15 Best Walking Shoes For Men & Women Reviewed

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.

Best Walking Shoes- nikes - man walking-

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 and made for a variety of activities in a myriad of environments.

Last Updated: August 11, 2017
By Mirisa Jewell:

Updated on this date, which is also the most recent update this page has had. Was the gathering and input of the Criteria and Frequently Asked Questions. This content provides the materials used to evaluate the best walking shoes. Topics such as; Proper fit, energy return, and how long a walking shoe lasts for.

Featured Recommendation

Sketchers Go Walk 3
  • Sketchers Go Walk 3
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Ortholite™ Footbed
  • Goga Mat Technology
  • Price: See Here
New Balance MW577
  • New Balance MW577
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Leather Upper
  • ABZORB Technology
  • Price: See Here
Tiosebon Mesh
  • Tiosebon Mesh
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Sleek Profile
  • Elastic Topline
  • Price: See Here

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 15 Best Walking Shoes for Men & Women to find you the perfect pair.

 

15 Best Walking Shoes

 

 

1. Sketchers Go Walk 3

Comfort is the term which best describes these pair of best walking shoes for men & women. Made with an Ortholite™ footbed in conjunction with an antimicrobial sockliner, you are certain to experience both comfort and the minimization of foot odor. In addition, a Resalyte midsole is in place to help absorb shock while you enjoy your next walk; thus, providing an environment to lower overall load rates.
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GOimpulse/Goga Pillars Responsive Sensors
These walking shoes are made with responsive sensors; meaning every step you take will have a return of energy feedback. This, in essence, is what 'bounce-back' is all about; a gentler experience on your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

Memory Foam Heel Cup
Memory Foam creates a better fit; thereby, allowing your feet to hold to your shoes; no rubbing and irritation, as a result of loose-fitting shoes. This, also, provides an environment conducive to custom, individual fit.

Cost and Value
This pair of best walking shoes for men & women has a wide range of cost association. Beginning in the low and heading into the lower-high range, these walking shoes are size dependent. With that being stated, however, these shoes are equipped with great technologies and are a great buy for the purchase price.
Pros
  • Ortholite™ Footbed
  • FitKnit Technology
  • GOimpulse/Goga Pillars Responsive Sensors
  • Memory Foam Heel Cup
  • Goga Mat Technology
Cons
  • Wide Pricing Range

2. New Balance MW577

These simple best walking shoes for men & women are made to not look overbearing in appearance. Moreover, they are made with shock-absorbing ABZORB technology, a leather upper, a PU midsole, and a rubber outsole; allowing you a comfortable experience for your feet, as you walk your way through the day and/or use them as an exercise walking tool.
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Leather Upper
The leather upper 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.

Foam-Padded Collar and Tongue
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.

Cost and Value
The best walking shoes for men & women are budget-friendly. Furthermore, they are equipped with shock-absorbent technology, have a padded collar and tongue, and a PU midsole. As such, these shoes are worth the buy.
Pros
  • Rubber Outsole
  • PU Midsole
  • Foam-Padded Collar and Tongue
  • ABZORB Technology
  • Leather Upper
Cons
  • Minimal Color Variety

3. Rockport Eureka

The Rockport Eureka, the James Bond of walking shoes, is one dashing piece of footwear. Made from soft leather with a rubber sole, it has a lace-up front, seam stitching, and an unassumingly thick sole. It, basically, looks like a nice dress shoe that’s been reinforced with the best ergonomic technology, in order to provide you with a walking shoe which looks like no walking shoe you’ve ever seen before.
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Comfort
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.

Functionality
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. 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, a nice restaurant, touring around Europe, or in 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 wearing.
Pros
  • Elegant Design
  • Flexible Footbed
  • Cushioned Heel and Vamp
  • Quality Leather
Cons
  • Minimal arch support

4. Easy Spirit Romy

4. Easy Spirit Romy
The Easy Spirit Romy shoes aren’t designed just for walking but their extra cushioning and extremely padded construction make them ideal for it. For use in moderate athletic activities like at the gym or at a spin class, they provide the support you need to keep your energy high and your feet feeling fatigue-free. These are the perfect shoe for errand running, long field trips involving lots of sightseeing, and/or meeting up with friends for a speed walk to catch up around your neighborhood. Never feel foot pain from mowing your lawn again!
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Comfort
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.

Functionality
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.
Pros
  • Padded Collar and Tongue
  • Cushioned Midsole
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Ideal for walking
Cons
  • Minimal Arch Support

5. New Balance MW411V2

5. New Balance MW411V2
New Balance is known, primarily, as an athletic shoe company; helping athletes achieve their fitness goals with shoes that provide superior comfort, performance, and quality. The New Balance MW411V2 shoes are the result of research and development into the needs of their customers; focusing on what’s important to them and not the latest trend. For a walking shoe to be great, it has to be comfortable and able to provide slow wear over time.
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Comfort
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 made of mesh for more flexibility and a full range of motion. Also, if your feet sweat, it has a lining that wicks moisture away.

