The Top 10 Best Walking Shoes Reviewed & Tested
Detailed and thorough analysis of the top 10 best walking shoes available in 2017. Must read if you are a serious Walker, Hiker or Active person!
Finding The Best Walking Shoes
Not everyone likes to or has to run. A great way to get many of the benefits running offers (without the strain on your body) is to walk. Walking is one of the most basic actions humans being do, but many times people take it for granted.
What to Look For When Buying a Pair of Walking Shoes
Perhaps injuries have slowed you down, your days of cranking through marathons have past, or you simply prefer a more sedate pace. If any of the above is true for you walking can be a great alternative.
1. Asics GEL-Quickwalk 2 SL
- AHAR+ protective outsole
- Gel support system to absorb shock
- Rubber constructed outsole
- Leather upper, does well when wet
- Only black or white available
2. New Balance 1065
The ultra-lightweight FantomFit upper consists of two very thin layers of material which are fused together instead of sewn, to reduce irritation points within the shoe. Thin and lightweight construction of the upper allows exceptional breathability for longer walks.
The comfort of the 1065v1 comes from the shoe's REVlite midsole. This innovative material is able to provide the same or better cushioning and responsiveness as foam compounds which are up to 30% heavier and bulkier.This keeps this model lightweight enough for longer use.
Stability / Traction
The 1065v1 is even a good choice for those with overpronation. There is a medial post on the inside section of the shoe which provides the necessary support needed for correction. The outsole doesn't really have an aggressive tread, but it does provide an appropriate amount of grip on most encounter walking surfaces.
Additionally, the outsole is designed with flex grooves which guides a more natural walking gait.
We weren't really able to find many critical reviews or complaints regarding quality or lasting durability. However, we did find a small amount of feedback which suggested that there may be some issues with sizing. Generally, customer feedback would lead us to recommend that you may want to consider going a half size up with this one.
- Flex grooves help guide the walking gait
- lightweight and breathable upper design
- REVlite midsole provides the same or more comfort and support as heavier foam materials
- Medial post provides appropriate support for overpronation
- Sizing runs about a half size small
3. Asics GEL-Tech Walker Neo 4
- Highly cushioned, soft on the feet
- Breathable and lightweight
- Removable insoles
- Padded collar and tongue, no friction
- Only two color choices
4. Brooks Beast 16
The shoe's full length S-257 Cushsole midsole is what really does it here. It uses an insole board which provides increased comfort as well as flexibility. Severe overpronation is correctly supported due to the rigid shank in the midfoot, while still allowing independent function of the forefoot and heel.
These allow a decent amount of airflow through the lightweight upper, mostly constructed of Brooks' Element Mesh, which offers good protection from weather and dirt. The structure and durability of the shoe's upper is partly maintained by the added non-stitched overlays that are strategically placed over the mesh.
Beast is a great name for these, as they don't seem to get a whole lot of customer reviews which are critical of their durability. They seem to last through much of what you throw at them, and keep you moving down the road.
- Decent breathability through the lightweight mesh upper
- Ideal for severe overpronators
- The Cushsole midsole provides lasting cushion and flexibility
- This one seems to be a bit narrower than the previous version
5. Nike Free 5.0+
- Extremely lightweight
- Ergonomic design for maximum comfort, fits like a sock
- Halfway lace for a tight fit
- Many color and design options, reflective
- Could use a bit more support
6. Adidas NEO Cloudfoam Vs City
- Classic Adidas three stripe design
- Seamless toe cap and mesh/synthetic upper
- Gripped out-sole for walking on any surface
- Cloudfoam sock liner for comfort and superior fit
- a few felt the sizing was a bit off
7. Asics GT-2000 4
- Ideal choice for those with knee pain
- A wide range of color options
- GEL cushioning
- Decent breathability
- A bit expensive
8. New Balance 840v3
As mentioned above, the strong point of the 840v3 is the plush cushioning of their full length EVA midsole with ABZORB shock absorbing foam. This layer of foam in the build of the midsole disperses the shock from impact, allowing bounce back and protection.
The upper is put together pretty well, consisting of an outer layer of sparse mesh covering the Phantom liner which actually maintains the structural integrity of the shoe. The combination is really quite breathable, offering decent airflow for those longer walks.
The tread on the outsole is ideal for walking. It isn't at all aggressive, but does provide a good amount of grip on most surfaces that one would likely encounter when out on a walk. The traction is made better by the addition of the blown rubber which covers the treads.
