Walking Shoe Buyer’s Guide

walking shoe buyer's guide goodpairofshoes.comI haven’t had very good luck finding a good pair of walking shoes that really, truly fit. More often than not I’ve had to compromise on fit and settle for walking shoes that were less than ideal. In fact, I’ve made way too many bad shoe purchases.

So after all these years of trial and error, I decided to do my own walking shoe buyer’s guide.

Our goal at GoodPairofShoes.com is to eliminate those bad purchases and save you time by providing all the walking shoe info you need in one place. (So you don’t have to spend hours scouring the web.)

We also want to save you money, and save your feet from unnecessary pain. Because the wrong shoes really can cause foot problems. I can attest to that.

Buying a good pair of walking shoes isn’t like buying loafers. Comfort is not the only consideration. You also need stability, rigidity, and functionality for your particular foot.

So we’ve designed this entire website as a comprehensive walking shoe buyer’s guide. We have specific articles on walking shoes for flat feetbest for wide feet and best walking shoes for Seniors.

We also have tips from podiatrists to help keep your feet healthy and happy.

 

 

 

For more, in-depth info on how to find a good fit and avoid bad shoe purchases, try THIS post.

 

Why Buy Shoes Online?

I hate shoe shopping. And I don’t think I’m the only person who feels that way.

For me, shopping for walking shoes is especially painful, thanks to my odd-shaped feet and a small selection of choices in my home town.

Good Pair Of Shoes.com and our walking shoe buyer’s guide makes shopping easier with an extensive collection of walking shoes and easy checkout through Amazon.

If you’re tired of driving all over town trying on shoes, this is the solution. Just order several pairs through our Amazon links, and return the ones that don’t fit. If you’re one of the 100 million Amazon Prime members in this country, you’ll even get free shipping both directions.

No rush. No pressure. No sales clerks. No driving around. You can take as much time as you need to determine the perfect fit. (Just make sure you don’t wear them outdoors)

If you have wide feet, like mine, there’s a post on the best walking shoes for wide feet. We also have shoes for people who have foot issues, such as plantar fasciitis or flat feet.

We’ve categorized all walking shoes into the following 5 groups:

 

1. Sandals for Walking

walking shoe buyer's guide goodpairofshoes.com

Hot summer days and vacation travel sometimes demand sandals that you can also walk in. Technically, these are not walking shoes, but the sandals we’ve chosen are widely regarded as the best for walking. 

 

 

 

2. Sneakers For Walking

good walking shoes for walkingThese are the lightest and least supportive of all the shoes we’ve researched. Generally speaking, we don’t recommend plain old sneakers for walking, but we also know the realities of the marketplace… Many people just make do with sneakers, so we include some of the better ones in our walking shoe buyer’s guide.

 

 

3. Trail Running Shoes For Walking

trail running shoes for walkingIf you shop at most chains or discount shoe stores you won’t find  walking shoes. Instead, the sales people will push you into a running shoe, saying that they’re essentially the same.

Ha! Don’t fall for it. Running and walking demand completely different things from a shoe, so the only running shoes that we normally recommend for walking can be found in the trail running category. Trail Running Shoes are substantially sturdier and more rigid than most lightweight running shoes. Therefore, they can work well as walking shoes for some people. If you try walking in lightweight running shoes, you’re just asking for foot problems.

 

4. Supportive, Orthopedic Shoes For Walking

There are a few brands, such as Vivonic, Kuru, Brooks, Birkenstock and Aetrex that are anatomically designed to provide extra support for problem feet. You won’t find these brands on the shelf at a standard, run-of-the-mall shoe store. So if you have heel spurs, plantar fasciitis or diabetes-related foot issues, this is the category for you.

 

 5. Light Hiking Shoes For Walking

walking shoe buyer's guide Oboz walking shoesThese are the most durable, most substantial shoes of the bunch. We don’t review hiking boots but some of these models would work perfectly well for short back packing trips or long day hikes. Take a look at Oboz, Solomon, Keen and Merrell.

