Best Walking Shoes of 2023: These Shoes Were Made for Walking

walking shoes

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Whether you are headed out to run some errands, taking a walk on a brisk day, or lacing up for your next training session, you need a pair of walking shoes that fit well, are comfortable, and provide support. Sure, we want them to look good, too, but the wrong pair of sneakers can lead to problems in your lower extremities—not to mention how frustrating it can be to drop a bunch of money on a pair of ill-fitting sneakers. But finding a good walking shoe can be daunting.

Ever walk into a store, psyched to snag your next pair of sneakers only to find yourself overwhelmed with aisle after aisle of options? How do you know which are the best walking shoes for you and which ones are for running or other activities like tennis?

Not to worry! In this roundup of the best walking shoes of 2023, the ACTIVE Reviews Team will share everything you need to know.

The Best Walking Shoes - Our Top Picks

Why Trust Us?

ACTIVE.com's editorial team relies on the knowledge and experience of fitness and wellness experts including competitive athletes, coaches, physical therapists, nutritionists, and certified trainers. This helps us ensure the products we feature are of the highest standard. Collectively, the team has spent countless hours researching equipment, gear, and recovery tools in order to create the most accurate, authentic content for our readers. Customer satisfaction is also a key part of our review process, which is why we only feature products that are highly rated. More importantly, each member of our team is a fitness enthusiast. Fitness may be our job, but it is also our passion. Therefore, we strive to bring you products that we trust and would personally use.

Best Overall Walking Shoes - Nike Pegasus 39

Nike Pegasus 39

SPECS

  • Material: Mesh, foam
  • Weight: N/A
  • Closure type: Laces
  • Cushioning: Foam
  • Heel-to-toe drop: N/A
  • Available width: Regular and extra-wide

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The Nike Pegasus 39 walking shoe is a masterpiece of performance and comfort, providing your feet with succor and support no matter how many miles you tackle. Start with the extra padding, particularly around the tongue and collar, keeping your feet secure. Also consider the engineered mesh, made to be lightweight, breathable, and more flexible than other mesh materials.

We also love the inclusion of flywire technology, a midfoot band that creates additional stability. Meanwhile, durable foam soles provide propulsion at every step. When you add Nike’s iconic styling to the mix, you have a truly spectacular walking shoe, and also a great pick for wearing to the gym.

What We Like

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Flexible mesh exterior
  • Extra padding
  • Stable and secure
  • Reasonable price point

What We Don't Like

  • Women's size options are slightly more limited
  • Laces will show wear and tear after a while

BUY: Nike Pegasus 39


Best Walking Shoes for Women - adidas Women's Supernova+

Adidas Women's Supernova +

SPECS

  • Material: Rubber outsole, engineered mesh upper with reflective heel patch
  • Weight: 9.8 oz. (size 7.5)
  • Closure type: Lace
  • Cushioning: Bounce cushioning
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm
  • Available width: Regular

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Finding a great-fitting walking shoe that is as stylish as it is functional can be a challenge. Until you find the adidas Women's Supernova+, that is! Once again, adidas has produced a good-looking pair of sneakers that are also comfortable, supportive, and made using recycled materials.

These shoes have a mono mesh upper with seamless zones providing support while remaining flexible. Some reviewers found that the seamless tongue design made the sneakers prone to rubbing, but most find the fit to be snug (in a good way). The impressive heel support and added forefoot boost also contribute to the Supernova+'s comfort while keeping the heel-to-toe drop number in a good range for walking purposes.

What We Like

  • Made using recycled materials (yarn in upper contains at least 50% Parley Ocean Plastic and 50% recycled polyester)
  • BOOST heel and forefoot
  • Breathable and comfortable
  • Can accommodate a wider foot

What We Don't Like

  • Tongue may move during wear and cause rubbing

BUY: adidas Women's Supernova+


Best Walking Shoes for Men - adidas Men's Supernova+

best-walking-shoes-adidas-supernova-mens

SPECS

  • Material: Primegreen textile upper
  • Weight: 11 oz. (size 9)
  • Closure type: Lace
  • Cushioning: Boost and bounce cushioning
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm
  • Available width: Regular

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Bringing together performance, comfort, and style, the adidas Men's Supernova+ is our top pick for the best walking shoes for men. Available in several colors, the Supernova+ is both comfortable and functional, designed to support you mile after mile.

This shoe features adidas' patented Primegreen materials, meaning that it is constructed from recycled polyester and is both lightweight and breathable. The patented Boost cushioning makes the shoe both flexible and responsive while remaining supportive. The moderate heel-to-toe drop of 10 millimeters encourages good walking mechanics. Some users found the Ultraboost DNA 5.0 to run narrow, which is something to consider if you have wide feet.

What We Like

  • Responsive cushioning
  • 8 colors to choose from
  • Made using recycled material
  • Breathable
  • Great for beginners going from walking to running

What We Don't Like

  • Runs narrow
  • Fabric can wear after vigorous use

BUY: adidas Men's Supernova+


Best Brooks Walking Shoes - Brooks Ghost 14

Brooks Ghost 14

SPECS

  • Material: 3D-print mesh upper, rubber sole
  • Weight: 9.9 oz.
  • Closure type: Lace
  • Cushioning: DNA loft cushioning
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 11.5mm
  • Available width: Regular

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Brooks is a tried-and-true sneaker company beloved by runners and walkers alike for their high-quality kicks. The Brooks Ghost 14 is one of the most popular choices for walking among Brooks lovers and our top pick for the best overall walking shoe. It is a comfortable, dependable, and well-cushioned shoe at a reasonable price. It is responsive with generous cushioning and a segmented crash pad midsole helps to prevent any jarring impact.

A breathable 3D mesh upper hugs the foot without being too tight, and users appreciate the flexibility in the midfoot which supports a smooth heel-to-toe transition. The 11.5-millimeter heel-to-toe drop may feel a bit high for some users, though.

What We Like

  • Flexible
  • Ample cushioning
  • Stretchy yet secure upper
  • Durable

What We Don't Like

  • Will need to be broken in
  • Not available in wide sizes
  • Relatively high heel-to-toe drop

BUY: Brooks Ghost 14


Best HOKA Walking Shoes - HOKA Bondi 7

Hoka Bondi 7

SPECS

  • Material: Rubber outsole, open-mesh upper
  • Weight: 8.9 oz.
  • Closure type: Lace
  • Cushioning: EVA cushioning
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 4mm
  • Available widths: Regular and wide

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HOKA has gained a lot of traction in the world of sneakers as a brand known for comfort, cushion, and stability. From their great line of shoes, we found the HOKA Bondi 7 to be the best for walking. This sneaker features Meta-Rocker technology which combines a low heel-to-toe drop with a rounded sole to promote a natural walking stride. This design encourages a smooth transitional roll between the heel and toe. The ample cushioning limits shock to keep your joints healthy.

The Bondi 7 is equipped with an open mesh upper for breathability and TPU overlay to enhance stability. This shoe has a memory foam collar around the ankle intended to accommodate a variety of ankle sizes. However, not all users like this feature, finding it constricting. It is important to note that the Bondi 7 does not have much arch support, so it may not be the best shoe for people with flat feet.

What We Like

  • Lightweight
  • Memory foam collar on ankle
  • EVA cushioning
  • Breathable
  • Low heel-to-toe drop
  • Durable

What We Don't Like

  • Not much arch support
  • Runs narrow
  • Looks bulky

BUY: Hoka Bondi 7


Best Budget Walking Shoe - Nike Flex Experience Run 11 Next Nature

Nike Flex Experience Run 11 Next Nature

SPECS

  • Material: Knit mesh
  • Weight: N/A
  • Closure type: Laces
  • Cushioning: Minimal
  • Heel-to-toe drop: N/A
  • Available width: Regular and extra-wide available

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There’s a lot to love about the Nike Flex Experience Run 11 Next Nature, starting with the price point. If you’re looking for a high-performance athletic shoe that costs well under $100, this may be the one for you.

Additionally, we appreciate the focus on sustainable and natural materials; this is a great walking shoe for anyone who cares about eco-friendliness and waste reduction. As for the construction of the shoe itself, the knit mesh is lightweight and breathable, while relatively minimal outsole padding keeps the shoe flexible and responsive. The clean, uncluttered design is instantly iconic.

What We Like

  • Modest price point
  • Made with sustainable materials
  • Clean, iconic aesthetic
  • Breathable

What We Don’t Like

  • Not quite as durable as other Nikes
  • Colorways are a bit more muted than other Nikes
  • Not recommended if you prefer extra cushioning

BUY: Nike Flex Experience Run 11 Next Nature


Best Arch Support Walking Shoes - Salomon PREDICT SOC 2

Salomon Predict Soc 2

SPECS

  • Material: Textile/synthetic MCL upper
  • Weight: 8.32 oz.
  • Closure type: Lace
  • Cushioning: Maximum cushioning
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm
  • Available width: Standard

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Finding a comfortable and stable shoe that effectively provides support for those with low or high arches can be a challenge. But with the Salomon PREDICT SOC 2, you can find all the cushioning, arch support, heel padding, and comfort you need in a solid walking shoe. This ergonomically designed shoe has independent support platforms on the outsole that move and adapt to provide support for your unique footstrike. Additionally, a molded sock liner conforms to the shape of your foot providing even more arch support.

Featuring extra heel padding, a flexible upper, and maximum cushioning that guides the foot forward, the shoe offers a smooth and stable walking experience. Solomon's patented EnergyCell technology provides a highly responsive rebound in the midsole for comfort and stability.

What We Like

  • Flexible
  • Maximum cushioning
  • Good arch support
  • Ergonomic design
  • Good stability

What We Don't Like

  • Some users report lack of durability
  • Not as many color options as others on this list

BUY: Salomon Predict Soc 2


Best New Balance - New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 Road-Running Shoes

New balance

SPECS

  • Material: Mesh, foam, rubber
  • Weight: 1 lb., 1.4 oz.
  • Closure type: Laces
  • Cushioning: Moderate
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 10mm
  • Available width: Regular and extra-wide available

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New Balance is famous for making comfortable walking shoes, and the New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 Road-Running Shoes are no exception. Made with generous quantities of foam for a sturdy rubber outsole, these shoes are a soft, stable fit for long days spent on your feet.

We especially love the foam midsoles, which offer a plush, natural ride. A responsive toe-bed adds comfort, while rubber outsoles lend some traction and durability. At just over a pound, these are a great weight for walkers of all experience levels, and they come with the standard low-key New Balance aesthetics.

What We Like

  • Lightweight
  • Cushioning throughout
  • Plush, natural stride

What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly higher price point
  • Limited colorway/style options

BUY: New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 Road-Running Shoes


What should you look for in a high-quality walking shoe?

Many people inaccurately assume that the best running shoes will also make for a great pair of walking shoes. The truth is that some running shoes can be good for walking, but there are specific qualities of walking shoes that make them a superior choice.

Fit

A pair of properly fitting walking shoes can prevent nagging issues such as foot pain, bruised toenails, and blisters. A good fit is snug enough to feel secure and prevent your foot from moving around, but not too tight. Specifically, a sneaker should hug your heel and midfoot, but you should be able to wiggle your toes around. Ideally, there should be a finger's width of space between your tallest toe and the end of the sneaker. The socks you plan on wearing will affect fit. For instance, hiking socks tend to be thicker, so consider how you plan to use the shoe.

Cushioning

Walking shoes need ample cushioning. The cushioning serves two purposes: It is what makes the shoe feel good and what absorbs the shock of each footfall. While walking is not as jarring as running, there is still a good amount of impact with each stride. As such, a generous amount of cushioning is necessary.

Flexibility

The mechanics of walking differ from running in the way the feet strike the ground. People typically land on their heels and roll their feet forward when walking. Because of this rolling motion, walking shoes should have flexible soles. To test out the flexibility, hold the shoe in your hand and bend the heel toward the toe box. The sneaker should bend where the ball of your foot will be located.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

Heel-to-toe drop measures the difference in cushioning beneath the heel of your foot and the toe. Measured in millimeters, walking shoes should have a lower drop number. While this spec is more of a concern for runners, it is important for walking as you want to avoid large drop numbers which will alter your walking mechanics.

FAQs About Walking Shoes


What walking shoes do podiatrists recommend?

Every podiatrist has their top picks for shoe recommendations, but they all agree that the qualities you need most in any good walking shoe are flexibility, moderate cushioning, and a lower heel-to-toe drop to promote smooth transitions that match the natural walking stride.

Is it OK to wear running shoes for walking?

The answer here is yes and no. It is OK to wear running shoes for short durations, but walking has inherently different mechanics which makes certain shoes better suited for walking. While walking has less impact than running, your foot is on the ground for longer which is why you want a good amount of cushioning along the bottom. What differs most between walking and running is that when walking, your weight typically transitions from the heel rolling forward toward the toe. This means you want flexibility in a walking shoe, a quality not always seen in running shoes.

How many miles should a walking shoe last?

The rule of thumb is that a good walking shoe should last between 300 and 500 miles of wear. This may vary from person to person, however. If you have a heavier footfall, or over or under-pronate, a walking shoe may not last as long.

Should walking shoes be stiff or flexible?

Walking shoes should be flexible. Flexibility allows for the shoe to support the natural mechanics of walking promoting a smooth heel-to-toe transition.

About the Author

Kristine Golden

Kristine has been immersed in the fitness world for nearly 20 years. She has competed in marathons and Ironman races and earned a spot to compete in the 2012 Age Group National Championship Olympic Triathlon.

See More from Kristine

Kristine has been immersed in the fitness world for nearly 20 years. She has competed in marathons and Ironman races and earned a spot to compete in the 2012 Age Group National Championship Olympic Triathlon.

See More from Kristine

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