The 7 Best Walking Shoes of 2023 - Most Comfortable Shoes

We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article. Why Trust Us?

You’ll love cruising around in these sneakers (almost) as much as your favorite pair of running kicks. Leather Flat Shoes

The 7 Best Walking Shoes of 2023 - Most Comfortable Shoes

Whether you’re taking the dog out, taking a lap around the mall, or simply going for a leisurely stroll, it’s always nice to make time for a walk. Unlike running, hiking, or going to the gym, most of us don’t think too hard about what shoes to wear on a long walk… Until you spend a whole day schlepping around town in sandals and your feet start screaming at you.

Listen to your feet: Invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

The term “walking shoes” can refer to a broad range of shoes, including running shoes, trail shoes, and even hiking boots. In this guide, we’re looking at the best shoes for everyday wear on pavement: The kind of shoes most of us put on when we aren’t thinking about what shoes to wear. The best walking shoes are comfortable and supportive so you can keep a spring in your step even if you’re on your feet all day.

I’ve written about shoes extensively, and I have firsthand experience trying out models from a range of brands (including many of the brands featured in this guide). In addition to drawing on my own experience, I also tested several pairs of walking shoes to get a better sense of the tech and features in them, and how they differ from running shoes.

Walking is a low-impact activity. It puts less stress on your joints and muscles than high-impact exercises like running. That doesn’t mean that walking can’t feel like a workout. You put a lot of pressure on your feet and legs as you walk around every day. If you walk a lot, particularly as a form of exercise, you should find walking shoes that fit well and support you.

Most walking shoes are well-cushioned, with relatively thick midsoles and plenty of shock-absorbing foam. Many models, including the Dansko Pace and Hoka Clifton below, use the same ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam to pad their midsoles that you find in most modern running shoes. If you like a soft, plush feel underfoot, it’s a great material to look for.

Some running-derived walking shoes, most notably the Saucony Tempus, feature newer cushioning materials that are lighter and more responsive than EVA. The Tempus has Saucony’s lightweight polyether block amide (PEBA)-based “Pwrrun PB” foam, which gives the Tempus a bouncy, propulsive feel. I

f you’re walking for exercise or prefer a shoe with a peppy, energetic feel that helps you maintain a brisk pace, look for walking shoes with more advanced cushioning foams. You might also consider trying a pair of running shoes.

A good walking shoe should feel stable, without any wobbling. Look for shoes with wide soles, especially in the forefoot—the added space gives your toes room to splay with each step and creates a more stable platform for your feet. The Rykä Devotion X and Saucony Tempus both feature wide,  stable sole designs.

If you overpronate or struggle with specific foot issues like plantar fasciitis, look for a shoe with more robust support features like a medial post, which adds a layer of firmer foam to the inside edge of the shoe that keeps your foot aligned as you walk, or an arch support footbed, where the insole is shaped to match the bottom of your foot and bolster your arch. The Aetrex Chase is a great example of this type of stability-focused walking shoe.

You can also look for shoes that have earned the American Podiatric Medical Association’s Seal of Acceptance, which have been independently verified by APMA testers and found to promote foot health. Several of our recommendations, including the Aetrex Chase and Hoka Clifton, have earned the award.

A walking shoe upper should be breathable, durable, and aesthetically pleasing (or at least blend in with a variety of outfits). Good breathability will keep your feet from getting hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable, even after walking for many hours.

Durability is important, too: You’ll likely wear walking shoes frequently, so they should be able to withstand day-to-day wear and tear. I recommend mesh uppers, which offer a good balance between breathability (the open spaces in the mesh promote good airflow) and strong, durable construction.

Finally, a note on upper aesthetics: Although it might seem superfluous, make sure to pick a shoe with an upper design and color that you like and work with your everyday wardrobe. You won’t wear them as much if you don’t like how you look.

To pick the best walking shoes, I researched the shoe lineups of major shoe brands (and some lesser-known ones, like Rykä.) I spoke with brand reps to learn more about what models are best suited for walking. I also tried on samples of various walking shoes and tested them on easy hiking trails, power walks through my neighborhood (often with kids and dogs in tow), and plodding up and down stairs at home.

For the few picks I didn’t test personally, I read professional reviews from several publications and checked forums to find the walking shoes that the running and walking communities are excited about.