The durability of the 840 is pretty good, although there are a small amount customer feedback which is critical toward some of the materials used in the shoe's build, but we really couldn't find enough of those reports that would lead us to believe these aren't well made. In fact we think these will last plenty of steps without issue.
- Exceptional amount of cushioning
- Excellent breathability
- Blown rubber covering the tread adds durability
- Full-length foam strobel board adds support and comfort
- Some felt the sizing was different from the previous version
9. Rockport Chranson Walking Shoe
- Exceptional heel cushioning and shock absorption provided by ADIPRENE technology from Adidas
- Secure and protective upper construction
- Durable EVA rubber outsole
- Excellent grip on various types of surfaces
- Not as breathable as some would like
10. New Balance 769 Walking Shoe
- ABZORB Cushioning provides great shock absorption
- The midsole is lightweight yet supportive
- Perforated portions in the forefoot offer decent ventilation
- Reasonably priced
- They may not offer the same breathability that you may find in a running or jogging shoe
Us guys tend to internalize some variation of macho culture when it comes to working out, but there is no shame in walking. Walking can be meditative, perhaps in some ways more so than running (due to the lower energy expenditure). A brisk 20 minute daily walk can be a great addition to any fitness regime. Conversely if you want to be more serious about it, long distance walking can be just as taxing as any form of running.
The Criteria We Used For Our Evaluation Of Suitable Walking Shoes
How much comfort do they provide for most walkers?
While comfort can be relative to an individual level, quality components and careful construction are not. We made sure to select shoes that had the best chance at providing the most comfort to the widest range of individuals. Walking conditions and past injuries are never the same for two different people yet flexible midsoles and lightweight materials help make walking more of an enjoyment and less a chore. Our buying guide is packed with great all around walkers with high comfort levels.
Whether going short or long distances, walkers of all skill levels prefer a shoe with excellent ventilation and zero hotspots. This is why our selections contain lighter and more airy materials, especially on the upper section of the shoes. When uppers are constructed with synthetic fabrics and seamless overlays, they results are very cool and breathable shoes.
Style and Technology
There’s no need to have to choose between form and function when selecting a high quality walking shoe. Manufacturers have been outdoing themselves time and time again when it comes to cramming their walking shoes with the latest in shoe-tech. When paired with a sharp design, you are able to get the best of both worlds and sport some footwear that really makes a statement. So no matter if you’re walking to the local coffee shop or clear across town, you’re sure to showoff your sense of style.
While some walk for the passion, others walk as part of their occupation. Walking shoes should be able to transition between work and play while offering the maximum amount of performance to the wearer. We’ve taken users from all walks of life into consideration when compiling our list and made sure that we’ve covered the gambit. So whether you work on your feet all day, or go on long walks at the end of your day, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Support where and when it counts
According to walkers, it’s necessary to put a significant amount of usage into a walking shoe until you find it’s true support levels. This is because padded materials and memory foam tend to lose their structural integrity after a short time if they are not high quality. Again, this is were research into long term users and their daily habits becomes of benefit. We made sure that the long term support of materials withstood high wear over long periods of time.
Flexibility in the Soles
Our experience with footwear gives us insight into subtle differences that most walkers and runners aren’t aware of. The foot of a walker hits heel first then gradually rolls from heel to toe. While most runners worry about their particular strike pattern, while walking may be completely different. This is why a flexible outsole should be flexible and less rigid than typical running shoes. Midsoles also need to give a little and provide a little more bend. We listened to what users had to say about how the walking shoes performed as a cohesive unit.
Other Important Factors To Consider When Selecting The Best Walking Shoes
While we have researched through a plethora of feedback and data when compiling our list, we understand that in order to truly get the most out of your walking shoes, you must make a selection that makes sense for your purposes and what you plan to do with them. Below you will find some personal factors to take into consideration when making your choice. These walking shoes will be you companions when heading out, and in a way, should be an extension of you. In addition, our guide is provided with the goal in mind on helping you make a smart decision that is tailored to you.
What will you be doing in these walking shoes, and where will they take you?
It’s important to take the time and consider what you will be doing in these shoes. If you’re occupation keeps you on your feet all day and you come across wet surfaces then you may want to consider a low key, OSHA certified option. Likewise, if you’re going to be walking outdoors on the trails, you want to look for weather proof options that have a little more of an aggressive outsole. We found that city walkers typically look for a running shoe/walking shoe mixture that can be more versatile on a day to day basis. Make sure your selection is based on your needs first, then on style. Fancy uppers will not hold up on walking trails, nor will hiking shoes work out too well during the midnight shift at your local diner.
Know How to Properly Size Your Shoes.
