The 13 Best Walking Shoes of 2021, According to an Expert

Stroll for miles in these comfortable kicks

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Our Top Picks
Lightweight and breathable, these shoes feel great right out of the box and are ideal for folks who spend hours on their feet.
With just the right balance of firmness and cushion, these shoes sufficiently support and protect your feet while walking.
It’s available in a wide range of sizes and three widths, so it works for both small and large feet.
The breathable upper of this affordable shoe keeps your feet dry, while the outsole provides good traction in all conditions.
This shoe's slip-on style makes removal easy while the thick heel helps with shock absorption, promoting a comfortable stroll.
Ideal for folks with plantar fasciitis, this shoe features excellent cushioning in the heel for a consistently comfortable step.
Complete with a roomy fit and a diagonal rollbar, this shoe corrects overpronation, which is common in people with low arches.
With enough space to accommodate foot inserts or custom orthotics, this shoe offers a truly customizable fit.
Thick cushioning allows for a smooth, efficient ride, and extra support helps people with existing knee or hip pain.
The roomy toebox of this shoe helps prevent potential blisters, as well as any numbness or tingling in the feet.

Walking is a great form of exercise with lots of health benefits, but wearing the right shoes is key to staying comfortable and injury-free. Whether you walk for fitness or simply spend a significant amount of time on your feet, you need shoes that offer quality all-around cushioning and support to prevent fatigue and soreness.

Here are the best walking shoes on the market, according to a running coach.

Best Overall for Women: Rykä Devotion Plus 3 Walking Shoe

Pros
  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Excellent shock absorption

  • Lots of color choices

  • Durable

Cons
  • Laces are not easy to change

  • Run small

When it comes to everyday walking shoes, women can’t go wrong with this extremely popular, comfortable, and durable pair from Rykä. Lightweight and breathable, they feel great right out of the box and are ideal for women who walk a lot for exercise or spend hours at a time on their feet.

The design features Re-zorb, Rykä’s active foam technology, in the midsole and in pods on the outsole, so you get both shock and impact protection throughout the entire length of the shoe. It also comes in numerous fun color combinations and regular or wide sizes, so it’s a good fit for women who need some extra room in the toebox.

Materials:  Rubber sole, synthetic and mesh upper | Cushioning Molded EVA midsole and full-length RE-ZORB platform | Closure: Lace-up front

Best Overall for Men: New Balance 990v5 Running Shoe

New Balance 990 Running Shoe
Pros
  • Stylish

  • Comfortable

  • Wide range of sizes

  • Very breathable

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Limited color choices

A category leader in walking shoes, New Balance certainly delivers with this high-quality, comfortable shoe. With just the right balance of firmness and cushion, it sufficiently supports and protects your feet while walking. The shoe’s Ortholite premium footbed provides cushioning and arch support while the lightweight, breathable upper helps keep your feet cool and dry.

Whether you’re walking for fitness or need a solid shoe for all-day wear, this sleek, attractive shoe can work with both athletic and casual styles. They’re available in a range of widths, too, from extra narrow to extra-extra wide, so you can easily find a well-fitting shoe that will keep you moving comfortably.

Materials:  Suede and mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning:  EVA foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best Unisex: New Balance 608v5 Walking Shoes

New Balance WX 608 Training Shoes
Pros
  • Comfortable

  • Affordable

  • Wide range of sizes

  • Durable

Cons
  • Not good for trail walking

  • May be warm in very hot weather

If you spend a lot of time on your feet, you’ll love the all-day wearability of the New Balance 608v5 walking shoe. With a highly-cushioned midsole and flex grooves in the outsole, it’s extremely comfortable and durable, at an affordable price. It’s available in a wide range of sizes and in three widths, so it works for both small and large feet, not just for men.

The shoe’s EVA midsole adds firm but flexible support, while the soft leather upper, polyurethane insole, and dual-layer cushioning enhance the overall comfort. Although the tread is not ready to handle rugged terrain, this shoe is a solid choice for anyone who needs a reliable, comfy shoe for long workdays or fitness walking.

Materials: Leather upper, rubber sole | Cushioning: EVA midsole | Closure: Lace-up front

Best Budget: ASICS Women's GEL-Venture 7 Running Shoes

ASICS Women’s GEL Venture Running Shoes
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Lightweight

  • Breathable

  • Lots of color options

Cons
  • Shoelaces may not be durable

  • Not good for trail walking

Asics is a popular brand for runners, but its reasonably-priced GEL-Venture 7 running shoe also works well for walkers who are looking for a comfortable and supportive shoe for exercise, traveling, or all-day wear.

