The Best Walking Shoes for Women and Men

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I started walking for exercise was wearing the wrong shoes. At first, everything was okay but then, as I walked further and faster, my feet began to get sore. My heels hurt, and I started to get blisters – very painful! This was almost enough to make me give up walking. 

Proper walking socks helped, but after I did some reading and research, I discovered that the best solution was to change my shoes. 

There are lots of different walking shoes available and I want to help you choose the right ones for your feet. To do that I’ve reviewed some of the best walking shoes currently available. 

For women 

1. Ryka Women’s Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoe

Sale
RYKA Women's Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoe
993 Reviews
RYKA Women's Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoe
  • Weighs 8.3 oz
  • Breathable mesh upper with supportive synthetic overlays
  • Anatomical precise-return footbed
  • Lightweight molded eva outsole features a full length rezorb platform; external pod network between midsole and outsole, and full length internal insert
  • Eight-piece radiused skeletal rubber works simultaneously with the re-zorb midsole and cobblestone engineering

Walking shoes always used to be made of tough, brown leather. They did their job well enough but were heavy, took a few weeks to soften up and break in, and were not exactly fashionable. These Ryka Deva Plus 2, available at Amazon.com, walking shoes are about as far from those old-style walking shoes as you can get! 

They are light, soft, and comfortable and they feel great right out the box. There is no real need to break them in, so you can walk long distances in them right away. 

They come in a wide range of colors/designs and, best of all, they are available in several different width fittings, so you can customize your purchase to match your feet. 

Devo Plus 2 walking shoes are loaded with features designed to make your fitness walking as enjoyable as possible. They have a breathable upper mesh that helps keep your feet cool, an anatomically precise foot bed for optimal support, and a molded EVA sole for great shock absorption – important for long walks or walking on rough terrain. 

These shoes score very well on Amazon.com, with 70% of users awarding them five out of five stars, and a further 15% of users awarding them four stars. Most reviews are very favorable, with users raving about how comfortable they find their Plus 2 walking shoes. With the wide range of colors, good fit, and great design, these shoes are highly recommended. Available At Amazon.com.

2. New Balance Women’s WA365v1  Walking Shoe

Sale
New Balance Women's WA365v1 CUSH + Walking Shoe
229 Reviews
New Balance Women's WA365v1 CUSH + Walking Shoe
  • Removable insole
  • New Balance
  • 6.5 M US
  • Grey/White

New Balance is my favorite running shoe manufacturer, so I was very excited to learn that this company also made walking shoes. New Balance are known for making top-quality products, and their running shoes are always comfortable and hard wearing. Are their walking shoes as good as their running shoes? You bet!

For start, New Balance Women’s WA365v1 Walking Shoes, available at Amazon.com, look a lot like regular sneakers, so they won’t be out of place if you wear them with jeans instead of walking pants. They are very light and flexible and have great cushioning. 

Made with Cush +, a “revolutionary foam compound that offers ultra-soft cushioning while maintaining stability for everyday comfort” these shoes are comfortable enough for walking all day, and you could even wear them in place of your regular shoes, although they do look pretty causal for work. 

Available in different widths, reviewers report that New Balance shoes can run a little small, so it’s recommended that you buy half a size bigger than normal. That being said, other reviewers said the sizing was spot on. 

Unlike other shoes in this review are only available in grey and white and black and white. I’m okay with that but, if you prefer a brighter design, you may wish to look elsewhere. 

56% of reviewers of New Balance Women’s  Walking Shoe award them five stars out of five, and they score a respectable four out of five stars overall. If you are looking for a light, supportive, and well-cushioned walking shoe, these would be a good choice. 

3. Skechers Women’s Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneaker

Sale
Skechers Women's Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneaker
783 Reviews

Not sure what color walking shoes to buy? You might want to avoid these shoes by Sketchers! Available in 18 different colorways at Amazon.com, the hardest part about buying these shoes could be choosing which ones to get. 

Started in 1992, Sketchers are known for making great shoes for active wear. They make a wide range of boots and shoes and are global best-sellers. Their women’s Flex Appeal 2.0 walking shoes are light, cushioned, and supportive and, as their name suggests, very flexible. This makes them ideal for pavement and treadmill walking but, on the downside, they aren’t suitable for serious off-road use. 

However, because they are so light and flexible, this shoe is ready to wear right out the box – there is no need to break them in by wearing them on short walks or around the house – which is what you need to do with other, more robust shoes. They are also light and comfortable enough to wear for jogging but, as I’ll discuss in a later guide, if you run often or far, you’ll be better off with a dedicated pair of running shoes. 

Skechers Women’s Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneakers are not available in different width fittings, but customers report that they are made to be quite wide. That’s good news because, as you walk, your feet spread out and a narrow shoe that feels okay before your walk could soon become tight and uncomfortable. 

The reviews for Skechers Women’s Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneakers are very favorable, with a whopping 78% of customers awarding them five out of five stars and scoring 4.6 in total. That’s very high indeed. In fact, other than a few people saying they didn’t like the laces very much, almost every reviewer raved about how comfortable and supportive these shoes are. Several users said that these were the only walking shoes they’ll buy, and that they just buy another pair of the same model when their old ones wear out. 

What are the best walking shoes for you – Women 

If you are looking for a hardwearing, more rugged walking shoe, I have no problem recommending Ryka Women’s Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoes  (available at Amazon.com). While the upper is made of mesh, key stress points have been reinforced with synthetic leather to make them tougher.

If you’d prefer a lighter, more flexible shoe, Skechers Women’s Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneakers (available at Amazon.com) are a great choice. Available in a wide range of colors, you should have no problem finding several designs that will match your wardrobe.

New Balance Women’s WA365v1 CUSH + Walking Shoes (available at Amazon.com) are the best choice if you take you’re walking a little more seriously or care more about comfort and fit than how they look. They might not be available in lots of colors, but they are perfect for fitness walking.

Pricewise, there is not too much to separate the walking shoes being reviewed as the size and color will affect how much you end up paying.

RYKA Women's Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoe
New Balance Women's WA365v1 CUSH + Walking Shoe
Skechers Women's Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneaker
RYKA Women's Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoe
New Balance Women's WA365v1 CUSH + Walking Shoe
Skechers Women's Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneaker
from $44.98
from $41.00
from $27.99
RYKA Women's Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoe
RYKA Women's Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoe
from $44.98
New Balance Women's WA365v1 CUSH + Walking Shoe
New Balance Women's WA365v1 CUSH + Walking Shoe
from $41.00
Skechers Women's Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneaker
Skechers Women's Flex Appeal 2.0 Sneaker
from $27.99

For men

1. New Balance Men’s MW877 Walking Shoe

Sale
New Balance Men's MW877 Walking Shoe
1,329 Reviews
New Balance Men's MW877 Walking Shoe
  • Classic synthetic-and-mesh walking shoe featuring seamless logos at sides
  • ABZORB midsole cushioning
  • Walking Strike Path technology
  • Padded tongue and collar
  • These shoes are Assembled in the USA

New Balance make great athletic shoes. As a rule, they are very comfortable, hardwearing, and fit great. These MW877 walking shoes are no different. Unlike many walking shoes, New Balance have used more suede than mesh to make these shoes a little tougher than the average pavement sneaker. This means they’ll last longer and are up to at least a little off-road use. That’s good news if you want to wear your shoes in more adventurous settings. 

Suede, a type of leather, is slightly heavier than pure mesh, and it can mean your feet get a little hotter, but these are minor inconveniences compared to the increased strength of the shoe. 

New Balance Men’s MW877 Walking Shoes are still pretty light, especially when compared to regular shoes, and they are supportive, cushioned, and very comfortable. Available in different widths, you should have no problem choosing the right shoe for feet. They are, however, only available in grey. I like grey shoes but if you want something brighter, you may need to look elsewhere. 

New Balance Men’s MW877 Walking Shoes score a very high 4.4 out of five stars, with 63% of reviewers awarding them the maximum five stars. Designed specifically for walking, MW877 walking shoes are a great product. Available at Amazon.com.

2. Skechers Men’s Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker

Sale
Skechers Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker
6,298 Reviews
Skechers Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker
  • Lace-up sneaker featuring mesh upper with supportive overlays and padded collar
  • Cushioned mesh tongue
  • Memory Foam Insole
  • Metal top eyelet
  • Skechers

If you are looking for a sturdy walking shoe that can stand up to the demands of going off-road, these Skechers Men’s Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneakers could be exactly what you are looking for. Made with as much leather as they are mesh, these tough, cushioned, supportive shoes are made for taking all the punishment you can throw at them.  Available at Amazon.com.

This doesn’t mean they’ll look or feel out of place if you mostly walk on pavements. These are dual-purpose shoes. It’s just good to know that if you do decide to head out into the countryside for a walk, you won’t need to buy a different pair of shoes. 

Sketchers have used memory foam in the sole to give a comfortable and customized fit. After a few years, they’ll mold to your feet and that means the fit will only get better with repeated use. After just a few excursions your shoes will fit you like a glove! 

Available in eight different dark colors, these are shoes made for men, but that’s okay as most guys don’t want brightly colored shoes. 

Skechers Men’s Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneakers score 4.4 out of five stars, with 66% of users awarding them the full five out of five. If you want, hardwearing, versatile shoe that you can wear almost anywhere, these are a great choice, and at a great price too. 

 

3. Mxson Men’s Lightweight Breathable Walking Shoe 

Sale
Mxson ZOCAVIA Mens Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Gym Running Walking Shoes Casual Sneakers
478 Reviews
Mxson ZOCAVIA Mens Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Gym Running Walking Shoes Casual Sneakers
  • stretch breathable mesh upper expand with your foot when you run and they more comfortable closely fit to help you reduce irritation.
  • specially engineered outlook and outsole provide your every step full energy, fast and light.
  • stretch web rubber outsole is lightweight and elastic, adapting to the ground for stability and working strategically to optimize the unique properties of every touch and push.
  • arch support insole gives the midfoot the best support when you move.
  • special desigin of the outsole hugs your foot properly, light and comfortable.

Walking shoes tend to be a little on the heavy side. This makes a lot of sense in many ways because, for walking off-road, a lightweight shoe would soon break down. That being said, a lot of walkers never venture off-road, and do all their walking on smooth pavements. If that’s the case, a light, flexible, shoe would be perfect. Available at Amazon.com.

I hadn’t heard about Mxson shoes before writing this review but now I’m a huge fan! Mxson Men’s Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Walking Shoes are the perfect pavement walking shoes and is ideal for fitness walking. Sure, I wouldn’t want to walk off-road in them or walk in the rain, but for pavement walking in good weather they are perfect. And they are very cheap too! 

They have a mesh upper for maximum lightness and a supportive, cushioning rubber outsole for maximum grip and shock absorbency. They also feature a slip-on sock-like design so they are easy to put on and fit your feet snugly, but they have laces too so you can get a snug, secure fit. 

Mxson Men’s Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Walking Shoes are available in eleven different colors although the shoes themselves have a mostly plain design. 

Scoring an impressive 4.3 out of five stars, 64% of reviewers award these shoes five out of five stars. That’s very high for such a budget-friendly model. If you are looking for a cheap, light, pavement walking fitness shoe, Mxson Men’s Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Walking Shoes would be a good choice.  

 

4. Rockport Men’s We are Rocklin’ Chranson Walking Shoe

Sale
Rockport Men's We are Rockin Chranson Walking Shoe
1,230 Reviews
Rockport Men's We are Rockin Chranson Walking Shoe
  • EVA midsole
  • Rubber outsole with flex grooves
  • Premium suede or leather and mesh upper
  • Latex cushioned footbed
  • Mesh lining

A lot of walking shoes look like running shoes. Some can even be used for both walking and running. Rockport have bucked this trend with their Men’s We are Rockin’ Chranson Walking Shoes, available at Amazon.com.

