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In this guide, we will look into the intricacies of selecting the best walking shoes for your specific foot type. And yes, walking shoes are an intricate business. You need to know your overpronation from your supination (don’t worry we’re going to explain what these mean later).

Walking is a fantastic form of exercise with numerous health benefits, and it helps you explore this beautiful whenua that we live in. The choice of footwear will significantly impact your experience, so take the time to get it right. 

Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just starting out on your walking journey, having the right pair of walking shoes is essential for comfort, support, and injury prevention. 

We'll explore different things to consider when choosing walking shoes and provide insights into matching your foot type with the perfect footwear. 


The importance of having the right walking shoes for your foot type

There’s a reason that every doctor, health professional and even your watch or phone tells you to walk more. Walking is one of the most accessible and beneficial forms of exercise, promoting cardiovascular health, weight management, and mental well-being. 

However, the impact of walking on your body can be influenced significantly by the type of shoes you wear.  Inappropriate walking shoes can lead to discomfort, pain, and even injury, undermining the very benefits of walking in the first place. 

It’s all very well buying the first pair of shoes you try on, but think about how they’re going to hold up.


Things to think about when choosing new walking shoes

Let’s take a look at things to think about when you’re in the market for new walking shoes.


Proper fit is non-negotiable. Walking shoes should neither be too tight, nor too loose. They should snugly cradle your feet with ample room for toe movement, and without any pressure points. It is also worth considering the type of walking you’ll do and how long you plan to walk for. It's not uncommon for your feet to swell on long walks. 

Support and cushioning

Opt for walking shoes with adequate arch support and cushioning, to absorb shock and provide stability. This is crucial for maintaining proper alignment and reducing strain on your feet, ankles, and knees.  The support and alignment will reduce your risk of injury and ensure you’re working your muscles effectively and efficiently. 


Choose shoes that are appropriate to the terrain you most commonly walk on.  Breathable materials prevent excessive sweating and reduce the risk of fungal infections or blisters. 

For example, if you’re walking on grass on cold dewy mornings, you could get wet feet if they aren’t waterproof. However, it also pays to remember waterproof shoes don’t let water in or out, if it comes over the top. Breathability will vary depending on your style of walking which is something to consider.


You might be looking for the best walking boots or the best walking shoes, and durability applies to both. High-quality walking shoes that are constructed from durable materials designed for the environment, will withstand the rigors of regular walking sessions.  Buy the shoe that suits what you're doing, not one that only looks good. 

A trail shoe will have a short life space on the road with the tread wearing down quickly. On the other hand, road shoes will struggle on the trails. Not only will you slip and slide, but you will damage the shoe very quickly. 


Look for shoes that offer flexibility, allowing for a natural range of motion during each step. The flexibility of the shoe will vary depending on the design and the terrain it is built for. Again, you should choose a trail or a road shoe. 


Consider the terrain on which you'll primarily be walking. Different surfaces may require specific features in your walking shoes, such as enhanced traction for muddy, slippery trails, or added stability for uneven terrain where you’ll be traversing rocks. Road shoes will likely be lighter and more breathable, making them far more suitable for less harsh conditions. 

Style preferences

While functionality should take precedence, there's no harm in selecting walking shoes that align with your personal style preferences. There are a lot of walking shoes to choose from, and there will be an option that will suit your functional and style demands. After all, you're more likely to wear shoes that you feel good in, more likely to walk in them, and more likely to get all of those health benefits we know walking can do for us.


How to choose the right walking shoes for your foot type

We wish it could be as simple as ‘one type fits all.’ Understanding your foot type, your walking style and your injury history is crucial when selecting walking shoes. We need them to provide optimal support, comfort and style. Here's a brief guide to matching your foot type with the appropriate shoes (and it never hurts to talk to a professional).

Neutral pronation

Neutral pronation is when your foot rolls naturally inward, allowing it to
absorb the shock, and keep your ankles and legs properly aligned. This makes
you less prone to common injuries of other pronation types.  If you have neutral pronation, your feet maintain a balanced posture while walking, with the weight evenly distributed across the foot. If this is you, you're one of the lucky ones who can look for walking shoes with moderate or high support and cushioning, offering stability without excessive motion control.


Overpronation is when your foot rolls more than 15 percent inward or downward. You shouldn’t get this mixed up with ‘flat feet’. 

People can have overpronation but perfectly strong arches. Overpronation can cause excess knee pain if an appropriate shoe is not matched to the foot as the arches of the feet collapse inward excessively during walking, leading to an uneven distribution of weight at the knees resulting in injury or strain. 

People with overpronation should opt for walking shoes with reinforced arch support and motion control features, to correct the inward rolling of the feet and realign the knees.

Supination (underpronation)

Supination, or underpronation, is characterised by an outward rolling of the foot, placing pressure on the toes. It typically affects someone with higher arches, and can cause injuries in the ankle and lower leg, if you choose walking shoes that are not appropriate. Choose walking shoes with ample cushioning and flexibility, to help compensate for the lack of natural pronation and provide enhanced shock absorption.

Flat feet (pes planus)

People with flat feet have low or no arches, which can contribute to overpronation, and increased strain on the feet and ankles. Look for walking shoes with firm arch support and structured stability features to help maintain proper alignment, and reduce the risk of overpronation-related injuries.  Sometimes, innersoles can be a very effective way of supporting people with this condition. 

High arches (pes cavus)

High arches can lead to supination and inadequate shock absorption, increasing the risk of foot and ankle injuries. Individuals with high arches should opt for walking shoes with generous cushioning and arch support, to help distribute pressure evenly and promote proper alignment.


Find Your Perfect Walking Shoe for Your Foot Type with Rebel Sport

By considering factors such as fit, support, cushioning, and terrain, you can ensure that your feet are well-supported and protected during every step. Understanding your foot type lets you choose the right walking shoes.

Try lots of shoes on, and replicate the scenario where you can. Often people will wear thicker socks when they go for a long walk, why not take those socks with you when trying on shoes?

Find your perfect walking shoes to embark on your next adventure with confidence.