Functionality
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 are unassuming enough in appearance so as to be worn at work and/or at a leisure activity without a problem.

Cost and Value
At a lower cost compared to some of the 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!
Pros
  • Reinforced Heel Support
  • Leather and Mesh Upper
  • Cushioned Midsole
  • Flexible
Cons
  • Minimal Color Variety

6. Rockport M7100 Milprowlkr

6. Rockport M7100 Milprowlkr
Inspired by an Oxford-style approach, these shoes have a classic, prestigious appeal to them. Moreover, this pair of best walking shoes for men & women have an EVA midsole, rubber outsole, leather upper, and utilize Strobel technology to help give you the best fit possible; bringing you comfort while you walk. As such, you can enjoy your favorite activity in style.
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EVA Midsole
This midsole creates a comfortable experience for your feet. Moreover, comfortable feet means less fatigue while walking. As such, you just might make that next mile marker a little easier.

Rubber Outsole
A rubber outsole allows you to lower the worries of slipping, as rubber provides an anti-slip environment. Furthermore, better traction, also, means greater stability. With greater stability, your feet will be thankful.

Cost and Value
These best walking shoes for men & women are very, affordable. Priced in the lower-to-mid range, they will make a great addition to your walking shoe collection, as they are made classy and have a breathable, leather upper.
Pros
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Walking Platform Construction
  • Strobel Technology
  • EVA Midsole
  • Leather Upper
Cons
  • Minimal Color Variety

7. Vionic Walker Classic

7. Vionic Walker Classic
One of the more traditional walking shoes on this list, the Vionic Walker Classic brings together all of the features of an athletic shoe with the added cushion and comfort of a walking shoe. Like an athletic shoe, it is constructed of a combination of fabric mesh uppers and leather overlays; making it both breathable and durable. Furthermore, it has a sockliner and a flexible sole.
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Comfort
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.

Functionality
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 realigns 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 walking shoes because they’re made with orthotic comfort specifically in mind.
Pros
  • Designed by Podiatrists
  • Removable Orthotic Insert
  • Orthaheel Motion-controlling Footbed
  • Embedded Heel Cup
Cons
  • Size runs wide

8. Ryka Sky

8. Ryka Sky
Don’t let its slick sporty outlines fool you. This is a walking shoe; albeit, it may look like a running shoe in appearance. It has all the best features of a powerful athletic shoe. It, also, has good breathability and comfort while not skimping on traction or flexibility, because walking can mean serious business. The Ryka Sky is perfect for those that want to convey to the world that they’re a person of purpose because these shoes will, definitely, get you where you need to go with superior-performance standards.
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Comfort
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.

Functionality
Primarily designed with dedicated fitness walkers in mind, the Ryka Sky walking shoe is easy 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 walking shoes on the market.
Pros
  • Memory Foam Insole
  • Great Traction
  • Lightweight
  • Lace-up
Cons
  • Size runs small

9. New Balance MW877

9. New Balance MW877
These sneaker-style best walking shoes for men & women are made with a mesh upper; providing your feet with a drier environment. Furthermore, they have been created to bring you comfort with a foam-padded collar and tongue. In addition, a rubber outsole is in place which promotes greater traction; thereby, reducing the chance for slipping.
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Mesh Upper
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.

ABZORB Midsole
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.

Cost and Value
These best walking shoes for men & women are budget-friendly; 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.
Pros
  • ABZORB Midsole
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Walking Strike Path Technology
  • Padded Tongue and Collar
  • Mesh Upper
Cons
  • Minimal Color Variety

10. Skechers Go Step Challenge

10. Skechers Go Step Challenge
With a Perform-Tex upper, rubber outsole, and Goga Mat Insole, this pair of best walking shoes takes a ballet-flat approach. This means they are lightweight, provide g0reat traction, and are ideal for walking indoors, like places at the mall. Moreover, these shoes bring you comfortability and look great, too.
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Goga Mat Insole
This insole promotes greater comfortability with 'bounce-back return.' In other words, when you take a step, a portion of that energy is returned; allowing you easier fluidity in motion.

Wide Color Variety
These best walking shoes for men & women have a wide range of color availability. This allows you to choose to your personality, your wardrobe, or just for the sheer enjoyment of changing colors.

Cost and value
With pricing ranging in the lower-to-mid range of cost association, this pair of best walking shoes for men & women is budget-friendly. Furthermore, they have a ballet-flat stylistic approach and look great. As such, you will not be disappointed with these shoes.
Pros
  • Rubber Outsole
  • Goga Mat Insole
  • Perform-Tex Upper
  • Wide Color Variety
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Better for indoor walking

11. Brooks Addiction Walker

11. Brooks Addiction Walker
Brooks is a pretty heavy hitter in the market of comfortable, contemporary everyday walking shoes and the Addiction Walker is no different. A lot of attention to detail and care has gone into the development of these best walking shoes for men & women; everything from eliminating overpronation to including a sock liner and adding a dual-density post for extra arch support along the midsole.
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Comfort
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.