Made with a leather upper and strong synthetic sole, it’s obvious that these are real walking shoes. They almost look like low-cut walking boots. Because of this, these shoes will be hardwearing, waterproof, and at home on pavements and countryside trails. On the downside, they are heavier than sneaker-style walking shoes, and aren’t as flexible. That means they may take a few walks to soften up and break in. But, once you’ve worn them a few times, they should be very comfortable and extremely long-lasting. 

Available in brown or black, these are not especially fashionable-looking shoes, but they won’t show the dirt and you’ll be able to clean them easily with a damp cloth to keep them looking like new. They are also available in different widths, so you can make sure they fit your feet perfectly. 

Rockport Men’s We are Rockin Chranson Walking Shoe score 4.3 out of five stars, with 61% of reviewers awarding the maximum five stars. If you want a practical, tough, walking shoe that is as at-home on trails as it is on pavements, these Rockports would be a good choice. 

 

What are the best walking shoes for you – Men 

Looking for a tough, long-lasting shoe you can wear both off-road and on the streets? Rockport Men’s We are Rockin Chranson Walking Shoes (available at Amazon.com) and Skechers Men’s Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneakers (available at Amazon.com) are both great choices. More rugged than walking shoes made from mesh, these shoes should be up to the challenge of more adventurous walking but will be equally at home in towns and cities. 

If speed walking is more your thing, or if you expect to do all your walking on pavements and in good weather, Mxson Men’s Lightweight Walking Shoes, available at Amazon.com, are the perfect choice. They are also the most budget-friendly shoe on review. 

If you can’t decide exactly what kind of walking shoe you need, New Balance Men’s MW877 Walking Shoes, available at Amazon.com, are the perfect solution. Tough enough for gentle off-roading, but light enough for hitting the pavements, this is a good compromise for those who can’t decide between lightweight mesh and heavier leather walking shoes. 

New Balance Men's MW877 Walking Shoe
Skechers Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker
Mxson ZOCAVIA Mens Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Gym Running Walking Shoes Casual Sneakers
Rockport Men's We are Rockin Chranson Walking Shoe
New Balance Men's MW877 Walking Shoe
Skechers Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker
Mxson ZOCAVIA Mens Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Gym Running Walking Shoes Casual Sneakers
Rockport Men's We are Rockin Chranson Walking Shoe
1,329 Reviews
6,298 Reviews
478 Reviews
1,230 Reviews
New Balance Men's MW877 Walking Shoe
New Balance Men's MW877 Walking Shoe
1,329 Reviews
Skechers Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker
Skechers Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker
6,298 Reviews
Mxson ZOCAVIA Mens Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Gym Running Walking Shoes Casual Sneakers
Mxson ZOCAVIA Mens Ultra Lightweight Breathable Mesh Street Sport Gym Running Walking Shoes Casual Sneakers
478 Reviews
Rockport Men's We are Rockin Chranson Walking Shoe
Rockport Men's We are Rockin Chranson Walking Shoe
1,230 Reviews

How to buy the right walking shoes for you

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to enjoy the benefits of walking. It doesn’t really matter what you wear, so long as you are comfortable. The only important thing you need is a good pair of walking shoes.

The right shoes can make every walk you take a pleasure, while the wrong shoes will make your walks a nightmare!

Make sure you consider these tips.

1. Proper fit – if your walking shoes are too tight, they will pinch and cramp your toes, and could even cause you to lose a toenail or two, especially walking down steep hills. If they are too big, they’ll slop about on your feet and could rub and cause blisters.

Ideally, your walking shoes should be big enough to fit comfortably but no bigger. You should be able insert your small finger down the back of your shoes while your feet are in them. This allows for the fact that your feet swell when you walk.

Also take your walking socks and any aftersales insoles into consideration as they can affect the fit of your shoes. Don’t forget to think about the width of your walking shoes too – some manufacturers make wider walking shoes than others.

2. Where you are going to walk? – if you are going to do all your walking on roads and pavements, a soft, light pair of walking shoes will serve you well. You won’t need tons of grip as you’ll be walking on flat, stable surfaces. However, if you are going to walk off-road, you’ll need a more substantial shoe. Off-road walking shoes have rugged outsoles to provide grip. Yes, they are heavier, but that means they’ll also provide your feet with more protection.

While you can wear more rugged shoes for easy pavement walks, it’s overkill and you probably won’t enjoy the extra weight in your shoes. But, if you can only buy one pair of shoes, it’s better to get off-road shoes as you can wear them anywhere, while lightweight shoes will soon make walking off-road, especially if it’s muddy, very unpleasant.

3. Do you need boots? – walking boots provide extra ankle support which makes them ideal for walking off-road. On the downside, they are usual heavier and take longer to soften up when you first start wearing them. They might even give you blisters as you get used to them. If you think you are going to do a lot of serious off-road walking, boots are a good option. But, if most your walking will be on pavements or easy trails, walking shoes should be more than suitable.

4. Material – walking shoes are made from a variety of materials, from lightweight fabrics to leather. Leather is usually more hardwearing, naturally waterproof, and more supportive, but it’s also heavier and can take a few walks to soften and become comfortable. You may also need to treat them with wax to keep the leather soft, supple, and water proof.

Fabric walking shoes are usually softer and lighter, and ready to wear right out the box. They are usually easier to look after but don’t provide as much support or protection for your feet.

Which ones are right for you? It depends on what you want to use your walking shoes for. Longer walks over mixed terrain will probably be more comfortable in leather shoes, while walking on pavements will be more comfortable in lighter, fabric walking shoes.

Are you expecting to do both types of walking? There are shoes that combine materials for the best of both worlds.

5. Weight – unlike running shoes, which are usually made as light as possible, walking shoes can be quite heavy, especially if they are made of leather or have very rugged soles. If you are a petite female, you probably don’t want to clomp about wearing heavy shoes. They may make you tired too. On the other hand, if you are a big guy, the weight of your shoes won’t really matter much. Consider the weight of your shoes before you buy them to make sure they are right for you.

6. Waterproof? – some walking shoes are made to be waterproof, often with Gortex linings which keep water out while allowing your feet to breathe and keep cool. Waterproof walking shoes and boots also have something called a bellows tongue which means water cannot enter through the laced-up part of your shoe/boot either.

These features add weight and cost but could make your walks more comfortable if you end up doing a lot of walking in the rain or on wet grass. Think about the weather you expect to face on your walks and decide whether you need waterproof shoes or not.

7. Price – walking shoes can cost from $20 to $200 or more. More expensive does not necessarily mean a shoe is better. It’s much more important that they are comfortable, and you are pleased with them. Don’t spend more money than you are happy with; after all, this is a purchase you need to be happy with. Buy the best, most comfortable shoes that are within your budget, and don’t think that cheaper shoes will make your walks any less beneficial. They won’t!

 

The benefits of daily walking

Walking is an incredible form of exercise, but a lot of so-called fitness experts dismiss it because it’s relatively easy or by saying that it’s only good for older people. That’s a shame because walking every day can have a big impact on almost every aspect of your life. 

The reason that walking every day can do you so much good is that you can do it daily – unlike most other types of exercise. 

I like to run, but even though I’ve been running regularly for several years now, I can only really run three-times a week. If I try to run much more often, my feet, ankles, and knees start to ache, and I need to take time off for them to settle down again. One extra run often means I end up missing the next two. 

In contrast, I can walk every day with no ill effects at all. That means I can walk further and more often per week than I can run. That makes walking much more sustainable. 

Also, because walking is easy, I don’t have any real excuses for not doing it. I can walk if I’m tired, I can walk if I have a bit of a cold, and I can walk if I have a headache. In fact, where running would probably make these things worse, walking often makes me feel better. 

