Best Free Walking Apps for Fitness Walkers

Map My Walk is the best overall free walking app

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Increased physical activity has a strong association with reduced health risks. Even just walking more can have a meaningful impact, and walking apps can help track just how much your efforts are paying off. Some apps track your walking workouts, showing your speed, distance, and route. Pedometer apps track all of your steps throughout the day. Some apps serve both of these functions by using GPS and an accelerometer chip in your mobile phone. Many also connect with other fitness wearables, such as watches, which can help you track treadmill workouts. These apps are all available for free, although they also have opportunities for upgrades or in-app purchases.

In terms of health benefits, one extended walking session is better than multiple shorter sessions. A study focusing on inactive women found that adding 30 minutes of walking per day, five days per week, is more likely to increase health benefits than three 10-minute walks per day, five days per week.

The 6 Best Free Walking Apps for Fitness Walkers

Best Overall : Map My Walk


MapMyWalk

MapMyWalk

Pros
  • Walking route marked in red for easy viewing

  • Audio feedback as you walk

  • Easy-to-read charts and graphs

  • Support community and connect with friends

  • Create and save custom routes

Cons
  • Need to upgrade for access to premium features

  • Advertisements may be annoying

  • Can freeze while in use

Key Takeaway

MapMyWalk is one of the most comprehensive free apps online. With features like audio feedback, labeled routes, easy-to-see maps, metrics tracking, and data analysis, this app is one you should try.

MapMyWalk is part of the MapMyFitness family of apps. It has stood the test of time and deserves to be at the top of any fitness walker's list. When you start a workout, you can see a map of the area, and as you walk, your route is marked in red.

During your walk, you can see elapsed time, distance, pace, speed, elevation, and calories burned. Your speed is determined by GPS. When you finish, you can upload and save your workout data and view it both on the app and on the MapMyWalk website. Routes can be saved and loaded again.

As you walk, the app can announce your distance, pace, calories burned, and other data at chosen intervals. It also connects with other apps and wearables such as Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and MyFitnessPal. You can view your daily steps as recorded by these devices or by your mobile phone.

  • App available on: iOS, Android
  • Paid upgrade available: $5.99 monthly or $29.99 annually
  • Additional features: Ad-free, personal training plan, monitor heart-rate zones

Best for Hiking : Walkmeter Walking & Hiking GPS by Abvio


Walkmeter

 Walkmeter

Pros
  • Great for improving speed and distance

  • View time, distance, speed, and pace while walking

  • Records metrics for kayaking, cycling, hiking, walking, and more

Cons
  • Premium features require a subscription

  • GPS can be spotty if phone is not in the right place

Key Takeaway

Walkmeter stands out for its ability to track basic workouts like walking and running, as well as complex activities like hiking and kayaking. 

The Walkmeter app has features that are excellent for fitness walkers who want to improve their speed and distance. It has features you used to have to get a fancy running watch and training coach to enjoy, such as splits, intervals, zones, and more.

It uses your phone's GPS to measure the distance of your walks and hikes. It includes audio and voice integration so you can hear alerts on your workout stats, as well as listen to replies your friends send about your workout posts from Facebook and Twitter while you walk. You can start and stop a workout with your earphone remote or use Siri voice commands.

This app maps your walk and you can view time, speed, distance and pace as you walk. It has many free training features. You can race against yourself or others on previous workout routes, getting updates on whether you are ahead or behind. The app has training plans for 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon events, or you can design your own and synchronize it with your iPhone calendar. You can set up repeating intervals and tempo workouts and analyze your performance afterward.

Upgrading from free to Elite is less than $10 per year, far less than with some other apps, such as Endomondo. Upgrade features include tracking your daily steps, cadence coaching, treadmill support (distance and pace using your steps) and using the Apple Watch app.

  • App available on: iOS, Android
  • Paid upgrade available: $9.99 annually
  • Additional features: Track daily steps, cadence coaching, treadmill support

Best for Tracking Calories : Argus by Azumio


Pros
  • Measures heart rate, time, and distance

  • Food diary and barcode capability

  • Hourly graph tracks active time, distance, and steps

Cons
  • Does not work as well on Android

  • Accuracy is spotty

  • Premium upgrade is more expensive than other apps

Key Takeaway

Argus by Azumio combines the best walking app features with an excellent calorie tracking tool.

