10 Best Walking Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Comfort
You live a hectic, on-the-go life. You’re a busy a parent, a social worker, a beat cop, or a student. You want a shoe that provides you a great fit, long lasting comfort, and most of all don’t have your feet aching at the end of a long day. You need to invest in a great pair of walking shoes.
And, while your first thought about walking shoes might be moms in pairs power walking around cul de sacs, rest assured that there are walking shoes to fit all wearers, made for a variety of activities in a myriad of environments.
You may want a walking shoe that doesn’t read as a walking shoe but more of a casual loafer or you may want something sleek and sporty. Whether you wear them just a few hours a day or on long shifts, you need walking shoes that can go the distance and prevent foot fatigue and joint pain. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 Best Walking Shoes to find you the perfect pair.
10 Best Walking Shoes
1. Sketchers Go Walk
The Performance Go Walk is primarily made of a soft mesh textile that gently grips your feet, while a full-length yoga mat insole gives them maximum cushion with every step. The memory foam padding in the heel and vamp make you feel like you can’t even feel the edges of the shoe itself. Eventually, it will feel like you aren’t wearing shoes at all!
With a Resalyte midsole, your feet get superior impact absorption, lessening stress on the knees, hips, and other joints that might be grievanced by excessive walking. Sketchers GOimpulse technology gives the shoe extra flexibility and responsiveness to your movements, meaning there will be nothing impeding your gait or fluidity of perambulation.
Cost and Value
For anyone suffering from back pain, tight knees, or muscle cramping, can you put a price point on the perfect walking shoe? Luckily they’re a great mid priced shoe that delivers all the sportiness of an athletic shoe but all the comfort of a bedroom slipper. You can plan a very walk heavy vacation knowing the Sketchers Performance Go Walk will be the ultimate walking shoe to go in your suitcase. It also comes in a variety of colors so you can find the best pair to fit your wardrobe.
- Resalyte insole
- Memory foam heel and vamp
- Slip on design
- Very comfortable
- Soles wear out quickly
2. Easy Spirit Romy
The Easy Spirit Romy has a rubber sole that’s extra flexible, allowing for a full range of motion from heel to toe. Because the shoe is comprised of leather and mesh fabric uppers, it gently but firmly grips your foot, while the extra padded collar and tongue give your ankle the same comfortable stability. It also has a cushioned sock liner for extra support.
Because this walking shoe is a hybrid design, it can be used for walking trails as well as more involved athletic activities. Its thick rubber sole is ideal for never letting your feet feel the ground beneath you, and would also be perfect for anything involving a stationary position, like cycling, or lifting weights at the gym. However, the thicker rubber sole isn’t as dependable for shock absorption and alleviating joint pain.
Cost and Value
The wearer of the Easy Spirit Romy has the most success if they enjoy going on walking paths or moderate athletic activities, such as going to the gym, or riding a stationary bike. They won’t be the best for alleviating joint pain because of the thickness of their rubber sole. As far as the comfort of your feet is concerned, however, they’re worth their moderate price because of the extra padding and cushioned sock liner.
- Extra padded collar and tongue
- Extra cushioned midsole
- Large outsole
- Good for gym/light athletic activities
- Reported by a few wearers as unsupportive
3. Rockport Eureka
The Eureka has been biomechanically designed outsoles that both support and stabilize your natural walking motion, never hindering whatever gait you find most comfortable for your stride. It has a latex foam footbed for maximum cushion, as well as a padded collar and tongue for a flexible and soft fit around your ankle.
The rubber outsole provides excellent traction on a variety of surfaces you may need to grip, from city streets to slightly more turbulent terrain. The construction of the heel and vamp are specifically made to maximize flexibility throughout the length of your foot. A moisture wicking liner keeps them fresh and dry through out a day of walking.
Cost and Value
Rockport is a brand known for quality, performance, and attention to detail. The walking shoes they make, the Eureka included, are designed to be options for wearers that want elegance from the shoe they’ll be seen in the most. Though made for action, the Eureka’s are a refined casual shoe, wearable at a conference or a nice restaurant as easily as they are touring around Europe or your own neighborhood. Now available in extended sizes for those with wide or narrow feet, there’s never been a better time to have the Rockport Eureka be the refined walking shoe you never leave the house without.