Because of this, it’s much easier to make walking a habit, and daily walking can have a lot of benefits. Some of those benefits include: 

Increased fitness

Like running, walking works your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. If you are sedentary, these systems can become weak, and you’ll often find yourself out of breath after something like walking up a flight of stairs. 

Because walking improves the condition and capacity of your heart and lungs, everyday activities will be easier. Just because walking is not as demanding as running does not mean it won’t help make you fitter. 

Lose weight

Walking burns calories which helps cancel out some of the food you eat. If you are currently eating a little less than normal, these calories will have to come from stored body fat. A mile of walking burns about the same number of calories as a mile of running – it just takes longer when you walk. This is not important though as you can walk more miles per day and per week than you can realistically run. 

Increased bone mass

Walking places gentle stresses on your bones. After all, your bones have to support your body weight during every step you take. This increases osteoblast activity which are the cells responsible for building and strengthening your bones. In the same way your muscles weaken if you don’t use them, so too will your bones. 

In your bones, this weakness can become osteoporosis – a medical condition where the bones become porous, brittle, and more prone to fracture. Walking can help prevent bone loss and keep your skeleton good and strong, reducing your risk of osteoporosis. 

Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world. It happens when the blood vessels that supply your heart become partly or completely blocked. If you heart doesn’t get enough oxygen, it may stop beating. Clearly, that’s very bad news. 

A stroke is similar except blood flow is reduced or interrupted to your brain. A minor stroke can result in problems with speech or loss of function on one side of your body, but a major stroke can be a killer. 

Walking gently increases blood flow all around your body, increasing the strength and capacity of your heart, lungs, and improving circulation. Better cardiovascular fitness is inextricably linked to better cardiovascular health, and the more you walk, the fitter your heart and lungs will be. That’s why most doctors prescribe walking as a way to prevent heart disease and stroke, and also avoid it from happening again in patients that have had problems in the past. 

Lower blood pressure

Your blood vessels are tubes made from smooth muscle. Stress, an unhealthy diet, and being sedentary can make your blood vessels constrict or narrow. This will increase your blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure can have a big effect on your entire body and health, including raising your risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. 

Exercises like walking force your blood vessels to relax so that the blood can flow through them more easily. This is called vasodilation. Dilation means to open up, and vaso refers to blood flow. With less resistance to the flow of blood, your blood pressure will decrease which is good news for your entire body. 

Less stress

As I explained in my article How stress is making us fat modern life is very stressful, and stress can be very damaging to your health. Stress makes you want to eat unhealthy foods because they provide a brief hit of pleasure. However, in return, they make you gain weight and become unhealthy. 

Walking, like most forms of exercise, is great for lowering your stress levels. When you walk, your mind lets go of stressful thoughts, and you can get lost in the simple action of putting one foot in front of the other. Just breathe and walk – let your mind wander with you. 

If you have had a hard day at work, go for a walk and feel the weight of the day literally float off your shoulders. By the time you get home, you’ll feel relaxed, ready to eat something healthy, and you’ll sleep like a baby too! Better, longer sleep also helps prevent weight gain and aids fat loss. You’ll also feel less tired and much happier when you wake up in the morning. 

Better brain function

Your brain works better when you are active. It helps improve concentration and memory and can also make you more creative. Walking increases blood flow to your brain which may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurological diseases. 

I often find that I have some of my best ideas when I’m walking and go for a walk if I have a mental block or a problem I cannot solve. Invariably, the solution will come to me part way through my walk. 

Longer life

Walking is a significant indicator of health. People who walk a lot are generally healthier than those who do not. After the age of 65, your walking speed may predict how long you have left to live. Walking has long been recognized as an indicator for overall health and researchers have found a strong link between faster walking speeds and longer life. In short, if you are able to continue walking fast, even as you age, you will probably live longer. The best way to boost your walking speed? Walk every day! 

There is no avoiding it, daily walking is big medicine and will do you a lot of good. You don’t have to walk 10,000 steps per day, although that is a good target, but a daily walk can really boost your mental and physical health and help you control your weight. 

