Hey there! Reggie here – your personal “walking shoe guru.”
Here’s the problem…
When looking at buying the best shoes to go on walks with, you might have had to choose between style and comfort only to find out the nice looking shoes you did buy caused blisters, aches, and decreased energy.
That’s because there is a lot that goes into picking the perfect shoe for walking besides how it looks. In order to make sure you’re picking a shoe that fits right and supports your unique foot, you need to ask yourself these 7 quick questions.
How to Choose the Best Walking Shoes For You
I recommend watching this quick video (source eHow) that covers these 7 questions in only 3 minutes.
If you prefer, you can instead read our article, Find Your Sole Mate: How to Choose The Best Shoes for Walkers.
Our Ultimate Walking Shoe Picks
Now that you know what type of shoes to buy, here are our two favorite walking shoes (one for women and one for men) that you can buy today in terms of quality, fit, comfort, and reviews. I’m only listing shoes here that I know are good so you can take comfort in knowing these are some great quality footwear. To use this table, click the headings to sort the products how you wish.
Although this shoe is technically a running shoe, it provides increased stability, breathability, and fantastic arch support. This shoe is very popular among women for its vibrant color options and quick lacing technology. Bottom line: This shoe is hard not to love.
View more for women.
This pair of ASICS is by far the most ordered men’s shoe that we highlight here on CWS. Because of its great support and gel inserts technology, many people are saying it is the most comfortable pair of footwear they have ever worn and is so good they buy them over and over again.
View more for men.
What Makes a Shoe Good for Walking?
There are many different types of shoes (full list on Wikipedia) you can buy that are designed for certain activities. While all of these activities include the ability to be walked in (because they are shoes), there are certain shoes that are designed for the sole purpose of walking and comfort. These types of shoes are the ones that are featured on this site.
A shoe is designed as a walking shoe when its design is focused on comfort, fit, stability, and long use. The style and appearance of a shoe always comes second to the above factors. There are a few ways to determine if a shoe is specifically designed for walking.
If a shoe offers sizes for different widths of feet (medium and wide) then it most likely is designed with comfort and walking in mind. This is a dead give away that the design of the shoe is focused on the perfect fit and long term comfort. Most shoes that are available in multiple widths are very comfortable and will most likely be great for walking and other easy activities.
Another sign is if the shoe company advertises the shoe for walking specifically. Now that alone is not enough, but if the shoes have good reviews on Amazon and people are talking about how comfortable they are, then they most likely are great to walk in, too.
Are Running Shoes Different than Walking Shoes?
Shoes made for running and shoes made to walk in are designed and built completely different, but can sometimes have some similarities. and overlapping features.
Running shoes can definitely be used for walking, but sometimes they are not the best option. Running shoes are made with extra padding on the heel to absorb the impact of the front heel striking the ground with each stride. This puts an unnecessary tall heel on a shoe if it’s not being used for running. There are some running shoes with a slightly smaller heel, which would be fine.
Yes, you can use running shoes to go on walks in, but they won’t be the best shoes for walking if that’s what you mostly plan to do. Consider buying cross fit shoes or multi purpose athletic shoes (they look like running shoes), which will have a more even padding distribution under the sole. For walking, proper cushioning under the ball of your toes is just as important as cushioning for the heel.
How to Understand the Features of Walking Shoes
If you really want be able to pick out the best walking shoes, you need to know how to understand those funny words in the feature lists in the product descriptions. It will only take you a few extra minutes to understand them, but will make you a better and smarter shoe buyer.
The sole is the bottom part of the shoe and consists of three layers, which are the outsole, the midsole, and the insole. The outsole is the bottom part of the shoe that touches the ground. It is usually made of carbon rubber for durability and grip for various walking surfaces. You will see many shoes with designs on the bottom of the shoe, which is for grip. The aggressive lines, segments, and grooves on the outsole are for flexibility.
The midsole is directly above the outsole and is where most of the cushioning is. Product descriptions will usually tell you how much cushion is in their midsole and the technology it uses (air, gel, etc). The insole is located right above the midsole and is the removable piece of the shoe. The insole helps provide additional arch support and comfort. The reason it is removable is for the ability to clean them and for people who wish to replace them with another brand (not recommended).
The upper is a weird word used to describe the body of the shoe or everything above the sole and consists of the toe box and the heel counter. The toe box is pretty much the front of the shoe that houses your toes. It’s important to ensure your toes have some wiggle room, but not enough to hit the front of the shoe when you strike toe on the ground. The heel counter is the rear end of the shoe and hold your heel in place when taking each step. You will know if you pick the right size shoe if there is no slippage of the heel when taking a step. Manufactures will typically describe the material the upper is made of. Most manufactures use synthetic materials, because it helps with breathability. However, leather is still a great choice for the upper if you will mostly be going on walks in them.
While some people think they are for style only, reflectors on your shoes help reflect the light from car’s headlights giving yourself higher visibility if you choose to walk at night. Some shoes’ reflectors don’t work that well and some work really well. If you ever find that they aren’t reflecting enough, you can buy 3rd party reflective tabs to stick on them, although that might cramp your style.
The Top Brands
There are many different shoe manufacturers out there that make some pretty excellent shoes to go on walks in. Although there are definitely more than what’s provided below, we’ll cover the main ones. If you like a pair of shoes from a brand not on this list, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy them. It’s important to do your own research in that case.
Rockport is one of our favorite shoe brands today. They make some of the most comfortable and long lasting shoes out there today. What really makes them special though is that they have been able to take that comfort and durability into dressier and more stylish looking footwear. That’s why Rockport tends to have the best looking shoes out of anyone else.
Easily recognizable with the giant “N” logo on the side of every shoe they make, New Balance has become a top contender in athletic shoes. They are great for walkers and runners alike, because they make a lot of their styles in multiple widths. Millions of people choose New Balance and often time become customers for life.
Brooks is becoming a very popular brand among women and men, because they offer multiple sizes and widths for each of their styles. Most of their footwear’s looks isn’t anything to write home about, but many people swear these are the best shoes for walkers.
A little less known than some of the other major brands out there, but Saucony is a huge footwear manufacturer that offers many different types of athletic shoes with various widths and arch types. Saucony is a specialty company and put a lot of technology and research into their products. Some of their shoes sell for $150, but you will be buying the best.
Of course there are other manufacturers out there such as Nike, Adidas, Asics, Mizuno, and Spira, but these are just our favorites here. As we continue to review and test new products however, we may be including more of their products into our buyer guides.