With a growing list of shoe brands and models every year, sifting through the many options to find the right ones for you can seem overwhelming.
Shoes for running dominate the market, and it can be hard to know whether you as a walker will benefit from a shoe made for harsher exercise. Preventing injuries is just one of the reasons to invest in a good pair of walking shoes–the perfect pair will also be more comfortable and increase the amount of exercise you’re getting.
When shopping for walking shoes, comfort should be the main priority. Good performance and comfort go hand-in-hand. With the right shoes, your feet will resist fatigue, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be able to exercise longer. On the other hand, if you have to stop every few minutes because the wrong shoes are giving you aches and pains, you won’t be walking very far.
We’ll be going over the most comfortable shoes, catering to specific needs such as wide and narrow feet, bad knees, and problems such as bunions.
We’ve found reasonable running shoes that are comfortable and high-quality. Here’s the list of the best walking shoes on the market.
What to look for when buying running shoes for walking
Need some guidance on what to look for when shopping for the best running shoes for walking? Here’s what we recommend considering.
Comfort is key, regardless of how long or how far you plan to be walking. However, it’s not always easy to tell how comfortable a shoe is by looking at it or reading about it.
If you can, you should try the shoe on before buying. Walk around for a few minutes, do a quick sprint, and jump to see how the shoe feels. Even if you put them back, go home, and buy the same pair online, trying them on is invaluable for gauging the comfort of the shoe.
If it’s not comfortable, try another pair. Better still, try a few different pairs until you find something that feels like it was made just for your feet.
Cushioning might be more important when running, but even if you’re just walking your feet do need to be protected from the hard ground and vibrations from your steps.
The cushion needn’t be the most plush if you’re only going to be walking. However, we don’t necessarily recommend going for a minimalist shoe, either. Look for something in between, that offers padding and protection and absorbs shock.
Remember, even when you’re just walking, your joints are holding a lot of weight. With each step, the force of gravity increases that weight to at least double. Cushioning can help to absorb the shock of each step and protect the joints from being jarred.
Make sure you’re choosing a shoe with the right arch support for your feet. If you have a neutral foot, a neutral shoe is great. You can even get away with wearing a light stability or motion control shoe if the tech isn’t too harsh.
On the other hand, if you overpronate, you definitely need a motion control or stability shoe. Wearing a neutral shoe will lead to injury, so make sure you’re trying on the right types of shoes for your feet.
Naturally, your shoes should fit properly. That means a tight fit that allows for no unnecessary movement of the foot in the shoe, but that’s still comfortable and doesn’t create pressure points or restrict flexibility.
This goes for both length and width. If you need a wider toe box, then make sure you’re choosing a shoe that offers that. On the other hand, if you want a narrower fit, double-check that before buying.
Nobody wants to be replacing shoes often. Look for shoes with good reviews about their durability. Choose something with rubber on the outsole and not EVA, as rubber lasts much longer before wearing down.
Commong questions about buying running shoes for walking
Here’s some more information to help you make the right choice.
What Type of Shoe Is Best for Walking?
A walking shoe is great for, well, walking. That’s what they’re designed for. But running shoes offer some extra benefits, like extra protection, stability features, more robust cushioning, and a wider variety of both sizes and colorways.
With this in mind, we highly recommend choosing a running shoe over a walking shoe. It also gives you the advantage of being able to use the same shoes if you do decide to go for a run instead of a walk.
Is It Ok to Wear Running Shoes for Walking?
Absolutely! They may feel somewhat different from walking shoes, though. Running shoes often have a stiffer midsole and outsole, which feel quite different from the softer soles of walking shoes.
Running shoes also tend to have more padding in them, both in the midsole and the upper. This is a bonus for protecting your feet and keeping them comfy.
Why Use Running Shoes for Walking?
Running shoes are generally quite a bit easier to find than shoes that are designed for walking. Not only are they more readily available, but they offer more options in terms of size and colors.
They’re more cushioned, offer more technology, and can be used for jogging as well as walking (whereas walking shoes can’t be used for running).
Is There a Difference Between Running Shoes and Walking Shoes?
Walking shoes are often quite flexible and somewhat less cushioned, as they don’t need a lot of shock absorption. Running shoes tend to be the opposite – less flexible and more cushioned.
Walking shoes also seem to often get creative with their uppers, featuring leather, canvas, or other less breathable materials in addition to mesh options. Running shoes generally stick to mesh to allow for the best breathability.
What’s the Difference Between Hiking Shoes and Walking Shoes?
Hiking shoes are much stiffer than regular shoes. They’re designed to provide exceptional stability, shock-absorption, and also tend to be more built-up to provide protection against the hazards on the trails.
Walking shoes, on the other hand, are not built for protection. They have less cushioning, more flexible but less protective uppers and much less aggressive tread.
Which Is Better for Sore Feet, Walking Shoes or Running Shoes?
It really depends on where your feet are sore and why! But in general, running shoes will do the job better than walking shoes.
Their cushion alone reduces the impact on the feet quite significantly, which can help to ease pain in the feet for whatever reason.
Best Overall for Walking
1. Saucony Echelon 9
Saucony’s Echelon is a highly cushioned neutral shoe that’s ideal for walking or running. It features a wide platform to keep your feet comfortable and supported.
What We Like
While Saucony sells the Echelon as a running shoe, its weight, cushioning, and stable base make it more appropriate for walking than running.
It’s a comfortable ride thanks to the PWRRUN midsole that adds cushioning, plus some springiness to propel you forward as you walk. The TRIFLEX outsole allows the shoe to flex while you walk without sacrificing any of that cushioning. Combined, these work together to form a durable, long-lasting shoe.
The wide base not only makes the Echelon quite stable – allowing you to stay upright and secure on your feet – but it provides plenty of room for your feet to stay comfortable.
While many running shoes come in wild colors and designs, the Echelon keeps it simple with neutral colors and not too much flash.
Why We Like It
The Echelon is our best overall pick because it manages to combine the comfort and protection you want in a walking shoe with the cushioning and support you get from a running shoe
The Echelon is a shoe that doesn’t change much between models. This one offers new colors and design along with the latest Saucony shoe technology like their PWRRUN midsole and FORMFIT upper.
- Cushioned, stable, and comfortable – ideal for walkers
- Fits custom orthotics very well
- Customized fit in the upper
- Stable and roomy fit when walking
- Fairly heavy for a running shoe
Top for Flat Feet
2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22
One of the all-time most popular running shoes ever, the Adrenaline GTS mixes softness and stability for a shoe that’s equally as good for walkers as it is for runners.
What We Like Most
The Adrenaline has been popular for so long because it’s managed to strike the perfect balance between support, weight, and a plush ride that’s hard to find in many other shoes. All the things that make this shoe great for running also make it great for walking.
For flat feet, it has GuideRails wedged on the back part of the shoe, sandwiched between the midsole and upper.
The GuideRails provide stability and realign your feet to keep them from excessively rolling inwards, a common issue for walkers with flat feet. The stability goes beyond your feet and also helps support your legs from feet to hips.
The bottom of the shoe features durable rubber that’s aligned into what Brooks’ calls Segmented Crash Pads. Basically, the shoe can flex in multiple directions allow for a smooth transition from foot to foot as you walk.
Why We Like It
This shoe’s combination of support and cushioning, along with a fairly lightweight shoe makes it ideal for walkers with flat feet. It’s a combination that isn’t found on many other shoes.
The Adrenaline is so well-known and popular that Brooks doesn’t make many changes year to year.
Like most running shoes, colors have changed along with slightly modified laces. GuideRail support has been around for a few years, though it’s still relatively new.
- Excellent support for flat feet
- Fairly lightweight, especially for a stability shoe
- Good selection of colors and widths to choose from
- Comfortable shoe for walking
- Some people complained the laces are too short
- If you have a wide heel, GuideRails may cut into your feet
Best for High Arches
3. ASICS Gel-Cumulus 24
The ASICS Gel-Cumulus 24 is a multi-purpose shoe that offers exceptional cushioning and arch support. It will serve both runners and walkers well.
