Walking is one of the best and most accessible ways to stimulate physical activity. It can help reduce blood pressure, build lower body strength, and have beneficial effects on your bones and brain.

And although it is relatively low risk, there is still some. Even if you walk as little as three times a week for 30 minutes, investing in a good pair of walking shoes can increase comfort and reduce the risk of injury.

When choosing a walking shoe, find one that bends around the ball of the foot, not the arch. The heel should be rounded so that each step can roll forward. Finally, the upper – the part that holds the foot – should be flexible and forgiving.

Walking shoes are different from running shows. Walking shoes don’t have as much cushioning and the thinner sole allows the foot to roll naturally from heel to toe. The stockings are also more flexible to accommodate the natural motion of walking.

The best way to buy shoes is to go to a store with knowledgeable staff and a wide selection. A specialty store is probably your best option. They can take a look at your foot – to see if you have high arches, flat feet – to make informed suggestions.

If you have high arches, for example, a very thin and flexible shoe might not be the best choice. A shoe with a bit more support and cushioning would be better.

The right shoe will feel comfortable immediately and won’t need a “break-in” period. You should have at least a quarter inch of space between the tip of your toes and the tip of the shoe, which is enough for a little wiggle room. The heel should not move and the ball of your foot should fit easily and comfortably at the widest part.

Your shoes should last 300 to 500 miles, which is about three to six months for most people.