A really big shoe story

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Supermarkets no longer have a lock on “lite” products: the nation’s love affair with light hits your local athletic footwear store in full force this spring. After spending much of the ’80s developing every cushioning system under the sun–from Energy Waves to HydroFlow pads–athletic shoe manufacturers have turned their attention to lighter products.

“Consumers want lighter shoes, even if it means compromising some of a shoe’s functional characteristics and stability,” says Laureen Belford, product specialist and biomechanist for Asics Tiger.

Lightweight athletic shoes are being heralded as a way to increase performance. “There’s no doubt that the lightweight property of a shoe puts less stress on the feet,” says Sheri Poe, president of Ryka, a maker of women’s aerobic and cross-training shoes. Consider that the average basketball player runs three miles a game and an avid runner can do twice or three times that a day, and you can understand the need for reduced stress on the feet.

Athletic shoe manufacturers say the movement to lighter weight models is a natural evolution. Continued research has produced an array of new footwear materials, all lighter than their predecessors. Synthetics such as Durabuck and Hydrolite, both lightweight and durable, are being used more widely on uppers (the part of the shoe that covers the top of the foot). Not only are these synthetics as much as 70 percent lighter than traditional leathers, they also absorb less moisture and cool the foot better.

Meanwhile, experimentation continues with ways to carve away unnecessary material and make shoes with high arch support even lighter. Avia, for example, is on a mission to eventually eliminate the use of foams in midsoles (the part of the athletic shoe between the upper and outsole, that provides most of a shoe’s cushioning). Foams such as ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), which add weight, also break down over time. Avia is replacing foam in the heel area of some of its shoes with a hollow plastic piece called The Compression Chamber. The chamber, shaped like bellows with sidewalls that compress and release, is also said to enhance durability and stability.

Although weight–or a lack of it–is playing an increasingly important role in performance athletic footwear, it should not be your sole consideration in selecting a new pair. “Certainly weight is critical,” says Karen Hartmann, women’s product manager for New Balance, “but support and comfort are more important.” Less is not more for some athletes, who either weigh more or put in more mileage or both, and require the additional stability and support a heavier model can provide.

Both support and comfort are being addressed in a variety of ways, fron Nike’s revolutionary Air 180 running shoe, which has an air sole unit 50 percent larger than that on any shoe to date, to Asics’ GT-Cool running shoe, which has a climate-control CoolMax upper. Other shoe companies are making slight adjustments to constructions or to lasts (the form athletic shoes are built on) for better fit and stability.

It’s also easier than ever to find athletic shoes specifically geared to women. Nearly every athletic footwear manufacturer now builds its women’s shoes on lasts designed to better fit the female foot. Women’s lasts are narrower than their male counterparts, especially in the heel area.

The following buyer’s guide highlights all of the newest models in 10 different shoe categories. We’ve listed the suggested retail price, the unique features of the shoe and the sizes it comes in, including widths, where available.

AEROBICS

AEROBIC SHOES, which lost some of their appeal with the advent of cross-trainers, are making a comeback. In part, their resurgence is being credited to a new grouping of ultralightweight styles and the mounting popularity of bench, or step, aerobics.

The new lightweight models aren’t appropriate for all workouts, however. “There’s no problem with wearing a lightweight shoe for combination-impact workouts, but the shoe might wear out a little faster if you use it for high-impact three times a week,” says Kate Bednarski, women’s fitness marketing manager at Nike.

When deciding between a lightweight model and a traditional, heavier shoe, you should consider your foot type and whether you tend to feel weighed down wearing heavier shoes.

With any aerobic shoe, you should check for adequate cushioning and shock absorption in the midsole. For aerobics’s side-to-side motions, look for lateral stability in the form of a midsole wrap of EVA or polyurethane that follows the anatomy of the foot.

AVIA 680

4-11 $105 High-performance, lightweight model features a durable, washable Hydrolite upper. Compression Chamber technology in midsole gets rid of unwanted side-to-side movement and reduces weight by eliminating foam.

