To (under)state the obvious – we get a lot of tourists down here.
Accordingly, the majority of the people who pass through the gates of these respective theme parks aren’t local residents. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to take the kids to see Mickey or get splashed by a whale, but your walking shoes probably don’t spend much time at those places.
(Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it if you are a local resident who does enjoy visiting the Magic Kingdom or experiencing the thrills offered at Universal’s Islands of Adventure!)
So what this means is that if you’re interested in the best shoes for sightseeing—and hopefully you are because that’s what this blog post is about—the most probable odds are that you fit in one of three groups:
- You’re leaving central Florida and heading elsewhere
- You’re visiting our local community on vacation
- You’re simply a big fan of walking shoes
No matter which camp you fall in, we want you to be safe and comfortable when you are walking around and spending lots of time on your feet. And that starts with having appropriate footwear!
As any fashionista knows, you have an abundance of options when it comes to potential shoe choices -and shoes intended for walking are no exception to this rule.
Since there is such a vast number, we’re going to highlight a couple of specific models you may want to consider, and then offer some guidelines for choosing your next pair (even if it’s not one on our list).
Top Walking Shoes
With a reputation for producing shoes that are high-quality, Brooks is a favorite choice within the running community. The company also makes walking shoes that are comfortable and durable, including the Addiction. Utilizing the Brooks’ MoGo and MC Pod technologies, this model offers ultimate shock-absorbing properties, while still being flexible and breathable. All of this adds up to an optimal level of comfort, no matter if you’re seeing the sights of a foreign city or simply going for a stroll in one of our central Florida communities!
Asics Gel Tech Walker Neo 4
When developed their gel-cushioning for running shoes a couple of decades earlier, it was a real game-changer for the company. Runners lauded the comfort offered by their new footwear. This cushioning technology is one still being used – but it’s not only for running shoes. In fact, Asics makes several walking shoes that utilize gel to help absorb shock in the toe and heel areas, and such is the case with the Gel Tech Walker Neo 4.
The one catch with this particular model is that the arch support isn’t the greatest, which means individuals with flat feet may need to seek a different option (such as our next entry).
Saucony is a well-known and trusted brand for both runners and walkers alike, and the Grid Omni is sure to please those who fall in the latter camp. In particular, individuals who overpronate or have collapsed arches can benefit from this model. The Grid Omni is available for both men and women and can be considered a rare shoe that is able to combine both superior motion control with a remarkable amount of cushioning.
One downside to the Grid Omni is that it only comes in black and white. If you’d like more color options, you may want to consider the next entry on the list.
Sure, this is technically a “running” shoe, but it is still a comfortable, breathable option that will keep your feet feeling their best when you walk for extended periods. One feature that really stands out is the NEO Cloudfoam Race’s lightness. (They weren’t kidding when they incorporated the word “cloud” into the shoe’s name.) Something else many walkers appreciate is the wide range of available styles and colors.
As if the amount of cushioning provided by this offering from New Balance wasn’t enough—and the full-length EVA midsole made from the company’s ABZORB shock-absorbing foam is significant—the breathability factor secures the 840v3’s place as one of the top walking shoes on the market. This allows your feet to be comfortable and cool, no matter where you go for a little sightseeing.
Features to Look for in Walking Shoes
You might find the walking shoes you’re looking for in those selections, but there are so many other options (and some are quite good). If you want to try and find your own pair—perhaps you’re loyal to a shoe company not featured—go for it! When you do, however, make sure you keep the following features in mind:
Comfort. This particular characteristic is a bit relative and can vary on an individual level. With that in mind, lightweight (yet durably constructed) shoes featuring flexible midsoles tend to be regarded as comfortable for a majority of people.
Breathability. When shoes are made out of breathable materials—and especially mesh—air is able to flow through them and around your feet. In addition to keeping your feet cool and comfortable by enabling sweat to evaporate, you have less risk for blisters and damp socks. Reducing dampness is particularly important if you want to reduce the odds of contracting a fungal infection.
Support. From a long-term perspective, you want walking shoes that are going to withstand high force loads and hold up over time – and particularly with regard to the support they are able to provide your feet. Specifically, robust arch support improves comfort while you’re walking, but don’t discount the importance of having a rigid heel counter to promote the most efficient biomechanical movement.
Flexibility. Since your landing foot pronates with every step, you benefit from wearing shoes that feature flexible outsole, midsole, and upper units. When you do, your feet are better able to move in a natural manner – and that is instrumental for comfort if you’re spending a lot of time walking around.
Style. Sure, the structural components might be more important, but you can’t dismiss the fact shoes contribute to your own personal style. As long as you find models that are structurally-sound, make sure you pick one that makes you happy! The good news in this regard is that shoe manufacturers have gotten much better in recent years about developing footwear that both looks good and functions well.
Shoe Buying Tips
Knowing what to look for in shoes is a good starting point when it comes to the shoe-buying process, but you need to keep in mind that it’s not the end point. There are other considerations you need to make as well.
For example, some things that can help you end up with the best possible shoes for your feet include:
Know where to go. Sure, you can find shoes in many different stores, but you may want to consider going to a store that caters to runners, like Track Shack and Fleet Feet Orlando. Even if you don’t plan on going faster than a brisk walk, the advantage of shopping at these kinds of places is that you will typically find staff members who are well-versed in recommending the best kinds of footwear based on foot types.
Know when to go. They say “the early bird catches the worm,” but that early bird won’t end up with a pair of shoes that still fits comfortably at the end of the day if he goes shopping right after breakfast! Put simply, feet expand throughout the day. And that means a pair that fits in the morning can be too tight at night. Moral of the story? Be more of a “night owl” and go shoe shopping in the later afternoon or early evening (or later).
Fit matters most. Your shoes need to fit your feet appropriately. Period. This means you should have roughly a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Regarding width, your toes should not be squashed together. If you can’t wiggle them easily, you need more room in the toe box. And when your shoes are laced up, your heels need to be snuggly cradled and your feet unable to slide back and forth (which can lead to blisters, corns, and calluses).
Complete Foot and Ankle Care for Central Florida
Walking is an outstanding form of exercise – no matter if done on a regular basis as a low-impact workout or while you’re spending time in a new city (or returning to a favorite!).
The odds of getting hurt are less than when you do high-impact activities, but injury risk is still there.
We hope you’re able to stay safe, healthy, and pain-free, but don’t forget that we are here for you if problems arise. When they do, our team is ready to help.Your path back to health starts when you call 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if calling from Lake County), or request an appointment with any of our five Central Florida offices online!