What Shoes Should You Wear for Walking a Marathon?

Shoes that will go the distance

Marathon Shoe
Marathon Shoe. Raquel Pedrosa/Moment Open/Getty Images

Getting the right shoes for training as well as for walking the marathon event is essential. The day you make a commitment to train for the marathon, commit yourself to finding good footwear.

Should You Wear Shoes or Boots for a Marathon Walk?

Marathon walkers in Europe often wear hiking boots for long distance walks. This may have evolved out of the military traditions of their longer walking events.

For walking overland on trails, lightweight boots may be a good choice. But for road race marathons, a flexible running shoe with moderate support is the best choice for most people.

Choose Marathon Shoes with Enough Cushioning

Save the minimalist shoes for shorter-distance workouts. For the long slow distance days in training and for the marathon itself, you need shoes with adequate cushioning. Look at shoe ratings for the recommended distance and discuss it with your shoe dealer. Cushioning will reduce the leg and foot fatigue you feel during the event. Your marathon shoes also need to provide good support as your gait will get sloppy as you tire at long distances.

How to Shop for Marathon Shoes

Your best bet is to find the local athletic shoe dealer that caters to serious runners and walkers. Tell the clerk about your marathon goals and mileage plans. They will check to see if you overpronate and need a motion control shoe or not.

Then they will work to get you into a pair of shoes that is properly fitted. Remember that your feet will swell with distance walking, and you may need wider and bigger shoes for the marathon. These local stores rely on repeat customers and they will work to ensure you have the right shoes for an endurance race.


Rotating Your Shoes

Many serious runners and walkers recommend having two different pairs of shoes in which to train and trading them off each training day, never wearing the same shoes twice in a row. A day off also allows the shoes to fully air out between sessions. Some recommend training in two different models of shoes. The advantage to this is that the muscles and joints get variety in their workouts rather than falling into one pattern. Others don't think this is necessary.

Replacing Your Shoes

Most athletic shoes wear out after 300 to 500 miles. Expect that you will need to replace your marathon training shoes at least once during training. It is best to have a pair with only about 100 miles of wear on them for the marathon race itself. You want shoes that you have worn several times but that are still fully supportive and have full cushioning. When to replace your shoes

The Walking Shoe Guide leads you step by step through finding the best shoes.

Marathon Walking Lessons

    Marathon Walk Training

    Strategy for Walking a Marathon

    Marathon Race Day

    Choosing a Marathon Event

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