Most runners and walkers agree that their feet swell to some extent towards the end of the day or after a strenuous outing. Take this into consideration when making your decision. Remember that you want these shoes to fit you best when you are on longer walks and utilizing them in more taxing role. Walking around in a shoe store won’t really give you a good idea, it’s important that you are your best agent. We suggest sizing your feet at the end of the day to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable walk.
Make a Selection Based on Your Environment.
There are plenty of options to choose from in terms of materials and construction. You know your city or town, commute, and daily routine better than anyone else. If you are going to be walking around in a climate that is hot or humid, you may want to select a walking shoe that is comprised of synthetic fibers and lightweight mesh for temperature control and breathability. A walking shoe that keeps your feet nice and breezy on a hot day can make all the difference in the world. If you know that your city or town is particularly rainy, then try to steer clear away from walking shoes that have a knitted upper, as these will get wet and stay wet for the majority of the day. Instead, try looking for walking shoes that have an upper that will not be affected by rain and that you could simply wipe off and keep on going throughout your day. Making sure that you take your environment and climate into consideration will also increase the life of your footwear, but more importantly: it will keep your feet happy.
Think about special requirements for a wider foot.
Think of the motion that your feet go through while walking. The repetitive nature of slowly planting your feet and rolling can become unpleasant if you are in a shoe that is to narrow for your feet. This is why it is crucial that you select a walking shoe that is wide enough. Our buying guide provides options that walkers with wider feet found to be looser and more comfortable for them. The side to side fit of a shoe should be snug, not tight. If you are a female walker with a wider foot, try a boy’s or men’s shoe as they are a little wider. Additionally, look for a nice and roomy toe box that will keep you walking longer with less discomfort.
Finally, Pick a Style That You Like.
You’ve taken everything into consideration to ensure that you have a proper fit and have a great match for how your going to be enjoying your new walking shoes. Don’t overlook style when making your selection. Studies demonstrate that when walkers or runners are happy with the overlook of their footwear, they are more likely to use them more often and for longer periods of time. Motivation is the cornerstone of any healthy regimen and being proud to show off your new walking shoes may be just the nudge you need to get out there and walk.
Here are some frequently asked questions that most walkers encountered when making their decision. Hopefully, they will help you along your way when you are making your decision.
Q: I have some old tennis shoes at the back of my closet; can’t I just use those for walking?
A: Not a good idea. While walking is less intense than running, it still provides a good amount of aerobic exercise and can provide you will great cardio benefits. You want a fresh pair of walking shoes to give achieve the maximum amount of benefits that walking can provide. You’re not going to get the same amount of comfort, support, or protection from those old beat-up tennis shoes.
Q: How often should I replace my walking shoes?
A: The general consensus is every three hundred to five hundred miles. It’s important to remember not to go based on appearance. The walking shoe may look like it still has life left in it, however the inner support me already be worn out. If you plan on walking daily and over longer periods of time, consider rotating between two different pairs. That way the midsole (typically comprised of gel, foam, or cushioning) can recover and give you the adequate amount of “spring” to your step.
Q: Do I have to break in my walking shoes?
A: No, and yes. Allow for some clarification: While walking shoes don’t technically require a “breaking in” period, it’s a good idea to wear them around the house or on shorter walks if you are planning to go out on a long excursion. This is just to make sure that you have the right fit, not really to break in the shoe. Take this time to make sure that your heel feels secure and that you have plenty of room in the toe box to wiggle your toes. This will ensure that you can go on a long, leisurely walk without having anything to worry about.
Q: Can I wear orthotic insoles with my walking shoes?
A: Absolutely. If you have over the counter orthotics that you are comfortable with or if your podiatrist have assigned a custom pair for you, it’s a great idea to incorporate them into your walking regimen. In fact, we made sure to list the models that offer a removable inner sole that can be a great fit for this very purpose.
This was our approach when selecting the right pair of walking shoes. Remember that walking consistently can offer a wide range of the same health benefits on par with running, while lowering the chance of injury. Whatever your age or experience level, incorporating just a little bit of running in your day can have an enormous impact on your overall health and mood. We hope this guide provided you with all the information you need when making you choice between some of the best walking shoes on the market today. Thanks for following along with us. Now lace up those new walking shoes and start a refreshing, healthy habit!
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
It’s important to use a wide range of sources to ensure quality information. We like to utilize trusted clinical partners and manufactures when providing our readers with the most up-to-date statistics found in all our buying guides. We are also very interested in taking what everyday users have to say about specific products, and we perform our due diligence to make sure that quality research goes into every guide. Here are some sources which helped us with this guide: