Expert Tested: The 10 Best Cushioned Shoes for Walking

Brooks’ Glycerin GTS 19 and Hoka One One Bondi 7s are clear winners

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Best Cushioned Shoes for Walkers

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

If you’re into fitness walking or you stand a lot throughout the day, you need a reliable walking shoe to help prevent foot fatigue, soreness, and painful issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, or blisters. “To decrease pain, minimize the discomfort, and slow down the deterioration of the fat pad on the bottom of your feet, it is important to wear walking shoes that are supportive and cushioned,” Jackie Sutera, DPM, a podiatrist at City Podiatry in New York City, says.

Tested & Approved

We love Brooks' Glycerin GTS 19 Shoes for their versatility and responsive cushioning. They're comfortable to wear right out of the box and feature great shock absorption. We also like Hoka's One One Women's Bondi 7 Shoes because they're breathable and durable, so they'll go the distance no matter where or how you like to walk.

When shopping, look for a pair that fits you well based on the size and shape of your foot. While cushioning throughout the shoe is important, you'll also want to make sure the shoe is light enough that it’s easy to walk in.

To round up the best cushioned walking shoes, we researched details and feedback about more than 25 shoes. Then, we put 10 shoes through our testing regimen and spent about 60 hours wearing them for walking outdoors and on the treadmill, as well as for casual wear.

Based on our research and testing, here are the best cushioned shoes for walking.

Best Men's Overall: Brooks Men's Glycerin GTS 19 Running Shoe

4.8
Brooks Men's Glycerin GTS 19 Running Shoe

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4.5/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4/5
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • No break-in period needed

  • Suitable for walking or running

  • Lightweight yet supportive

Cons
  • Shallow treads

  • Expensive

The versatile Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 shoe features cushioning that’s soft and comfortable, yet still responsive. Our tester immediately noticed the shoe’s plush cushioning and was impressed that these shoes felt comfortable right out of the box, with no break-in period needed. The shoes’ DNA Loft cushioning—a combination of EVA foam, rubber, and air—dynamically adapts to each step with a soft yet responsive feel and offered good shock absorption during test walks.

A plush interior liner that conforms to the foot and the engineered mesh upper combine to provide an excellent fit, helping to secure the shoe a perfect 5 out of 5 in that category. 

As for stability, the shoes have a GuideRails support system that keeps excess movement in check. Our tester noted that his feet felt well-supported, even after wearing the shoes for hours.

With a breathable mesh upper and wide toe box, the shoe also excelled in the area of blister protection, receiving a 4.5 out of 5 for that attribute. In general, the Brooks Glycerin GTS 19 is an ideal choice for men with a neutral gait who need a sturdy, comfortable shoe for walking, running, or all-day wear.

Weight: 10 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Materials: Synthetic upper, rubber sole | Cushioning Level: High | Care: Hand-wash, air-dry

What Our Testers Say

“This is an excellent all-around shoe for walking, but could also be used for running. It’s very comfortable and well-cushioned, yet still lightweight and not at all bulky.”—Brad Luff, Verywell Fit product tester

Best Women's Overall: Hoka Bondi 7 Road-Running Shoes

4.8
Hoka One One Women's Bondi 7 Shoes

Zappos

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4.5/5
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Good shock absorption

  • Very durable and stable

  • Breathable

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not too stylish

Hoka One One shoes are well-known for their outstanding cushioning, and their Bondi 7 shoe doesn’t disappoint. In testing, it delivered plush comfort and stellar shock absorption, scoring a perfect 5 out of 5 for our cushioning attribute. Our tester was impressed with the shoe’s soft, memory-foam collar, which added to the overall comfort and helped to provide a snug, secure fit.

The shoe also scored high in the lateral stability and support category, and it offered the right amount of structure and firmness needed in a walking shoe. The strong, sturdy rubber outsole provided reliable traction and enhanced the shoe’s durability and stability.

Our tester noted that even with its excellent cushioning, the Bondi still has a lightweight feel. Plus, its mesh construction allowed for good breathability, helping to earn it a 4.5 out of 5 for blister protection.

The Bondi’s thick, wide sole may not be desirable to those who prefer a streamlined look. However, we think that the shoe’s comfort and support make up for what it lacks in style. If you’re a fitness walker or just need a comfy shoe for all-day wear, the Bondi is an excellent choice that provides plush cushioning without weighing you down.

