Women's Walking Shoes: 6 Best Picks From Podiatrists
When was the last time you really thought about the shoes you wear when you go for a walk? The best walking shoes aren't just fancy or trendy - they should be comfortable, supportive and durable. And while you don't necessarily need to buy a pair of sneakers specifically for walking, it can't hurt.
Yes, walking shoes are technically different from running and hiking shoes. "Walking shoes are designed to provide stability during a walk," explains Saylee Tulpule, D.P.M., a podiatrist at Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic in Maryland. "Compared to running shoes, walking shoes are heavier, which helps maintain a slower, more consistent pace.
But with thousands of options vying for a role in your next walk, it can feel impossible to find the exact right pair. Start by considering the needs of your feet. "People try to squeeze their foot into a shoe instead of choosing a shoe that fits your foot," says Dan Giordano, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., co-founder and director of physical therapy at Bespoke Treatments in New York City. "Look for a shoe that doesn't squeeze your foot into the shoe, that gives you room in the toe area and that holds your heel securely."
Ready to get started? Read on to find out how to find the running shoes that work best for you, and then discover the absolute best pairs as determined by podiatrists and reviewers.
- Available in wide and narrow widths
- Few internal seams to avoid irritation
- Some users find the vamp of the shoe uncomfortable
Sometimes there's no way around the classics. These chunky, cute sneakers are available for less than $60 and offer plenty of much-needed support. They're ideal for hikers who don't want to spend a lot of money to walk around comfortably - just look at all that cushioning and arch support! "It's a miracle! I can walk without my feet hurting. I can stand longer now," reports an Amazon reviewer with plantar fasciitis, bone spurs and poor circulation. "I love these shoes!"
- Available in regular and wide widths
- Orthotic-friendly sock liner
- The American Podiatric Medical Association Certified
- Some reviewers find the heel uncomfortable
This sneaker from Saucony is designed to hug the foot with a contoured footbed, added energy return, and plenty of cushioning, ensuring a comfortable running experience all day long. They're also suitable for those who need to wear insoles (which slip in easily) and for people with pronation.
"These shoes are extremely comfortable and provide plenty of cushioning and support while I work out," raves one Amazon reviewer. "I no longer feel the fatigue and numbness in my joints that I experienced with other brands.
- Rubber sole
- Anatomically correct foot bed
- Available in wide width
- Some users reported the sole coming loose after wear
These shoes are good for your feet and look great. With a rubber sole and an anatomically shaped footbed with precise rebound, these shoes will keep you comfortable every day. A lightweight, molded shoe with a RE-ZORB platform and full-length insole round out these sneakers. And since they're available in six different colors, there's sure to be a style to match your wardrobe.
"I did my research before purchasing these shoes and I've to say I love them! I'd my meniscus removed a year ago and have arthritis in my knees," says one satisfied reviewer. "I love to walk and was walking up to five miles before my tear. These shoes really allow me to walk better and with more confidence. I'm no longer afraid of tripping and falling. I'm buying a second pair!"
- Great for exercise and every day
- Cushioned footbed
- Shock absorbing
- Some users say they are not for running
These sneakers are ideal for any activity - your daily walk, the gym, errands, or a run - because they're super flexible and absorb shock, and they promote better running form. And each sneaker features FootShape technology to fit both narrower and wider feet with ease. "
Give yourself room to maneuver! Working out in shoes that are too tight can be uncomfortable and won't motivate you to exercise," says Emily Breeze, a personal trainer.
- Offers ventilation
- No alternative widths availale
If you're looking for featherweight kicks, this is the pair for you. Made from the same soft foam as the brand's iconic clogs, these sneakers offer great support and cushioning without weighing you down.
They also offer great ventilation to keep sweaty feet at bay, and look damn good too. "I stand IN PLACE in a pharmacy for 8+ hours a day. This shoe offers great shock absorption and the rubber soles feel like no other expensive shoe brand I've ever had," said one reviewer. "So much cushioning, just add your own supports and voila, the ideal shoe."
- Available in wide width
- Lots of color options
- Great for those with plantar fasciitis
- Some reviewers found the shoes squeaky
These walking shoes from Dansko, recommended by Tulpule, are ideal for people with high arches and conditions like plantar fasciitis that require good arch support. With a roomy toe box, cushioned heel and breathable lining and upper, they're great sneakers all around.
"They've this great Dansko arch support," writes an Amazon visitor with "nasty" plantar fasciitis. "They're extremely comfortable without being too bulky