Gone Outdoors

How to Convert Miles Walked Into Steps Taken

by David Robinson

Being able to judge the distance you have walked, based on how many steps you have taken, is an important navigational skill. Maps show topography, but when clear waypoints and features are missing, it can be difficult to estimate your position "on the ground" unless you know how far you have traveled from the last known position. Once the length of an average step is known, both the distance walked and the number of steps taken can be calculated. The math is simple, but you must already know the length of your average step.

Enter the number of miles into a calculator. Some calculators allow the entry of values in miles and feet; others require the value as miles and decimal parts of a mile. Check that the entered value is correct.

Multiply the distance by 5,280, the number of feet in a mile. The result is the distance expressed in feet.

Divide the distance obtained in Step 2 by the length of your average step, expressed in feet. The result is the distance expressed as the number of average steps taken.

Items you will need
  • Calculator


  • Wear a pedometer - a step counter - when you go walking. Record your steps over different distances and types of landscape. The data helps to refine the estimation of you personal average step length.


  • Uneven terrain, slippery ground, poor visibility and fatigue all influence the average length of a step. Unless you are very experienced and know the terrain over which you will travel, never fully rely on a conversion from miles to steps.

About the Author

David Robinson has written professionally since 2000. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He has written for the "Telegraph" and "Guardian" newspapers in the U.K., government publications, websites, magazines and school textbooks. He holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in geography and education and a teaching certificate from Durham University, England.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images