Functionality
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 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 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 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 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.
Pros
  • Dual-density Post
  • Hydroflow Technology
  • Gel fluid Cups
  • Green-friendly
Cons
  • Size runs narrow

12. Tiosebon Mesh

12. Tiosebon Mesh
This pair of best walking shoes for men & women is made to be lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. Created with 'green' in mind, these shoes are made for those who care about a healthier environment, especially, their feet. Furthermore, these walking shoes are unique in their aesthetic design and might be the talk of those around you.
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Mesh Upper
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.

Pigskin Insole
Part of the 'green' approach these best walking shoes for men & women are made from, a pigskin insole promotes comfortability. In addition, this insole allows these shoes to remain lighter; thereby, reducing fatigue levels.

Cost and Value
These best walking shoes for men & women have great aesthetic appeal. Moreover, they are made to breathe and promote good foot health. The best of all, however, they are very, affordable and with every penny.
Pros
  • MD Outsole
  • Pigskin Insole
  • 'Green' Design
  • Latex Arch Insert
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Not ideal for wet conditions

13. Sketchers Empire Rock

13. Sketchers Empire Rock
It’s not surprising to feature another Sketchers addition to our list of walking shoes, especially, given the renown of the brand for providing the best in the industry of lifestyle footwear. Though these walking shoes have a lace-up front, they have the convenient appeal of a slip-on shoe. Their lightweight feel and flexibility make them both comfortable and highly maneuverable.
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Comfort
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 anklebone 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.

Versatility
The Sport Empire Rock comes in a variety of colors and stylings. 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.

Cost and Value
These Sketchers 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.
Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Slip-on Design
  • Great Flexibility
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Break-in Period

14. ASICS MetroLyte

14. ASICS MetroLyte
The upper is created to allow your feet to breathe, as you hit those long walks. A breathable environment is a must-have when considering foot sweat as the leading cause of bacteria growth inside of a shoe; dampness promoting a bacterium happy place, per se. In addition to fighting foot sweat, These shoes have a low-profile midsole, WET GRIP outsole, and a contoured arch. As such, you will remain more comfortable with these best walking shoes for men & women.
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WET GRIP Outsole
The outsole is great for walking across those un-expectant surfaces which could be semi-wet. This is safer for your walking experience and as such, you can concentrate more on the walk and worry less about slipping.

Comfordry Sockliner
This full-length sockliner has moisture-wicking properties; thereby, helping to keep your feet both cool and dry, as you walk throughout your day. Furthermore, the sockliner is removable for easier cleaning.

Cost and Value
These shoes are budget-friendly; ranging from low-to-mid in cost association. They are lightweight and provide ample traction for traversing semi-wet surfaces. As such, these best walking shoes for men & women are ideal for adding to your walking shoe collection.
Pros
  • Man-made
  • ComforDry Sockliner
  • Low-profile Midsole
  • WET GRIP Outsole
  • Contoured Arch
Cons
  • Size runs small

15. Mephisto Match

15. Mephisto Match
When it comes to low profile and unassuming walking shoes that you can wear anywhere, the Mephisto Match walking shoe is one of the best. Like the Brooks Addiction Walker and the New Balance MW411V2, it is a basic lace-up oxford that, because of its streamlined look and simple lines, doesn’t telegraph as a walking shoe. You can have all the comfort of an orthopedic piece of footwear while not sacrificing the rest of your look in the process. You’ll look put-together and, because you’re comfortable, feel relaxed and confident.
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Comfort
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.

Functionality
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 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.
Pros
  • D-ring Lace-up Front
  • Leather Upper
  • Soft-Air Technology
  • Caoutchouc Rubber Outsole
Cons
  • Men's sizes only

 

Best Walking Shoes- person 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 (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, walking is the way the majorities 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

 

Breathability/Ventilation

Best Walking Shoes- shoe mesh

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 walking shoes have a moisture-wicking liner that helps to prevent bacteria building up, especially, if you walk a lot and perspire.

Traction/Grip

Best Walking Shoes-outsole and grip

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 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 does. 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.

Weight

Best Walking Shoes- lightweight shoe

The weight of a walking shoe 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 much since they’re mostly for comfort and support and made from materials that, generally, aren’t very heavy.

Shock Absorption

Best Walking Shoes-cushioned inserts

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 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.

Comfort/Flexibility

Best Walking Shoes-flexibility

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, 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 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).

Proper Fit

Best Walking Shoes- proper fit

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 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 walking shoes that are the proper fit ensures comfort and a callus-free/blister-free walking experience.

Energy Return

Best Walking Shoes- energy return

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.

 

FAQ

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. 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 walking 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 Walking Shoes have a Thicker Outsole?
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 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. 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: 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. There is always the alternative of waterproofing the shoes yourself, as well.

Q: Are Lace-up or Slip-on Walking Shoes 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 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 walking 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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