Argus packs a lot into one lifestyle app. It functions as an all-day pedometer app using the motion sensor in your phone. But you also can track workouts with GPS.

The workout tracker displays your time, distance, and the map of your route. When you finish, see your workout calories, steps, elevation gain, best pace, average pace, average cadence, graphs, and map.

Your daily step count updates from your phone's motion sensor data and includes active time, distance, calories, steps, and an hourly graph.

Measure your heart rate at any time using the integrated heart rate app (simply place your index finger on your cell phone camera lens). You can easily take your heart rate during exercise and at rest. You can also link to a heart rate sensor band.

The app also allows you to track your water intake with a tap, and it comes with a food diary (which includes a barcode scanner) and sleep timer. Premium subscribers get a wide range of fitness and diet plans.

  • App available on: iOS, Android
  • Paid upgrade available: $29.99 annually
  • Additional features: More fitness and diet plans

Best for Motivation : Fitbit App MobileTracker


Pros
  • Does not require a Fitbit watch to use

  • Tracks daily steps and distance based on stride length

  • Tracks heart rate

  • Participate in challenges and virtual races with friends

Cons
  • Some of the essential features cost extra

  • Does work better with a Fitbit device

Key Takeaway

Community support and challenges with friends made the Fitbit App a shoe-in for our list.

Did you know that you don't need a Fitbit device to use the Fitbit app? The free app can be used to track your steps using the motion sensor on your phone (unless you have a very old phone). This is good news if your Fitbit died or if you aren't ready to buy one.

You can download the free Fitbit app for your operating system. Then when you set up the app, it will ask which tracker you are setting up. Choose "No Fitbit Yet" and it will set up the MobileTracker. Now it will track your all-day activity sensed by your phone's built-in accelerometer. You'll get a step count and hourly graphs.

Whether you have a Fitbit tracker or not, you can track speed and distance using the Track Exercise function. From the home screen, tap the + icon and select Walk, Run, or Hike.

When you start a workout, you will see the elapsed time and your average pace. You can get voice cues and updates at selected times, and swipe to see a map of the route you have taken.

When you finish and save your workout, you can review it by tapping on the Exercise tile on the home screen. Review your route on a map, distance, time, pace, mile split times, calories burned, and steps for each workout.

  • App available on: iOS, Android
  • Paid upgrade available: $9.99 monthly or $79.99 annually
  • Additional features: Daily inspiration, advanced sleep and stress insights

Best for a Cause : Charity Miles


Charity Miles

Charity Miles 

Pros
  • Company donates money to charities on your behalf

  • Tracks several activities such as walking, running, dancing, and biking

  • Walking earns money towards your favorite charity

Cons
  • Not ideal for fitness tracking

  • Limited features compared to other apps

  • Interface is on the lower end of apps

Key Takeaway

Charity Miles gives users a platform to donate money to a favorite charity and exercise at the same time.

Charity Miles gives your walking a purpose (and your running and biking, too). Open up this free app (iOS or Google Play) and choose a charity. Start a workout, choosing walking, running, or cycling. For each completed mile, you'll have earned a donation for your chosen charity. The basic rate is 25 cents for walking and running miles and 10 cents for cycling miles, subject to a periodic cap.

Along the way, you can view your exercise time and miles. When done, you must post to Facebook or Twitter in order to accept sponsorship and earn money for your charity. You can also form teams and work together to raise money for charities.

  • App available on: iOS, Android
  • Paid upgrade available: No
  • Additional features: N/A

Best for Treadmills : Virtual Walk – Walk the Distance


Pros
  • Tracks steps using GPS or treadmill speed

  • Virtually walk national parks, Appalachian Trail, Central Park, and Boston Marathon route

  • Additional walks available for a fee

Cons
  • Not as many activity tracking abilities as other apps 

  • Limited routes to walk 

  • Not able to customize

Key Takeaway

The Virtual Walk – Walk the Distance app takes monotonous treadmill workouts and turns them into a scenic walk through the mountains, a popular tourist attraction, and national parks.

Virtual Walk is a motivating app that you can use to spice up your everyday walk indoors on the treadmill or outdoors. Your distance is plotted on a virtual walk through a scenic or historic place. These include the Appalachian Trail, the monuments in Washington DC, the Grand Canyon, the Pyramids of Giza, and more.

