Dr. William Knudson: How to Choose Good Shoes for Walking and Running

Dr. William Knudson of Podiatric Care of Northern Virginia has found that his patients are often overwhelmed by the large selection of athletic shoes at their local sporting goods store. There are running shoes, walking shoes, shoes for cross-training, and shoes for specific sports. Most customers have a hard time knowing the difference between each, Dr. William Knudson relates. Regardless of the shoe, Dr. William Knudson expresses the importance of making sure the shoe fits properly, as ill-fitting shoes can cause long-term foot problems. Dr. Knudson says that the shoe should have a small amount of space at the toe, along with mimicking the shape of the human foot.

The difference between walking shoes and running shoes is weight, Dr. William Knudson explains. A running shoe has more cushion in the heel and ball of the foot to help absorb the impact of the body’s weight. A walking shoe will be more flexible in the ball of the foot to promote movement, Dr. William Knudson says. For those beginning a serious exercise regimen, it’s important to pick the right shoe for the chosen activity type.

For a walker, arch support is crucial. When a walker’s foot hits the ground, the goal is to have an even strike, with the weight distributed evenly throughout the foot. Dr. William Knudson recommends examining a shoe that has quite a bit of wear. The wear patterns on the shoe are indicative of the weight distribution of the wearer. An experienced shoe salesperson can look at a used shoe and get an idea of the type of new shoe the customer needs.

Dr. William Knudson also recommends wearing the shoes around the house before taking them to the track. Shoes need to be broken in gradually, says Dr. William Knudson, to avoid blisters and other foot irritations. Wearing a new pair of shoes too soon might sidetrack your workout plans by causing foot pain that takes time to heal.

Another tip Dr. William Knudson gives his patients is to replace working shoes every 300-600 miles. This can seem extreme to someone who doesn’t normally track his or her miles, but Dr. William Knudson advises wearing the shoes only for walking or running. Then the wearer can track how many miles he or she walks each day and calculate how many weeks it will take to reach the maximum allotted miles.

As Dr. William Knudson tells his patients, beginning a new workout routine is a step in the right direction. By wearing shoes to fit the activity, Dr. William Knudson has found that patients can reach their desired health goals without harming their feet.

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