Weight: 11 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Materials: Synthetic upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning Level: Thick and plush throughout | Care: Hand-wash, air-dry

What Our Testers Say

“What really makes these shoes stand out is that they’re extremely comfortable and well-cushioned, but still somehow lightweight and supportive. The shoe feels firm and stable, without being super rigid.”—Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Men's Budget: ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 8 Trail Running Shoes

4.5
ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 8

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4.5/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Budget-friendly

  • Durable traction

  • Versatile for pavement or trails

Cons
  • Not very breathable

  • Toe box is a bit narrow

Asics shoes are a tried-and-true pick for runners, but their reasonably priced GEL-Venture 8 running shoe is a nice option for those looking for a comfortable and supportive shoe for fitness walking, travel, or all-day wear.

In our testing, the shoe stood out for its cushioning, receiving a 4.5 out of 5 in that category. Our tester noted that the shoe’s GEL cushioning was especially effective in the heel area, right where those who are prone to plantar fasciitis need it.

Our tester also liked the shoe’s traction, which offers excellent grip whether walking or running on trails, pavement, or the treadmill. Additionally, the shoe offered good support, earning a 4 out of 5 for stability.

We also found that the shoe offered a snug but very comfortable fit, with no need for a break-in period.

Our tester did notice that the shoe’s upper is not very well ventilated, which helps with durability and water resistance in wet conditions, but may lead to some overheating during hot weather walking. Overall, the Venture 8 is an affordable, comfortable option for walking or casual wear.

Weight: 10 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Materials:  Synthetic upper, rubber sole | Cushioning Level:  Medium | Care: Hand-wash, air-dry

What Our Testers Say

“I liked the shoe’s cushioned comfort and good support. It also has excellent traction, which makes it suitable for trail, pavement, or treadmill walking, so it’s a very versatile, affordable option.”—Brad Luff, Verywell Fit product tester

Best Women's Budget: Sketchers Women's Go Walk Joy Sneaker

4.5
Sketchers Go Walk Joy Sneaker

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4/5
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Come in narrow, regular, and wide sizes

  • Very lightweight and breathable

  • Good for travel and all-day wear

Cons
  • Not as much support as other options

  • Squeaky at first

We like the Skechers Go Walk Joy Walking Shoe for an affordable option that’s both comfortable and stylish for casual wear. At 6 ounces, the Go Walk Joy was the lightest shoe we tested, yet it still felt supportive and well-cushioned.

The shoe’s soft, sock-like upper is made of a flexible knit fabric that stretches for a snug, supportive fit. Our tester was impressed with how the shoe locked down the heel while still offering plenty of room in the toe box, helping to earn the shoe a 4.5 out of 5 for fit. It also comes in narrow, regular, or wide, so it’s easy to get the right width for your foot.

During testing, the shoe’s cushioning felt comfortable and supportive, making them a nice option for all-day casual wear and travel. Our tester appreciated the lightweight and breathable feel, which helped to earn them a score of 4.5 out of 5 for blister protection. The shoe’s slip-on design and pull tab on the heel made it easy to put the shoe on and take it off.

One downside is that the shoes’ soles are a bit squeaky and slippery at first on some surfaces, such as wood floors, but that dissipates once the bottoms get a bit scuffed.

Weight:  6 ounces | Closure: Slip-on | Materials:  Rubber sole, synthetic upper | Cushioning Level: Medium | Care: Machine wash cold, air-dry

What Our Testers Say

“Stepping into these shoes feels like putting on a comfortable slipper, but with lots of cushioning and good support. I like that they’re really easy to put on and get off. I wouldn’t necessarily wear these shoes for a 10-mile fitness walk, but they’re a very comfortable and affordable option for all-day casual wear.”—Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Overpronators: Saucony Omni Walker 3

4.7
Saucony Omni Walker 3

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4.5/5
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Wide toe box

  • Good support and stability

  • Comes in wide sizes

Cons
  • Short laces

  • Not very ventilated

Exceptional support and stability are not always easy to find in a well-cushioned shoe, but the Saucony Omni Walker 3 offers the perfect combination of both. Overpronators, whose feet tend to roll inward as they walk, can get the motion control they need while still benefiting from the light, springy cushioning. 