At checkpoints along the way, you can view photos and information about the sights on your virtual walk. Some routes are available for free and others are for purchase. At the end of your walk, you receive a medal. The Virtual Walk Treadmill or GPS versions get better ratings than the Street View versions.

  • App available on: iOS, Android
  • Paid upgrade available: $0.99 per walk
  • Additional features: Additional walks

Final Verdict 

When it comes to walking apps, finding the right one to fit your needs may take some trial and error. The good news is all of the apps featured on this list are free to download and use. If you’re looking for a comprehensive walking app that can do just about everything, start with MapMyWalk. The free tools are often enough for most people, but if you want access to more complex graphs and customization, you’ll need to upgrade. If step tracking and calorie counting are on your list of requirements, then consider Argus by Azumio. Its food diary combined with barcode scanner make this an excellent app for nutrition and fitness enthusiasts. 

Walking Apps vs. Running Apps

In general, walking apps and running apps share the same features. Both are designed to track metrics like steps, miles, speed, distance, and time. They often come programmed with routes, trails, and workouts. Some have extra tools like calorie counters and heart rate tracking capabilities. The main difference between a walking app and a running app is likely the programmed workouts. With a walking app, the workouts will be slower in pace and often shorter in the distance. A running app, on the other hand, will have programmed plans that cover a longer distance at a higher speed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the Best App for Walking?

The best app for you might depend on exactly what you're looking for in an app, but we believe MapMyWalk is a comprehensive option that should fulfill most needs without needing to pay for extras. If you're looking for something specific, such as raising money for charity, then Charity Miles is a great choice. If scenery is your thing, Virtual Walk – Walk the Distance gives you something to look at while getting in steps on your treadmill.

What Is a Walking App?

Walking apps are simple programs that can be used on an iPhone or Android-based smartphone to help you get more out of your walks. Some apps track data including your speed, distance, route, steps, calories burned, and activity. Others also have social features that allow you to connect with other walkers to share routes, stats, photos to help you stay motivated.

Some walking apps sync seamlessly with other wearables and apps such as Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and MyFitnessPal. Many walking apps are free to use, although there are opportunities to purchase premium features.

What Are the Benefits of Walking?

From reduced risk of chronic diseases to improvement in mental health and well-being, there are many benefits of walking for people of all ages. Regular exercise, including walking, may help lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers. Walking can also improve bone health and strengthen muscles, and is an effective way to manage stress, improve mood, and boost energy.

Walking is an easy and inexpensive physical activity to start and continue as part of an active lifestyle. It also doesn’t require special skills or equipment, has a low risk of injury, and can be done almost anywhere.

Can Walking Help Me Lose Weight?

Walking more can increase overall health. One long walk per day tends to be more effective than multiple shorter walks per day, but both approaches have health benefits.

Walking may help you lose weight, although weight loss will depend on many factors, including nutrition and overall health. A weight loss goal may not be appropriate for everyone, especially those with a history of eating disorders. Before starting a plan, consult with a doctor or registered dietitian to develop a safe approach. Weight loss should not exceed one to two pounds per week.

Methodology 

To curate the list of best walking apps, we looked at six different apps from reputable companies that offer platforms for both iOS and Android. All of the apps listed work for walking workouts and tracking steps. Most of them feature additional tracking abilities like cycling, fitness activities, running, and calorie counting. All of the apps on this list are free to download and use. And all but one come with the ability to upgrade for premium features.

A Word From Verywell

Walking apps can help motivate you and turn your walking sessions into fitness workouts. You may be inspired to walk faster and go farther. Try a few before you pick your favorite—everyone likes something different.

Article 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. Manson JE, Greenland P, LaCroix AZ, et al. Walking compared with vigorous exercise for the prevention of cardiovascular events in women. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(10):716-725. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa021067

  2. Serwe KM, Swartz AM, Hart TL, Strath SJ. Effectiveness of long and short bout walking on increasing physical activity in women. J Women’s Health. 2011;20(2):247-253. doi:10.1089/jwh.2010.2019

  3. American Heart Association. Get real about getting active.

  4. Arthritis Foundation. 12 benefits of walking.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is healthy weight loss?.

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.