 


 

Alphabetical overview of the best walking shoes and sneakers for walking:

Adidas Neo Walking Shoes

good walking shoes for walking

Category: Sneakers for Walking.
Rating:  3.5 Stars
Noteworthy: Good for plantar fasciitis.

Adida’s Cloudfoam is a newly developed EVA compound and is getting good reviews for its softness underfoot. This is consistently rated as one of the best sneakers for plantar fasciitis.

 

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Altra Lone Peak 3

Category: Trail Running Shoe for Walking
Rating:  3 Stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Super-thick padding underfoot and exra width in the toe box.

trail running shoes for walking shoes goodpairofshoes.comAltra’s “footshape” toe box makes this line a great choice for people like me who need extra width in the forefoot. The wide toe box allows your toes to relax and spread out naturally and the big toe stays in a straight position for more speed and stability The cushioning, even in their more minimalist models, is amazing. These shoes fearture “Zero Drop” which means your heel and forefoot the same distance from the ground. Altra claims this encourages proper, low-impact form throughout your stide. Unique outsole and midsole pattern maps the bones and tendons of your foot to let it flex where it naturally wants to.

 

Walking Shoe Buyer’s Guide


• Walking shoes for Women.    • Insoles & Orthotics.    • Walking with Poles.    • Best shoes for wide feet.      • Podiatrist advice.


 

Asics Gel Walking Shoes Women’s quickwalk 3

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: This brand is a good option for diabetic feet

Asics quickwalk walking shoes for women goodpairofshoes.comASICS combines their legendary Gel cushioning system with great support features like medial posts to provide maximum shock absorption while helping to guard against over-pronation and over-supination. Lots of Fit Options in many styles and building their shoes on different lasts (the form that shoes are constructed over), ASICS offers shoes that will provide a great fit for every foot type. They offer specialized walking shoes with the whole purpose of helping people with Diabetes.

 

 

Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS

Category: Trail Running Shoes for Walking
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: This brand is a good option for diabetic feet

Brooks walking shoes goodpairofshoes.comBrooks is a popular brand for people with wide feet. It’s also a company that’s praised for its innovation and consistently ranks among the best brands in the running shoe category. (Which translates to great walking shoes, as well.)  This particular shoe provides extra stability and excellent cushioning for the moderate overpronator. Lightweight, breathable, moisture-managing Element mesh and synthetic uppers protect your feet from the elements. Adjustable mid-foot saddle creates a more secure, customizable fit.

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Clarks Women’s Wave Trek Sneakers

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: This exceptionally supportive shoe belongs in a class above.

clark's walking shoes goodpairofshoes.comThis shoe actually qualifies as a “Supportive orthopedic shoe for walking” but it doesn’t look like one. Clark’s has been making exceptional shoes for more than 100 years. They’re well known for their combination of comfort and orthopedic quality. This waterproof women’s sneaker in classic black leather boasts Clarks wavewalk™ walking technology, comfort, and good looks. The innovative curved rocker sole conserves energy, absorbs shock, and cushions the joints to enhance the walking experience. Crafted of rich, weather-ready full grain leather with removable ortholite® footbed for comfort on treks on city sidewalks or country lanes, rain or shine. These run narrow, so they’re not for people with wide feet.

 

 

 

 

Drew Shoe Men’s Aaron Oxford

Category: Supportive, orthopedic shoes for walking
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: This is an exceptional shoe for people with foot problems.

Drew shoes for walking goodpairofshoes.comDrew Aaron Shoe is the number one provider of orthopedic shoes, diabetic shoes, and practical shoes for all sorts of foot conditions. With a 135-year history, Drew has refined and mastered the science of therapeutic comfort footwear. The entire Drew Collection is an inventive combination of function and style, working to keep the feet healthy. Drew Aaron offers the proprietary Plus Fitting System® with two removable insoles plus all the therapeutic benefits Drew is famous for. With shock-absorbing inserts, flared outsoles, firm heel counters and Drilex® linings to wick away moisture,

 

 

Ecco Urban Lifestyle Low Walking Shoe

Category: Supportive, orthopedic shoes for walking
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Elegant, casual styling with outstanding support.