K-SWISS LUZERN

5-10 $60 low-cut; $63 3/4-cut Five-stripe design pattern increases foot stability by creating a strapping effect on sides of full-grain leather upper. A hard thermoplastic/polyurethane cradle cups foot and holds it in place during workouts.

KAEPA 6900 GALAXY

4-10,11 $70 Kaepa has improved fit of this “fitness” style by adding an anatomically contoured heel counter and anatomically designed insole. Split-lacing design allows more room and flexibility across instep.

L.A. GEAR MUSCLE 3/4

5-11 $68 For both high- and low-impact aerobics. Single-piece polyurethane midsole and footframe. Leather upper is perforated for breathability.

NIKE AIR ELITE LITE

5-11,12 $75 Insole, midsole and outsole flex grooves give added flexibility. Abrasion-resistant herringbone outsole is appropriate for all workout surfaces. Contoured foot frame has heel and forefoot Air-Sole units.

REEBOK PUMP AEROBIC LITE

4-10,11 $95 low-cut; $100 mid-cut Pump technology allows wearer to customize fit before any workout. Molded high-abrasion rubber outsole for durability.

RYKA 7700

5-10,11 $70 Designed for the serious aerobicizer. The 7-ounce shoe has a single midsole/outside unit of molded EVA embedded with a series fo nitrogen microballoons for cushioning and stability.

SAUCONY PALLADIUM MID

5-10,11 $74 New mid-cut version features special stitching on leather upper to prevent stretching. Durable, three-color rubber outsole has forefoot pivot point for added forefoot flexibility.

BASKETBALL

The features that make up a good, solid basketball shoe are sometimes lost in all the hype sorrounding their flashy endorsements and splashy marketing vehicles. Don’t get caught up in the hype and forget what you need from the shoe. Hard rubber cup soles, which surround the entire shoe, provide the lateral support you need for all those side-to-side movements. You often land on the court at a force five time your body weight, so be sure to look for a shoe that offers extra midsole cushioning and shock absorption in the heel and forefoot. An outsole that offers good traction is also important. Gum rubber or rubber-based materials with durable pivot point inserts (round shapes in the forefoot area) are best. A polyurethane outsole is lighter but offers less traction.

ASICS GELEVATOR

5-12 $65 Low-cut competitive shoe features a Gel pad for cushioning in forefoot of full-length EVA midsole. Stitched 3/4 cupsole of three-color rubber compound.

K-SWISS BRISTEN

5-10,11 $57 low; $63 high Tongue with built-in pillows protects nerves and blood vessels across instep for greater comfort and fit. Nylon heel counter improves stability and support in rearfoot area.

L.A. GEAR

LADY JABBAR HIGH

5-11 $57 “Blucher-style” lacing enables shoe to fit a variety of widths. Three-color outsole is made of non-marking, abrasion-resistant rubber. Full-length EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning.

NIKE

AIR TRANSITION HIGH

5-12,14 $70 Matching forefoot flex grooves on midsole and outsole allow maximum flexibility. Heel Air-Sole unit for added cushioning; herringbone design solid rubber outsole for traction.

REEBOK

OMNI ZONE PUMP

5-10,11,12 $100 Mini basketball pump device on tongue allows wearer to fill midfoot with air for snugger fit. Visible ERS technology, made of a series of Hytrel plastic tubes in heel, helps to absorb shock and cushion impact.

REEBOK

VERTICAL HEXALITE HIGH

5-10,11,12 $60 Technical shoe features Hexalite material in heel to cushion impact and absorb shock. A 3/4-cut wrap outsole and EVA midsole combine to offer motion control and stability.

CROSS-TRAINING

Cross-trainers are designed in two ways: either with adequate performance features for a wide variety of sports, or for one primary function and one or two secondary uses.

