If you’re a daily walker, constant errands-runner, or somebody who prioritizes comfort around the clock, your feet deserve the best walking shoes you can find. We’re here to help make your search as seamless as possible, whether you’re in the market for a pair you can wear while exploring the neighborhood, hiking, working on your feet all day, or trying a new walking workout. We spoke with podiatrists to learn more about how a good walking shoe should fit and feel, then we rounded up the best options from expert picks, SELF-award-winning reviews, and top-rated shoe brands.
Our top picks
- Best Overall: Hoka Bondi 8
- Best Budget Pick: Ryka Sky Walk Walking Shoe
- Best for Maximum Cushioning: New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 V12 Running Shoe
- Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Kuru Quantum
- Best for Flat Feet: Hoka Arahi 7
- Best Walking Sandals: Chaco Z1 Classic Sandal
- Best for Long Distances: Asics GT-1000 12
- Best Hiking Boot: Keen Targhee III Waterproof Mid
What should you look for in a walking shoe?
A walking shoe should be built for regular use, with features to keep you comfortable even after long periods of wear. That’s why shock absorption is one of the first things you should look for, Jossie Abraham, DPM, a podiatric surgeon at Hartford HealthCare Orthopedic Institute at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Connecticut, tells SELF. A shoe that cushions the impact of your steps will feel better and can also reduce your risk of foot, ankle, and knee pain, she says. In addition to a decent amount of padding, the shoe should have a wide base and support through the midfoot and arch. Both of these design elements can further reduce strain on your lower body.
It’s also important that your walking shoe of choice fits your foot in terms of both length and width (check out SELF’s sneaker buying guide for detailed tips on how to find the best fit). According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, your shoes shouldn’t make your toes feel cramped or like they can’t wiggle. People with wider feet should look for footwear that comes in multiple widths or has a wider-set toe box. Dr. Abraham says you’ll want to consider shoes with a mesh upper, which allows more space and breathability compared to more rigid materials like leather. Ultimately, you don’t want to feel like your foot is fighting against the structure of the shoe—rather, you want a pair of shoes that’ll mimic the shape of your foot.
The best walking shoes
If it’s time to find some new sneaks that you’ll feel excited to lace up, then take a look at these excellent pairs, including editor-approved sneakers, shoes for plantar fasciitis, supportive options for folks with flat feet, cloudlike kicks that are well-suited for spending long hours standing, and even some sandals and trail shoes that fit the bill, too.ing long hours standing, and even some sandals and trail shoes that fit the bill too.