During testing, the shoe offered plush comfort and provided good stability without feeling too stiff. Right out of the box, they were easy to walk in and felt snug and supportive, yet not constricting.

Our tester noted that the shoe’s wide toe box added to the overall comfort and helped prevent irritation, which also boosted its blister protection rating. Additionally, it comes in wide sizes, for those who may need even more space for toes to spread. All of these factors earned the shoe a 4.5 out of 5 for both our fit and upper comfort attributes.

With a sleek leather upper, the shoe has a versatile look that makes it suitable for everyday wear. Our tester was also impressed with the shoe’s durable, slip-resistant rubber sole. However, the leather upper may not  offer as much ventilation as walking shoes constructed with mesh. Although they’re a solid choice for walking in mild or cold weather, these sneakers could cause some overheating during walks in hot conditions.

Weight: 11.6 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Materials:  Rubber outsole, leather upper | Cushioning Level: Medium-density | Care: Hand-wash, air-dry

What Our Testers Say

“These shoes are extremely comfortable and well-constructed. Although they felt plush, I still felt like my feet were well-supported. The padded tongue and collar really add to the overall comfort.”—Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Lightweight: New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11

4.7
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Lateral Stability
    3/5
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Streamlined, low-profile

  • Very comfortable fit

  • Range of widths

Cons
  • Lateral support is lacking

  • May not be protective for extreme cold

The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v11 shoe is proof that a walking shoe can be well-cushioned and still feel lightweight and flexible. During test walks, the shoe’s full-length Fresh Foam midsole offered soft, plush comfort, earning it a 5 out of 5 for cushioning. Our tester immediately noticed the cloud-like comfort and was also impressed that the shoe didn’t feel heavy or bulky.

As for fit, the shoe’s bootie-like, stretchy upper hugged the foot, offering good support and comfort. Our tester also noted that the rear design helped keep the heel locked in. The shoe also features a smooth, streamlined heel collar that isn’t overly padded and doesn’t rub or irritate that area.

The 1080v11 comes in a range of widths—including narrow, regular, wide, and extra-wide—so it’s easy to get a custom-like fit. Walkers with a history of foot blisters or bunions will definitely appreciate the wide toe box that offers plenty of room for toes to splay out.

Additionally, the smooth, breathable fabric helped prevent rubbing and moisture accumulation, helping to earn the shoe a 5 out of 5 in our blister protection attribute. However, our tester observed that the well-ventilated upper may not be protective enough for harsh weather conditions.

Weight: 8.1 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Materials: Knit and mesh upper, rubber outsole Cushioning Level: Soft and plush | Care:  Hand-wash, air-dry

What Our Testers Say

“This shoe felt very lightweight and flexible, but still very cushioned and supportive for walking and great for all-day wear or traveling. They’re extremely comfortable and easy to walk in.”—Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Vionic Women's Classic Walker Shoes

4.5
Vionic Women's Classic Walker Shoes

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4.5/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Extra cushioning in the heel

  • Excellent traction

  • Quality materials

Cons
  • A bit heavy and bulky

If you’re prone to plantar fasciitis, you can help prevent a recurrence by choosing a walking shoe with good cushioning, especially in the heel area. During our test walks, the Vionic Women's Classic Walker shoes stood out as an obvious choice for protection and relief from plantar fasciitis and other heel pain, thanks to the well-cushioned rearfoot. The support actually extends the length of the shoe, offering plush comfort, and earning this pair a perfect rating of 5 out of 5 for that attribute.

Of course, all that cushioning as well as the leather upper material means that the shoe feels a little stiff at first. We recommend wearing them for very short walks or around the house to help break them in.

The shoe scored a 4.5 out of 5 for lateral support/stability, thanks in part to its removable podiatrist-designed orthotic. For even more heel protection, the shoe also features a thermoplastic heel counter that helps to lock in the rearfoot. Our tester was also impressed with the rubber outsole, which offers exceptional traction and enhances the overall stability.

During longer walks, our tester did note that the shoe started to feel a bit heavy, which is expected for a shoe that offers such a high level of support and cushioning.

Weight: 13 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Materials:  Leather upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning Level: Medium-density | Care: Wipe with clean cloth

What Our Testers Say

"As someone who has been prone to plantar fasciitis, I really appreciate the cushioning and support in these shoes. I prefer a more sleek, streamlined look for walking shoes, but I can’t deny that these shoes have cushioning right where I need it to keep plantar fasciitis at bay.”—Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Stability: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

4.8
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22

REI

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4.5/5
  • Lateral Stability
    5/5
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Very supportive

  • Comfortable fit

  • Durable

Cons
  • Short laces

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is our favorite cushioned shoe for walkers who need lateral stability because it provides good support, but is still lightweight and flexible.

The shoes scored a perfect 5 out of 5 for lateral stability and support, thanks to Brooks’ GuideRails support system, two firm pieces of foam made on either side of the heel, which helps to minimize excess movement. Additionally, the shoe’s durable, engineered mesh upper enhances the shoe’s overall stability. The lightweight material also allows for good ventilation, helping to prevent overheating during long walks or all-day wear.

During test walks, it offered a snug but comfortable fit right out of the box, which helped to earn it a 4.5 out of 5 for fit. Plus, the shoe comes in narrow, regular, wide, and extra-wide, so it’s easy to find a width that’s right for your foot.

While it’s technically a running shoe, the Adrenaline GTS’s support and cushioned comfort make it ideal for walking. Our tester's feet didn’t feel tired or sore, even after a long walk. It’s a great pick and a worthwhile investment for someone who needs a stability shoe but wants a lightweight, athletic-looking option.

Weight: 9.1 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Materials: Synthetic and mesh upper, rubber sole | Cushioning Level: High energizing | Care:  Hand-wash, air-dry

What Our Testers Say

“I was really impressed that this shoe provides great stability and support, plus comfy cushioning, while still managing to be lightweight and flexible. It’s very unusual to find all of that in a stability shoe, which is what makes it such a good value.”—Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for High Arches: Dansko Women's Pace Walking Shoe

4.6
Dansko Women's Pace Walking Shoe

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4.5/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4.5/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Flexible support

  • Very responsive

  • Stylish for casual wear

Cons
  • Toe box may be too narrow for some

  • Could use a little more traction

If you have high arches, you’ll need a walking shoe that’s flexible but supportive. Dansko Pace walking shoes check those boxes, with a lightweight, flexible feel and cushioning that provides comfortable support.

In testing, they offered a great fit right out of the box and didn’t require a break-in period. Our tester immediately noticed the stellar cushioning and shock absorption, especially in the heel area, a huge plus for those prone to plantar fasciitis or other heel pain. A smooth, padded collar added to the overall comfort, hugging the back of the foot for a snug, locked-in feel.

The shoe’s Natural Arch Plus technology provides comfort and support right where it’s needed, helping to earn it a 4.5 for support and stability. Our tester was impressed that the shoe offered excellent support, as well as good energy return when walking.

Unfortunately, the shoe doesn’t come in wide sizes, and the toe box might be a bit too narrow for those with bunions or wide feet. Although the shoe is quite breathable, the narrow toe box is why we gave the shoe a 3.5 out of 5 for blister protection.

Overall, the Dansko Pace is comfortable and supportive for walking and other activities, as well as all-day casual wear.

Weight: Not listed | Closure: Lace-up | Materials: Synthetic upper, rubber sole | Cushioning Level Type:  High Care: Hand-wash, air-dry

What Our Testers Say

“I would definitely recommend these shoes, especially to those with high arches, who need the right support and cushioning. They’re comfortable, durable, and supportive for walking, but also work well for other activities or all-day casual wear.”—Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Travel: OluKai Pehuea Slip-On Sneaker

4.5
OluKai Pehuea Slip-On Sneaker

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4.5/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Stylish

  • Very breathable

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • No wide widths

Lightweight and versatile, these OluKai Pehuea slip-on sneakers are a comfy option to pack when you’re hitting the road. Designed with a drop-in heel, they can be worn as regular sneakers or with the heel down as a slide-in mule.

During both casual wear and test walks, the cushioning felt soft and supportive, securing the shoe a 4.5 out of 5 for cushioning. Our tester noted that they also provided good arch support and heel stability. A rubber sole added to the shoe’s durable feel.