With Asics’ rearfoot GEL cushioning, you get comfortable support and excellent shock absorption, as well as protection from heel pain. The breathable mesh fabric upper keeps your feet dry and comfortable while the durable, grippy outsole provides good traction in all types of conditions. Because the shoes hug your feet and provide shock absorption, they're ideal for protecting your knees when you're walking on concrete, which is especially beneficial for those who have bad knees.

Plus, we love that they can easily be worn in rainy conditions, too, as the rubber sole will ensure your feet stay firmly planted without slipping on slick pavement. Overall, they’re a solid choice for walkers looking for an affordable, lightweight, and reliable shoe.

Materials: Synthetic and mesh upper, rubber sole | Cushioning: Foam insole, GEL cushioning system in heel | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Editors Say

“As an avid runner and walker, I swear by Asics Gel-Venture shoes. I’ve worn various Asics Gel products for the past 15 years, and am sold for life. I love the cushioning system that reduces impact on my joints and carries me through countless miles. Unlike other shoes I’ve tried, these shoes transition well between walking and running, so you won’t need two pairs of sneakers for different activities.” — Eliza Savage, Senior Editor, Verywell Fit 

Best for Seniors: Skechers Performance Go Walk 5 Walking Shoe

Pros
  • Stylish

  • Good traction

  • Excellent shock absorption

  • Very comfortable

Cons
  • May not work for very wide feet

  • Not the best for ankle support

With a sturdy, grippy synthetic sole, the Skechers Go Walk 5 Walking Shoe is a good choice for seniors, who are at a higher risk for slips and falls. The footbed is cushioned with memory foam and the thick heel helps with shock absorption, allowing you to stroll in comfort. The slip-on style also makes it easy to slide your shoes on and off with minimal effort.

Available in several colors and medium or wide sizes, this stylish shoe can be dressed up or down, making it a great all-around and versatile walking shoe.

Materials: Athletic-knit mesh fabric upper | Cushioning: Memory foam | Closure:  Slip-on

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Saucony Versafoam Cohesion Running Shoe

Saucony Men's VERSAFOAM Cohesion 12 Road Running Shoe
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Excellent cushioning and support

  • Stylish

  • Wide range of color options

Cons
  • May not work for wider feet

  • Laces don’t always stay tied

A forever favorite among walkers and runners alike, the affordable Saucony’s Versafoam Cohesion shoe has just the right amount of cushioning and support that people dealing with foot issues like plantar fasciitis need.

The shoe’s grid-like Versafoam cushioning offers exceptional comfort and stability in every step, making those miles fly by without any pain or discomfort. Meanwhile, the thick outsoles provide shock absorption and enhanced durability.

Materials: Mesh and synthetic upper, Rubber outsole | Cushioning: Versafoam cushioning | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Flat Feet: Brooks Addiction Walker 2 Shoe

Brooks Addiction Walker 2
Pros
  • Excellent support

  • Available in range of widths

  • Very durable

  • Stylish

Cons
  • May run small

  • Limited color choices

With excellent support and cushioning, the Brooks Addiction Walker 2 is a great choice for anyone with flat feet. It features an extended progressive diagonal rollbar that provides maximum support and corrects any overpronation, which is common for people with low arches. The full-length midsole cushioning also offers a soft feel while still providing excellent energy return and responsiveness.

The shoe has a roomy fit and is available in several different widths, so it can accommodate orthotics or insoles as well. Whether you’re a fitness walker or someone who spends hours standing, the Brooks Addiction Walker 2 is a versatile and durable choice.

Materials: Leather upper, rubber sole | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning | Closure: Lace-up

Best for High Arches: Asics GEL-Contend Walker Shoe

Asics GEL-Contend Walker Shoe
Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Excellent cushioning

  • Durable

  • Supportive

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • May be too warm in extreme heat

If you have high arches, the Asics GEL-Contend Walker offers the perfect blend of flexibility and cushioning that you need. Asics’ well-known GEL cushioning system in the rearfoot of the shoe allows for exceptional shock absorption while the AmpliFoam midsole provides lightweight-yet-durable comfort. The shoe’s Ortholite sock liner offers even more support and moisture management, so your feet stay dry and supported at all times.

With enough space to accommodate foot inserts or custom orthotics, the GEL-Contend is a versatile walking shoe and an excellent value for the money.