- Elegant design
- Flexible footbed
- Cushioned heel and vamp
- Quality leather
- Not much arch support
4. Ryka Sky
The RYKA Sky is a very lightweight, breathable shoe. It’s fabric mesh construction with thin rubber and leather overlay makes it both highly wearable and also durable. Their well cushioned, molded EVA midsoles give excellent arch support, with very little break in time required. Whereas most athletic shoes are designed to be worn down, beat up, and heavily used, these are the premium choice for when you want a shoe purely for comfort and ease of movement.
Primarily designed with dedicated fitness walkers in mind, RYKA Sky walking shoe can be slipped on whenever errands need doing. Even if your socks slip below your ankles, you won’t feel the rub from these shoes because of their excellent padding. The memory foam inlay means that even after walking several miles, your foot fatigue will be almost nonexistant, while the grip from the soles is thick enough to not wear down in excess over time.
Cost and Value
Whether you’re a fitness walker or simply looking for a comfortable shoe to run your errands in, the RYKA Sky shoe is one of the most dependable and competent choices available. It has a lightweight construction made of fabric mesh and leather, while also having memory foam insoles and thick soles for great traction. With all the benefits of a running shoe but at half the price, they are one of the best walking shoes on the market.
- Memory foam insole
- Great traction
- May need to order next size up
5. New Balance MW411V2
If you’re susceptible to a lot of heel and ankle pain, this shoe is for you. It has thick insoles and midsoles that bounce back from a lot of wear. The heel is reinforced and has a lot of extra padding. This model is an improvement over the original design because instead of having leather throughout the upper, the MW411V2 has an upper of mesh for more flexibility and full range of motion. Also, if your feet sweat, it has a lining that wicks moisture away.
These shoes have been specifically designed with walking in mind, and for those wearers that are hospital workers, landscapers, and any working professional who has long shifts as part of their everyday lives. From the reinforced heel to the extra cushion and mesh added over the original MW411’s, these walking shoes will save your feet and have an unassuming enough appearance that they can be worn from work to a leisure activity without a problem.
Cost and Value
At half the cost of other New Balance athletic shoes, the MW411V2’s are a solid investment for anyone that is prone to wearing their other athletic shoes as their walking shoes. By purchasing these shoes, you can keep your athletic shoes for your workouts and keep these for your daily activities, trusting that New Balance has crafted a walking shoe with the key features you want in mind. And at a price you can’t afford to walk by!
- Reinforced heel support
- Black leather and mesh upper
- Extra cushioned midsole
- Heel can slip out
6. Brooks Addiction Walker
Brooks has spared no expense by loading its Addiction Walker up with support for low arches, overpronation, and Hydroflow technology that enhances the midsole cushioning. Gel-like fluid units under the heel and forefoot not only give superior shock absorption but also give amazing padding and cushion. A full-length MoGo midsole gives you that extra added support you need for energy recovery as you’re on your feet for an extended period of time.
Brooks has a patented Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar that provides a dual density post at the medial arch that permits full and progressive pronation control. The MC Pod Configuration sets up your foot in the ideal, ergonomic placement along the midsole and insole, so that as your foot rolls through its complete field of motion it is well supported from the first heel strike. The outsole is a durable HPR Green construction that is a silica based and environmentally friendly compound that affords you wet-dry traction for optima skid resistance.
Cost and Value
For all the extensive features of the Addiction Walker, you would expect to pay a lot more, but it is competitive with a wide variety of mid range athletic shoes. From its use of Hydroflow technology that gives great midsole cushion, to the gel under the heel and forefoot that gives you refreshing comfort and shock absorption, the Addiction Walker is a walking shoe that takes basic perambulation to the next level. The only walking shoe with a dual density post to support your medial arch, it also uses the MC Pod Configuration to make your foot feel fantastic from heel strike to toe-off. Using green, environmentally friendly materials is just the icing on the cake with this incredibly well made and competent walking shoe.