As for fit, the shoes felt comfortable right out of the box, with no break-in needed. However, the shoes aren’t available in wide widths, so they may not work for walkers who need some extra room in the toe box.

The shoe is also very breathable, making it a comfortable option for long days of sightseeing at your destination. Our tester even wore them without socks and didn’t notice any irritation or hotspots that might lead to foot blisters, helping to earn them a 4.5 out of 5 for blister protection.

Weight: Not listed | Closure: Slip-on | Materials:  Rubber sole, textile upper and lining | Cushioning Level Type: Medium, full length | Care: Hand-wash outsole, machine-washable insole

What Our Testers Say

“I love these shoes for traveling or weekend wear when you want your feet to feel comfy and supported, but still look cute. They’re very lightweight and versatile, since you can wear them as a sneaker or a slide.”—Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Compare

Overall Rating Cushioning Responsiveness Lateral Stability Fit Value
Brooks Men's Glycerin GTS 19 Running Shoe
Best Men's Overall:
Brooks GTS 19 Running Shoe
4.8
5 4.5 4 5 4.5
Hoka One One Women's Bondi 7 Shoes
Best Women's Overall:
Hoka Bondi 7 Shoes
4.8
5 4 4.5 4.5 4.5
ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 8
Best Men's Budget:
ASICS Gel-Venture 8 Trail Running Shoes
4.5
4.5 4.5 4 4 4.5
Sketchers Go Walk Joy Sneaker
Best Women's Budget:
Sketchers Go Walk Joy Sneaker
4.5
4 4 4 4.5 4.5
Saucony Omni Walker 3
Best for Overpronators:
Saucony Omni Walker 3
4.7
4.5 4 4.5 4.5 4.5
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11
Best Lightweight:
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v11
4.7
5 4 3 5 4.5
Vionic Women's Classic Walker Shoes
Best for Plantar Fasciitis:
Vionic Classic Walker Shoes
4.5
5 4 4.5 4 4.5
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
Best for Stability:
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
4.8
4.5 4.5 5 4.5 4.5
Dansko Women's Pace Walking Shoe
Best for High Arches:
Dansko Pace Walking Shoe
4.6
4.5 4.5 4.5 4 4.5
OluKai Pehuea Slip-On Sneaker
Best for Travel:
OluKai Pehuea Slip-On Sneaker
4.5
4.5 4.5 4 4 4.5

Final Verdict

Durable and versatile, we love the Brooks Men’s Glycerin GTS 19 because it offers soft yet responsive cushioning and is a great option for fitness walking, running, or all-day wear. Another top pick, we like that the Hoka One One Bondi 7 offers plush yet supportive cushioning and comes in a range of widths. Its superior performance and high-quality, durable materials make it well worth the price.

How We Rated the Best Cushioned Shoes for Walking

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best cushioned shoes for walking we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These cushioned shoes for walking are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.4 stars: We think these are great cushioned shoes for walking, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These cushioned shoes for walking are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend cushioned shoes for walking with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Selected and Tested the Best Cushioned Shoes for Walking

To develop our best cushioned shoes for walking list, we researched more than 25 potential shoes and considered cushioning, fit, support, materials, versatility, price, and durability. We also consulted with experts and reviewed the American Podiatric Medical Association’s list of products that have earned their seal of approval.

After further research, we walked in 10 pairs of shoes—totaling more than 60 hours of testing. Our two testers did short walks on pavement and the treadmill in each pair of shoes. They also did one longer walk to evaluate comfort and support, as well as blister protection, over more miles. Our testers also wore the shoes for casual wear to assess overall comfort and support.

After testing, we evaluated each shoe for its cushioning, responsiveness, comfort, fit, stability, blister protection, and scored each attribute with a rating of 1 (would not recommend) to 5 (highly recommend). We also gave each shoe a value score by comparing the shoe’s cost to its overall quality. Each shoe was also given an overall star rating, which reflects our overall impression of the shoe and its performance, and whether we would recommend it to a friend.

What to Look for in Cushioned Shoes for Walkers

Fit

If you have wide or narrow feet, finding a shoe that fits well may take a little bit of extra searching, although many brands offer shoes in narrow and wide sizes. You’ll also want to consider factors such as the width of the toe box. You can get professionally fitted for your shoes at a running specialty store (even if you want a walking shoe).