Materials: Leather and synthetic upper, rubber sole | Cushioning: GEL cushioning, AmpliFoam midsole | Closure: Lace-up

Best Cushioned: Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoe

Hoka One One Bondi 7 Running Shoe
Pros
  • Exceptional cushioning

  • Durable

  • Supportive

  • Very breathable

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not stylish

If you want a walking shoe with a lot of cushioning, it’s tough to beat Hoka One One’s Bondi 7 shoe. The Bondi’s thick midsole cushioning allows for a smooth, efficient ride, and the extra support helps people with existing knee or hip pain.

These shoes are pricier than many other walking shoes on the market, but they’re definitely worth the cost for the quality, durability, and performance.

Materials: Mesh upper, rubber outsole | Cushioning: Full EVA midsole, memory foam collar | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Wide Feet: New Balance 577 V1 Walking Shoe

New Balance WW577
Pros
  • Comes in wide sizes

  • Excellent traction

  • Very durable

  • Supportive

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • May be warm in extreme heat

If you’ve suffered from foot blisters, toe numbness, or other foot pain because of tight shoes, you may want to consider the New Balance 577 V1 walking shoe for its wide, deep toebox. It's available in a variety of widths, so it can accommodate a huge range of sizes.

Supportive and durable, it provides plenty of cushioning and comfort for neutral walkers. With a high-grade leather upper and a grippy rubber outsole, the New Balance 577 V1 shoe is ready for all types of surfaces and weather conditions. It's perfect for fitness walking, but stylish enough to serve as a casual, all-day wear shoe as well.

Materials: Leather upper, rubber sole | Cushioning:  Polyurethane midsole, ABZORB cushioning in heel | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Narrow Feet: Allbirds Tree Runners

All Birds
Pros
  • Breathable

  • Great for hot weather

  • Stylish

  • Extremely comfortable

Cons
  • Not ideal for hiking

  • Not suitable for extreme cold

People with narrow feet may have trouble finding shoes that offer a “just right” fit. With a sleek, minimalist design, these popular shoes from Allbirds are snug and comfortable, so you don’t have to worry about your feet sliding around in them. Perfect for all-day casual wear, they’re light and breathable, so you can even wear them without socks.

Like other Allbirds shoes, they’re made from all-natural, sustainable materials such as merino wool and eucalyptus tree fiber. The merino wool helps prevent odors, while the silky, smooth material keeps your feet dry and cool.

Bouncy and contoured, the shoe’s midsole is made with Brazilian sugarcane and offers a cloud-like feel. Available in a range of cool and neutral colors, Tree Runners are modern, stylish, and easy to clean in the washing machine.

Materials: Merino wool, eucalyptus tree fiber | Cushioning: SweetFoam EVA midsole | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Travel: Skechers Ultra Flex Harmonious Walking Shoe

Skechers Ultra Flex Harmonious Walking Shoe
Pros
  • Versatile

  • Good shock absorption and support

  • Stylish

  • Wide range of colors

Cons
  • May not work for narrow feet

  • May be too thin for extreme cold

Whether you’re exploring a new city on foot or speed-walking through the airport, the Skechers Ultra Flex Harmonious walking shoe makes for the perfect travel companion. Flexible and responsive, the shoes keep your feet comfortable and supported, even if you’re walking for hours. The memory foam-cushioned insole provides a comfortable, custom-feel fit while the Ultra Flex midsole offers further shock absorption and support.

With a sporty design and lots of color options, this versatile shoe will pair nicely with many outfits. The slip-on style, lightweight feel, and grippy sole also make it worthy of a spot in your suitcase.

Materials: Skech knit mesh | Cushioning: Memory foam insole | Closure: Slip-on

Best for Golf: Nike Golf Roshe G Shoes

Nike Golf Roshe G Shoes
Pros
  • Comfortable and supportive

  • Stylish

  • Durable

  • Excellent traction for golf

Cons
  • Not water-resistant

  • May not work for wide feet

No matter the level of your golf game, you need the right shoes to provide comfort and stability for walking the course. Known for its high-quality, well-made golf shoes, Nike offers a versatile and stylish option with their Nike Roshe G golf shoe.

The injected foam midsole provides soft, lightweight cushioning while the breathable mesh upper keeps your feet dry and comfortable. And to help your game, rubber traction pods on the bottoms of the shoes give you added stability throughout your swing.