- Dual density post for arch support
- Hydroflow technology
- Gel fluid cups under heel and forefoot
- Made from green materials
- Can be too narrow
7. Vionic Walker Classic
The Vionic Walker Classic’s have a shock absorbing molded EVA midsole, making them impact resistant and kind on the joints. Their flexible rubber outsole allow for a full range of motion, while a biomechanical removable orthotic has antibacterial treatments to make sure your feet stay cool, dry, and itch free. They are perfect for people with wide feet as they have a roomy toe box.
These walking shoes have been made water resistant, with an Orthaheel motion controlling footbed that has contoured arch support and a well-designed heel cup. Often felt in basketball shoes, a heel cup helps to realign your stride with every step, improving posture and stabilizing your footfalls. The shoe was podiatrist-designed to help wearers with pronated feet, so that their knees and back wouldn’t be as affected by the strain of wearing unsupportive footwear.
Cost and Value
Don’t be thrown off by the price tag - these podiatrist designed shoes are worth every penny. From their Orthaheel motion controlling footbed with the contoured arch support, to their heel cup that realigns your stride and helps with pronated feet and bad joints, the Vionic Walker Classic is a life saver for people on their feet for long periods of time. They outclass similarly designed walking shoes because they’re made with orthotic comfort specifically in mind.
- Designed by podiatrists
- Removable orthotic insert
- Orthaheel motion controlling footbed
- Embedded heel cup
- Should order a half size smaller unless you have wide feet
8. Sketchers Empire Rock
Along with being great fit, the Sport Empire Rock boast a memory foam inlay midsole perfect for being on your feet for extended periods of time. The slope of the collar is designed to fit just below your ankle bone so as not to rub or chafe. The sole is also thick enough to be shock absorbing and even provide some durable traction with grooves that flex as your heel strikes the ground and rolls up onto the pads of your feet.
The Sport Empire Rock comes in a variety of colors and stylings, from black on black to grey with blue trim. This enables you to wear it with a variety of outfits and for a variety of occasions. By giving it a smart, sophisticated shape and slip on method, it doesn’t telegraph as a fitness shoe. It differs from the Sketchers Go Walk in that it has a lace up front rather than a smooth exterior, but this allows you to customize the fit slightly better.
Cost and Value
These Sketchers are affordable enough that even if you wear them out, they don’t hurt your wallet to replace. But, as they’re Sketchers, they’re guaranteed to last because of the brand commitment to competent casual footwear that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. These lightweight and versatile shoes are the perfect, no fuss companions to your rapidly evolving lifestyle.
- Slip on design
- Great flexibility
- Can rub at the collar
9. Mephisto Match
Soft-Air technology and a Caoutchouc rubber sole provide the wearer comfort and support, while the leather upper gives you durability and a refined aesthetic. Mephisto recommends measuring both your feet, as one is often slightly bigger than the other. They further recommend measuring them at the end of the day, as your feet swell from the first time you put on a pair of shoes until you take them off. Knowing your dimensions can help you get the maximum level of comfort out of your walking shoes.
The Mephisto Match has a D-ring lace up front, allowing it to accommodate larger socks if need be, and be customized to the wearer’s preference on fit. The Soft-Air technology and Caoutchouc rubber soles make them comparable to other walking shoe features designed to absorb impact and help with joint pain, as well as provide excellent support and traction.
Cost and Value
Though quite expensive for a pair of walking shoes, they require no break in time and wear gently over many years. Mephisto allows you to send them in for a resole to preserve the life of the shoe, standing by the quality, excellence, and durability of their brand. They are also recommended by podiatrists because of how comfortable they are and how their construction helps to stabilize your natural gait.
- D-ring lace up front for customizable fit
- Soft-Air technology for cushion
- Caoutchouc rubber sole for support
- Cheap laces that need replacing
10. Reebok Work N Cushion 2.0
The Work N Cushion 2.0 is cut low around the ankle, so as not to hit and rub against the ankle bone and cause unnecessary irritation. It has patented DMX ride technology for extra padding, stability, and cushion, as well as an outsole that extends past the toe of the shoe, ensuring a smooth roll through step from heel to toe, and no compromised mobility. Their leather design with some fabric mesh along the upper means more durability but also flexibility, so your movements are free to be as energetic as you are.
