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The Rating System

April 13, 1998|WALKING

Using information from the dedicated wear testers at the Athlete's Foot R&D Center (whose comments appear with each review), along with our internal evaluations, we've made more Editors' Choices this year than ever. They're followed by other real standout shoes, but all that we reviewed here are viable choices; it's a matter of matching your needs and wallet to the right shoe. That's why each shoe is graded on seven qualities (many, of course, perform well in more than one category):

Speedsters are lightweight, with mesh uppers and a flexible, low-profile midsole for fast walking.

Pounders offer durable cushioning for heavy-gaited walkers who crush midsoles.

Fit shoes offer at least two widths; we mention if more.

Overpronators have firmer cushioning or hard plastic posts under the inside of the heel to slow excessive inward roll.

Bargain Hunters offer good performance for the price, especially for walkers without special support or cushioning needs.

All-Day Wear shoes have a good mix of walking comfort and support.

Walk / Run shoes have adequate cushioning for occasional runs, up to five miles per week.

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