Easy Spirit, for example, offers a cross-trainer that is well suited for indoor sports but offers less than ideal cushioning for an activity like running. Saucony has developed a cross-trainer for the athlete interested in running, cycling and aqua sports, made of lightweight Lycra mesh with tubes in the outsole to force out water.

Knowing what activities you intend to use the cross-trainer for will help you select the one best suited for your needs. High-top styles, for example, will give basketball or racquetball players added ankle support. Low-cut cross-trainers have greater flexibility and are better suited for those who run or play tennis.

ASICS

GT-INTENSITY II

5-11 $60 Multifaceted cross-trainer with a full-length EVA midsole and Asics’ silicone-based Gel for cushioning in forefoot.

EASY SPIRIT

TOURNAMENT HEALTH TRAINER

4-12 (AAA – D) $74 Ideal for everything from the treadmill to the squash court. Wide toe box. Two layers of ultralightweight foam in midsole provide shock absorption.

ETONIC CROSS CONTROL FFT

5-11 $60 mid-cut; $55 low-cut an all-purpose cross-trainer constructed on a slightly curved last. Polyurethane midsole with foot frame and a two-color solid rubber outsole with stitched toe wrap.

K-SWISS LAGO

5-10 $60 Extra height in back and Achilles heel notch areas allows ankle collar to wrap around foot for better support and fit. Thermoplastic foot frame minimizes foot movement by surrounding the lateral, medial and rear sections of shoe.

KAEPA RAGE 7350

4-10,11,12 $65 Raised rubber sidewalls stitched into sides of shoe extend halfway up the upper to make it extremely stable. Split lacing design, called the Action Hinge, makes shoe especially comfortable for anyone with a high arch and a natural for hard-to-fit feet.

NIKE AIR TRAINER TW LITE

5-10,11,12, $78 Lightweight, high-performance trainer constructed for running, weight training, court and aerobic activities. Washable synthetic Durabuck upper.

REEBOK PUMP AXT

5-10,11 $90 mid-cut; $85 low-cut Pump provides added support and allows wearer to custom-fit the shoe. Honeycomb-shaped Hexalite material, visible through outsole window, absorbs energy and provides lightweight cushioning.

RYKA 875

5-10,11 $70 Lightweight aerobic cross-trainer featuring a two-color polyurethane midsole with nitrogen microballoons in heel and forefoot for cushioning. Three-color abrasion-resistant rubber outsole has traction bumps, a forefoot pivot point and flex channels.

SAUCONY CROSSWAVE

5-10,11 $80 W.E.T. system incorporates Lycra mesh, ventilated lasting fabric and midsole wedge to force water out of the shoe through water-expulsion tubes in outsole.

TURNTEC LADY ZXT

5-11,12 $60 A compression-resistant polyurethane midsole makes shoe suitable for serve-and-volley tennis and the occasional runner. Leather upper has forefoot support straps for lateral and medial stability.

CYCLING

Good traction and easy pedal entry and exist should be your primary concerns in selecting a new mountain biking shoe, says Imre Barsy, director of product development for Specialized. For both mountain and road biking shoes, compatibility with one of the market’s clipless pedal systems should also be a consideration.

More aggressive outsole tread patterns and more durable uppers are now the norm in mountain biking shoes. Lightweight, breathable materials such as nylon mesh, are being used more on uppers. Low-cut, all-terrain shoes are being made available in smaller sizes for women, says Barsy. With mountain biking continuing to grow in popularity, consumers can expect to see more clipless shoes available for that activity this year and next.

DIADORA TRX-1

38-48 $120 Compatible with Shimano pedal system, standard road cleat or Diadora’s aluminum cyclocross cleat. Dual-density sole features aggressive forefoot tread and computer-designed heel studs fort extra traction.

NIKE CLASSIC CYCLER

4-13 $70 For the recreational rider, unisex model features a Velcro flap to secure laces and ensure a tighter, snugger fit. Clipless pedal-compatible. Women should take men’s size range into account.

