- Don't make shoes multitask. Walking shoes are typically stiffer, and running shoes are more flexible, with extra cushioning to handle greater impact. If you do both activities, get a pair for each one.
- Know your foot. We all have 10 toes, but feet come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Wide, narrow, arch height … know your footprint so that you can select the right pair of shoes.
- Measure your foot. Your foot size does change as you get older, so have your feet measured every year. Sizes also vary between brands, so go by what fits, not by what size the shoe is.
- Shop toward the end of the day. Feet tend to swell during the day, and they also expand when you walk and run, so try on shoes at the end of the day.
- Bring your own socks. If you wear heavy socks, bring them to the store when you try on shoes. Same for orthotics – if you use them, bring them to insert into the shoe so it fits properly.
- Don't believe the clerk if he says “shoes will break in after a while”. Running and walking shoes should feel comfortable right away. Move around the store for a few minutes and make sure they feel good.
- Rule of thumb. There should be about a thumb’s width between the front of your big toe and the end of the shoe … just like Mom told you. The heel should fit relatively tightly, and your heel should not slip out when you walk.
- Be Realistic. High quality running and walking shoes can be expensive and are usually worth it to avoid back aches and shin splints. A $20 shoe will not be as good as a $100 shoe if you exercise often.
- Know when to replace them. Running shoes should be replaced after about 400-500 miles of use. If the back of the sole is worn out or the shoe feels uncomfortable or less supportive, it's time to go shoe shopping again.
Running and walking are the most popular forms of exercise. Just as you replace the tires on your car or truck, you should pay attention to how many “miles” are on your tennis shoes! Here are some quick tips to get the most “miles” out of your tennis shoes whether you walk, run or bike: