Most of us think very little about our shoes except how comfortable they are or how good we look in them. However, when you decide to take up walking seriously, whether for exercise or competition, you are going to have to pay much more attention to your footwear. Therefore it is a good idea to know what the constituent parts of a good walking shoe are.
Starting with the upper part of the shoe you have the Upper. This is main body of the shoe which is either sewn or glued to the mid sole. You have a choice of materials for uppers including nylon mesh, leather or a combination. Both have their advantages but nylon mesh tends to keep its shape better. The Last is the plastic, metal or fibre mould around which the shoe is built. It will depend upon the material used for the last as to how flexible your walking shoe will be. The options are board, slip and combination lasting and each has its pros and cons but many walkers prefer the flexibility of slip lasting.
The Tow box is the top front part of the shoe that houses your toes. Some people have quite wide toes and others narrower. It is important that when you try on walking shoes that the toe box is the correct width for your foot. You should be able to comfortably wriggle your toes if the shoes are the correct fit. The Heel counter is a hard moulded piece of card or plastic which wraps around the heel to ensure that it remains cantered when walking. The final piece of the upper sole is the lacing system. These days rather than have holes for the laces walking shoes tend to have D rings.
Moving to the lower part off the walking shoe you have the insole, midsole and outersole. The insole which is sometimes called the sock liner is that removal insert, which goes between your socks and the bottom of the inside of the shoe. The midsole is where the cushioning material of the shoe is. It acts to absorb pressures and jolts on the feet. There are a variety of different materials and design s for the midsole and it is the construction of this part of the shoe that distinguishes the various makes. Finally we come to the outersole which is the base of the shoe and its treads. These are usually made of some form of rubber and with distinguishing treads.
When you next go looking for walking footwear you will understand the 8 parts that go to make up a good shoe and it may help you make the right choice.