The 10 Best Shoes for Walking of 2020

These cushiony, lightweight shoes will let you walk miles comfortably

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Our Top Picks
"A fantastic all-around shoe for fitness walkers or those seeking a comfy everyday shoe."
"The reasonably-priced GEL-Venture running shoe is a solid choice for walkers looking for a comfortable and supportive shoe."
"This walking shoe offers the cushioning and support needed for those dealing with plantar fasciitis and other foot issues"
"Flexible and responsive, they’ll help your feet stay comfortable and supported, even if you’re wearing them for hours at a time."
"Comfortable, durable, and supportive, without being too bulky or stiff, even right out of the box."
"With its excellent shock absorption and comfortable fit, it’s ideal for anyone who needs a durable shoe for all-day wear"
"The shoe’s adaptive BioMoGo DNA cushioning system enhances the shoe’s comfort, support, and shock absorption."
"If you spend a lot of time on your feet, you can get the all-day support and comfort you need from this walking shoe."
"Delivers the cushioning, shock absorption, and flexibility that men and women with high arches need in a walking shoe."
"If you’ve experienced blisters or other foot pain because of narrow shoes, you’ll appreciate the roomy toebox of this walking shoe."

Walking is a natural rolling motion from heel to toe, with your foot bending at the ball on each step. If your walking shoes are not flexible enough, your ankle and shin muscles end up fighting your shoes. You can end up with tired and sore feet and shins.

Many shoes marketed as walking shoes are not flexible at all. They are built for comfort and stability and not for brisk fitness walking. Most running shoes are flexible, but may not bend in the right place for a walking step vs. a running step. Comfort shoes may have the same pitfalls and be either too stiff or too unstructured. Finding the right walking shoes for you can be confusing, but we're here to help you sift through the wide range of shoes on the market to locate the best ones.

Here are the best walking shoes for all your needs.

Best Overall: ASICS Men's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoes

Reliable, comfortable, and affordable, the ASICS Gel-Contend running shoe is a fantastic all-around shoe for fitness walkers or those seeking a comfy everyday shoe. ASICS shoes are known for their comfort, and the Gel-Contend is no exception to that rule.

Its AmpliFoam midsole is designed to provide superior flexibility and comfort, while the rearfoot GEL cushioning system allows for exceptional shock absorption. Additionally, the shoe’s ortholite sock liner offers more support and comfort as well as moisture management for walking in warm weather. It’s available in many classic and fun color options and widths, as well as men’s and women’s models.

Best Budget: ASICS Women's Gel-Venture Running Shoes

ASICS shoes are extremely popular among runners, but their reasonably-priced Gel-Venture running shoe is a solid choice for walkers looking for a comfortable and supportive shoe for fitness walking, travel, or all-day wear.

ASICS’ popular GEL cushioning in the shoes’ heels enhances comfort, improves shock absorption, and helps prevent pain from plantar fasciitis. With a mesh fabric upper, these shoes are also very breathable so you don’t have to worry about your feet overheating if you’re wearing them in warm weather conditions. They're available in men’s and women’s models as well as numerous color combinations.

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Saucony Women's Grid Omni Walker Running Shoes

A tried-and-true favorite among fitness walkers, Saucony’s Grid Omni Walker offers the cushioning and support needed for those dealing with plantar fasciitis and other foot issues. The shoe’s compression-molded, responsive EVA midsole provides stellar shock absorption and cushioning, so you’ll get good protection from injuries.

The Grid Omni also features a Walk Trac patented outsole, which is designed for smooth transitions while walking and enhances the shoe’s overall comfort. They’re available in regular and wide widths as well as men’s and women’s versions. If you’re looking for an affordable, comfortable shoe to relieve pain from plantar fasciitis, they’re a great choice for walkers or those who spend a lot of time on their feet. 

Best for Travel: Skechers Performance Women's Go Walk 3 Slip-On Walking Shoes

Whether you’re walking through the airport or touring a new destination, Skechers Performance Go Walk walking shoes make the perfect travel companion. Flexible and responsive, they’ll help your feet stay comfortable and supported, even if you’re wearing them for hours at a time. The shoe’s comfy Resalyte midsole helps absorb impact while the memory foam padding around the heel allows for a comfortable, custom-feel fit.

The slip-on construction and super lightweight design make Skechers Go Walk shoes ideal for long travel days. With a streamlined look and neutral color options, this versatile shoe goes with many different outfits and styles.

Best for Men: New Balance Men's 608 V5 Walking Shoes

New Balance is a category leader in walking shoes, and with good reason. Their 608 walking shoe is comfortable, durable, and supportive, without being too bulky or stiff, even right out of the box. The shoe’s Abzorb midsole will make you feel as if you’re bouncing with each step, giving you more energy to keep walking. 

With a high-grade leather upper and a grippy, non-marking outside, the New Balance 608 shoes can handle all types of weather conditions and surfaces. Sleek and stylish, they can serve double-duty for fitness or casual wear, so they’re a great choice for men if you’re looking for a comfy work shoe for all-day wear. They’re available in many different color and width options.

Best Lightweight: Brooks Womens Ghost 11 Running Shoes

Known for its high-quality, well-made shoes, Brooks offers walkers a solid option with their Ghost running shoe. With its excellent shock absorption and comfortable fit, it’s ideal for fitness walkers or anyone who needs a durable shoe for all-day wear. The midsole’s Segmented Crash Pad offers cushioning and stability, while the shoe’s Omega Flex Grooves give it some nice flexibility. With an engineered upper mesh, they’re stretchy and breathable, so they’re perfect for those who walk outside in warm weather or wear their shoes for many hours at a time. The Brooks Ghost shoes are available in men’s and women’s narrow, medium, and wide sizes, so it’s easy to get the fit that’s right for your foot. 

Best for Flat Feet: Brooks Addiction Walker Walking Shoes

If you have flat feet, you need some extra support and cushioning when you’re walking. The Brooks Addiction Walker features an Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar that provides excellent arch support and corrects any overpronation, which is common with flat feet.

With a full-length MoGo midsole, you get a soft yet stable feel that offers a cushioned step and excellent energy return. The shoe’s adaptive BioMoGo DNA cushioning system enhances the shoe’s comfort, support, and shock absorption.

While it’s not the most fashionable walking shoe, the Brooks Addiction Walker is a durable, comfortable shoe that’s perfect for anyone with flat feet who walks a lot or spends hours standing. They’re available in men’s and women’s models, a variety of colors, and even offer a Velcro strap model. They also come in several different widths and can accommodate orthotics or insoles, so they’re a nice choice if you’ve had problems with bunions and other foot pain.

Best for Women: Ryka Women's Devotion Plus 2 Walking Shoes

If you spend a lot of time on your feet, you can get the all-day support and comfort you need from the Rykä Devotion Plus walking shoe. It features Re-zorb, Rykä’s active foam technology, in the midsole as well as in pods on the outsole, so you get support and cushioning throughout the entire shoe. Lightweight and breathable, the Ryka Devotion Plus walking shoe is ideal for travel and fitness walking. It’s available in numerous fun color combinations and regular or wide sizes, so it’s a good choice for women who need some extra room in the toebox.

Best for High Arches: Saucony Women's Echelon LE2 Walking Shoes

Do your high arches make it tough to find a comfortable walking shoe? Walkers with high arches need exceptional support and cushioning for good shock absorption, but they also need a shoe that’s not too rigid to prevent blisters and other foot pain.

The Saucony Echelon LE2 walking shoe delivers with the cushioning, shock absorption, and flexibility that men and women with high arches need in a walking shoe. Saucony’s full-length PowerGrid cushioning system in the midsole helps center and stabilize the foot, absorbs shock, and redistributes pressure for a comfortable, responsive ride. The shoe’s rubber, durable outsole provides reliable traction, making it a nice choice for walking outside on different surfaces and in all types of conditions.

With enough space to accommodate foot inserts or custom orthotics, the versatile Echelon LE2 is an excellent value for the money. It’s available in men’s and women’s models and comes in white or black.

Best for Wide Feet: New Balance Men's 877 V1 Walking Shoes

If you’ve experienced blisters, numbness, or other foot pain because of narrow shoes, you’ll appreciate the roomy toebox of the New Balance 877 walking shoe. While they’re not as lightweight as some other walking shoes, they provide plenty of cushioning and comfort for neutral walkers. They’re perfect for exercise but are also stylish enough to be worn with regular clothes, if you’re looking for a comfortable casual shoe. Both the men’s and women’s models are available in a variety of widths, so they can accommodate a huge range of sizes. 

