Supportive athletic shoes for a 2 mile walking commute
July 9, 2010 10:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for athletic shoes for a walking commute, 2 miles each way. I have high arches, 'high volume' feet, and under-pronate (I roll to the outside of my feet when I land). Below $100 would be nice. Thanks!

I can walk the two miles quite briskly (say about 35 minutes), and almost always have a bookbag (10-20 lbs-ish). It's hard and confusing to find the right shoe - for instance an outlet site mentions the New Balance MR520 as good for under-pronation, but the NB site itself does not mention this. Any recommendations? I'd like these to be under $100, and also to look 'casual' rather than athletic if possible - e.g. black suede.
posted by carter to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have similar issues and have learned to avoid Birkenstocks. Somehow they aggrivate my under-pronation. I love my Vasque boots but they might look too sporty for you. Not sure if they make them for men... which I somehow assume you are?
posted by wowbobwow at 10:47 AM on July 9, 2010

I had problems finding good sneakers for walking until I went to a store that catered to marathon runners. They analyzed the way I walk and then recommended shoes that really work. I have high arches too, but not your other issues.
posted by mareli at 10:53 AM on July 9, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, men's shoes please!
posted by carter at 10:56 AM on July 9, 2010

Is there a specific issue that your current shoes are causing?

I mean, you're not running a marathon (26 miles) so it's a bit of a leap to say you need shoes designed to run a marathon - which "running" shoes are designed for.
posted by meowzilla at 11:17 AM on July 9, 2010

New Balance 1123. I have this shoe, as I also under-pronate my foot when I walk.

Since it's well over $100, you could try searching for a clearance on last year's model, the 1122.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:20 AM on July 9, 2010

The stuff on the rest of the site is a bit fugly and pricey, but these miiiiight meet your criteria. This site might also have something up your alley. (I've not purchased from these places; but used them to look for condition-specific shoes, and to see what I should look for generally).
posted by wowbobwow at 11:23 AM on July 9, 2010

Response by poster: Is there a specific issue that your current shoes are causing?

I don't have athletic shoes at the moment, although I have these Rockports with 'torsion bars' (?) that are suposed to have good support. I have no chronic problems, although with too much walking, I can get sore and tired feet/arches, and can sometimes get some shooting pains in my thighs just above my knees. I've had orthotics in the past, and had to give up excessive hiking. I was looking for athletic shoes for walking, and wanted to see if I could get some with under-pronating support. I was interested in athletic shoes for light weight, breathability and comfort.
posted by carter at 11:26 AM on July 9, 2010

I'm a woman, but I have high arches and wide feet. I can *never* find shoes that fit. Trust me... I've spent entire days trying on shoes, and I've been looking for shoes that fit for years and years. Whenever the latest and greatest comes out, I head to the store with high hopes only to be disappointed once again.

So, I go with the closest fit and buy arch support inserts. Dr. Scholls works, but the brand isn't too important, as long as my arches are supported.

Works ever time, and it's way cheaper than spending $100 on a pair of shoes.
posted by patheral at 11:30 AM on July 9, 2010

Best answer: Five or six years ago, on the recommendation of a trainer, I went down to the local, non-chain independent running shoe store and got properly fitted for a pair of shoes. They had me pace back and forth barefoot so that the fitter could observe for himself how I walked. Then he was able to narrow down my choices to three or four for me to try on. The difference in fit and comfort was astonishing, and I am converted forever to seeking professional assistance when it comes to athletic-type shoes. (I'll cheerfully buy loafers or whatever on but for athletic shoes, there is a real benefit to the relying on the experts.)

If I were you I'd visit my local running shoe store (you don't say where you are, but there's likely one in your area) and seek their advice. My place has a section for walking shoes, so they don't just do it for serious runners.
posted by ambrosia at 11:35 AM on July 9, 2010

Response by poster: patheral, that's what I was kind of afraid of ... I'm half-convinced that the shoe I need does exist, but I've been trapped in a twisty maze of online shoe vendors for a while, and was hoping the hive mind could show me the way out.
posted by carter at 11:35 AM on July 9, 2010

Years ago I worked for this company. They specialize in finding the right fit for serious runners and walkers, as well as people who really want to find the right running/walking shoe. That was so long ago they didn't have retail stores (they do now, across the US). Call the toll-free number and explain what you want, including your budget. I'm sure they can help you.
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:11 PM on July 9, 2010

I have the same issues, and my most comfortable footgear is a pair of Lowe light hiking boots. I got them at REI, where they didn't mind me powerwalking around the store for an hour, figuring out what was going to work for me (advice valid only in the US). They are above your price range.

Surprisingly, my Bates combat boots are incredibly comfortable for walking and standing, too. I usually wear Keens when I'm trying to avoid wearing boots, although I find they don't last as long as they should at the price.
posted by QIbHom at 12:31 PM on July 9, 2010

In case it helps you to find things online: the other name for the opposite of pronation is supination.
posted by mendel at 12:35 PM on July 9, 2010

I have difficultly high arches and oddly shaped feet and my local, independent running store has fitted me with Brooks which are very nice and apparently known for being good for high arches. If you want more of a walking shoe rather than a running shoe Keens, as mentioned above, are also good for high arched awkward feet.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:12 PM on July 9, 2010

Best answer: I have the exact same issues that you do. I have had great success with New Balance model 558. It's a lady shoe (although it's not pink or anything, but I guess the sizing would be different). If you can find "the man's version of the 558" I highly recommend it. I'm on my second pair.

I have also been told that you can get the same results by buying any old walking shoe + the appropriate Superfeet insert.

No matter what you buy, be sure it is a WALKING shoe. The New Balance MR520 you cite is a RUNNING shoe. Trust me when I say that walking in a shoe made for running is a recipe for misery, and also shin splints.
posted by ErikaB at 4:32 PM on July 9, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - I think I will check out a local running store, and emphasize the walking side of things.

mendel - interesting. These must be cognate with prone and supine.
posted by carter at 8:55 PM on July 10, 2010

I have been seriously enjoying my Vibram FiveFingers KSOs. There's not much support, in the conventional sense, but the barefoot walking feel has really been great. They take about a week to get used to, as the muscles in your legs and feet get accustomed to being used properly. After that, you'll start to adjust the way you walk into a more natural style. A few problems with my feet and toes started being noticeably reduced after just a few weeks.

People will look at you funny, though. But on the plus side, it's a good conversation starter.
posted by bashos_frog at 11:00 AM on July 11, 2010

Try the Skechers Shape-Ups - they are honestly the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn in my life. But they are "wobbly" on purpose to make your legs work harder, so you'll have to try them on to see how they work for your legs and under-pronation.
posted by getawaysticks at 1:30 PM on July 15, 2010

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