But why is walking so different that it needs a specific type of footwear?
1. Fast walking steps and running strides
When walking fast, the movement of your foot is known as a step, whereas runners generally talk about strides. In terms of the time taken, both of these movements take place between the moment that you place your foot on the ground for the first time and the moment you place your foot on the ground for the second time.
When walking, the person is permanently in contact with the ground whereas runners make jumps as they move forward. When runners reach the sky to move forward, walkers place their heel on the ground. Starting from this point, the foot rolls through to the toes, which propel the walker forwards, while the other foot returns to the ground heel first.
This is what fast walkers call the double support, as you can see in the following diagram.
-This is the correct way to move the foot when walking fast.
-This double support phase makes walking more stable and significantly reduces the risk of sprains.
2. Do your feet have different needs if you are walking?
The answer is yes! As one of your feet is always in contact with the ground when walking fast, the forces exerted on your joints are significantly less than when you're running.
When walking fast, the hip joints, knees and ankles are not subjected to the same ordeal – far from it. That's why the cushioning you will find in a shoe designed for fast walking is less substantial than that you will find in a running shoe.
A fast walking shoe must, first and foremost, be extremely flexible in order to allow an excellent foot roll-through.
3. How to choose between walking or running?
Although this naturally depends on your own preference, it is advisable to opt for fast walking if you have weak joints or you haven't practised any sport for awhile.
Like running, this is an ideal endurance sport for strengthening the heart and developing your respiratory capacity, which will all contribute to a lasting loss of weight.