Walking has been my preferred exercise since childhood. Roaming the hills and woodlands surrounding the farmhouse that was my family home in Western North Carolina allowed my imagination to run free. In all the cities and towns I have lived in, I have mapped out my walking route as soon as I unpack all the boxes.
I cherish the walking paths and quiet streets of my neighborhood, which allow me to walk up and down hills and around lakes for more than three miles. Black bears have visited in the spring and fall for the past few years, and coyotes are often seen prowling through backyards. I would rather not surprise them as they search for food, so I have stopped going for walks before dawn.
Walking during the morning hours offers several benefits. The air is less polluted and cooler. An early in the day walk clears the mind and lifts the spirits. It starts the day on a positive note and keeps energy high for several hours. A brisk walk helps with digestion, promotes better sleep habits, and gives me glowing skin. Clothing and shoes can make a significant difference in the quality and duration of my walk.
If my shoes fit poorly or are not the right type of shoe for the task, pain and discomfort will cut my walk short every time. (Oversupination is also why I never wear ballet flats.) If clothes are too loose-fitting or constricting, they can irritate my skin. The best clothing to wear includes soft, comfortable fabrics that breathe and move with the body. The first time I wore workout leggings by 90 Degree by Reflex, I came home and ordered two more pairs right away. The range of motion and comfort was so much higher than in the jeans I had been wearing recently. My thought process was, “I’m just going for a walk. Why do I need special clothes for that?” The Covered Perfectly Fit and Flare tops are not intended to be workout wear, but I have found them extremely comfortable for walking. The benefits over other workout tops include hiding the tummy and the backside without making me look like I am wearing a tent, and the slightly fitted bodice stays in place. These tops are comfortable to wear when it’s hot and easy to layer a jacket over when needed.
The shoes worn to take long walks must be supportive and comfortable, but they must also be the correct type of shoe for our feet. My feet roll outward (oversupinate) as I walk so that the tread on the outside of the sole wears out first, as shown above on my favorite walking shoes. When I shop for replacements, I will look for similar shoes designed for oversupination for maximum comfort and preventing blisters and callouses from forming. Do you know if your feet pronate or supinate?
There are four basic foot shapes: the Roman Foot, the Square Foot, the Greek Foot, and the Egyptian Foot. Learning more about your feet’ tendencies and shape can help you make a better choice when you buy your next shoes for long walks. Orthotic inserts can be worn to prevent excessive pronation or supination further. Here is an article about how running or walking shoes should fit.
My Covered Perfectly top is here. When you buy two tops, the third is free! My exercise leggings are 90 Degrees by Reflex found here. My New Balance leather cross trainers are here. Referral and affiliate links in my posts may generate a small commission for me, at no additional cost to you.
I love walking and I have the exact same shoes you do. I also over supinate and the NewBalance shoes have saved me. 🙂 I have always walked a lot and always find it helps me physically, mentally and spiritually. Thanks for your informative post.
I only wear New Balance shoes for exercise and some casual wear with jeans. No other brand of athletic shoe works for me. I love that they have removable insoles and they come in wide. Do you know how many shoes do not come in different widths? I guess they think everyone has the same type of foot.
Thanks for the articles on choosing shoes – very helpful! May I ask if you sized up on the leggings (size 10 is a large according to their size guide)?
I did size up. I bought a size medium in these leggings because I don’t want them to fit tight.
Hi Susan, Thanks for all you shared I have feet with high arches myself and have problems finding the right shoes. I’ll have to look into these New Balance. I’ve been trying Vionic shoes and today when I looked more into them, it appears they’re made for flat feet?! They’ve been pretty good for me so I can’t figure that one out Susan, just wondering, have you always walked three miles? Did you start out in baby steps and progress? I do well to walk a mile and it’s mostly been due to my feet problems. Thanks!
I have always walked a few miles each day that the weather allows. While I was in my mid-forties, I ran about five miles a day and went to the gym every day, so I feel like I have reached a good compromise with two to three miles of brisk walking.
Great info…I also wear New Balance as they have options for wide feet, deep toe box and pronation.
Thank you, Susan, this is a very helpful and informative post. It’s very timely for me, as I need new walking shoes and had no idea how to find what is best for me. I’ve developed Achilles tendonitis as a result of being unable to find shoes narrow enough for my foot.. The Dr. Axe article you linked is also very informative. You’ve spared me from wasting money on the wrong shoes and more heel pain. What a blessing!
I love the 90 Degree leggings! They have the high waist which is perfect to cover the tummy. They are also great for yoga and Pilates!
You look amazing! Interesting article about different foot types… I am a runner and sauccony has always been my go to shoe. Love your posts!
Thanks for this post. As always, it’s something I need to think about. I am an oversupinator, too!
Good morning Susan! I read your article yesterday afternoon and it was a timely one for me. Earlier in the day, I was taking a walk with my two grandbabies in a stroller and turned my ankle very badly. Now, I walk them almost daily (weather permitting), so this was nothing new for me. However, I was wearing shoes that did not provide proper support and allowed my foot to roll outward, not once, but twice! Ouch!!! Almost couldn’t make it home again! When I read your post about proper dress and footwear for exercise, it really inspired me to take that seriously in the future! Thanks for sharing your valuable tips! I was also glad to see the Covered Perfectly tops used in this way. That is another good reason to try more of the styles! 🙂
You look fantastic when you walk! I always wear a BIG hat and dark glasses to keep the sun off. I definitely walk in the morning also while it is cool.
Hi Susan! My name is also Susan and I also grew up in Western North Carolina. I recognize some of the locations in your photos. I currently live in Eastern North Carolina. I am 53 years old and enjoy your blog. Just thought I’d say hello!
I’m a pronationer. I look for shoes marked “stability” and always inspect the sole to see that it’s got a harder material in the arch area which will help roll my foot outward since it tends to roll in.
I was sideswiped by a car on my own street – thank you Ralph Nader for side view mirrors that break off easily! – during a duskish walk and after that close call I am very conscious about being visible and keeping an eye on drivers who aren’t always looking. A flashing light and reflective clothing are a part of my walking outfit in the Fall and Winter when it gets dark early.
Once neighborhoods go in without sidewalks it’s very difficult to get them put in you’re lucky you live someplace where that was part of the original plan.
Hi Susan…I needed a little guidance on ordering the leggings I am a petite size 8…I’m 5 ft 2…….would these be really long?If I sized up that would mean a large…not sure about that. Thanks for your help! I’ve been searching for some good leggings for walking!
If you can go to a Marshall’s or a TJ Maxx, you will likely find this brand. It would be good if you could try them on. I sized up to a medium, but I am 5’6.5″ tall. They are tight enough so that you can pull them up to where you need them to be, but there may be too much material for you.
Great foot-wise advice!
Walking is an ancient yet modern (timeless) form of healthy exercise. Keep up the good work!! I have been way-laid by knee injuries and a genetic predisposition to fragile cartilage and fragile conn3ctive tissue (tendons and ligaments). I’m facing knee replacement surgery in January or February…but…. hopefully by next fall I can resume daily nature walks with my doggie, Tillie.