shoes.They are pricey but I did find a second pair on craigslist for over half off. I justify the price as an investment in wellness. I have found they have helped maintain my fitness for bicycling up all the hills where I live. Report
rrrr. i wanted to share this on face book wtih my friends! no link to do that. plus i wanted my mother in law to read it. NOT COOL!!!! oh well i learned somehting new and that is what matters. Thanks for the article. Report
One thing to keep in mind that the author neglected to state. If one style of a brand's shoes fit well and are comfortable, don't assume that all their styles will fit the same way. I have wide feet, with a high arch/instep & I need a shoe with a wide toe box. I have a pair of New Balance cross trainers that needed replacement. The store didn't have the same style, so I tried on every other pair of New Balance they had, and could not find another pair fit as well, even if I went up 1/2 size. I tried other brands, and their "wide" shoes are too narrow in the toe box. Report
I realize this was written several years ago, so that being said, perhaps a new article could be looked into based on all the, finally, focused information on barefoot/minimalist. I have gone most of my 35 years being barefoot and whenever I put on "high quality" running, cross trainers and hikers, yes I bought "good" shoes for all of my various activities, my knees, back, ankles, and feet would just be in pain. No matter what I did after the initial first weeks of my new shoes, the comfort would be gone and all of the issues would rear their heads. The promises of relief for my flat foot, my knee and back pain would fly out the window along with the hundreds of dollars spent trying to find the "right" shoe. Then the minimalist shoes hit and I found my answer. I have NO pain anywhere any longer. I can do any exercise with minimalist shoes and be pain free. I am not the only one. My husband who went his entire lie in shoes, never went barefoot anywhere, cured all of his "runners" injuries back pain, foot pain, knee pain even IT band issues, with going minimalist. It took him time to get used to it and to find the correct way to run ( no heel striking like we are taught from an early age) but once he got into it ( about a month) all of his typical pains were gone, vanished, healed like magic. Minimalist shoes often cost MUCH less than the traditional "specialty" shoes as well. Report
I have read so many articles about finding the right pair of sneakers, most of which end up geared towards runners.
But they never address those of us that do a lot of kickboxing and jumping that need a lot of good cushioning in the forefoot as well as the heels... Report
I finally had the sense to get custom made orthotics (formed shoe inserts) and walking shoes picked out for me by a Podiatrist. The difference in my life is remarkable. Both were worth every penny I paid for them, and the Podiatrist has a life-long, loyal patient. One of my earliest memories was of my feet hurting. I went through 62 years of pain each and every day. The right shoes MATTER! Report
Both times I've bought shoes specifically for extensive walking, I've definitely been well-served by going to a running store. The most recent pair I bought was after trying on well over a dozen different shoes.

In addition to the arch and the pronation/supination, other little things can and do matter. Width of the foot, width of the heel, how the back of the shoe sits for the Achilles tendon, which foot is larger and by how much.

I have a wide foot, so about 1/3 of the shoes I tried were men's rather than women's. I have a full 1/2-1 size difference between my feet, so some pairs had one foot sliding and the other snug. I distinctly remember one pair feeling like it was pinching in on the sides of my heel. All of those shoes may have been perfect for someone else. They weren't for me.

In trying out all those shoes, one of the best bits of advice I was given - don't ignore something that's a little uncomfortable. It's not going to get better over time. The shoe will not wear in. Find the shoe that feels great immediately. (Still giving it time before actively using it for everything, of course.) Report
I have a pair of running Nikes which are very comfortable and give good support but they've been with me for some years and they're worn out.

I also have a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes and while I haven't walked extensively in them yet, they are really comfortable. I've walked on rocks, cement, grass, unpaved roads and I've got to say that it really is like walking barefoot. I can feel the stretch in my arches, my Achilles tendons and my calves. But be careful! If you step on something sharp like I did (I stepped on a sharp rock), while it won't go through the shoe (I don't know about nails), it felt really uncomfortable! I wouldn't use them if you're walking on a lot of rubble and debris, but they're great for yoga, walking, swimming, more walking and my legs are getting in form. Report
What about shoes that are supposed to tone as you walk? I bought a pair and have to admit I am not having the tightness that I had before. But it "appears" (not necessarily what is happening) that my ankle is turning inward. Anyone have the same sense? Report
I have Saucony running shoes, but I still experience tightness in the back of my legs and the bottoms of my feet have been hurting. I really can't afford the more expensive running shoes, does anyone have any advice for me? Right now I am not running marathons, so I don't need too expensive of a running shoe do I? Report
Articles are a great way to get information and to learn more. However, especially when it comes to shoes, don't assume just because you are a certain foot type that you automatically wear the shoe recommended by most "fitness experts" in an article. Do what this article says and go to a good shoe store like Road Runner Shoes and get properly fitted. My feet are as wide and flat as a duck (hence my name - so proud of it). I also over pronate. You would think that I would wear a firm motion control shoe. Well, those type of shoes actually gave me severe shin splints and made my feet roll inward even more. Turns out after having my feet fully evaluated by Road Runners Shoes, I actually wear a neutral or very soft stability shoe with extra cushioning. So do your homework. It really makes a difference. Report
The right shoes have made a huge difference for me. My lower legs are not fatigued after walking/running, and my arches are not aching after long activity. Thanks for the information, it helped me make the right choices. Report

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