The key to keeping your feet healthy and comfortable, regardless of the type of walking you do, is wearing properly fitting shoes. When buying walking shoes, try on several different brands, styles and most importantly sizes. Your feet can expand as much as half a size during the day, so shop for shoes in the afternoon or early evening when your feet are at their largest. That will help protect them as they expand during your long walks. Also, wearing the same type of socks when fitting shoes that you wear when you walk will help you select the right shoe. 
To get the best out of your walking shoes, you need to look after them properly. Polish them regularly and, if they get wet, put newspaper inside them and let them dry out completely before putting them on again. It’s a good idea to invest in a couple of pairs so you always have one in reserve. 

Top Tips

  • When buying shoes, wear the same socks to the store that you will wear while walking.
  • Try on at least four or five pairs of shoes. Put on and lace both shoes of each pair and walk around for a minute or two.


Good socks not only help your feet feel comfortable within your shoes but will also keep them dry by drawing moisture away from the feet. Whatever you do, don't wear 100% cotton socks - they hold moisture against the skin, causing painful blistering. Wool and silk are often found blended with the latest generation of synthetic materials. If you find wool too warm or irritating, you could try an acrylic blended sock. Socks made with new material such as CoolMax or DriMax are designed to draw sweat away from the skin, keeping it nice and dry. Double thickness socks are great if you are prone to blisters


There are lots of products designed to help you keep motivated when undertaking your walking programme  Some are fairly low tech such as pedometers, which you simply attach to yourself and off you go, whilst others like smartphone fitness apps need a little more work but will provide you with more in-depth statistics.


A pedometer is a device that estimates the distance travelled on foot by counting the number of steps and or miles taken. A basic pedometer can be bought for only a few pounds. You will need to perform an informal calibration because the distance of each person's step varies. Once this is done simply clip it on and get walking, and you can measure how many steps you have taken.


Your smartphone can help you with walking in a number of beneficial ways: 

  • The phone’s GPS function is useful for showing you new routes to walk and will make sure you don't get lost if you are in an unfamiliar setting. Google Maps for Android and Maps on IOS are good places to start as they are generic GPS apps. For structured walks, you may want to download specific walking apps.
  • Walking and fitness apps are great for motivating you to keep up with your walking programme as they can show you where to walk and give you full statistics on how far you have been (steps and miles/km), your speed and how many calories you have burnt. There are many apps available on the app store. Please see the 'Where to walk' section for a selection of useful apps.
  • Music on smartphones can motivate you and energise your workout while helping to pass the time. A number of walking apps will also use audio to motivate you. Keep the volume at a low enough level so you can hear what is going on around you.