Ecco best walking shoes goodpairofshoes.comECCO is a European shoe company founded in Denmark in 1963. The mandate of this company is to make shoes that fit the foot, not the other way around. They have a proprietary technology that allows them to make ergonomically-correct soles that bond seamlessly to the upper. It’s Scandinavian design and European craftsmanship, even though they have factories all over the world. Simple, elegant and functional footwear.

 

 

Fila Women’s Day Hiker

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Italian design for narrow feet.

Fila women's walking shoes goodpairofshoes.comFila was originally an Italian company and was quite popular throughout Europe and America in the 90’s. The company is now is owned by Fila Korea. This is a lightweight hiking shoe that’s more geared for sidewalks than actual hiking. It’s also very inexpensive, so don’t expect to get very many miles out of these.

 


• Walking shoes for Women.    • Insoles & Orthotics.    • Walking with Poles.    • Best shoes for wide feet.      • Podiatrist advice.


 

Hoka One One Stinson 3 walking shoes

Category: Running shoes for Walking
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: That’s some thick stuff underfoot!

Hoka best walking shoes for men goodpairofshoes.comHoka One One is a relatively new brand you’ve probably not seen, but you’ll remember them when you do see them. The innovation here is in the meta-rocker sole and the One-One cushioning and support.

You can see how thick the sole is… almost twice as thick as other walking shoes. Technically, this is a running shoe, but they’re very cushy and the unique meta-rocker shape seems to propel you forward. Some say the design is also beneficial for people with plantar faciitis.

 

 

Keen Women’s Mercer Lace hiking shoes

Category: Light Hiking shoes for Walking
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: The shape of Keens allows your toes to relax naturally.

 

Keen CNX Mercer women's walking shoesDisclaimer: I am a huge Keen fan! First of all, they are exceptionally well made… I’ve had two pairs of Keen hiking shoes for more than 5 years. Not only that, Keen’s iconic wide toe box fit my peasant feet perfectly. Don’t make the same mistake I’ve made numerous times… if your feet are wide up in the toes, don’t try jamming them in to other brands. Just buy Keens. They’re also great for anyone who needs wide shoes or high volume shoes.

 

 

La Sportiva Synthesis Mid GTX hiking shoes

 

Category: Light Hiking shoes for Walking
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: The shape of Keens allows your toes to relax naturally.

La Sportive trail running shoes for walking goodpairofshoes.comLa Sportiva’s Synthesis Mid GTX is a versatile, mid-height hiking shoe designed for all types of terrain; Waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex Surround technology keeps your feet dry during extended day hikes or overnight backpacking trips no matter the weather. Ultralight moisture-wicking AirMesh fabrics with Nano-Cell technology keep your feet cool on hot days, control moisture, and prevent blisters. STB Technology stabilizes the foot by wrapping and unifying the midsole with the upper; Adjustable bungee pull cord lacing system stays put and offers a more secure fit than traditional lace-up shoes. Sticky vibram megagrip traverse outsole with enhanced stability area and trail bite heel braking platform.

Normally, La Sportiva’s are too narrow for my feet. These have a roomy toe box that makes these very comfortable to wear all day long. The lacing allows them to be tightened up when you want.”Very comfortable, excellent rubber. If you are familiar with LaSportiva, the toe box will feel a little roomier than what you might be used to.

 

 

Tips for choosing a walking shoe.

There’s nothing worse than buying a pair of shoes and then regretting it the first time out.

  • Walking shoes should be a balance between light weight and support. They should also be adapted to the type of walking you do. If you’re a mall walker your shoes will look different than if you do mostly trail walking.
  • Pick up a shoe by the heel and toe and bend the toe upward. Does the shoe bend at the ball of the foot or at some random point halfway along the arch? It should bend under the ball of the foot. This is one reason why you should never buy walking shoes that are a size too big… the break in the toe area won’t match up with the anatomy of your feet
  • Twist the shoe sole from the heel to the toe. Does the sole feel like a wet noodle, or is there some resistance to twisting? Walking shoes should provide light to moderate resistance.  A golf shoe would be much more torsionally stiff, while a skateboarding shoe would be super flexible

For more, in-depth info on how to find a good fit and avoid bad shoe purchases, try THIS post.


walking shoe buyer's guide Merrell

Merrell Women’s Siren Edge Hiker

Category: Light Hiking shoes for Walking
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Merrell is a brand you can trust, with deep roots in classic bootmaking.

