The Best Cushioned Shoes for Walkers to Support Every Kind of Foot

The Brooks Glycerin 15 is our top choice because of its versatility

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Best Cushioned Shoes for Walkers

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

Walking is one of the healthiest and simplest forms of physical activity. You can do it anywhere, anytime, indoors or out. You do not need expensive equipment, but the one product you do need is a supportive pair of walking shoes.

Reviewed & Approved

Brooks Women's Glycerin 15 Shoes fit the bill for everything from short walks and distance training to marathon walking. If you're spending extended periods of time on your feet, we recommend the New Balance Women's 1080 v8 Running Shoe.

For walking, you'll want comfortable shoes with cushioning so that you can avoid blisters, black toenails, and plantar fasciitis. Look for a pair that fits you well based on the size and shape of your foot. Cushioning is important, but you'll also want to make sure the shoe is light enough to allow you an easy stride. We carefully reviewed walking shoes for their shape, weight, materials, price, and of course, cushioning when naming the best.

Here, our picks for the best cushioned shoes for walkers.

Best Overall: Brooks Glycerin 15 Running Shoes

4.8
Brooks Glycerin
Brooks Glycerin. Courtesy of Amazon.com

We chose the Brooks Glycerin 15 as our top pick because they are flexible, lightweight, and have plenty of cushioning for walkers with a neutral gait. They work great to reduce fatigue for walks from six miles through half marathon and even the marathon distances . They have enough cushioning for distance training, yet are light enough for walking at a faster pace.

You can maintain a good fast-paced stride while wearing them, with correct heel landing and roll through of my step. They are also durable, with cushioning remaining intact through months of training and racing at the half marathon distance. Typically, you should replace the shoes after four months of intense use.

Best for Neutral-Gait Walkers: New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 1080 V8 Running Shoes

The 1080 is a lightweight performance training shoe that is also a cushioned shoe made for people with a neutral gait (no overpronation or supination). Their fresh foam technology provides maximum cushioning for minimum weight. You should try this shoe if you are looking for a shoe that will get you through a long walk or run such as the 10K, half-marathon, or marathon with less foot and leg fatigue. It also can work well for a full day on your feet when working or traveling.

The no-sew upper design ensures there are no seams which might rub and increase your risk of blisters. New Balance has been changing its lasts, which provide the overall shape of the shoe. The 1080v8 features a wide toe box that some wearers love but others don’t. If you've been happy with previous versions, be sure to try on the current version to ensure the last still provides the best shoe shape for you. As with most New Balance styles, this shoe comes in narrow, regular, wide, and extra wide.

Best for Stability: ASICS Women's Gel-Nimbus 19 Running Shoes

Asics Gel Nimbus
Asics Gel Nimbus. Courtesy of Amazon.com

The Asics Gel Nimbus is flexible but also is stable enough in the forefoot for heavier people. It gives the softest, most cushioned ride for ASICS. It has a one-piece upper, eliminating seams. They come in a variety of color combinations, including a black version if you don't want a flashy shoe.

Best Minimalist Design: SAS Women's Free Time Sneakers

SAS Women's Walking Shoe
Wendy Bumgardner ©

This shoe has been a favorite of volksmarch walkers for decades. It is a full leather shoe that has a flexible sole and lots of cushion. It's the only shoe you will want for standing in lines, and also good and durable for the trail. It's a great choice for traveling and walking tours. It isn't flashy and your feet will thank you after a day of sightseeing and museum touring.

Best for Overpronators: New Balance Women's W1260 V5 Running Shoes

New Balance 1260v5
New Balance 1260v5. Courtesy of Amazon.com

This stability shoe also has great cushioning. It has a minimal heel drop, which is better for walkers. It provides a little motion control for overpronators. It comes in narrow, regular, and wide widths.

Final Verdict

The Brooks Women's Glycerin 15 Shoes checks all the boxes, and features ultimate durability and cushioning to last through both leisure and marathon walks. We find the splurge worth the cost.

A close runner-up is the New Balance Women's 1080 v8 Running Shoe, which is optimal for those with a neutral gait and comes in both narrow and wide sizes for a more custom fit.

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, though many brands offer shoes in narrow and wide sizes. Even if your foot is fairly typical, you’ll 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. 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 might want muted 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

The amount of cushioning you want will likely vary depending on how you plan to use the shoes. If you’re training for a race, then the extra cushioning may help reduce fatigue. But you also want to make sure the shoes are lightweight enough that they don’t slow you down.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long do cushioned walking shoes last?

    Your shoes will last for 300 to 500 miles (about a year, depending on how much you walk). After about six months of use, examine your shoes. Look for wear and tear on the interior and exterior, especially the soles of shoes. Continue to check for wear about once a week.

  • 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.

    When buying walking shoes, shop at a store that caters to walkers and has a good inventory of walking 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. This will give you the best chance of a proper fit.

  • How do you care for cushioned walking shoes?

    To care for your cushioned walking shoes, wipe them down with bacterial wipes to keep them fresh, spray or use foot powder in the interior to absorb odors. Replace them after a year (or sooner, if they are worn out).

  • 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?

    You should not run in highly cushioned shoes. According to a study in Scientific Reports, running in highly cushioned shoes increases leg stiffness and impact loading and can change your running mechanics. This is even more pronounced when running fast. Save highly cushioned shoes for walking only.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Wendy Bumgardner has walked over a thousand 10-kilometer events, over 100 half-marathons, seven marathons, two Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks, and one Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. She has a Leki Nordic Walking Instructor certificate and is an RRCA certified marathon coach.  

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3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine. How do I know when it is time to replace my athletic shoes?.

  2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Athletic shoes.

  3. Kulmala JP, Kosonen J, Nurminen J, Avela J. Running in highly cushioned shoes increases leg stiffness and amplifies impact loadingSci Rep. 2018;8(1):17496. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-35980-6