SHIMANO

M050

36-48 (except 36.5 and 47.5) $NA Recreational fitness model for mountain biking, compatible with Shimano pedals. Moderately aggressive traction pattern offers walking comfort and stability. Can be used with conventional pedals with or without toe clips and straps.

SHIMANO

SH-R200

39-48 (except 47.5) $NA Flagship racing shoe features combination carbon fiber, glass fiber and hard polyurethane outsole. Has a Look compatible cleat mounting. Built on a last that offers extra toe room.

SPECIALIZED

GROUND CONTROL

38-48 $125 Mountain biking shoe compatible with Shimano pedal system. Combination Velcro/lace closure system. A strap around heel allows wearer to adjust heel width and tightness.

TIME CENTURY FITNESS

35-47 $165 Fitness cycling shoe with a recessed cleat for efficient pedaling and comfortable walking. Upper made of leather and high-strength mesh features a double Velcro strap. Removable sockliner.

FIELD

SPORTS

Women players are no longer content to wear smaller versions of field sports shoes designed specifically for men. “The barrier is slowly being broken down. The notion that if it was a women’s shoe it wasn’t as technically advanced as the men’s is fading away,” says John Marshall, a spokesman for Lotto USA. For the first time, Lotto will sell a soccer shoe designed specifically for women.

When buying a field sports shoe, you should keep in mind the type of playing surface you’ll be wearing the slippers for plantar fasciitis on. Hard ground or artificial turf shoes, designed to distribute foot pressure more evenly, usually have approximately 150 short, small cleats. Outsoles with removable cleats are best used on very soft natural turf where cushioning isn’t needed. A molded outsole, usually with 13 cleats on each shoe, is designed for harder natural turf surfaces. Field sport shoes with a flat court shoe bottom made of gum rubber are designed for indoor use.

LOTTO MADRIDONNA

5-11 $33 Lotto’s woman-specific soccer entry has a molded polyurethane outsole/midsole, meaning that the shoe can be used on both regular turf surfaces and hard ground. Available only at Footlocker stores.

MITRE LADY LD II

4-10 $28 Performance baseball shoe for women with lightweight, synthetic leather upper and two-color rubber outsole.

MITRE

LADY SUPRA LIGHT II

4-10 $36 Lightweight, performance-based softball shoe features a rubber outsole, a Napa PVC upper and EVA midsole for cushioning.

NIKE AIR CIRCUIT

4-12 $58 Lightweight softball shoe. Synthetic leather upper, heel Air-Sole unit and three-color rubber partial cupsole.

GOLF

Women–who make up the majority of today’s new golfers and are the game’s fastest-growing segment–will see more technically oriented, classically styled footwear in stores and pro shops this spring. Manufacturers have realized that serious women golfers want as much performance and comfort as men.

Game-improvement features, such as specially placed spikes for added stability, are important, but should only be considered after comfort. “And fit is the number one component of comfort,” says David Noyes, senior product manager for golf footwear at Foot-Joy. Foot-Joy women’s golf shoe sizes range from AAAA to D.

Other factors to consider in choosing a golf shoe are waterproofing to keep your feet dry in wet conditions and traction to keep your feet stable through the swing.

DEXTER BEL AIR

5-10 $58 Athletic-looking style is guaranteed waterproof for six months. Lightweight Dupont Delrin spikes built into a combination EVA midsole/outsole. Shoe has foam-padded collar and tongue.

ETONIC

GORE-TEX STABILIZER

6.5-10,11 (AA);6-11 (B);5-9 (D) $135 First of its kind for the competitive woman golfer. Classically styled, waterproof shoe with Pittard’s leather upper. Internal Gore-tex bootie keeps water out and feet dry. Stabilizer game-improvement outsole combines a series of pyramids and turf grips for maximum traction.

FOOT-JOY CLASSIC LITES

4.5-10 (AAA through D in certain sizes) $170 Lightweight, contemporary style features a calfskin upper. Shoe is leather lined and uses Foot Joy’s trademarked lightweight, locking spike system.