What We Like
The support under the arch is strong, and ideal for high arches. Despite being sturdy, it still has a comfortable softness to it. The Flytefoam midsole features two layers. On the bottom, a single density layer provides a stable base.
On the top layer, 3D Space Construction has been utilized. This is a bunch of little hexagonal shapes cut into the foam, which allows it to compress more in these areas (like pillows) and less in others (hence the robust arch support).
The men’s shoe has this tech in the heel and the women’s features it in both the heel and the forefoot.
The Cumulus 24’s upper is newly designed and it’s thick and plush. A generously padded tongue means that you won’t feel the laces biting into the top of your foot. But it does come at the expense of some breathability.
Your foot will be well-supported with the plush ankle collar. You’ll get a great lockdown with this upper even if you don’t use heel lock lacing. It fits true to size, with a roomy but comfortable feeling.
An AHAR and AHAR+ rubber combination on the outsole offers exceptional traction on all surfaces.
Why We Like It
There’s ample support for both mid- and high arches. Along with that, it’s got excellent cushioning and shock absorption, making it great for walkers.
On this version, the outersole features a new type of rubber that’s strong, durable, but lightweight. The pattern has been refashioned to reduce wear in key spots.
It’s a touch heavier than the 23, but not so much so that it’s very noticeable.
- Soft, seamless upper
- Responsive midsole cushioning
- Robust GEL padding in the heel
- Versatile shoe that can be used for running, walking, or gym
- Runs a bit warm
- Slight heel slippage
4. Hoka One One Bondi 8
The Hoka One One Bondi 8 is known as a plush and comfortable shoe and effectively cushions the feet from the hard ground below.
What We Like
The midsole is the Bondi 8’s shining star. It is an enormous-looking shoe, but that midsole thickness is what gives the shoe its exceptional cushioning. If you like the chunky look or if you don’t really care about aesthetics over comfort it’s a good choice.
A good few cms of EVA foam provide a wide, stable platform for your feet. It has a bucket-seat type of feel, cradling the feet, and the rocker sole provides a lovely moving feel as you walk.
Surprisingly, the midsole isn’t soft and cushy. It’s fairly stiff and firm, which makes it quite versatile. For walkers, you can go anywhere with this shoe, provided you can handle the high stack height, which may take some getting used to.
As well as the comfortable cushioning, there’s also quite robust arch support. This adds to the shoe’s stability and support, and could possibly make it an option for mild overpronators.
Multi-layered engineered mesh with small, thin overlays around the bottom of the foot (just above the outsole) gives the shoe good breathability and stability. On the outsole, plenty of rubber helps your foot to grip the ground safely.
It’s worth noting that the Bondi 8 is more suited to narrow feet than wide ones, and the upper isn’t very stretchy.
Why We Like It
The Bondi 8 is a plush shoe, even though it’s not overly soft. The cushioning is wonderfully shock-absorbing even though it’s simply traditional old EVA foam. A highly padded and comfortable ride.
The Bondi 8 is only a small update from the 7. This includes an extended heel for a soft landing (for those heel strikers out there), a new foam in the midsole, and a softer tongue.
- Unbelievably soft and a smooth ride
- Quick, smooth transitions
- Great heel and foot lock
- Wide and stable midsole
- May feel stiff and firm in colder climates
- It’s not a light shoe
Best for Bunions
5. Altra Paradigm 6
This is a shoe with a wide toe box that has ample space for feet with bunions.
While it’s technically a stability shoe, the tech is unobtrusive and shouldn’t be hard on neutral feet.
What We Like
The Altra Paradigm has a wonderfully wide foot-shaped toe box that people with bunions will find extremely comfortable. It’s designed to prevent pressure points and allow for space in the toe box.
It also has what the brand calls “Balanced Cushioning”, which means it’s a zero-drop shoe. This reduces pressure on the forefoot, easing pain and pressure on bunions.
StabiliPods in the midsole provide firm arch support that keeps overpronators from rolling their feet. There are three of them, providing varying degrees of support, but this design also makes it fairly comfortable for neutral feet.
To add to the supportiveness, GuideRails cradle the heel and prevent lateral foot movement. They essentially help your foot to move through its gait transition easily making any corrections for underpronation as you walk.
