The Top 5 Walking Shoes for 2012

Fitness walking is truly one of the easiest ways to exercise for fitness and weight loss. All that is needed to being a walking program is a great pair of walking shoes and you can be on your way to a fitter, leaner body.

The Top Five Walking Shoes for 2012

These walking shoes were selected based upon a number of criteria, such as the materials used to make the shoe, whether the latest technology for fitness walkers was incorporated and the reports of hundreds of fitness walkers who have worn these particular shoes.

1. Asics GEL-Foundation® Walker

This stability shoe is comfortable enough to wear all day. The synthetic and mesh upper creates breathability to keep your feet dry and cool. The memory foam-lined collar heel will mold to your feet to create a unique fit for your feet. Walkers report that they are lightweight and comfortable.

2. Asics GEL-Resort™ 2

Available for just over $50, this is a great neutral shoe for a great price. This shoe has plenty of shock absorbency in the rear foot. It's also a great shoe to wear with your custom orthotics. Walkers love that it is lightweight and comes in either all leather or a combination of leather with a synthetic mesh upper for extra breathability.

3. Brooks Addiction™ Walker

This stability shoe has been a favorite of walkers for years. It is a great shoe for someone who has to stand on their feet all day. It makes a good walking shoe because it provides good stability, cushioning in the forefront and shock absorbency in the heel. This shoe is made from leather and although it provides good flexibility, it doesn't offer the breathability that a shoe made with a synthetic and mesh upper would. Nevertheless, walkers love this shoe for its comfort and durability. If you decide to buy this shoe, visit our Brooks Running coupon page to see if there are any coupons currently available for Brooks running.

4. New Balance 615

This is a comfortable and lightweight stability shoe that provides good arch support. The mesh and synthetic upper allows your feet to breathe when they get hot or sweaty. For well under $100, these shoes are a great choice.

5. New Balance 812

This motion control shoe is the newly updated version of the wildly popular 811 model. This shoe is enhanced with New Balance's Rollbar® technology to provide extra stability. This is a high quality shoe that is comfortable, lightweight and durable.

How to Choose the Best Shoe for You

Why is a good pair of shoes so important? Wearing a well-made, properly fitting shoe can prevent injuries and strain to your joints and muscles. Shin splints, Plantar Fasciitis, blisters and many other painful issues can be prevented by choosing a good pair of walking shoes.

It is important to note that although a shoe may be touted as the best walking shoe, made with the latest technology and adored by thousands of fitness walkers, it does not mean it is the best shoe for you.

The best shoe for you is the one that properly fits your feet based on your arch-type and pronation. In fact, shoes are designed to address these two important factors. Therefore, it is crucial to know your arch-type and type of pronation to help you select the best shoe type for your feet. This will guarantee a comfortable walk each and every time you exercise.

I will now discuss the three different shoe types to help you identify which type of shoe you should purchase to maximize comfort and minimize injury.

Different Shoe Types for Different Foot Types

The most common shoe type is called a stability shoe. The is the shoe type suitable for the majority of walkers. This type of shoe is designed for those with normal arches as well as those who slightly to moderately overpronate (overpronation occurs when the foot rolls inward as the foot strikes the ground). A stability shoe provides the necessary support to prevent injury to the foot and ankle from overpronation.

A neutral shoe type is best for individuals with normal to high arches and with a normal degree of pronation. A neutral shoe is the most flexible and cushioned of the three shoe types. The extra cushioning provides increased shock absorbency which helps those with high arches.

A motion control shoe provides the most support for those who are moderate or severe pronators. It is also best for those with low arches, also known as flat feet.

How can you determine your arch-type and whether you have a normal degree of pronation? The most reliable way is to visit either a podiatrist or an athletic shoe store that has the technology available to analyze your feet and the way in which you walk to accurately assess your degree of pronation as well as your arch-type. Alternatively, you can perform the following simple test to find your foot shape.

However, there are some quick and easy tests you can do at home to get a good idea of your arch-type and pronation. I've written a step by step guide on how to pick the best walking shoes, which will walk you through the process of identifying your arch-type and degree of pronation.

Shoe Shopping Tips

These three shoe shopping tips will help you find the most comfortable shoes for your feet. When you shop and where you shop makes a big difference!

1. Shop in the afternoon

Our feet tend to swell as the day wears on so a pair of shoes that fits great in the morning may be too tight in the afternoon.

2. Visit an athletic shoe store

The staff at an athletic shoe store are trained to understand the different types of walking shoes and will be able to help you make the best selection based on your foot type.

3. Don't buy unless there is a good return policy

It's entirely possible that a pair of shoes that fit great in the shoe store will cause you pain after walking in them for a few miles. Make sure that you buy from a store that will allow you to take your new shoes home and wear them for a few weeks and exchange them if they don't fit right.

One Final Tip...

The most important factor in finding your perfect pair of walking shoes is to pick the pair that fits your foot type and the pair that is the most comfortable for your feet. You don't have to pick a pair of shoes from a "top walking shoes" list or go by the recommendation of your coworker or friend. What is most important is to select a pair of well-fitting shoes that you feel comfortable in.

Melissa Ellefsen is passionate about fitness walking and weight loss. Visit www.the-fitness-walking-guide.com for more information on finding the best walking shoes as well as for inspiration and motivation to get fit and lose weight while walking.

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