Long gone are bulky, stiff sneakers that over-restrict foot motion and spur injuries. Today’s athletic shoes are sleeker and more stylish, but with so many to choose from, it’s critical that you wear a pair suited to your activity. For example, walking shoes are different from running.
Walking shoes should have more support in the arch because that's where the impact is greatest when you walk, while running shoes should have supportive heels. The best walking shoes also have plenty of all-over cushion to support your foot as you go.
Although some running shoes might suit your feet’s walking motion just fine, many have less cushion than you’ll need, so logging your miles in them could trigger impact injuries. To keep your feet feeling good mile after mile, try a bunch on and go with the shoe that feels best for your stride. Here, our top picks based on fit, stability, and-of course-style.
Best Walking Shoes For: Fast Walking
BUY NOW $52.50
The lightweight ASICS Metrolyte 2 will cushion your feet with its molded Ortholite Sockliner while supporting your arches throughout your quick stride. Plus, it comes in a slip-on option and a variety of cute color combos, which is a good thing because you may want to stockpile, according to one reviewer: "This is my second pair of Metrolytes. I just love them," she writes. "I have a narrow heel, but the ball of my foot is wider, and these are not sloppy at the heel, nor do they rub. I can wear them walking for hours, and have many times."
Here's the motivation you need to walk outside every single day:
Best Walking Shoes For: Running Intervals
BUY NOW $100
Walkers who want to add jogging bursts or work their way to a 5K should opt for a running shoe like the Brooks Revel 2. This one is designed for high impact but is flexible enough for the rolling motion of walking. One happy Zappos customer writes: "My arches are cradled, calves pleasantly stretched, my heel supported and room for my toes to wiggle. My feet are happy!"
Best Walking Shoes For: Hiking And Trail Walking
BUY NOW $70.57-$186.15
Finding a shoe that's durable enough for trail walking but not full-on hiking boot can be tough. Fortunately, these Keen waterproof hiking shoes fit the bill. They feature a breathable mesh and sturdy upper and back to keep your ankles secure as you walk or run up a mountain. Plus, the low-density EVA midsole provides proper arch support while the durable shank offers comfort through tough terrain.
As one Amazon reviewer puts it: "They are lightweight yet sturdy. They fit snug but aren't tight. I have what I consider a standard foot, with a bit of a wider toe box so I prefer shoes with a wide toe box."
Best Walking Shoes For: Running Errands
BUY NOW $21.21-$125
Saucony's original bullet sneaker is lightweight and has just enough arch support to keep your feet comfy when you're on the go. With a durable rubber sole, you can trudge through any terrain. "Love the sporty retro look of these," says one wearer in her Amazon review. "They're comfortable enough to wear all day, though they're best for walking and not for running around."
Best Walking Shoes For: Overweight Walkers
BUY NOW $67.95
If you are walking to lose weight and have some pounds to shed, you need a well-supported shoe to help with balance and control of your foot. As an approved shoe for people with diabetes, New Balance's WW411v2 Walking Shoe has a removable foam insole and midsole cushioning to absorb heavy impact.
One Zappos reviewer says, "My podiatrist told me I need to wear a diabetic shoe. These are great! No one will even know I had to switch from my regular New Balances, and my feet are much happier."
Best Walking Shoes For: Bunions
BUY NOW $119.95-$131.94
The Orthofeet Coral's roomy toe box and non-binding upper take the squeeze off swollen joints and toes, and the shoe's soft, foam-padded interior keeps your feet super-comfy and supported. Their ergonomic design also helps ease pain at the heel, if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. "These are so comfortable, my feet feel like they are walking on clouds," writes a pleased Amazon reviewer. "I have OA [osteoarthritis] pretty badly in my knees and I can already tell these shoes will be better for my pain and balance."
Best Walking Shoes For: Feeling Like You're in Slippers
BUY NOW $95
We tried Allbirds ourselves and think these wool loungers are one of the most comfortable shoes on earth. Just like the wool runners, these slip-ons are made with their signature, super-soft Merino wool and foam cushioning that both gives you freedom of movement and reduces your carbon footprint. The lightweight insoles are removable so you can insert your own orthotics if you'd like. Bonus: You don't need to wear socks because they're comfortably snug and keep your feet warm. One Nordstrom reviewer says: "I've been wearing them almost everywhere lately, especially on quick trips to the store or yoga class. The fabric is stretchy and soft, which is great for my bunions."
Best Walking Shoes For: Dressing Up
BUY NOW $119.95
Prevention readers are a little obsessed with Vionic shoes, and that's because the brand designs stylish footwear that helps ward off pain. These polished slip-on Minna flats come in five different styles and boast the Orthaheel technology that supports your foot's natural alignment, so they're a smart investment for work.
Best Walking Shoes For: All-Day Wear
BUY NOW $44.99
For a stylish sneaker that prevents foot pain while on your feet at work or while traveling, try the Madison from Dr. Scholl's. This slip-on comes in just about any color you could want, and customers swear by them for all-day comfort. "I'm a wedding photographer and these shoes saw several 12 hours days with the least amount of foot/back pain I've had with any shoe," writes one.
Another adds, "I needed something for a weekend trip to Paris. Something comfortable that didn't look like sneakers. These were perfect! ... Even with all the walking we did on the Parisian cobblestone streets, my feet never hurt!"
Best Walking Shoes For: Vacation
BUY NOW $89.95
Yes, you can wear flip flops and still protect your feet from injury. This OluKai U'i pair is perfect for a day hanging at the beach or hosting a fun barbecue. The curved footbed offers maximum support for your arches and the contoured plate fits perfectly with the natural alignment of your feet. Moreover, the durable rubber outsole makes it easy to trek through any terrain, whether it's sand or pavement.
One Zappos reviewer says, "They are so well designed that they give you as much support as a tennis shoe but it's a sandal." Another reviewer says: "Normally, I can't go longer than a couple of hours in flip flops, and my feet are usually aching, but these felt good on my feet all day."
('You Might Also Like',)