How Many Walking Steps Are in a Mile?

The answer depends on your height and stride length

Walking - Taking a Step
Walking - Taking a Step. Ruslan Dashinsky/E+/Getty Images

How many steps per mile are typical for walkers using a pedometer? Between 2,000 and 2,500 walking steps per mile is common. But it varies from person to person and depends on your stride length. For a quick rule of thumb, a research study found these average steps per mile at walking and running speeds:

  • Walking 20 minutes per mile (3 miles per hour): 2250 steps per mile
  • Walking 15 minutes per mile (4 miles per hour): 1950 steps per mile
  • Running 12 minutes per mile (5 miles per hour): 1950 steps per mile
  • Running 10 minutes per mile (6 miles per hour): 1700 steps per mile
  • Running 8 minutes per mile (7.5 miles per hour): 1400 steps per mile

Measuring your stride length will give you a much more accurate number for your personal steps per mile. Your stride length can vary depending on whether you are walking or running, and whether you are on hills, rough trails, or have a lot of street crossings with starts and stops.

Steps Per Mile Estimated by Height

A widely quoted estimate of stride length is 42 percent of height, although further research shows that ratio is only moderately accurate. Rough estimates of steps per mile based on a stride to height ratio are:

Height Steps per Mile
4 feet 10 inches2,601 steps
4 feet 11 inches2,557 steps
5 feet even2,514 steps
5 feet 1 inch2,473 steps
5 feet 2 inches2,433 steps
5 feet 3 inches2,395 steps
5 feet 4 inches2,357 steps
5 feet 5 inches2,321 steps 
5 feet 6 inches2,286 steps
5 feet 7 inches2,252 steps
5 feet 8 inches2,218 steps
5 feet 9 inches2,186 steps
5 feet 10 inches2,155 steps
5 feet 11 inches2,125 steps
6 feet even2,095 steps
6 feet 1 inch2,067 steps
6 feet 2 inches2,039 steps
6 feet 3 inches2,011 steps
6 feet 4 inches1,985 steps

Measuring Your Steps per Mile

The best way to find your average steps per mile is to count them over a course of a mile, several times, and find your own average. You can use a step counting pedometer to do this.

To find a measured mile, you can use a regulation quarter-mile track at a local school. You may have to ask the coach to ensure it is a quarter-mile track (1,320 feet) rather than a 400-meter track (1,308 feet).

Walk in the inside lane only. Count your steps. It's best to go around four times to get a full mile on a quarter-mile track so you won't need to do any math. For a 400 meter track, go around four times and multiply your steps by 1.009.

You may also use an online mapping site or app to map you a mile course in your local area, then walk it with a pedometer. If you use the GPS on your mobile phone to measure a mile, find an area with open terrain and a course without many twists and turns in order to get the best accuracy. Buildings, trees, and hillsides can block the satellite GPS signals and result in less accurate distance measurement.

Steps per Mile from Stride Length

Most pedometers have you enter your stride length in order for them to estimate your distance. This distance is from the heel print of one foot to the heel print of the other foot. This is the distance traveled forward by a single leg.

An average that you will see listed in many places is 2.2 feet (0.67 meters) for women and 2.5 feet (0.762 meters) for men, but it depends very much on height.

Steps per mile would be 5,280 feet divided by your stride length in feet. A pedometer takes the number you have entered as stride length and divides a mile by that number to calculate the distance you have walked.

Correcting Your Pedometer Distance

If you find that your pedometer is telling you that you have gone farther than a mile in a measured mile, then increase the stride length programmed in the pedometer.

If it is telling you that you have gone less than a mile in a measured mile, then reduce your stride length programmed into the pedometer.

Fitness trackers you wear on your wrist may be counting arm motion rather than steps. Read the instructions to see how to set its sensitivity so it isn't over-counting steps.

Sources:

Werner W.K. Hoeger, Ed.D., FACSM, Laura Bond, M.S., Lynda Ransdell, Ph.D., FACSM, Jane M. Shimon, Ed.D., A.T.C., and Sunitha Merugu, B.S., P.T. "One-Mile Step Count at Walking and Running Speeds"  ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, January/February 2008, Vol. 12, No. 1.

TIAGO V. BARREIRA, DAVID A. ROWE, and MINSOO KANG, "Parameters of Walking and Jogging in Healthy Young Adults," International Journal of Exercise Science. Vol. 3 (2010) Iss. 1.

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