NIKE SAVANNAH PREMIER

6-11,12 $70 Athletically-styled shoe has a waterproof leather upper and a three-color rubber outsole with conventional spikes.

HIKING

The latest barrage of fashionable “street hikers” and the new focus on lightweight shoes have split hiking shoes into three distinct categories: colorful fashion for everyday wear, lightweight performance shoes ideal for day hiking with a light pack, and heavy-duty hikers.

“When buying a hiker, you should ask questions about what the shoe is designed for and examine its structural qualities,” says Art Kenyon, president of Vasque. Consumers should guard against “getting caught up in the cosmetics” of a particular shoe, Kenyon cautions.

A serious hiker, whether lightweight or heavy-duty, should have added support around the ankle area, a solid bumper around the toe area to protect against extended wear and a lug outsole for traction.

DANNER JAG

6-10 $70 Best for lightweight day hiking trips. Triple-density EVA midsole provides added cushioning. Extended lugs on forefoot of outsole give a wider, more stable grip.

HI-TEC MAUNA KEA

5-10 $79 From Hi-Tec’s 50 Peaks collection. Aggressive Eco-Tred outsole with deeper lugs and a flat distinctive heel for traction and stability. FIT System (Fitted Insole Technology) offers widths, enabling buyer to custom-fit boots. A Cambrelle lining wicks away moisture from foot and keeps boot cool.

L.A. GEAR STREET RANGER

5-11 $72 Colorful, all-terrain street hiker with compression-molded rubber midsole for shock absorption and durability. Combination suede, leather and nylon upper is lightweight, supportive and breathable.

MERRELL LAZER

5-11 $75 Updated day hiker features improved composite rubber Contact outsole to provide better grip and durability. Dual-density foot bed provides added comfort.

NIKE BALTORO HIGH

4-10,11 $85 Rugged high-top suitable for a wide variety of conditions. EVA midsole and heel block with polyurethane heel plug and solid rubber lug outsole.

TECNICA 2000

5-10 $85 Designed for slightly lighter packloads and greater flexibility. Anatomically shaped collar and tongue give snug support at ankle without binding or chafing. Lightweight, bidensity rubber compound outsole has a shallow lug to minimize dirt pickup and trail abuse.

VASQUE CLARION IV

5-11 $110 Designed for medium hiking with lightweight packs. Triple-density midsole for shock absorption. Variable Fit System (VFS) allows wearer to adjust fit by inserting insoles that correlate to the size of her feet.

RUNNING

No other type of athletic shoe has been more affected by the lightweight movement than running. Nearly every company now offers a shoe below the once feathery benchmark of 10 ounces.

Still, when selecting a running shoe that’s right for you, don’t automatically reach for the lightest one. Larger-framed or heavy runners, for example, often need the added stability and cushioning an extremely lightweight shoe is unable to provide.

Running is known as the sport shoe category that pioneers technology, and it is likely to remain at the forefront in the ’90s. Reebok has brought its Pump technology into running, allowing the wearer to lock in her heel by activating an air chamber surrounding the heel. Nike has made cushioning the primary focus of its Air 180, which includes its largest Air Sole unit ever. Asics is addressing foot temperature with its GT-Cool, featuring a CoolMax mesh upper.

ASICS TIGER GT-COOL

5-11 $125 Designed for the high-mileage runner wanting maximum motion control, cushioning and cool comfort. CoolMax mesh fabric upper and Asics’ Gel in forefoot and rearfoot of two-color, two-density compression-molded EVA midsole. Sold with a pair of CoolMax socks.

AVIA ARC 2070

4-11 $85 All-terrain outsole featuring Avia’s Cantilever technology. Lightweight synthetic suede/mest upper offers an adjustable lacing system, allowing shoe to fit different foot types.

BROOKS FLASH

5-10,11 $75 A 10-ounce running shoe that focuses on stability and cushioning. Compression-molded EVA midsole embedded with Brooks’ patented HydroFlow system. A molded foot frame aids in total foot stability.

