As any EverWalker will tell you, having good shoes and socks is essential. Sure you can walk in sandals or flip flops or even your bare feet. But if you want to make walking an enjoyable daily part of your life, you need to have the right footgear.
So we reached out to EverWalk Nation to see what they recommend in the way of shoes and socks.
For those of you just getting into walking, we hope these recommendations by our enthusiastic and dedicated walking group will help you find the best footgear to meet your needs.
There are a lot of great shoe brands out there. There are even many stores dedicated to selling shoes for walking and running. So you may be surprised to know that the vast majority of EverWalkers feel that choosing the rights socks is just as important as wearing the right shoes!
A few sock brands stand out as EverWalk favorites: Wrightsock — one of our amazing EverWalk sponsors — is very popular because of their double-layer anti-blister technology. Many of our walkers have found this claim to be true, and love these socks. (Join the EverWalk Mile Club on this website to get a 25% discount on Wrightsock!!!)
Bombas are a favorite for their comfort, cushioning and sweat absorption. One user went so far as to say that she feels like she’s getting a massage when she wears her Bombas socks. But where this brand stands out is their philanthropy. Bombas wins big points from EverWalk Nation for donating socks to people in need!
Balega is very popular with walkers who have blister issues. Balega fans rave about their comfort, their blister protection, and how long these socks last. Some EverWalkers have put years of miles on their Balega socks!
A few other brands earned rave reviews:
Feetures socks have a unique feel that many walker like. And they also make socks for left and right feet! If it’s good enough for shoes, why not socks?
Wool sock fans swear by SmartWool and Icebreaker for the sweat-wicking, cooling comfort of wool.
Saucony earns praise for its arch support
One EverWalker wrote a paean to VoxxLife socks: “My feet sing in them! I am on my feet and moving for up to seven hours at work plus walk to and from the job. These socks have made a world of difference since I started wearing them exclusively. Long distances are no problem for my outdoor walks. Great support and comfort.”
But the hands-down winner for long walks is Injinji!
These toe socks are lifesavers on the kinds of long walks that tend to cause blisters. For one EverWalker, any walk over eight miles calls for Injinji toe socks. For those who usually tape their toes for long walks, Injinji has saved them that extra step. Injingi also dry quickly, another important feature on long walks.
Toe socks may feel weird at first, but on a long walk, separating your toes prevents blisters. That’s all there is to it!
Shoes, glorious shoes! Unlike socks, a clear favorite did not emerge among the many excellent brands of walking and running shoes out there!
Pretty much every shoe was mentioned: Brooks, Adidas, Nike, Solomon, Saucony, Kuru, North Face, New Balance, Hoka, Vibrams, Alta, Asics, and even Converse and Doc Martens. Most of our EverWalkers were not particularly loyal to one brand, but were willing to buy whatever shoe seemed to fit when they went to the store to replace their old ones.
But there was one thing on which they all agreed: Of the many important qualities to be found in walking and running shoes — durability, comfort/cushioning, style, color, waterproofing, supination or pronation correction — the most important is comfort and cushioning.
Our EverWalkers also seemed evently split between walking and running shoes. So the bottom line is — choose whatever shoe feels and fit your feet best.
Good fitting shoes and socks are also the key to blister prevention — the bane of long-distance walkers. According to our EverWalk Nation, here are their keys to blister prevention:
- wearing the right shoes and socks
- toe socks
- shoes that fit
- socks that fit (they should not bunch up)
- keep sneakers tight so that there is no foot movement (it is the movement/friction that causes the blisters)
- heavy foot cream slathered over the entire foot, all over and in between toes AND toe socks
- KT blister prevention tape
- changing socks midday on 20-mile walks
- wide shoes and/or wide toe box
- double socks
- foot gel
- Glide cream
- no wrinkles in socks (something that UCLA legend Coach John Wooden taught all his incoming freshmen)
- keeping your socks dry
- paper tape where you are blister prone
- electrical tape in blister-prone areas
- taping toes with waterproof foam tape
- cushion toe caps
- half size larger shoe
- good hydration
And last but not least in the words of one EverWalker: “Don’t wear shitty shoes!” (LOL!)
As you can see, our EverWalkers know their stuff!!
So, after all that good advice, when asked if they had any more words of wisdom, the answer was a hearty yes.
Here are some final things to consider when it comes to shoes and socks:
Know your feet and don’t compromise comfort and support for price.
Wear a shoe designed for the specific activity you’re doing.
A shoe has to feel good from day one. Don’t buy a shoe that “has to be broken in”. Try on several pairs of different brands and weed them out based on how they feel compared to each other.
Go to a running store and let someone with some training look at my gait and suggest the correct sneakers. The most important thing is to find the shoe that works for you; everyone will be different.
If taking a day long walk, bring a change of socks. Change midway thru the day. Really makes a difference.
Purchase your shoes from a store with people who understand walking, feet, and shoes. Understand their return policy. When you are paying $150 bucks for shoes that hurt after a mile…well, you need to be able to return them.
Rotate shoes on multiple day walks. Try to have 3 pairs of shoes going.
If you experience foot pain or have medical issues relating to your feet, roll them over MELT Balls to ease the pain/numbness of neuropathy, increase circulation, and to move the lymph that pools. Practice feet and toe exercises and yoga moves for ankles and feet.
Everyone’s feet are different! Take time to get shoes properly fitted. Visit a good running store or two and tell them you are a walker. Take time to experiment with socks, blister prevention etc. It’s an art!
Try one size bigger to accommodate swelling. Also have learn to use that extra lace hole at the top to get a good heel grip and snug fit.
Rotate sneakers and don’t wear them down.
Consider compression socks or leg sleeves.
Most walking and running shoes only last between 300-500 miles. If you walk a lot and actually follow those guidelines, it gets to be pretty expensive to keep replacing shoes that often! So if you walk a lot and you’ve been wearing your shoes for more than, say, a year, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a new pair!
And — for all you shoe lovers out there — use walking as be your excuse to keep buying shoes! As more than one EverWalker has remarked: You can never have enough sneakers. (But Diana will still always have the most!)
Finally, and most importantly, let’s all follow in the footsteps of the EverWalker who writes: I am good to my soles and they serve me well.
So have fun out there. And be good to your soles!