Bob Reviews and Compares the Best Walking Shoes

Posted on

After all the walking I’ve done over the past year, I think it’s fair to consider myself something of an expert when it comes to walking shoes! I’ve been through more than a few pairs, let me tell you, and I thought it would be good to have a blog about the best ones I’ve found, to help out anyone else starting to trek long distance.

 

I’ve never been much of a special walking shoe person, to be perfectly frank with you. I never did much walking, or hiking for that matter, aside from around the office or playing tennis with my wife and our kids, but now that I’m getting on in life, it’s been something that keeps me fit and sane. Walking to raise awareness for Ben and his fellow autism community members has taken things to another level entirely, so I found I had to upgrade quickly from my old tennis sneakers.

 

My training walks were the testing ground for several pairs of sneakers and hiking shoes before I settled on some I really liked. Personally, I can’t do this whole thing of wearing running shoes for walking. I find them too darn bouncy and wobbly, but I suppose that could be my old joints talking more than anything else. Anyway, I went through a pair of those very popular Asics shoes before I gave up and went looking for something sturdier. I decided not to look at any more sneakers for my big walk. They wear out too quickly, they’re not good off road, and in BC weather? Not a chance!

 

I finally settled on Merrell Moab Ventilators, which my wife found on Best Walking Feet, which is a popular review site online. I’ve never owned proper hiking shoes before, and I must say that seems to have been a mistake. To be fair, I never had much of an interest in hiking before I started going out with Ben, but these are still the best togs for going around the property and into town that I’ve ever had, let alone for long-distance trekking.

One thing I really like about these boots is that they breathe like sneakers. This might be my age talking, but I’ve always thought of hiking boots as solid leather things that got sweaty and uncomfortable. The Merrell’s have lots of mesh panels which really do breathe, and I’ve never gotten too sweaty in them even after walking all day long.

 

I also appreciate the heels in them, which are definitely more like a boot than a shoe. If you’ve got wobbly ankles like I do, you notice when a shoe straightens them out, and that’s what’s happening here. They feel very stable and I never seem to take falls as much as I used to. I’m definitely more comfortable on off-piste terrain.

More than anything, I’m impressed with the life I’ve gotten out of these. I made it through the entire walk on one pair, which is not something I expected to be able to do, and they still felt comfortable and were holding up pretty well on the other side. The soles were a bit smoothed out and the mesh was starting to fray, but other than that, they were pretty much the same. I’ve replaced them in the past month, but I was still wearing them for a long while after I got back. Half of the reason I got a new pair was the smell, not the actual wear and tear!
So do be sure to check out that review site to see the ones I’m talking about–they do a great job breaking things down and talking about different factors to think about: http://bestwalkingfeet.com/good-comfortable-shoes/for-standing-all-day/ . My wife is now a devoted reader, she’s even bought what she says are the best zumba shoes according to their reviews. Yes, that’s right, she’s doing zumba these days. I can’t get into it, but she seems to have an absolute blast with our daughter when they go, and it’s hard to find anything to complain about there. You always have to find something, don’t you? It was tennis for me with our kids, and it’s been hiking with Ben. It always ends up being the best family time in the world when you’re out and about together, especially if there’s food in it at the end!

Tips for Long Distance Walking

Posted on

I’ve read a lot of different articles about how to do long distance walks and stay healthy. There are a lot of pieces of advice out there, so I thought it would be helpful to compile some of the key tips I’ve learned from to help out like-minded folks who might be thinking about hitting the trail in the near future. These are just a few of the things I’ve gotten from different websites and fellow walkers, but I’ve definitely found them useful, and I hope you will too.

Before you actually go on your walk, one excellent way to prepare is to top your body up on fuel by eating a really diverse and healthy diet. You should make sure to get even more servings of fruits and vegetables and plenty of protein to help get your muscles ready for the road. One trick I learned from the online walking community is to eat more meals but smaller meals, because you get the same amount of food, but it’s easier on your digestion and it trains your body to expect less at one time and have a more realistic sense of what “full” means in your stomach. The key things to stock up on in your diet are fresh fruits and vegetables. You also should seek out things with lots of iron and zinc like lean meats and fish for their omega 3’s.

 

I’ve also read that it’s even more important to hydrate before you start your long walk than it is to hydrate during the walk, even though it’s clearly something to focus on when you’re walking. I’ve heard that 2 gallons is a good amount to aim for over the course of the day, but I find that a water bottle every hour or so gets me there without trying. The idea is that the residual water in your body will help you out just as much as what you take in when you drink on the go.

 

Once you’re well underway, you should be drinking water at least every ten minutes, or as often as you get thirsty. As long as you’re never letting yourself get thirsty for more than a minute or two, you’ll be safe.

 

Here’s an interesting one: clip your toenails before you set out. Apparently, long distance walkers can often lose toenails if they’re left untamed, and that doesn’t sound pleasant at all. So, I always give mine a good clipping as a precaution. I also find that these seamless socks they have nowadays do wonders to keep my toenails from catching while I’m walking.

 

This one makes a great deal of sense, but it’s something you might not do as much as you ought to without prompting: stretching while you walk. Whenever you’re stopped, pulling your knee into your chest stretches out the glutes, and pulling your arms forward and backward to stretch out your shoulders is a very good idea, especially if you’re wearing a pack!

And finally, you’ll need good walking shoes, and you can read about my personal favorites in one of my other posts!
Feel free to send me any additional tips you might have, since I want this to be one of the most helpful lists you can find on the internet!

Survival Tips for Long Walks

Posted on

Hi, folks! Today’s blog will consist of all my tips on how to do long distance walking properly! I know I was a novice when I got started, but it’s something that should be accessible to everyone if you follow these tips and take it in strides, pun very much intended. With that being said, any long distance walk can be treacherous if you don’t take precautions and follow advice, so here we are.

 

I know from my own experience that practice is very, very important when you’re thinking about taking a really long walk. Unless you’re already fit as a fiddle, you have to log some miles before you hit the road. I personally found that I had to start with shorter walks of a mile or two every day for a month or so before I could really handle anything longer. I think the best thing to do is find time for at least half an hour of walking every day, to keep your body in the swing of things. As long as you take different routes, keep a brisk pace, and take some hills along the way, you’ll be well on your way to a longer trek.

Long distance walks usually involved some night walking or at least some dusk and dawn miles, since you’re going to need to cover a lot of ground every day. I know on my trip, I was often up before 5 am and walking until sundown. So if you can, walk parts of the route or all of it in stages before the big hike, so you can figure out landmarks, trouble spots and that sort of thing. In any case, careful planning goes a long way, so you can mark out daily routes that have some breaks and not too many tough stretches all a once.

 

Wherever you’re going, I can’t stress enough that it’s essential to bring clothing for the weather. Here in B.C., things can change in the blink of an eye, so I walked with a few different layers in my pack, a fleece pullover, a rain coat with a hood, and a windbreaker for warmer days, and so forth to have some options. I didn’t camp out, so I didn’t need to bring super cold weather clothes for staying warm at night, but if you’re going to be backpacking instead of just walking, that would be important too.

Finally, a sturdy pair of sneakers or boots are your best friend on the trek. I recommend Merrell hiking boots, as they’ve served me well for the past year and a half. Anything with good traction, arch support and cushioning will serve you well though. I’ve also learned that you really want to have that finger space behind your heel to account for how much your feet will swell in the course of walking all day. The key thing is to make sure your ankle is stable and your toes are protected while you’re trekking, because those are the main injury areas to walkers.
I hope these tips are helpful, and good luck with your long walks!