ETONIC

STABLEAIR OP

5-11 (M,W) $70 Built on a semicurved anatomical last for overpronators. An antipronation StableAir unit made with a carbon fiber plate is located in heel. Upper made of polypag/synthetic suede.

MIZUNO

CONTROLLER

5-10,11 $75 A motion-control trainer that utilizes Mizuno’s Power Pak system in midsole, enabling wearer to alter degree of shock absorption and cushioning. Oblong Power Pak piece is inserted into heel area of midsole through a hole beneath the insole.

NEW BALANCE

W510

5-12 (AA,B,D) $65 Aimed at mid-mileage runners, shoe has two-part carbon rubber outsole and a cutaway midsole to reduce overall weight. Hugs the arch for additional support.

NIKE

AIR 180

5-11,12 $125 Lightweight, cushioned, top-end shoe. Heel Air-sole unit, visible from outsole through clear urethane, contains 50 percent more air cushioning than any other Nike model. Flexible forefoot Air Sole unit provides additional cushioning. Dynamic-Fit tongue helps support midfoot and makes shoe slide on like a slipper.

REEBOK

VENTILATOR

5-10,11,12 $90 Well-cushioned, flexible stability trainer, ideal for a faster, lighter runner. A visible arch-support system controls pronation. Ventilated side panels allow cooling. Durable outsole has traction suitable for on-and off-road training.

SAUCONY

SCEPTRE

5-10,11 $70 Seven-ounce racing flat utilizes open mesh on upper for added breathability. An extended wrap on lateral side, on the inside, increases stability and aids in proper toe-off.

TURNTEC

LADY ENDURA

5-11 $65 Designed to provide motion control for overpronators, shoe can also accomodate the underpronator/forefoot striker. Combination synthetic leather and nylon upper is lightweight and breathable. Midsole of two-density molded EVA.

TENNIS

Because tennis demands quick side-to-side movements on hard surfaces, the key features of a tennis shoe are stability, support, cushioning, a durable outsole and comfort. “Stability is the single most important factor. Ankle turns are the most frequent injury,” says Kathy Button, corporate communications director for Converse and a national-level platform tennis player.

Look for wide fitting shoes for bunions that provide stability through forefoot and rearfoot straps on the upper that hold the foot in place. Mid- and 3/4-cut styles further enhance lateral stability.

Your tennis shoes should also have abrasion-resistant compounds on key areas of the outsole to guard against excessive wear caused by toe drag.

ADIDAS TORSION GRAF COMP

5-10 $75 Top-of-the-line entry. Two-color, two-piece Monza F1 rubber outsole with stitch-reinforced toe. Patented Torsion bar and grooves in midsole give added flexibility.

AVIA 747

4-11 $57 Low-cut style offering extra cushioning and support for the moderate-level competitive player. Perforated full leather upper with forefoot overlays and an EVA midsole.

CONVERSE EVOLO CHAMPIONNE

4-11 $65 Mid-cut style from women’s performance collection endorsed by Chris Evert. Style features company’s patented Dynamic Arch Support system and a lightweight EVA midsole.

DIADORA CAPRIATI ELITE

5-10 $70 High-tech entry features two “Double Action” inserts in midsole to help shock absorption and propulsion. An impact-absorbing cell is placed under the heel, and a propulsion-enhancing cell is beneath the ball of the foot.

ELLESSE

TOURNAMENT EDITION

5-10 $80 Available in low- and mid-cuts, shoe features an all-court rubber outsole designed for play on all surfaces. External arch, forefoot and midfoot leather overlays give added support.

ETONIC

COURT CONTROL MAX

5-10,11,12 $75 Laterally extended StableAir unit in heel and a StubleAir pad in forefoot. High-abrasion outsole made of Ever-Dure rubber compound.

HEAD FLAIR

5-10,11 $50 Mid-priced performance tennis style offers a tread pattern suitable for all court surfaces. Head’s trademarked Radial Design of trapezoidal wedges on outsole increase stability and resistance to rollover by 10 percent.