Using all that info, I narrowed it down to the short list of shoes below. There’s no such thing as a single perfect walking shoe for everyone, so I aimed to include a variety of options to suit all kinds of walkers. Whether you’re walking for fitness or just running errands, you can feel confident lacing any of these up.

It’s rare to find a shoe that’s comfortable and cushioned enough for walking and light enough on the foot to feel good while running—but the Hoka Clifton nails that balance. The latest version, the Clifton 9, features even more midsole foam than its predecessor – the stack height increased by 3mm – but it’s actually lighter than before.

The compression-molded EVA midsole offers good shock absorption at any pace, and it’s tuned for responsiveness, so you get some extra bounce in your step. Combined with Hoka’s Early Stage Meta-Rocker design, where the sole curves upward under the balls of your feet, the Clifton 9 promotes a peppy step that encourages smooth strides while running or walking.

Rubber placements on the outsole boost the shoe’s longevity, so it should handle high-mileage training and everyday errands with aplomb. It’s also earned the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association. A comfy, capable shoe, the Clifton 9 stands out from other walking shoes because of its unmatched versatility: It’s a go-to for everything from casual wear to your weekday morning jog.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

One of RW’s favorite shoes from Asics, the GT-1000 is a reliable trainer, and its combo of durable cushioning and versatile midsole support makes it a great choice for walking, too. The shoe’s midsole features a combo of Flytefoam, an EVA cushioning material, and a heel-based Gel pod, adding a squishy, gel-like layer that absorbs the impact of each step. They’re paired with a plush Ortholite sockliner to create a soft feel underfoot.

The GT-1000 11 also features Asics’ LiteTruss system—a firmer layer of cushioning that resists lateral flexing. LiteTruss creates lateral stiffness that supports your feet and helps counter overpronation, but it doesn’t poke upward into your arch or interfere too much with your stride, so it’s suitable for neutral walkers, too.

The engineered mesh upper offers good breathability, and an external heel clip keeps your foot aligned in the shoe for a comfortable, supportive fit. It’s cheap, it’s versatile, it’s perfect for a walk or a run – The Asics GT-1000 11 is any easy pick if you’re on a budget or looking for a great deal.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

Lululemon, the brand known for its yoga pants, has successfully broken into the running space sponsoring athletes like Colleen Quigley and Nikki Hiltz. Its shoes include the daily trainer Blissfeel 2, a shoe that we’ve compared to the likes of the Nike Pegasus and Brooks Ghost.

The brand’s new Chargefeel 2 serves as both a running and cross-training shoe. But we’ll posture its functionality further by calling it a triple threat; our testers have worn the shoe outside of the gym and traversed through their day at a slower pace. In short, the Chargefeel 2 is an ideal walking shoe, due in part to Its dual-foam midsole. Its knit upper has a contoured cut heel collar that fits like a second skin. The shoe was specifically designed for a woman’s foot and is available in women’s sizing only.

Aetrex shoes are designed to provide maximum arch support and promote proper joint alignment, and they come in a variety of styles for men and women. If you deal with issues like plantar fasciitis or pain in your heels or arches—or you just like a highly supportive shoe—the Chase may be very helpful.

It offers a thick wedge of midsole foam, so you get plenty of cushioning, but the main highlight is the footbed: Aetrex’s unique removable insole places the “peak” of the arch support farther back than other brands’ footbed designs (it’s in line with your ankle rather than the middle of your foot). This mirrors the bone structure of the foot, so you get targeted arch support exactly where you need it.

When I walked in my Chases, they felt a little stiff at first. The beveled heel and flat outsole created a blocky sensation when walking (likely because I tend to land on my heels). After just a couple walks, though, the shoes broke in a bit and felt softer, and the insoles delivered a supportive, foot-cradling feel that really boosted my arches. The upper was soft and accommodating, and I appreciated the minimalist, low-key look, which made them easier to style. The Chase only comes in men’s size, but women can get the same arch support from Aetrex’ very similar Danika sneaker.

Rykä stands out from other brands by creating shoes designed specifically for women’s feet. The Devotion X is a revamped version of one of the company’s top models, and it’s a great pick for active days and fitness walking.

This APMA-certified shoe pairs Rykä’s responsive Re-Zorb cushioning foam in the forefoot and heel with a traditional EVA foam for plenty of energy return and reliable shock absorption. Inside, an anatomically shaped insole cradles the bottom of your foot, supporting the heel and arch to keep your feet and joints aligned as you move.

Unlike insoles in other shoes, it’s designed to match the structure of women’s bodies—female quadriceps muscles are angled differently than men’s, which gives women a different stance and foot landing pattern than men. (The insole is also removable, so you can swap in your own orthotics if you have them).

A wide toe box also adds some stability and creates room for your toes to splay, and a narrower heel is designed to provide a more secure fit around female feet. The breathable mesh upper keeps your feet from overheating, and generous rubber placements on the outsole ensure you have plenty of grip across surfaces and good durability for high-mileage wear.

Although other walking shoes offer comfy insoles and supportive cushioning, the Devotion X rises above the rest for its singular focus on female biomechanics, and the result is a supremely comfortable shoe for women.

The Saucony Tempus is a cushioned stability shoe, but RW wear testers suggest that it’s a great fit for both overpronators and neutral runners. Better yet, its less-intrusive take on stability and premium cushioning foam make it a comfy, capable pick for walking.

The midsole features a layer of Saucony’s ultralight, highly responsive Pwrrun PB foam–the same compound used in the brand’s Endorphin speed shoes. The Pwrrun PB cushion provides excellent energy return and a bouncy feel underfoot. On top of that propulsive foam, there’s a contoured EVA-based frame that matches the shape of your foot, creating a more supportive, comfortable fit that lets your foot sit deeper in the shoe.

The gently rockered sole shape encourages smooth transitions from landing to toe-off, and it’s available in wide sizes to accommodate those with larger feet. Unsurprisingly, the Saucony Tempus also earned APMA’s Seal of Acceptance for foot health. Clearly, support is this shoe’s top priority.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

As its name implies, the Go Walk Speed Walker is designed specifically to increase your walking pace, which makes it a great choice for fitness walking. During my testing, I really appreciated the smooth, balanced ride of this shoe.

The removable insole creates a soft step-in feel and offers good arch support, and the combo of a HyperBurst midsole and an embedded plate at the forefoot creates a springy sensation in each step. The sole of the shoe also has a slight rocker shape, and together with the bouncy foam and the shoe’s relatively low weight, it encourages smooth, brisk strides. The outsole features Goodyear rubber around the forefoot and heel—I never had any issues with grip, and the shoe felt stable during jaunts around my neighborhood.

My only gripe: The toe box is somewhat narrow, and during testing, the upper tended to crimp and slightly pinch the big toe on my left foot. Overall, though, I really enjoyed wearing this model, and if you’re looking for a speedy walking shoe that’ll help you get your steps in, the Go Walk Speed Walker is definitely worth a try.

Buy Men’s Buy Women’s

When should I wear walking shoes?

Walking shoes are ideal footwear for a variety of scenarios. They’re great for fitness, but also a dependable pair of shoes for everyday life. If you have to spend a full day on your feet – standing all day at work, running errands, traveling – the padding can help you feel light on your feet. In other words, walking shoes are not just a fitness gear item—they can be part of your everyday footwear rotation, too.

Do trail shoes make good walking shoes?

They’re great for walking on trails. Trail shoes with lugged outsoles, which have small protrusions that dig into soft ground, will help you get better traction on dirt and rocks. Likewise, many trail shoes have built-in rock plates to keep roots and debris from poking up into your feet.

While I almost always wear trail shoes for hiking, I wouldn’t necessarily buy a pair to replace my walking shoes. The burly outsoles add weight, and the lugs can sometimes press up into your feet when walking on hard surfaces like pavement. If your daily walk takes you across the city or the suburbs, you’re better off with walking or road running shoes.

Michael is a freelance writer with years of experience covering gear and the outdoors for Runner's World and other publications; when he's not writing, he's usually biking, hiking, and running in the mountains around Los Angeles, where he lives. 

The Best Running Shoes for Men

The 7 Best Adidas Ultraboost Shoes

The Best Under Armour Running Shoes

The Best Reebok Running Shoes

The Best Running Shoes of 2023

The Best Lightweight Running Shoes

The Best Cross-Training Shoes for Every Workout

The 10 Best Salomon Running Shoes

Asics Superblast: Race-Day Discretion Is Advised

The Best Mizuno Running Shoes

The 10 Best Nike Running Shoes

The 9 Best Asics Running Shoes

A Part of Hearst Digital Media

We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back.

The 7 Best Walking Shoes of 2023 - Most Comfortable Shoes

Flying Fabric Shoes ©2023 Hearst Magazine Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.