Who hasn’t had tired, aching feet after a long day of sightseeing while on vacation?
No matter where your wanderlust takes you — from the cobblestone alleys of Venice to the famous paths of Central Park — a good pair of walking shoes will enhance your walking, hiking, and even running experience when traveling.
Designed to keep your feet dry and comfortable on any terrain, walking shoes help to prevent blisters and calluses and provide excellent shock absorption while being lightweight and durable enough to see you through many miles (and adventures) to come.
Table of contents
- Things To Consider With Walking Shoes
- The Best Walking Shoes for Women
- The Best Walking Shoes for Men
- Final Thoughts
Table of Contents
- Things To Consider With Walking Shoes
- The Best Walking Shoes for Women
- The Best Walking Shoes for Men
- Final Thoughts
Things To Consider With Walking Shoes
Whether you are planning on pounding the pavement or hitting the trails, your walking shoes need to be comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time. Designed to handle rough terrain on the outside, they should feel soft on the inside and be lightweight enough to not slow you down.
Look for walking shoes that provide a snug fit at the heel to help prevent them from sliding up and down and causing blisters, and those that offer ample room in the forefoot to ensure that they blend seamlessly with the cycle of your gait. Padded insoles offer a comfortable feeling underfoot, and contoured rubber soles help absorb the shock of walking or running on every terrain type.
For a walking shoe to work well on both paved and non-paved surfaces, it needs to offer a good level of stability at all times. Sturdy soles with wider heels, contoured midsoles, and gently arched forefronts are more durable and reliable in harsh terrain. A high level of support for your ankles and midsoles will also help to keep you stable, as you will be better protected against impact and fatigue that could cause the dreaded ankle roll.
While a rugged sole offers great support, be wary of those that are super heavy and rigid beneath your feet. In order to cope with undulating terrain, your walking shoes will need to be able to flex and bend with the movement of your feet to better enable you to traverse without incident, even in wet conditions.
Your walking shoes make constant contact with the ground, so it is super important that they are able to handle a wide variety of terrain while still offering the flexibility to allow you to turn on a dime. Most walking shoes have rubber soles that are hardy enough to cope with both paved and non-paved surfaces while offering slip-free reassurance even in the wet.
The sole of your walking shoes will be punctuated with grooves and treads that are designed to help maintain traction. Multi-directional lugs in the sole offer excellent grip on slippery surfaces and composite rubber soles offer exceptional stability on the snow and ice.
When it comes to the weight of your walking shoes, less is definitely more. Heavy, cumbersome hiking boots can slow you down, so look for shoes that have an ultra-lightweight construction to keep you moving. Carrying less weight on your feet over long distances can really make a difference in your performance, so look for walking shoes that offer lightweight rubber composite soles.
While walking shoes are traditionally lighter weight than their larger, boot-style contemporaries, they usually won’t offer the same level of support on your ankles over time. With this in mind, be sure that the shoes you choose are suitable for the terrain you will be using them on.
Waterlogged shoes and wet feet are undesirable, so opt for shoes that offer a good level of water resistance. Rain and snow can seep into your shoes in an instant, so if your walk is likely to involve wet weather or standing water, look for shoes with leather or synthetic uppers and seam-welded stitching to help keep the water out.
It is also worth mentioning that water resistance is not the same as boots and shoes that are designed to be waterproof. Water-resistant shoes are usually made from tightly woven materials that are designed to slow the seepage of water into the shoe, while waterproof shoes provide a comprehensive barrier against rain, puddles, and standing water. Both water-resistant and waterproof shoes are different than water shoes, which are designed to be worn in the water.
A good pair of walking shoes should be with you for many miles to come. To ensure that they last the distance, opt for a pair of well-made walking shoes that promise excellent durability across a wide range of terrain.
Leather and synthetic uppers are traditionally longer-lasting, but modern-day mesh and fabrics can last surprisingly well, too. Vulcanized rubber soles are less prone to splits and damage across the miles, and additional features such as waterproofing or elasticated laces can also add extra miles to the lifespan of your walking shoes.
Hot Tip: If you intend to wear your walking shoes every day, at work, or for long periods of time, invest in the best pair you can afford to ensure that you do not have to pay for new shoes every couple of months.
The Best Walking Shoes for Women
From everyday wear to weekend adventures, women’s walking shoes are designed to offer superior support and cushioning for your feet while ensuring maximum agility at all times.
Best Looking Walking Shoes
Skechers Women’s D’Lites Memory Foam Lace-up Sneaker
These bright and fashionable sneakers come in a variety of colors and designs and offer supreme comfort for women on the move. With a smooth, soft trubuck leather upper with a mesh overlay design, these sneakers offer sporty good looks and a good level of water resistance in the rain.
Designed to help your feet breathe while you walk, these sneakers have contrast-colored mesh fabric panels on the sides, and the air-cooled memory foam cushion comfort insole will make you feel like you are walking on air. With the addition of a lightweight shock-absorbing and fully supportive midsole, they are also designed to stay comfortable no matter how many miles you walk in them.
Perfect for everyday wear at work or at your leisure, the padded collar and tongue will help you achieve a customized fit. The flexible rubber sole offers a high level of traction, even on wet and slippery terrain.
Slip-on Walking Shoes
Skechers Performance Women’s Go Walk 3 Slip-On Walking Shoe
Perfect for wearing while working on your feet all day, these smart slip-on sneakers feature an impressive amount of cushioning for responsive feedback and increased comfort. With a performance FitKnit upper that is designed to help your feet breathe, these sneaker-style shoes will keep your feet cool no matter how hard you work them.
The patented Skechers memory foam padding around the heel and on the insole helps the shoes mold to the shape of your feet. The integrated Goga Pillars sensors offer incredible flexibility for an increased range of movement without ever feeling heavy on your feet.
Easy to slip on and take off, the injection-molded midsole helps to absorb impact, and the multi-directional traction sole is designed to prevent slips and falls even in wet conditions. Available in a wide range of colors and designs, these slip-on sneakers offer sporty good looks and incredible comfort at all times.
Mesh Walking Shoes
STQ Slip-On Mesh Walking Shoes
Lightweight and incredibly breathable, these stylish-looking walking shoes are comfortable enough to wear all day, every day. They are made with super flexible fabric uppers and are designed to feel as comfortable as your favorite pair of socks while offering a high degree of protection against impact and uneven terrain.
A wide, round toebox offer increased comfort for all foot shapes, and the versatile fabric allows your feet to bend and stretch as you move. Padded and elasticated cuffs make these shoes easy to put on and take off, and the padded insoles feel lightweight and super soft under your feet.
With a PU outsole and a built-in air cushion, these shoes positively bounce while you walk. The high-quality rubber soles offer excellent non-slip properties, and the platform wedge creates stylish good looks while also being able to provide an impressive amount of traction on both hard and soft surfaces.
Best for Everyday Wear
Skechers Women’s Go Walk 5
These innovative ladies’ walking shoes feature lightweight and responsive cushioning with a high level of rebound for the ultimate comfort for your feet all day long. Discreet and stylish, they are perfect for wearing when shopping, walking, and working, and the flexible soft knit design and air-cooled insole allow your feet to stay cool, even when it is hot.
Easy to slip on and off, these sneakers feature comfort pillar technology underfoot for enhanced comfort, and the breathable insoles are designed to make you feel like you are walking on air. Soft woven athletic knit fabric uppers are flexible enough to move with you, and the comfort heel and collar panels ensure that your feet won’t slip and down while you walk.
Best for More Challenging Terrain
New Balance Women’s FuelCore Nergize V1 Sneaker
These New Balance sneakers offer sporty good looks and exceptional comfort. With memory sole inserts that feel plush beneath your feet, these sneakers will mold to the shape of your feet for a customized feel.
Designed to keep your feet well-supported, the upper construction will grip the shape of your foot, while the REVlite midsole delivers a truly responsive ride. Synthetic uppers provide for a full range of movement, and the breathable design will help to keep your feet cool and sweat-free.
On the bottom, the rubber sole will help your feet stick to the road in everyday conditions, and with a wider than average design, these stylish and sporty sneakers are a great choice for long walks, days out, and even when working.
Best for Stylish Walkers
Concept 3 by Skechers Women’s Alexxi Fashion Slip-on Sneaker
Featuring stylish twists, including metallic accents and gorgeous pastel colorways, these comfortable walking shoes are the height of fashion. With the soft and breathable uppers that Skechers are so famous for, these beautiful sneakers will keep your feet feeling super comfortable all day long.
Offering enhanced comfort without sacrificing on style, these slip-on sneakers have a stretch bungee laced front panel for a custom-made fit around your foot, and the stretch fabric collar makes them easy to slip on and off. Memory foam cushioned comfort insoles offer excellent support for your arches while being super soft and sumptuous underneath your feet.
The shock-absorbing lightweight midsole has a sculpted design that looks as good as it feels on your feet, and the flexible and lightweight rubber soles and 1-inch heels offer excellent traction on the road.
Best for Walkers That Like To Run
ASICS Gel-Contend 5 Women’s Running Shoes
Perfect for running on pavement, grass, and uneven terrain, these sneakers are responsive enough to offer excellent comfort and support while undertaking a full range of everyday activities. With synthetic and mesh uppers, your feet will stay cool, and the mid-foot cage offers excellent structural support for the contours of your foot.
With an Ortholite sock liner that provides excellent underfoot support and moisture management, these sneakers are comfortable enough to wear all day long, and the AmpliFoam midsole and rearfoot GEL technology ensure that your feet feel well-cushioned while you walk or run.
Designed to provide incredible flexibility and comfort, the rubber sole offers excellent traction in damp conditions. Versatile and lightweight, these sneakers are able to adapt to the surface underneath your feet, and the high energy return and shock absorption make them the perfect choice for natural running.
The Best Walking Shoes for Men
The perfect choice for men on the move, all of these walking shoes offer excellent protection against wet conditions and uneven terrain.
Best All-Round Walking Shoes
Rockport Men’s Eureka Walking Shoe
With tough genuine leather uppers, these casual yet stylish walking shoes are versatile enough to be worn every day. With a San Crispino desert boot-style construction for increased protection and stability in the heel, these boots remain lightweight and comfortable no matter how many miles you travel in them.
The latex foam footbed feels soft under your feet and helps to reduce foot fatigue as you stand and walk. With a moisture-wicking mesh lining that offers incredible breathability and an EVA midsole for provides increased impact absorption, these shoes will keep your feet cool and comfortable in any weather.
With a rubber outsole for improved traction on a variety of surfaces and a padded collar and soft lining to help prevent blisters from forming while you walk, these comfortable, casual walking shoes are perfect for long days and gentle hikes.
Best Athletic Walking Shoes
Skechers Men’s Energy Afterburn Shoes
These athletic sneakers are perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities and are comfortable enough to wear all day long. With smooth leather uppers, they have an upscale look and offer protection against wet weather and damp conditions, and the contrasting accents give them a more sporty look and feel.
With a padded collar and tongue for extra comfort and a lace up front, you can ensure a customized fit, while the soft fabric lining and memory foam insole mold to the shape of your foot for the ultimate comfort.
The shock-absorbing midsole makes these a comfortable ride on all types of terrain, and the flexible rubber soles with increased traction will help to keep you upright and stable even in the rain. Rugged yet versatile, these great-looking sneakers are available in a range of colorways and are suitable for all types of walkers.
Slip-on Walking Shoes
Bruno Marc Men’s Slip On Walking Shoes
Lightweight and incredibly durable, these awesome men’s walking shoes are suitable for everyday wear, and the additional support they offer will keep your feet fatigue-free.
The stretch slip-on laces ensure that these shoes are quick and easy to slip on and off, and the front and rear pull tabs make for easy entry. With a breathable knit mesh fabric upper, they can mold to the contours of your feet, and the padded tongue and collar ensure that they remain soft against your skin.
To ensure that the fabric uppers stay durable across the miles, the round toe is reinforced, and the flexible EVA outsole wraps around the shoe to offer excellent shock-absorbing qualities. With a rubber sole that ensures a high level of traction even in damp conditions, these are a great choice for use both on and off the road.
Best for Extreme Adventures
Skechers Men’s Max Cushioning Elite-Performance Shoe
With funky looks and an eye-catching design, these sneakers look awesome and perform brilliantly. The virtually seamless engineered mesh upper fabrics provide breathability and comfort, and these sneakers come in a range of on-trend colors.
With a uniquely-designed compact platform sole, these sneakers look as fresh as any designer sports shoe, and the highly responsive ULTRA GO midsole offers exceptional comfort that feels like you are walking on air. With a dedicated strike in the mid-foot for extra energy return with each stride and forefoot flex grooves for increased flexibility, these sneakers will truly put a spring in your step in the go.
Lightweight and easy to wear, the flexible parametric web outsole provides multi-surface traction for increased grip and stability on a wide range of surfaces, and the sporty good looks make these so much more than just another pair of walking shoes.
Best for Everyday Wear
ASICS Gel-Contend 5
Engineered for those who like to walk on a daily basis, these subtle sneakers offer stylish good looks and long-lasting durability. With breathable mesh and synthetic uppers, these shoes will allow your feet to stay cool and comfortable while offering an element of protection against inclement weather.
With a laminate foot cage design, your feet will remain well-supported while you walk, and the lace-up closure with padded tongue and collar helps you to achieve a customized fit. The Ortholite sock liner with enhanced moisture management offers incredible in-shoe comfort in all conditions, and the midsole is specially designed to remain durable even on softer terrain to provide increased flexibility while you run or walk, both on and off the road.
Featuring the patented Rearfoot GEL cushioning system, these shoes help to impact against shock while allowing for a smooth transition through the gait cycle, and the heel gradient helps to shift your body weight forward on the on-slip soles to reduce strain on your lower legs and ankles.
Walking Shoes for Work
Reebok Men’s Work N Cushion 4.0 Walking Shoe
With an oil-resistant, anti-slip rubber outsole, these big brand shoe-style sneakers are an excellent choice for people who want to wear them to work, without the additional requirement for extra protection. With an easy to clean leather and synthetic upper, they look smart while also offering some basic resistance to water and damp conditions.
The patented DMX Ride+ midsole helps to support your stride from the heel to the forefoot, and the MemoryTech foam sock liner offers sumptuous cushioning for your feet while retaining a responsive feel on multiple surfaces.
With a chunky rubber sole that features a beveled heel to help you enjoy a more comfortable stride, these are an excellent pair of professional walking shoes smart enough for work and comfortable enough to be worn all day.
Walking Shoes for Mixed Terrain
Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoes
These lightweight shoes are built for speed and are an excellent choice for adventures on rugged terrain. Offering a reliable surefooted grip on both wet and dry surfaces, you won’t want to stand still for long in these little beauties.
With a blended mesh and synthetic upper, these sneakers are easy to clean and resistant to damp conditions, while the molded TPU toe cap offers an improved level of protection for your toes. They are easy to slip on and off with a lace closure, and the lightweight EVA midsole and molded sock liner ensure increased comfort and shock absorption for a more enjoyable ride.
Designed specifically for a natural running experience across a variety of terrain in all weather conditions, the Continental rubber outsole provides extraordinary grip even in the rain.
Casual Walking Shoe
New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Sneaker
Available in a variety of colorways, these fresh-looking running shoes offer the ultimate in casual athletic styling. With a Fresh Foam insole, you will feel like you are running on air, and the precision-engineered midsole cushion is designed to deliver a super soft and ultra-light ride.
With an impressive heel design that hugs the back of your foot to prevent movement and blisters and a contoured synthetic upper, these sneakers mold to the shape of your foot for increased comfort. Lightweight and supportive enough to wear all day long, these sneakers have a heel-to-toe drop of 8 millimeters to enhance the smooth movement of your gait cycle as your roll.
Endurance rubber outsole technology offers superior durability even in high wear areas to ensure that you get to enjoy many miles of running comfort, and the contoured rubber sole offers excellent traction even in wet conditions.
A good pair of walking shoes will enhance your performance and offer a high level of comfort and support for your feet. Whether you are planning on a gentle hike in the great outdoors, or simply looking for a more comfortable shoe for long days at work, walking shoes and sneakers offer the perfect blend of casual good looks and practicality.
With enhanced traction control on the soles, water-resistant uppers, and super-soft cushioned insoles, your walking shoes should make you feel like you are walking air, wherever you wear them.