Merrell Siren Edge light hiking shoe for walkingI believe that Merrell makes great walking shoes and hiking boots, I’ve just never been able to fit into them myself due to my wide forefoot. (I recently found that some Merrells now come in E width.)

These are substantial shoes! The structure and support of Merrell walking shoes has helped many people with knee and low back pain. Merrell has of the top 3 footbeds that you can find in a shoe, however it may be a little more firm than what some people find comfortable.

From what I’ve discovered, this brand has a devoted following. Mesh and 3-D print mesh uppers have bellows tongues to keep out debris. Breathable mesh linings promote cool comfort while active. They have great contoured footbeds with organic odor control, backed with molded nylon shanks, for added underfoot support. Merrell Air Cushions in the heels absorb shock and add stability.

 

Merrell All Out Blaze 2

Category: Light Hiking Shoes for Walking
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Merrell is a brand you can trust, with deep roots in classic bootmaking.

Merrell All Out Blaze 2 walking shoe goodpairofshoes.comThis is my second-favorite shoe of all the ones I’ve tried out. For a Merrell, it’s surprisingly roomy up in the toe box. While reviewing all the on-line reviews on these, one thing’s for sure… I’m not alone in my assessment. These are exceptional walking shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

New Balance MW877 Men’s Walking Shoe

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: New Balance is the go-to walking shoe for millions of avid walkers.

New Balance walking shoes for menThese shoes almost qualify as a “Suportive Orthopedict Shoe.” These are well made!  New Balance is well known for it’s 6E high volume shoes… so it’s a great brand for those of us with wide feet. But they also go all the way down to 2A. In fact, New Balance offers more widths than any other brand. It’s also worth noting that at least eight models of New Balance shoes are actually made in America… it’s a small portion of their product mix, but at least someone’s still making shoes here at home. These shoes typically run a half-size small.

 

 


• Walking shoes for Women.    • Insoles & Orthotics.    • Walking with Poles.    • Best shoes for wide feet.      • Podiatrist advice.


 

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 33 Trainers

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: One of the few Nikes we’d recommend for walking

Nike running shoes for walking shoesThis is a gorgeous shoe… one of the best looking that we’ve found. But it’s not just a fashion statement, it’s also a great performer for serious walking. The heel on this Nike shoe was designed to complement your natural movements while the outsole does an amazing job at shock absorption. And the breathability of the air mesh is unmatched. In general, are good for narrow feet, and can accommodate a long middle toe.

 

 

 

Oboz Men’s Sawtooth hiking shoe

Category: Light Hiking Shoes For Walking
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Our pick for the best light hiking shoes on the market.

Oboz walking shoes for menI can’t say enough about the Oboz Sawtooth. After trying literally every shoe on the market, these are my #1 pick.

These shoes edged out Merrells for a couple reasons: The sole has a bit of natural roll to it. So not only is it super supportive over rough terrain, it propels you forward. I never feel like I’m standing flat footed in these.

There are only four brands that include decent insoles with their shoes, and Oboz one of them. You won’t need to buy Superfeet or other, aftermarket insoles with these shoes.

(See the video above for a review of the Oboz Sawtooth)

 

 

Puma Women’s Fashin Alt-w Walking Shoe

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: ultra light weight.

Puma slip-on walking shoe goodpairofshoes.comThis is a sporty little slip-on that might be okay for mall walking or casual neighborhood strolls. But I wouldn’t rely on this for fitness walking or hiking. The minimalist upper is made up of a lightweight mesh and highlighted with the iconic form stripe and cat logo branding. The compression foam footbed provides optimal step-in comfort while the flexible cushioning midsole offers shock absorption and additional support. These shoes run small, so buy a size larger than you normally wear. And always remember… Amazon makes it super easy to return things, so you can always order two, just to be safe.

 

 

Reebok Men’s Ultra V Dmx Max Walking shoe

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: ultra light weight.

