Dr. William Knudson says that his patients at Podiatric Care of Northern Virginia have a variety of issues. And more often than not, Dr. William Knudson reports that they are being advised by family practitioners to incorporate more exercise into their daily routine. Since walking is one of the most popular ways to add exercise into a patient’s day gradually, Dr. William Knudson is frequently asked for advice about the best shoes for walking. Today, Dr. William Knudson shares some advice with the staff of Information Nation on the best foot protection for distance walking.
Information Nation: For our readers interested in starting a walking regimen, what type of shoes should they look for?
Dr. William Knudson: Comfort is, of course, the most important thing for any shoe. It’s important to buy a shoe that fits.
Information Nation: Many stores have shoes labeled that they are for walking. Are these labels accurate?
Dr. William Knudson: Generally, walking shoes are labeled to differentiate themselves from running shoes. Running shoes will be designed for performance, whereas walking shoes will be better for everyday use.
Information Nation: So we shouldn’t necessarily follow the labels?
Dr. William Knudson: No. A shoe buyer should look at the shoe independently of any labels. One thing I recommend that my patients use as a determination is the flexibility of the shoe. In other words, does it flex with the shoe as you step?
Information Nation: But it shouldn’t be too flexible, right?
Dr. William Knudson: It should be flexible enough that your foot isn’t fighting it with each step but stiff enough to give the foot the support it needs.
Information Nation: What about walking shoes with a large heel?
Dr. William Knudson: The heel should be as flat as possible, since walkers generally put the heel down before the rest of the foot with each step.
Information Nation: How often should I replace my shoes?
Dr. William Knudson: I recommend walking shoes be replaced after 300-600 miles of wear. If someone doesn’t want to do the math on this, he or she can watch out for wear on the bottom of the shoe. Once certain areas of the bottom of the shoe begin to wear, it’s time to replace the shoe.
Information Nation: You mention looking at wear patterns to determine what kind of walking shoe I need…
Dr. William Knudson: Yes. Each strike should be perfectly even with weight distributed throughout the shoe, but for many patients, the wear is either on the outer edge of the shoe or the inner edge. Shoes are available to help patients counteract this imbalance. It might help to take an old shoe into a store and show the salesperson the wear patterns. A good salesperson can help the patient find the right shoe.
Leesburg, Virginia area residents can get an in-person consultation from Dr. William Knudson. A graduate of the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. William Knudson is certified in foot and ankle arthroscopy, advanced wound care, and internal fixation in foot and ankle surgery.