Best Walking Shoes Reviewed & Rated for a Comfortable Stroll
Whether you walk for work, leisure or sports, the right type of footwear will ensure that you remain not just comfortable, but also pain and injury free. Despite its many positive effects when it comes to promoting cardiovascular and pulmonary health, improving muscle mass and balance, and decreasing the likelihood of developing high blood pressure, walking can also take its toll on your body, especially if you’re someone who tends to overdo it. However, you can avoid most joint, muscle or back pain, as well as more serious issues by choosing the right pair of walking shoes to wear.
Nowadays, footwear for walkers in mind is more than just bulky footwear that does not fit in in a more formal setting. The category includes plenty of different models, some focused on looks and some on performance, but all with plenty of comfort and stability features included to ensure that you can go about your daily life without having to worry about pain or discomfort.
- Easy Spirit Romy
- Padded Collar
- Brooks Addiction Walker
- Prevents Overpronation
- Tiosebon Mesh
- Sleek Profile
This article looks at the highest rated pairs of walking footwear available for purchase online, ranking them in terms of comfort and functionality. From sneakers to lace-up dress shoes, you are sure to find great variety on this list. This way, you won’t have to settle for less, and can rest assured that you’ll be happy with your purchase. Even more, make sure to check out the additional information at the end of the list if you want to learn more about what you should be looking for in the best walking shoes.
10 Best Walking Shoes
1. 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. The extra padded collar and tongue give your ankles even more of that same comfortable stability. It, also, has a cushioned sockliner 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. As far as the comfort of your feet is concerned, however, they’re worth their moderate price because of the extra padding and cushioned sockliner.
Padded Collar and Tongue
Ideal for Walking
Minimal Arch Support
Not Very Durable
2. Brooks Addiction Walker
Brooks has spared no expense in 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 which permits full and progressive pronation control. The MC Pod Configuration sets up your foot in the ideal, ergonomic placement along the midsole and insole. In other words, when 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 environmental-friendly compound that affords you wet-dry traction for optimal 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 midrange 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 shoe that takes basic perambulation to the next level. The only model with a dual-density post to support your medial arch, it 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 pair of shoes.
Gel fluid Cups
Limited Color Options
3. Tiosebon Mesh
The Tiosebon Mesh does comfort like no other model on this list. It utilizes a 'green' approach through implementing a pigskin insole which promotes comfortability. In addition, this insole allows these shoes to remain lighter; thereby, reducing fatigue levels.
A mesh upper promotes breathability thus, allowing your feet to sweat less, remain cool, and stay fresher while you enjoy your walking activity. Furthermore, the mesh upper has a wonderful aesthetic appeal to it. Other advantages of this shoe include the fact that it will easily mold to most foot shapes.
Cost and Value
With a price that is several times less than most other items on this list, the Tiosebon Mesh is an option that everyone will be able to afford. What makes these shoes great, however, is the fact that their price point does not prevent them from providing users with a comfortable fit, with green materials and a highly breathable upper meant to fit almost anyone.
Latex Arch Insert
Unsuitable for Wet Conditions
No Wide Sizes Available
4. Skechers Empire Rock
Along with being a great fit, the Sport Empire Rock boast of memory foam inlay midsoles; 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. This enables you to wear it with a range of outfits and for a different occasions. By giving it a smart, sophisticated shape and slip-on method, it doesn’t telegraph as a fitness shoe.
Cost and Value
These Skechers shoes are affordable enough that even if you wear them out, they don’t hurt your wallet to replace. 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.
5. New Balance 877
This midsole allows your feet to walk in comfort; providing the right range of both cushioning and shock absorbency. Comfortable feet means you have the chance for less fatigue; thus, allowing you to walk a little further than ever before.
The mesh upper provides breathability. When your feet can breathe, they are less likely to sweat. This promotes greater foot health, as your feet will be less prone to foot odor and bacterium associated with such nuisances.
Cost and Value
The New Balance 877 is a budget friendly option ranging from the lower-to-mid range of cost association. They are made well and provide an ample environment for a comfortable walk. As such, this pair of shoes is worth the purchase price.
Walking Strike Path Technology
Padded Tongue and Collar
Minimal Color Variety
6. 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 footwear.
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, the Mephisto Match requires no break-in time and wears gently over many years. Mephisto allows you to send them in for a re-sole to preserve the life of the shoe; standing by the quality, excellence, and durability of their brand. Podiatrists, also, recommend them because of how comfortable they are and how their construction helps to stabilize your natural gait.
D-ring Lace-up Front
Caoutchouc Rubber Outsole
No Women’s Options
7. Ryka Sky
The Ryka Sky is a very lightweight, breathable shoe. It has fabric mesh construction with thin rubber and leather overlays; making it both highly wearable and durable. Their well-cushioned, molded EVA midsoles give excellent arch support with very little break-in time required. 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, the Ryka Sky is easy to slip-on when 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 nonexistent. Furthermore, 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. In addition, there are memory foam insoles and thick outsoles for great traction. With all the benefits of a running shoe but at half the price, they are one of the best options on the market.