Reebok Walk Ultra walking shoes for menIf you’re suffering from plantar faciitis, bone spurs or any other type of foot pain, this might be a good shoe to try. This is a substantial shoe with a very rigid sole, which makes it quite durable and appropriate for all types of walking, although some reviewers found them a bit clumsy. They can easily accommodate wide feet. Please note: We will be adding more shoes to the Reebok line as we get time to review them.

 

 

Rockport Women’s Walk360 Washable Lace up

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: ultra light weight.

Rockport Women's walking shoes goodpairofshoes.comRockport changed the shoe industry forever by merging the comfort of sneakers with the smart look of a dress shoe. It’s also of the first companies to devote significant resources specifically to the development and design of walking shoes. This lightweight, washable walking shoe is super comfy, and perfect for neighborhood walks or laps around the mall.

 

Ryka Women’s Dominion Walking Shoe

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Jacquard knitted upper and anatomical footbed design

Ryka women's dominion walking shoes goodpairofshoes.comRyka is a woman-only brand, and offers the most extensive line of women’s walking shoes on the market. All of which are engineered for support and long-term foot health.

Ryka knows that a woman’s foot shape, muscle movement and skeletal structure are all inherently different from a man’s. The “Q-angle”(quadricep angle) – the anatomical relationship between the hip and knee – measures 5–7 degrees greater for women than men. As a result, women tend to shift more weight to the outside of their feet which leads to over-pronation, instability at foot strike and higher risk of injury. All Ryka sneakers, including Ryka walking shoes, are designed and developed taking into account a woman’s unique fit needs.

 

Saucony Women’s Echelon LE2 walking shoe

Category: Sneakers for Walking
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Sturdy, all-leather construction.

Saucony walking shoes goodpairofshoes.comSaucony (pronounced sock-uh-knee)  is a well-known brand in the running community. This Boston-based company dates back to 1898, and has a long history of success in track and field. These walking shoes are designed for neutral pronation. The cushioning ranks 7 on a scale of 10. Although they have a breathable fabric liner, some walkers report that the all-leather construction makes them too hot for summer walking.

 

Scarpa Vortex XCR Trail Walking Shoes

This Italian brand has a history of craftsmanship that dates back to the 1940s. Best known among serious alpinists, skiers and climbers, the mountain footwear company has extended its reach into comfortable walking and casual shoes. The Scarpa Vortex is a workhorse of a shoe… Gortex keeps your feet dry, and the Vibram Dynatech soles are known for durability and great grip. These shoes are built for narrow, shallow feet.

 


Important Links:

• Walking shoes for Women.    • Insoles & Orthotics.    • Walking with Poles.    • Best shoes for wide feet.      • Podiatrist advice.


Sketchers Women’s Go Walk 2 Walking Shoe

According to Market Realist Skechers grabbed the number two spot in the footwear market in the United States last year. The company’s brands were also ranked number one in the walking and work footwear categories. The Go Walk 2 is a comfortable, lightweight slip-on for the mall, the treadmill, or the neighborhood.

 

 

 

Salomon Ellipse Aero Hiking shoe

Category: Lite Hiking Shoes for Walking
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Noteworthy: Famous French bootmaker makes exceptional walking shoes.

Salomon Ellipse Aero walking shoe for womenSalomon was founded in 1947 in the heart of the French Alps. Driven by a passion for skiing and design innovation, Francois Salomon and his son George designed and perfected much of the first modern ski equipment. During the following 60 years, Salomon’s innovative designs and passion for mountain sports created a vast range of revolutionary new concepts in ski boots, skis, apparel and footwear.

 

Teva Women’s Tirra Sandal

Teva is an authentic icon in the outdoor industry. Founded in the early 1980’s by a Colorado River guide, Teva pioneered the sport-sandal category. For more than 20 years on rivers, in canyons, and across the trails of the great outdoors, athletes and enthusiasts have traveled the globe comfortably and confidently in Teva footwear. The Tirra sandal has a substantial, contoured EVA footbed and a rugged rubber sole that makes it quite functional for anything but the longest hike.