Why We Like It
The wide toe box of the Paradigm 6 makes it ideal for those who need some more space around the forefoot.
Those with bunions should feel comfortable and have reduced pain levels with the roominess in the shoe.
The biggest change on the Paradigm 6.0 is in its springiness. Because it’s a running shoe rather than a walking shoe, this is important for runners but may not make much of a difference to walkers.
The Altra EGO Max midsole has been revamped to add this bit of bounce. The arch has been strengthened with InnovArch tech, the GuideRails have been modified to be more stable, and flex grooves added to the outsole.
Lastly, the upper has been upgraded to increase airflow and include a variety of new, exciting colorways.
- Cushioned, zero-drop training shoe
- StabiliPods and GuideRails provide extra support
- Spacious FootShape toe box
- Available in new, fresh colorways
- The wider heel may cause heel slippage for some
Top for Wide Feet
6. New Balance 1080v12
The New Balance 1080v12 is one of their most well-loved shoes and the brand is known for fitting feet of all widths. It offers excellent cushioning and high levels of comfort.
What We Like
New Balance is known for being great for wide feet, and this shoe is no exception. It has a decently wide forefoot, and the upper moves nicely with the foot to ensure comfort when walking.
It’s soft, comfortable, and streamlined. The UltraHeel is secure around the foot but doesn’t chafe. A good lockdown is necessary to prevent the heel slipping, though.
The 1080v12 is immediately comfortable, with a firmer forefoot and a plush heel. Fresh Foam X runs the length of the shoe, offering great cushion and a touch of bounce.
20+mm of foam underfoot and a honeycomb-shaped design laser-engraved into the sides of the midsole offer excellent shock absorption.
A blown rubber outsole with flex grooves and a light rocker keep you safe on a variety of surfaces.
Why We Like It
It’s a stable, comfortable choice for those who have wide feet. It also comes in multiple widths, so however wide your feet are, you should find a comfortable fit.
The lightweight nature of this shoe makes it an easy shoe for walking, and it doesn’t hurt that the shoe looks really good too!
The upper on the 11 has been redesigned to be a bit more streamlined. It looks cool, feels sleek, and locks down on the foot really nicely. Apart from that, the shoe has kept all of the good things about this model.
- Lighter design
- Excellent breathability
- Bouncy, propulsive feeling
- Superb grip on multiple surfaces
- The shoe can take a while to break in
Best for Heavy Walkers
7. Brooks Dyad 11
The Brooks Dyad hasn’t got a lot of fancy tech in it, but it’s a straight-last, flat-insole shoe that easily fits a range of custom orthotics. This makes it suitable for just about any type of foot, with a little help.
What We Like
The flat insole and straight last of this shoe make it ideal for heavy walkers. Using it on its own will probably not provide quite enough cushion, but if you can find an insole that really works for your feet, this is the shoe to place it in.
Heavy walkers often need a touch more support than a regular shoe can give, so the Dyad/insole combo is an excellent idea.
Two pods, situated in the arch and on the lateral side of the foot in the same area, provide light support. The midfoot is slightly wider than average to accommodate these two stability pods.
Other Things We Like
The straight-lasted engineered mesh upper is fitted and firm, adding support from the outside. It’s also breathable and fairly lightweight, getting air in easily and keeping the feet cool and dry.
A very sturdy heel counter provides a snug, stable fit, without being uncomfortable. The back end of the shoe is made from a harder PU-type material, which accounts for the firmness.
Why We Like It
It’s stable without being a stability shoe. The stability pod design provides much-needed support for heavier walkers without an intrusive medial post.
The shoe is also incredible durable and robust. Ideal for heavy walkers.
Not much has changed between the Dyad 10 and 11. Most of the good stuff has remained the same, but the upper has been lightened a little to make for a more streamlined and comfortable shoe.
- Extra-depth allows for custom orthotics
- High energizing cushioning
- Wide and stable outsole
- Versatile design
- The midsole is a bit boring and lack bounce
- Quite a bit heavier than previous versions
Top for Narrow Feet
8. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 39
Nike makes exceptional shoes, and the Pegasus 39 is the latest in a long line. Nike’s traditional fit is ideal for narrower feet and provides all the support and comfort a runner could want in a shoe.
