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.
1. Ryka Women’s Devo Plus 2 Walking Shoe
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
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
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.
1. New Balance Men’s MW877 Walking Shoe
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
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
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
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 – 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.
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.
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.