There are literally thousands of different shoe brands and models available all claiming to be “the best”; from Shape Ups, Fit Flops, to regular walking and running shoes. SO, how in the world is the consumer to know which shoes are the best for them?
First, you must understand what qualities make a shoe a good quality shoe? A few simple tests can help.
For the most comfort, stability, and support, a good walking shoe or running shoe is the best place to start. i know of no foot specialist that recommends Skechers’ Shape Ups. While the idea may make marketing sense, a rocker bottom shoe has never been required by someone with normal foot/leg mechanics. For a typical walking shoe, the sole of the shoe should be stable enough to resist bending across the middle. If you can bend the shoe in half, directly across the center of the shoe, it is not considered a stable shoe. Keds, for example, are not conducive to foot comfort long term.
The white material on the bottom of virtually all walking and running shoes is called ethyl vinayl acetate (EVA). This material provides good shock absorption, but does not typically last very long at all. It is for THIS reason that a new shoe will feel much more “cushy” when first worn as opposed to weeks later. You will find that the more expensive the shoe, the wider range of materials will be placed under the inside, bottom portion of the heel. This is done to prevent wear and break down of this portion of the shoe.
The more expensive the shoe, the more research and design goes in to the shoe, with different materials under the inside portion of the heel, in effort to prevent early break down of this portion of the shoe. Over the years, the materials have varied WIDELY, from springs, air bags, open spaces, to higher density materials.
MORE EXPENSIVE SHOES
While I don’t have a particular BRAND of shoe that I recommend, I personally wear NEW BALANCE. New Balance spends a significant amount of money in their research and development, and allow the quality of their products to speak for themselves; they don’t pay some athlete $80mil to wear their shoe. They don’t pay ANY athletes to wear their shoes. The quality speaks for itself. They’re made in the good ole USA. In short, remember, with a good walking or athletic shoe, you get what you pay for. You will not find a good quality shoe for under $60. And finally, if the shoe is worn regularly or at least 5 times a week, the function and support of the shoe wears out LONG before the cosmetic appearance. If your foot begins to hurt, purchasing a new pair of good, supportive shoes is the FIRST place to start!