Memory Foam Insole
Lacks Arch Support for Some Users
8. New Balance 577
Have you ever had the top of your foot become raw from a less-than-wonderful tongue? Well, with these shoes, you do not have to worry about such a nuisance, as both the tongue and collar are made of padded foam. A nice addition if you prefer a comfortable walk.
The leather upper of the New Balance 577 promotes better foot health via breathability. When a shoe can breathe, your feet will remain cooler and will sweat less. This, in turn, allows you to enjoy your walk even more, without having to fear about developing odors or even bacterial or fungal overgrowth.
Cost and Value
Ranking below average on this list when it comes to price, the New Balance 577 is a stellar choice, made by a reputable brand, featuring plenty of comfort-oriented technology. You will especially appreciate the shock absorption, padded collar and tongue and a durable outsole that will last you for quite some time.
Foam-Padded Collar and Tongue
Minimal Color Variety
Runs Small and Narrow
9. Rockport Eureka
The Eureka has biomechanically designed outsoles that both support and stabilize your natural walking motion; never hindering what 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 throughout a day of walking.
Cost and Value
Rockport is a brand known for quality, performance, and attention to detail. Their products, 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, a nice restaurant, touring around Europe, or in your own neighborhood. That’s why it comes as such a surprise that these rank average on this list, with a price that is affordable for most.
Cushioned Heel and Vamp
Moisture Wicking Lining
Minimal Arch Support
10. Vionic Walker Classic
The Vionic Walker Classic has a shock-absorbing molded EVA midsole; making them impact-resistant and kind on your joints. Their flexible, rubber outsole allows 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 are 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 hold your heel in place; 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, as these podiatrist designed shoes are worth every penny. From their Orthaheel motion-controlling footbed with the contoured arch support to their heel cup that works to realign your stride and helps with pronated feet and bad joints, the Vionic Walker Classic is great for people on their feet for long periods of time. They outclass similarly designed because they’re made with orthotic comfort specifically in mind.
Designed by Podiatrists
Removable Orthotic Insert
Orthaheel Motion-Controlling Footbed
Embedded Heel Cup
Selecting the best pair of footwear 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 (e.g. at work, home, outside, etc.), 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 arch support and a roomy toe box because they have wide feet. Whatever the reasons you choose a particular pair of walking shoes, it is crucial that the pair you’ve chosen is 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 remain dry, help to regulate temperature and further aid in the prevention of bacteria-spreading moisture. A nylon mesh along the upper will help vent air, while many models on this list have a moisture-wicking liner that helps to prevent bacteria building up, especially, if you walk a lot and perspire.
If you’re planning to walk 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 shoes made for walking 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 does. For anything other than walking through a park, you may want to consider using a hiking boot or be prepared to wear your footwear down faster.
The weight of a pair of shoes is important because you don’t want a heavy shoe influencing 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 affect 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 too 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 athletic footwear, like running shoes, will have a molded EVA midsole that is often removable and works to add extra cushioning near 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 an appropriate choice for walking. 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 your chosen 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, ensures 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 should not be 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).
Your 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 all while giving 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. It 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 chafe. 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 footwear that fits you properly ensures comfort and a callus-free/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 convert that energy into a more powerful stride by the construction of the shoe. When you walk, the soles of the shoe are compressed, and input energy is then returned during rebound. You want a shoe that returns as much energy as possible to utilize, not one where energy is lost and/or is completely absorbed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best type of footwear to walk in?
A:The best type of footwear for this activity 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. Ultimately, it all depends on your personal preference, the shape of your feet, and what sort of walking you’ll be engaging in before deciding on the correct pair of shoes.
Speed walking or walking for fitness requires slightly different features, such as those more aligned with a running shoe (i.e. more cushioning and shock absorption towards the heel, as opposed to the ball of the foot).
Q: Should my shoes have a thick sole?
A: A thicker sole 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 essential components to walking footwear.
Q: How long will my shoes last?
A:The shoes you use for walking 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. Typically, you should always check for wear around the tread, inner lining, and upper part of the shoe, as these can be great early-warning detection indicators.
Q: Do I need waterproof footwear?
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. There is always the alternative of waterproofing the shoes yourself, as well.
Q: What’s better: lace-up or slip-on shoes?
A: Some wearers prefer footwear 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 is 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 lace-less 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 shoes. There are three types of arches:
- Neutral-arched (Natural Pronation) 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 slightly curve upwards.
- Low-arched (Overpronation) 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 will need more arch support, and a stabilized feel towards the heel will be best to make your feet feel more secure.
- High-arched (Underpronation) feet mean you have arches that are quite high and make for tension on your joints and muscles. Your feet will need less arch support; minimal is better.
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