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How to Find the Best Walking Shoes

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    What to Look For in a Walking Shoe

    It may seem like the best equipment to walk off the weight is a comfy pair of sneaks. Fact is, wearing a shoe that's made specifically for walking will make a big difference, according to Mark Fenton, instructor for the University of North Carolina's Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center in Chapel Hill. "The stride you take when walking (a heel-to-toe rolling motion) is very different from the one you take when running," Fenton says. "The right sneakers can prevent injury, decrease shin pain and may even help you walk more briskly, burning more calories."

    A low heel that's rounded or beveled.

    Flexibility where the ball of your foot rests (the sneaker shouldn't bend through the arch).

    Twistability. Grab the front and back of the shoe and see if you can give it a moderate twist.

  • The GEL-Fitwalk Lyte (Asics)

    A lightweight fitness walker with extra cushioning and breathability, so your feet feel cooler. $70

  • Stride Fitness Athletic (Champion for Payless)

    Made with two curved pods to help the flow from heel to forefoot. $30

  • True Balance (New Balance)

    Mimics a balance board, increasing muscle tone and calorie burn. $90

  • EasyTone (Reebok)

    Has a rounded bottom, designed to make the glutes work harder, resulting in a firmer backside. $100

    Originally published in the November 1, 2010, issue of Family Circle magazine.