A beveled heel construction allows for better traction and grip across a variety of surfaces. From city streets, to dirt paths, to rubber kitchen mats, these shoes will keep you upright and never doubtful of your maneuverability. The outsole is oil and slip resistant, ensuring that no matter how messy or precarious an environment you find yourself in, these shoes will keep you accident free.
Cost and Value
At a fraction of the cost of other athletic shoes AND walking shoes, the Reebok Work N Cushion 2.0 has all the features you’ve come to expect in casual footwear while still standing out for being the workhorse of walking shoes. From EMT’s, to restaurant workers, to hospital staff and beat cops, all stand by the durability and comfort of this unassuming but smartly designed shoe. It easily allows you to go from home to the office, and from there to a leisure activity, all without compromising style or comfort.
- Low cut design to minimize ankle rub
- DMX ride technology for extra comfort
- Beveled heel construction for better traction
- Oil and slip resistant
- Can be narrow
How to Choose the Best Shoes for Walking
Selecting the best walking shoe for you isn’t as easy as it seems. There are a lot of factors to consider, such as how long you’ll be on your feet, what sorts of environments you’ll be in (at work, at home, outside), and how much comfort and support you want them to have. Some wearers want help correcting pronated feet, stabilizing their gait, or keeping their feet from sweating all day. Some want simply arch support and a roomy toe box because they have wide feet. Whatever the reasons you choose a particular pair of walking shoes, walking is the way the majority of people get out and see the world, so they need to be made durable, functional, and comfortable.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Walking Shoes
Like for all athletic shoes, breathability and ventilation are key components in comfortably leading an active lifestyle. They allow your feet to be dry, help regulate temperature, and aid in the prevention of bacteria spreading moisture. A nylon mesh along the upper will help vent air, while a lot of walking shoes have a moisture wicking liner that helps to prevent against bacteria building up, especially if you walk a lot and perspire.
If you’re planning on walking along trails or through areas with uneven ground and terrain, look for shoes with deeper grooves in the sole and more defined tread. Generally, most walking shoes won’t always have these features because they’re for urban environments and neighborhood walking that doesn’t encounter much more than the transfer from pavement to grass. For anything other than walking through a park, you may want to consider using a hiking boot, or be prepared to wear your walking shoes down faster.
The weight of a walking shoe is important because you don’t want a heavy shoe impacting your ability to move. If you’re walking to get in shape, for instance, you want a lightweight shoe that still has a lot of support. A running shoe is used for linear motion and a quick heel to toe strike, meaning midsoles will be thicker and may impact the weight. Because a walking shoe entails a wearer will be spending more time with taking their heel to toe strike (even with fitness walking), a less dense midsole is ideal. The use of orthotic inserts may add some weight to the overall shoe, but they shouldn’t add much since they’re mostly for comfort and support and made from materials that generally aren’t very heavy.
To aid in the prevention of injury and joint pain from walking, walking shoes should have a variety of ways in which they provide shock absorption. These can include roll bars, gel pads, and reinforced padding. Most walking shoes, like running shoes, will have a molded EVA midsole that is often removable and works to add extra cushioning all the footbed and reduce the impact of walking on hard surfaces. Some brands have air pods along the heel that compress and work to absorb the heel strike, while most simply rely on more cushion and padding.
Just because a shoe is made for athletic activities, doesn’t mean it is also appropriate as a walking shoe. Often times, athletic footwear is designed the way it is to bend and flex at certain points in its design, suited for particular ways of moving. To ensure a walking shoe is comfortable and flexible for its intended purpose, it should be designed to support and stabilize your natural walking motion. Its construction should never interfere with your gait, and it should have a midsole with gel pads or latex foam that helps support your arches. A padded collar and tongue also ensure a flexible and soft fit around your ankle, minimizing chafing or rubbing in that area. The sole of the shoe should be able to be “twisted” in your hands and not stiff and unbending. It shouldn’t feel floppy or unstructured, but there shouldn’t be a lot of resistance to its flexibility because it needs to conform to your foot and your strides. Finally, walking shoes should have the most padding and cushion at the ball of the foot where the toe box resides, as that is the point of more continuous impact than the heel (as opposed to running).
Walking shoes should fit you securely and not too tightly. Since their aim is to keep you efficiently mobile on a workout, casual walk around the block, or running errands all day, they have to be able to accommodate feet swelling, the particulars of your natural gait, some uneven terrain and give you support in your stride. A loose fit can cause injury or an accident, but too tight a fit can prevent proper blood circulation. The tip of the shoe should allow for your foot to bend but not an excessive amount forward but should accommodate a certain degree of stretching over time. Your toes should never fit snugly against the top of the shoe because that can lead to blisters and chafing. Your heel should never lift too far off from the footbed as you walk up an incline, otherwise, you’re bound to get heel rub and eventual blisters. Wearing walking shoes that are the proper fit ensures comfort and a callus, blister free walking experience.
Depending on how much you walk and at what speed, you may want to invest in a shoe that has a lot of energy return. Look for shoes with design features that specifically focus on that, such as with extra foam or gel pads along the footbed. They are there to help maximize the energy that you put forth and then gets converted into a more powerful stride by the construction of the shoe. When you walk, the soles of the shoe are compressed, and input energy gets recovered during rebound. You want a shoe that returns as much energy as possible to utilize, not one where energy gets lost and absorbed due to too much heat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best type of walking shoe?
A: The best type of walking shoe is one that will conform to the shape of your foot, follow your natural gait, provide you plenty of cushioned support, and be flexible enough to handle the continuous motion of your perambulation. However, ultimately it depends on personal preference, the shape of your feet, and what sort of walking you’ll be engaging in. Speed walking or walking for fitness requires slightly different features, such as those more aligned with a running shoe (such as more cushion and shock absorption towards the heel as opposed to the ball of the foot).
Q: Should walking shoes have a thicker sole?
A: A thicker sole on a walking shoe can be good for shock absorption, especially if it has air pods or is constructed in such a way that maximizes compression and yields a high energy return. But a thick sole minimizes flexibility which is one of the most essential components to a walking shoe since you spend more time during your heel to toe strike movement than with a running shoe or other athletic shoes, so it needs to be flexible and move with your natural gait easily.
Q: How long do walking shoes last?
A: Walking shoes should last at least a year, even if used almost every day. Removable inserts may need to be switched out every six months to keep your shoes feeling like new, but the soles are made to withstand a lot of wear, and the stitching and mesh should be tear and abrasion resistant.
Q: Should walking shoes be waterproof?
A: If you plan to be outdoors and walking when it rains, or possibly around lawns recently watered or walking trails along streams, a waterproof shoe is important. The upper will be waterproof material, and the sole will be a waterproof rubber. Waterproof liners on walking shoes do make them less breathable though and don’t vent air very well.
Q: Are lace-up or slip-ons better for walking in?
A: Some wearers prefer walking shoes that have no laces at all, such as those made by Skechers because they can be easily taken on and off. Some don’t even have backs to them and fit essentially more like clogs. Laces or Velcro are ideal for being able to customize the fit of your walking shoe and ensure that they adhere to the shape of your foot more. But laceless shoes are still designed to fit snug against your feet and not slip off as you walk, and offer a stylish, streamlined look.
Q: How important is arch support?
A: Arch support varies from person to person, depending on how arched their feet are. This will dictate the level of arch support they need in their walking shoes. There are three ways your foot can be arched:
- Neutral-arched feet mean you don’t have high arches, but your feet aren’t flat. You’re right in the middle. You’ll want shoes with firm midsoles, and soles that are slightly curved upwards.
- Low-arched or flat feet mean that you have flat feet and little to no arch, which allows for joint problems and contributes to the stress and tension of your foot and leg muscles. Your soles won’t have a significant curve or slope to them, and a stabilized feel towards the heel will be best to make your feet feel more secure.
- High-arched feet mean you have arches that are quite high and make for tension on your joints and muscles. Your feet will need a lot of shock absorption and a lot of cushion, as well as support along the midsole. The sole should be quite curbed to help adhere to the shape of your arch.
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