Best Shoes For Walking | 2021 Buying Guide
The good news is that we've performed hours of research and testing to put together the list of the best walking shoes. All so you don't have to.
Peruse the guide and find the perfect walking shoe today.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The most important feature for anyone looking for a quality pair of shoes is they need to be comfortable! No shoe is worth anything if your feet hurt during and after a walk.
Comfort is one of those things that depends on the individual. We looked at the features each shoe provides to increase your comfort levels, but at the end of the day how comfortable they actually depend on your preferences as well as your anatomy.
That being said, we made sure to select shoes that had the best chance at providing the widest range of individuals with adequate comfort and support—regardless of their physical condition or past injuries. You will find that many of the shoes on our list have flexible midsoles, a roomy toe box, and are made of lightweight materials, so you may enjoy all-day comfort while you're on your feet.
Airflow is critical to keeping your feet comfortable during your walks. Without good breathability, your feet will get hot and sweaty and you will be more prone to blisters and bruising. So keep your feet comfortable with good breathability!
Comfort and breathability often go hand in hand. If your shoes aren’t breathable then you are more likely to develop sores, chafing, and other uncomfortable side effects. Breathable shoes are made of mesh and provide excellent ventilation.
You will find that the most comfortable shoes often come with a breathable mesh upper that allows for optimal airflow. This will help keep your feet cool and dry during all of your runs. Breathable shoes will evaporate the sweat away, which will prevent blisters, hot spots, and soggy socks.
There are many styles of walking shoes to choose from and everyone featured on our list allows you to get a stylish look without giving up any of the other features you want and need like support and durability!
While style is not the first thing you should look for, nowadays you no longer have to sacrifice style to have a good shoe. Manufacturers have listened to their customers’ requests for fashionable, comfortable, and durable shoes. So no matter if you’re heading to the local coffee shop or clear across town, you’re sure to show off your sense of style.
However, it's important not to make your decision solely on style. Make sure to consider everything you need and the features you require--for example, if you have wide feet then make sure you first make sure the shoe is a good fit for those with wide feet. Once you know the shoe fits all of your needs then you can start making your choices based on style--and you'll be surprised to find that there are quite a few shoes that come in lots of color and design options.
Everyone needs good arch support from their shoes, but this is especially true if you have problems with your feet such as underpronation, bunions, high arches, or other conditions that make walking painful or difficult.
Read also about best running shoes for long distance.
Read also about the best running shoes for long-distance.
We can tell you that you can’t tell how much support a shoe truly offers until you have worn it well past that “break-in” period. Again, this is where 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.
However, we made sure to look at in-depth reviews and the features each shoe provides. There are many on our list with additional cushioning for added support, removable sock liners, and special technology for shock absorption.
Regarding support though, you should always consider adding insoles to your walking shoes for an added layer of cushioned support. Take a peek at our list of the best gel inserts here.
Walk shoes need to have a certain degree of flexibility in order to be comfortable and effective. A flexible shoe can more easily grip the ground and helps ensure you have good traction and don’t easily lose your footing!
Our experience with footwear gives us insight into subtle differences that most people aren’t aware of. The foot typically hits the heel first then gradually rolls from heel to toe. This means that you will benefit from a flexible upper, midsole, and outsole unit so that your feet can move naturally and encourage a proper stride.
Just remember that flexibility is an important feature you shouldn't overlook. Flexibility allows for your natural stride and ensures you get the most out of your walk. The shoe with the right amount of flexibility will adjust to your pace and prevent plantar fasciitis and other painful side effects from occurring.
Top 8 Most Comfortable Walking Sneakers
1. Hoka One One Bondi 7
The same stability and cushioning properties also make Hoka's Bondi 7 a great shoe for walking. These especially make all the difference on those long walks, where you might find yourself going up and down the hilly ground or moving at a faster pace while power walking.Read more
You don't have to be a hardcore runner to benefit from Hoka's cushioned support. The Bondi 7 further improves some of the stability features and breathability properties that made version 6 work so well.
At first glance, the Bondi, like a lot of the shoes from Hoka, looks like a big clunky shoe. Let's be honest. It is a good-looking shoe but does appear to have much more mass than some lower profile models that many other brands are putting out in recent years.
The shoe, even though thickly soled, is very light. And that thick sole provides the cushioning and remarkable responsiveness that gets the brand on the feet of many runners and fitness walkers alike. We like this one a lot for distance walking as much as we like it for long runs on steady surfaces.
2. ASICS Gel-Contend 5 SL
What we love most about the Gel-Contend line of trainers is that they offer great support and cushioning without big and bulky materials weighing you down. Gel-Contend 5 has marked improvements that are more lightweight and easy to wear than previous iterations. The best part? It comes in at a super affordable price point.Read more
The most notable feature of this option is that it boasts a 10 mm drop. This higher differential between the toes and the heel help to absorb the impact from your knees and lower back. The midsole is composed of Amplifoam technology that helps absorb the impact of each and every step.
Many walking shoes boast a stiff and structured upper that isn’t very breathable. The Gel-Contend 5 works to correct that. It is made from a soft mesh knit upper that promotes airflow to keep your feet cool and dry. It also provides modest cushioning in the tongue as well as the heel.
If you are in the market for something lightweight and easy that you can wear all day long, this is a great option from Asics. It offers a good deal of support and cushioning without feeling too heavy or bulky. It is made from quality materials that hold up well over time and comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
3. OOFOS OOmg
OOFOS may not have the brand power of Nike or New Balance, but they are a brand that is certainly worth checking out. This design ventures away from traditional materials to add a lot of extra cushioning between your feet in the ground. In fact, they are highly regarded as a great recovery shoe to ease your tired feet and joints.Read more
The most notable feature of the OOmg sneaker is that it is made from a very thick layer of unique foam that is only found in this brand that absorbs up to 37 percent more impact than traditional foams, such as EVA. YOur feet absolutely sink into the squishy foam on the footbed and are comforted with each and every step.