K-SWISS AARAU

5-10 $58 low-cut; $63 high-top Dual eyelets at top of eyestay work in conjunction with company’s D-ring lacing system to provide an adjustable fit. A lateral external cradle offers support for side-to-side movement.

KAEPA MATCHPOINT II

4-10,11,12 $60 Split vamp design allows shoe to mimic natural flexing motion of feet and fit almost any size foot, doing away with need for widths. A specially molded extension of the outsole rises up the midfoot for added lateral support.

NIKE

AIR CHALLENGE PRO 3/4

5-10,11,12 $70 Abrasion-resistant Durathane tip protects toe drag on herringbone outsole design. Serious tennis shoe offers air-cushioning in heel and polyurethane foot frame for added support.

REEBOK

DL7000

5-10,11,12 $60 mid-cut; $50 low-cut A solid choice for the club player. Washable leather upper and lightweight cushioning from honeycomb-shaped midsole Hexalite material. Lateral and medial leather overlays give stability and support.

WILSON PLEXUS

4-10,11 $85 A free-flowing liquid, Flolite, injected into tongue, alleviates normal pressure created by tightly-laced shoes. 5/8 ankle collar increases support and stability. Indy 500 Plus rubber compound outsole provides increased traction and durability.

WALKING

Like running shoes, walking shoes are built strictly for forward motion. However, in walking, your front foot lands before your back foot takes off, meaning that the impact is normally less than half of that in running. Therefore, walking shoes have lower and less-cushioned heel wedges and offer fewer features to stabilize the foot.

When buying a walking shoe, look for one that has an outsole with “bounce” or resiliency and a rocker profile, which sweeps up at the toe to enhance natural heel-to-toe motion. A proper-fitting walker should also have a roomy toe box to ensure that your toes won’t be pinched on the final push-off.

Athletic shoe manufacturers predict that more women will buy walking shoes in the ’90s, mainly for their comfort benefits. In response, companies will not only incorporate technologies from other footwear categories into waliking, but will also improve the overall cosmetic appeal of walking shoes.

AVIA ARC 351

4-11 (B,C) $65 Power walker with a washable Hydrolite upper. ArcRocker technology in midsole provides forward motion during stride. Scotchlite reflective trim helps in night visibility.

BROOKS CHAMPLAIN

5-10,11 $69 Shoe for serious fitness walker built on a semistraight last. Solid rubber outsole provides durability. Oiled suede and Cordura nylon upper gives support. Hydroflow cushioning system is visible from outsole.

CONVERSE EVOLO ESCAPADE

4-11 $55 Solid all-around walker features a leather upper, EVA midsole and a rubber outsole.

K-SWISS WALKCHWIL

5-10 $55 Ideal all-around walker features high-density rubber outsole with flex bars and traction patches for durability and flexibility. Lightweight molded polyurethane midsole provides absoption.

NIKE AIR DAYBREAK

5-11,12 (narrow-wide, depending on color) $60 Design pattern of the solid rubber outsole with forefoot flexibility grooves this fitness walker excellent for treadmills.

PROPET

SUPER COMFORTWALKER

5-12 $60 Combines classic styling with technical/functional capabilities. Features a CoolMax lining system. Slip-stop rubber outsole is similar to the traditional deck shoe with its razor-cut pattern to offer stability in wet conditions.

REEBOK CADENCE TECH

5-10,11,12 $65 For indoor or outdoor performance walking. Unique lug outsole provides added traction and improves heel-to-toe motion. Lightweight cushioning offered through honeycomb-shaped Hexalite material in midsole.

ROCKPORT 7320

4-11,12 (M); 6-11 (N); 5-10 (W) $65 Value-oriented fitness walker features lightweight, shock-absorbing polyurethane outsole. Molded foam heel cup provides added shock absorption. A Dri-lex insole cushions foot and wicks away moisture.

 

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