What to Look for in Performance Walking Shoes

Foot shape and gait: The shape of your foot and the way you walk both play important roles when shopping for shoes. People with more rigid pronation generally prefer cushioned shoes, while those who struggle with overpronation, where the foot rolls inward, need a more supportive shoe. Plus, if you have low or high arches, you’ll want shoes that accommodate your particular foot shape. 

Cushioning: The amount of cushioning in performance walking shoes can dramatically change how they feel. Minimalist shoes with little cushioning are popular right now, but you can also find highly cushioned shoes that aid in shock absorption. The shape of your foot and any injuries you have will impact how much cushioning you need. 

Frequency of use: How much do you generally walk in a week? If you keep it under 30 miles, you should be fine with performance shoes, but those who log 30 miles or more should invest in high-performance sneakers. These lightweight, flexible shoes are designed for durability and still keep your feet comfortable during your long walks.

Your Walking Shoes and Flexibility

By Wendy Bumgardner

Walking is a natural rolling motion from heel to toe, with your foot bending at the ball on each step. If your walking shoes are not flexible enough, your ankle and shin muscles end up fighting your shoes. You can end up with tired and sore feet and shins.

Many shoes marketed as walking shoes are not flexible at all. They are built for comfort and stability and not for brisk fitness walking. Most running shoes are flexible, but may not bend in the right place for a walking step vs. a running step. Comfort shoes may have the same pitfalls and be either too stiff or too unstructured.

For general walking purposes, the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society notes that walkers can tolerate more rigidity in the forefoot of the shoe since they roll off their toes in a walking stride instead of bending their toes like runners do.

How much flexibility is too little or too much will likely vary from person to person depending on their walking speed and style.

How to Tell If a Shoe Has the Right Flexibility for Fitness Walking

  • Twist them: Grab the shoe with both hands and twist in opposite directions. It should twist a little. If you can twist it completely into a spiral, the shoe is too flexible for walking longer distances.
  • Bend them: Try to bend the shoe in half, pushing the heel towards the toe. The shoe should bend at the ball of the foot. Some running shoes bend in the middle of the arch, which is not the right place for walkers. If you can bend it completely in half very easily, it is a shoe you should wear only for shorter workouts of an hour or less.
  • Poke them: Place the shoe on a level surface. Poke the toe down. The heel should rise up from the surface. This natural curvature will help you roll through the step.

Is There Such a Thing as a Too-Flexible Shoe?

The recent trend towards minimalist shoes and barefoot walking shoes (such as the Nike Free) can take flexibility too far. If you walk for more than 30 minutes at a time, you may need more support than an ultra-flexible minimalist shoe can provide. This is especially true for older walkers whose feet are losing their natural flexibility and cushioning and need a shoe that will protect them a little better.

Other Things to Look For in a Fitness Walking Shoe

  • Low Heel: Walking shoes should not have a high heel, it should be no more than an inch higher than the sole under the ball of the foot. Some shoe companies have begun to list the heel drop measurement. Standard running shoes had heel drops in the range of 10 to 14 millimeters. Look for a lower number, from zero to 10 millimeters. But also be careful that you are not buying shoes that are too minimal in support and cushioning for your needs.
  • No Flare: Some shoes have a flared heel to give running stability. Avoid this for walking shoes, as walkers strike with the heel and ideally, the heel would be undercut (shaved off at the end) rather than flared. Less of a heel will help you roll through a step.

Research on Flexible Walking Shoes

Many common recommendations for athletic shoe features are being called into question. One is that people with knee osteoarthritis should wear highly cushioned, stable, and inflexible orthopedic shoes for walking. As many people resist this and choose athletic shoes for style and comfort, one study tested the load forces felt by the knee and hip with different kinds a footwear.

A flat, flexible, low-heeled, lightweight walking shoe had 7 to 15 percent less stress on the knee than clogs or stability shoes that had higher heels and were less flexible. Another study placed subjects in flat, flexible walking shoes and found a significant decrease in knee loading after 24 weeks, even when they switched back to their regular shoes.

This is an interesting path for research to take, and thus far it provides support for recommending that walkers may benefit from shoes that have at least some flexibility in the forefoot.

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Article Sources
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