Materials: Rubber sole, mesh upper | Cushioning: Full-length Phylon midsole | Closure: Lace-up

Final Verdict

With the perfect combination of comfort and stability, the New Balance 990v5 shoe (view at Amazon) is ideal for men who are looking for a reliable, all-day wear walking shoe. For women, the Rykä Devotion Plus 3 shoe (view at Amazon) is a comfortable and supportive shoe for fitness walking, travel, and casual wear. And if you’re looking for a less expensive but still durable and high-quality option, the Asics’ GEL-Venture 7 shoe (view at Amazon) is a solid choice as well.

What to Look for in Walking Shoes

Fit

A good pair of walking shoes should fit comfortably right out of the box—no break-in period required. Make sure there’s at least a half-inch of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. “You shouldn't be feeling any pinching or trouble moving your toes,” said podiatrist Ami A. Sheth, DPM, FACFAS.

If you wear custom orthotics or inserts, look for a shoe that’s deep enough to accommodate them or has removable insoles.

Cushioning

Look for shoes that have gel, foam, or air midsole cushioning, which reduces impact and helps with shock absorption as you’re walking.

Support

Support is key when choosing a walking shoe, especially for those who have a history of foot pain and issues. “The shoe should have a good sturdy sole that is flexible at the toes only, not through the midfoot, and one that you cannot wring out like a dishrag,” said Dr. Sheth.

Durability

Walking shoes should be durable enough for all-day wear, so they’re supposed to be a bit heavier than most running shoes. Stick with shoes from quality brands that specialize in walking shoes and look for sturdy rubber outsoles.

Breathability

If you do a lot of fitness walking, especially in warm weather, you’ll want a shoe that won’t make you overheat. “It should be made of a breathable material such as mesh or a leather material,” said podiatrist Mark Mendeszoon, DPM, FACFAS.

FAQs

Are Running Shoes Good for Walking?

The short answer is that yes, running shoes can be used for walking. However, it’s important to understand some key differences between running and walking shoes to decide if you want to wear running shoes for walking. Running shoes are usually lightweight to allow for quick movement, while walking shoes are typically heavier to help maintain stability.

You’ll get more cushioning in the heel and forefoot with running shoes, which also means that they have less flexibility. Walking shoes generally have more flex at the forefoot, allowing walkers to push off with their toes and have a better range of motion. Running shoes are also usually more breathable than walking shoes since running makes your feet hotter. 

Whether you choose running shoes or walking shoes really depends on the type of walking you do. Walking shoes are ideal for those who need good support and stability for fitness walking. If you’re going to be doing a combination of running and walking or you walk a lot in hot weather, go with a pair of running shoes.

How Long Do Walking Shoes Last?

In general, walking shoes last about 350 to 500 miles before the support, cushioning, and shock absorption are worn out, leaving you susceptible to injury. For most people, that’s about four to six months, if you wear them regularly. Even though the shoes may appear to be in good condition, they’re ready to be replaced by then.

How to Walk Without Creasing Your Shoes

Walking properly can help prevent your shoes from creasing. For example, walking up on your toes or on your heels can lead to creases in your shoes, so practice landing on the ball of your foot instead.

Wearing shoes that are too loose may also lead to creasing. Make sure your shoes are tied so that your foot is snug and not sliding around. When selecting walking shoes, get the proper fit. “The width of the shoe should be wide enough that you can wiggle your toes without too much motion in the forefoot,” said Dr. Mendeszoon.

When you’re not wearing your shoes, you can stuff them with socks to help retain their shape and avoid creasing.

How to Stop Shoes from Squeaking When Walking

Squeaky shoes when walking are often caused by wearing wet shoes, so it’s important to dry out your shoes when they get wet. First, remove the soles or inserts and then let them air dry. To speed up the process, you can stuff them with balled-up newspaper to absorb the moisture. Don’t put wet shoes in the dryer or under a heater, as that can damage or warp the shoes.

The squeaking may also be caused by friction between the soles and insoles. You can solve that issue by sprinkling baby or talcum powder underneath the inner sole. If the insoles aren’t removable, sprinkle the powder along the seams of the insoles.

If your shoes squeak on certain types of floors that are slick, another trick is to rub the sole of the shoe with sandpaper. The bottoms of the shoes won’t be so smooth and polished, so they’ll be less likely to squeak.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As a running coach, marathon runner, and fitness writer, Christine Luff has spent years researching and recommending running and walking shoes. To walk in comfort and reduce injury risk, she suggests getting properly fitted for walking shoes and replacing them regularly.

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