Another thing that users love about this sneaker is that it has a super lightweight and easy design. There are no laces, so you simply need to slip your feet inside before hitting the road. The upper is composed of a breathable mesh knit that helps circulate airflow to hot and tired feet.
If you are in the market for something that really helps that the impact off of your feet, this is a great option. With ample and unmatched cushioning in the midsole, you can stay on your feet long without your feet aching. Users wear them when out running errands all day, or as an alternative shoe after a workout out at the gym.
4. New Balance 860v11
Though a running shoe, the New Balance 860v11 is another example of a shoe that is also perfect for walking at a faster pace for longer distances. The overall support, stability, and fit are all in tune with what makes a super comfortable and effective walking shoe.Read more
If you're looking for a walking shoe purely for exercise purposes, and don't need to fit into a specific style for workplace dress codes or safety requirements, this running shoe is a great option.
Through the years we have watched the evolution of New Balance's 860 series, all the way up to the current version 11, and we've seen this model add feature after feature to evolve into a true performance shoe, which works really well for power walking.
5. Reebok Walk Ultra 7 DMX Max
Simplicity and structure is the name of the game with this style from Reebok. It is composed of sturdy and durable materials that cradle and support your foot with each and every step. It offers a lot of cushioning not only in the midsole but also in the heel and tongue. Plus, it comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.Read more
Our favorite feature of this design lies in the super supportive DMX cushioning found in the midsole. The soft foam transitions support from your heel all the way to the tips of your toes with each and every step. They may be a little heavier than most, but they are well worth the easy bulk if you are on your feet all way.
The upper is not very breathable, but it is made from stiff textiles that help cradle and support your foot. The cushioning to your feet doesn’t just end at the bottoms, it also provides extra cushioning in the tops of your feet as well. Additional padding in the heel and tongue gives you 360 degrees of cushioning and support!
The Walk Ultra 7 DMX Max from Reebok is a great choice for those that want something that offers unmatched support. It is important to note that due to the ruse of heavy and bulky materials, these sneakers tend to run a little hot, and aren’t as breathable as most.
However, if you like to walk in cooler climates, this slight problem may be a desirable feature for your chilly morning walks.
6. Skechers Go Walk 5
Who needs laces? The newest addition to the Go Walk like from Skechers made this just a little bit easier by ditching the laces for an easier (and more lightweight) design. Users love this updated model because it serves as the perfect sneaker to slip on after a grueling session at the gym, or for running simple errands.Read more
The upper of this design is made from a lightweight mesh knit with minimal seam lines. The fewer seam lines mean there are fewer areas that can rub or dig into your skin. It also boasts a structured and padded heel for additional support.
Inside, it boasts comfort pillar technology that provides excellent energy feedback and support with each and every step. You can actually feel the midsole squish under your feet as you walk. The outsole is made from dual-density Ultra Go that really grips surfaces, even when they are slightly slippery from an afternoon rain shower.
You can’t really go wrong with a pair of Sketchers. We love the Go Walk 5 because it is made from simple yet effective materials that are built to help keep your feet cool and comfortable no matter where the day takes you. Plus, they come in at a pair point that enables you to buy a few different colors!
7. Brooks Addiction 14
If you want stability and comfort to last all day, Brooks is the brand that has you covered. What we liked most about the Additiocio 14 is that it provides wearers with a lot of support without weighing them down. The biggest update to the Addition style is that the upper is now made from a lightweight breathable mesh material. It may pack a hefty price tag, but it is well worth it, especially if you love racking up the steps throughout the day.Read more
While the inside provides wearers with a lot of support, the upper is lightweight and easy. Many walking trainers boast heavy and bulky uppers that aren’t very breathable. Brooks works to change that signal by offering a lightweight mesh upper that still offers a stability cage to keep you from overpronation.
As with all Brooks trainers, this design uses BioMoGo DNA foam in the midsole that provides excellent energy feedback with each and every step. What makes the BioMoGo DNA great is that it adapts to everyone’s unique gait. This means that no matter how you walk, this midsole will be able to adapt to give you unmatched comfort.
If you are on the market for something that comes from a trusted brand, Addiction 14 is a great choice. It is made from quality materials that hold up well over hundreds of miles of continued use. It may cost a lot more than some of the other designs that we have seen so far, but we feel that given the durability, it is an excellent value.
8. Saucony Grid Omni
When looking for a top-rated sneaker for exercising with comfort and support, the name Saucony often comes to mind for users with foot complaints and high expectations. The Saucony Grid Omni Walking Shoe is a carefully designed shoe within their massive range that lures buyers in with the promise that it “pampers your foot as you take each step”, which suggests the ideal source of comfort and care on a long walk.Read more
This shoe provides both amazing cushioning and stability, resulting in a safe and balanced stride. The Saucony Grid Omni Walking Shoe also features a Walk Trac patented outsole, designed for smooth transitions while walking. The engineered Asymmetrical Sole provides a more biomechanical fit. Includes a premium sock liner for enhanced cushioning and comfort. These women's walk shoes are constructed from a responsive EVA/rubber compound that provides plenty of cushioning and support in the right places.
Just like any other shoes from Saucony, the Saucony Omni Walking Shoe is affordable and is a good investment in terms of purchasing a good walking shoe.
This is definitely an athletic women's walking shoe to help people go further when they feel they are not able and while there aren’t many color choices in the male or female ranges, there are vast sizing options and some interesting components. This includes the rear foot grid system for stability, biomechanical fit, and large toe box, features that have aided tendonitis and other conditions and offered a comfortable way to continue walking.