What We Like
The sleek engineered mesh upper is lightweight and breathable, snug throughout but with more than enough space in the toe box. It molds to the foot, helped along by a padded tongue and a cushioned ankle collar.
A new, improved Flywire lacing system helps the wearer to get a properly dialed-in fit. The internal heel counter helps to keep the shoe stable and sturdy on your feet.
Two Zoom Air units in the forefoot and rearfoot offer a bit of bounce and extra cushioning. This air cushion is tuned to gender-specific pressures: 20 psi in the men’s shoe and a softer 15 psi in the women’s.
React foam in the midsole provides the perfect combination of cushioning and responsiveness, giving you a spring in your step if you want to jog.
At the same time, if you only want to walk, the versatile Pegasus will cushion your feet lovingly and protect them from the shock of every footstep.
Why We Like It
The Pegasus 39 truly does make you feel like you’ve got wings! It’s a comfortable, stylish, and high-performing shoe that just happens to fit like a glove on narrower feet.
Besides the extra Air Zoom unit, the latest model is also an ounce lighter than the prior version.
- Two Air Zoom Units for extra comfort
- Upper offers a dialed-in, supportive fit
- Supportive cushion around the ankle
- Durable and grippy rubber outsole
- Some runners felt the shoes were too narrow (though Nike in general is quite narrow)
Best for Bad Knees
9. Hoka One One Clifton 9
The Clifton 9 is a well-cushioned shoe and one of the brand’s best-sellers. Max cushion and a meta-rocker help reduce the pressure on sore knees and protect the legs from the ground up.
What We Like
The chunky midsole cushion, complete with meta-rocker sole, makes this an excellent shoe for sore knees. A thick layer of EVA foam does a great job of absorbing shock, so the knees will be nicely cushioned and protected from vibration.
The meta-rocker sole helps to facilitate rolling forward movement while reducing fatigue in the leg muscles.
The mesh upper is 100% vegan, soft against the skin, and highly breathable. An abrasion-resistant rubber outsole offers excellent grip, keeping you safer on all surfaces.
Why We Like It
For bad knees, the oversized EVA cushion is the ideal way to provide comfort and shock absorption. Every step is dampened and the joints can get a bit of a break from the impact of walking.
The biggest change between the Clifton 9 and the Clifton 8 is the weight. The 9 is a huge 15% lighter than the 7, which makes a massive difference when it’s on your feet.
Apart from that, the ride is a little softer and the outsole a little sturdier.
- Thick cushioned EVA foam
- 15% lighter than the previous version
- Meta-Rocker geometry provides smooth heel-to-toe transition
- Lighter EVA midsole
- Some may find that the shoe runs a little warm
Top for Walking on Concrete
10. On Cloud
The On Cloud may look a little different, but its design makes it extremely shock-absorbing.
If you spend a lot of time walking on hard, unforgiving surfaces, this is the ideal shoe to mitigate the effect on the feet and joints.
What We Like
Zero-Gravity foam is molded into unique “Cloud” pods underneath the shoe, which compress to provide excellent shock absorbing properties. Walking on concrete won’t be an issue with this shoe on your feet.
A Speedboard is built into the midsole of the shoe, which serves the same purpose as a carbon plate. It provides a snap-back of energy when you land, also absorbing shock and recycling it into a bouncier push-off.
The breathable mesh upper is light and mildly supportive thanks to a heel counter. It comes with both conventional laces and quick-laces. The quick-laces are convenient, and the others are too long and messy to be comfortable.
Light rubber on the outsole improves the grip of the shoe, although there is some EVA exposed.
Why We Like It
The unusual pod design means that the shoe is cushioned but remains firm enough for a peppy push-off. It’s also quite cool-looking and unique!
- Nice sock-like feel
- Slim, soft, and comfortable tongue
- CloudTec technology gives you soft landings
- Quick-tie laces make it easy to slide on and off
- The outsole’s pods may trap stones and debris