Also, sizes vary between brands, so know that just because you wear a size 8 in one brand, doesn’t mean another brand’s size 8 will fit you correctly. “It’s also common for one foot to be slightly bigger or longer than the other, so size your shoes to your bigger foot,” Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, a podiatrist in Silver Spring, Maryland, says.

Be sure to try on shoes before you buy. If you're shopping online, check the return policy before you make a purchase.

Style

Consider when and where you’ll be wearing your walking shoes. If it’s for exercise, you might want a sporty look. If you plan to wear your shoes to work or for other day-to-day activities, you may prefer neutral colors or a more conservative look. The good news is that there’s an array of attractive cushioned shoes available, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort.

Cushioning

Walking shoes should have ample cushioning to enhance the overall comfort and help protect from injuries by providing shock absorption as you’re walking. If you walk a lot or are on your feet all day, good cushioning can help prevent fatigue.

“Look for a shoe with extra padding on the sole to reduce impact while walking,” William Spielfogel, DPM, a New York-based, board-certified podiatrist and medical advisor for The Good Feet Store, says.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do cushioned walking shoes last?

    Walking shoes should last for 300 to 500 miles, so the amount of time will vary, depending on how much you walk. You should examine your shoes regularly and look for wear and tear on the interior and exterior, especially the soles of shoes.

  • How do you get the right fit for your walking shoes?

    Use the thumb test when trying on walking shoes. You should be able to press your thumb on the top of the shoe all the way down and not feel your toes. You need room for your feet to expand as you walk. There should be enough room in the toe box that you can wiggle your toes.

    When buying walking shoes, shop at a store that caters to walkers or runners and has a good inventory of walking and running shoes. Try shoes on at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest. Tighten the laces as you would when you are walking, and wear the same type of sock to try on shoes as you would when walking.

  • How do you care for cushioned walking shoes?

    To care for your cushioned walking shoes, wipe them down with antibacterial wipes to keep them fresh. You can also spray or use foot powder in the interior to absorb odors. To clean them, you can scrub them with a brush or cloth dipped in soapy water, and then wipe with a dry cloth. If they get wet, let them air-dry and never put them in the dryer or in front of a heat source.

  • Are cushioned walking shoes washable?

    Check with the manufacturer for specific cleaning instructions, but most shoes can be cleaned with a damp washcloth or antibacterial wipe.

  • Can you run in cushioned shoes for walkers?

    It depends on the shoe and your needs and injury history. Some cushioned walking shoes are ideal for those who do run/walking, which is alternating between intervals of running and walking. In other cases, a cushioned walking shoe may be too stiff or heavy for running. If you want a cushioned shoe that works well for both, your best bet is to choose a shoe that’s designed for running but is still supportive and sturdy enough for walking.

  • Are cushioned shoes good for walking?

    Yes, you’ll definitely feel the difference when you walk in shoes with proper cushioning. The right amount of cushioning will provide comfort and shock absorption, while also keeping your feet, ankles, knees, and hips in good anatomical alignment, according to Dr. Spielfogel. “Someone with a high arch or more rigid foot type may need extra cushioned shoes for additional shock absorption,” he says.

  • What is the difference between running shoes and walking shoes?

    Walking shoes are typically heavier than running shoes to help maintain stability. You’ll also get more flexibility at the forefoot, which allows walkers to push off with their toes. Running shoes are usually made with lighter, more breathable materials, since running makes your feet hotter.

  • What is the best heel-to-toe drop for walking?

    Since everyone has different foot types and walking gaits, there isn’t a specific heel-to-toe drop number (the difference in the height from the back of the shoe to front of the shoe) that’s ideal for all walkers.

    However, “walking sneakers should have a thicker sole and preferably have a heel-to-toe drop, meaning that the back of the heel is slightly thicker than the front of the shoe,” Dr. Sutera says. “Sneakers that are platform should be used more as fashion sneakers and not for very long periods of active walking.”

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  1. American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. How do I know when it is time to replace my athletic shoes?.

By Christine Luff, ACE-CPT
Christine Many Luff is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, and Road Runners Club of America Certified Coach.