 

Questions and answers 

1. What’s the difference between men’s shoes and women’s shoes?

Men’s feet and women’s feet tend to be slightly different shapes, with men’s feet generally being a little wider. Men also tend to be heavier, so men’s shoes are often a bit more supportive and cushioned. As men are bigger, male shoes also tend to be a bit heavier too. 

Women’s shoes are normally available in a wider range of colors as men tend to choose darker, plainer designs. 

While men’s shoes may fit a women’s feet, and vice versa, it’s usually best to buy the shoes that were designed for your gender. 

2. Can’t I just walk in running shoes?

Of course you can, but I don’t recommend it. Running shoes are made to withstand a forefoot-first landing, while walking is a heel-first activity. Walking shoes also tend to be more hardwearing than running shoes, which are made for lightness. 

I did a lot of my early walks in running shoes, but I can honestly say I was a lot more comfortable when I made the switch to dedicated walking shoes. 

3. Does the weight of walking shoes really matter? 

It does but not the way you might think. In a lot of cases, heavier shoes are better than light shoes. Heavier shoes are more engineered, have more support and cushioning, and are usually tougher too. That’s because materials like leather and rubber are heavier than EVA foam and mesh. 

While shoes do vary in weight, it’s normally only by a few ounces so once you are out and moving, you won’t even notice the difference. 

My advice is not to worry too much about how much your shoes weigh and focus more on comfort, support, and cushioning. The weight of your shoe isn’t really that important. 

4. How do I avoid getting blisters with new walking shoes? 

There are a few things you can do to prevent blisters: 

  • Wear good quality socks made for walking 
  • Start off with short walks to break your shoes in 
  • Make sure your shoes are the perfect fit 
  • Wipe areas that tend to blister with rubbing alcohol 3-4 times a day for a week to toughen up the skin 
  • Wear your shoes around the house before you venture out for a proper walk to get used to them 

5. Is leather or mesh best for walking shoes? 

I do a lot of walking, so I often wear leather walking boots as they offer the most support when I’m out in the countryside. Because of this I have I have a bit of a soft spot for leather walking shoes. However, I also like mesh walking shoes when I’m walking in the city as they are light, comfortable, and flexible, and I don’t look silly wearing them around town. 

Leather IS more hardwearing, but can be stiff at first and takes some breaking in. Mesh won’t last as long but is often softer and more comfortable. 

The bottom line is you should try them both and see which one is right for you. 

6. Can I put insoles into my walking shoes for extra comfort? 

Some walking shoes come with removable footbeds, so you can use different insoles. That’s good if you need to use orthotic insoles or want to customize the fit. If your walking shoes don’t have removable footbeds, adding an extra insole may make them too tight and uncomfortable. If you intend to use different insoles, make sure you can remove the ones that come with your shoes. 

7. What size walking shoe should I buy? 

As your feet will swell slightly when you walk, and you’ll probably want to wear thicker socks to avoid blisters, you may want to buy your walking shoes half a size bigger than usual. As a rule, it’s usually best to buy shoes that are a little bigger than too small. That being said, if your shoe is too big, it will slop about on your foot and cause more problems. Start off with your normal shoe size and move up or down from there until you find the perfect fit. Also remember to try your new walking shoes with your walking socks as regular socks tend to be a bit thinner. 

8. What type of shoes are best for walking?

Walking shoes are different to running shoes. Walking shoes are generally more heavy-duty, have more rugged outsoles, and they weigh a little more than running shoes too. They are usually more supportive than cushioned, and this means while they are great for walking, they are not so good for running. 

I prefer walking shoes made from leather or synthetic leather because they tend to be tougher and more long-lasting. However, there are lighter walking shoes that are designed specifically for pavement walking. 

9. Should I wear walking boots or walking shoes?

If you do most your walking on pavements or easy trails, walking shoes should be perfectly fine. They will give you adequate cushioning and support and should be very comfortable too. However, if you tend to walk along rough paths or through the countryside, a pair of walking boots might be a better choice. Walking boots provide you with more lateral support which could prevent you from twisting an ankle on rough terrain. 

