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How To Choose Shoes for Walking in the City

Cities were meant to be traversed on foot. They’re compact and bustling, with no shortage of things to stop and see. The next time you’re in the market for a new pair of city-walking shoes, keep the following five tips in mind.

1. Skip the Trail Runners and Hiking Boots

Even if you consider yourself an urban adventurer, hiking boots and trail running shoes are simply too much shoe for the average city street. As you peruse discount shoes online, save that heavy, uber-grippy footwear that catches your eye for your weekend trips to the forest preserve or trail.

2. Comfort Counts

More than anything else, you should look for a shoe that’s comfortable. If you’re hoofing it across town in your New Balance walking shoes or other city sneakers, they need to provide excellent cushioning and keep your arches well supported. Look for:

  • Shock-absorbing midsoles
  • A memory foam or EVA-cushioned footbed
  • A breathable upper

While you don’t need a pair of hiking shoes to take the city block by block, you do need a shoe with a durable outsole that has slip-resistant treads for traction. Since the threat of chafing is very real, look for a shoe with a plush lining that won’t grind against your heel or otherwise bother your foot. Your footwear should also offer ample room for your toes, so save your pointy-toed shoes for special occasions that will require little time on your feet.

3. Style Matters, Too

Shopping for men’s and womens sneakers online doesn’t mean sacrificing style for comfort. Your shoes for city walking should feel good and look good. Pick a pair that fits the current trend or opt for throwback tennies that ooze effortless, retro cool. Whatever your personal taste is in shoes, honor it. You don’t have to wear chunky, white “Grandpa” sneakers to stay comfy.

4. Flat Isn’t All That

It may be a no-brainer that you should leave your heels at home when you’re going to be walking great distances, but it may not be as obvious that completely flat shoes are a bad idea, too. Flats offer zero support. Look for a shoe with a low heel that’ll offer support with each step.

5. Remember the Weather

Sporty shoes offer a variety of bells and whistles, some more relevant than others given your terrain. If you’re going to be crisscrossing rainy Seattle, for example, you’ll want water-resistant walkers. If your treks will take you back and forth across Tucson, on the other hand, waterproofing isn’t really a concern. For arid climates, you might prize a breathable upper. If you travel frequently and plan to stroll through several cities, you might be after a lightweight, easy-to-pack pair of kicks. Taking into consideration the climate is crucial to choosing the right walking shoe, particularly where rain, snow and slush are concerned.

Pounding the pavement is often the least stressful way to get from here to there; when you walk, you don’t have to worry about traffic or a train running late. Choose the right pair of walking shoes for your lifestyle and locale, and get ready to discover your city in comfort.

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