Walking boots are usually heavier than walking shoes and they often take more breaking in as they are mostly made from leather. If you buy boots, spend a few days doing short walks in them before heading out for a longer walk to avoid unnecessary blisters.  

10. How far should I walk per day?

A lot of fitness experts believe that you should walk about 10,000 steps per day. This usually equates to about 5-6 miles. However, as I discussed in my article 10,000 steps per day there is no scientific evidence that says you must walk that distance to get benefits from walking, although it is a very good target. 

Instead, I suggest you set small goals, like 3,000 steps, and make sure you hit them every day. Then, as walking becomes a habit, add an extra 500 steps and make 3,500 your new goal. Keep doing this until you reach your highest sustainable number of steps per day. 

Use a fitness tracker or a pedometer to count the number of steps you do per day. 

11. How fast should I walk?

Walking is not a race, but you won’t get as many benefits if you walk really slowly. Instead, walk as fast as you comfortably can without breaking into a run. You should be slightly out of breath but still able to maintain a conversation while you walk. Your actual speed (in miles per hour) will depend on the length of your legs, the terrain, and how fit you are. 

12. Do I have to do my walking for the day all in one go?

Absolutely not! Some people prefer to go for one long walk per day, while others prefer to do several shorter walks. So long as you clock up a decent distance per day, it doesn’t really matter if you do it in one go, or over the course of your day. 

13. How to I avoid getting blisters? 

The most important thing you can do to avoid blisters is to buy good quality walking shoes or boots that fit properly. Add a good pair of walking socks to make blisters even less likely. It’s also important to increase the length of your walks gradually. If you walk too far, and your feet aren’t used to it, you are much more likely to get blisters. Finally, soak your feet in salt water or rub them with surgical alcohol to toughen the skin. 

14. Can I wear insoles in my walking shoes/boots?

A lot of walking shoes/boots have removable insoles, so you can customize your them for improved comfort and fit. You can buy insoles that offer more arch support, and cushioned insoles for better shock absorption. Some insoles are made to measure and designed to fix problems like fallen arches. These, made by specialist doctors, are called orthotics. 

Make sure you try your insoles in any new walking shoes or boots before you buy them to check that they fit properly. Aftersales insoles are often thicker than the ones supplied with your shoes or boots and could make them too small. 

15. Does walking build stronger leg muscles?

It does, especially if you walk on rough terrain and up steep hills. It’s not like doing squats, lunges, and other leg exercises like that, and won’t make your legs significantly bigger, but walking will definitely improve leg muscle tone and function. The main thing you’ll notice after a few weeks of walking is that your legs will not feel as tired as usual when you have to stand for a long time or climb up a flight of stairs.  

16. Is it normal for my feet to swell after a long walk?

Walking can cause blood and lymphatic fluid to gravitate toward and pool in your ankles and feet, and that may make them swell. That’s why it’s always important to make sure your walking boots and shoes are not too tight. In most cases, minor swelling is nothing to worry about and it will vanish all by itself after you have a rest. 

If your feet and ankles remain swollen for several hours or they become painful, speak to your doctor before you do another walk. 

17. How can I make a short walk more challenging? 

Because walking is relatively gentle, a lot of people write-off anything other than long walks. That is a mistake because even a short walk can be very beneficial and, given the choice, a short walk is always better than no walk at all. 

Make short walks more challenging and beneficial for health and weight loss by: 

  • Walking a little faster than normal 
  • Wearing a daypack loaded with water bottles, books, or gym weights
  • Walk up and down steep hills 
  • Carry dumbbells in your hands and swing your arms. This is called power walking 
  • Stop every few minutes and do a set of squats, lunges, push-ups, or planks 
  • Try a walk-run program where you walk for a minute and then run for a minute 
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Reduce pain and make your walking a much better experience with proper walking shoes. Different shoes for women and men.

Last update on 2018-12-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m so happy that you’re here! I've shared my story here

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