8 Best Walking Shoes for Men Who Like to Walk in Comfort

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best walking shoes for men

It’s easy to think of walking as basic, and therefore assume that you don’t need any special equipment to do it.

But whether you’re doing for a 12 mile hike or just getting where you need to go, having shoes that are comfortable, secure and durable to walk in is vital.

The best walking shoes provide all that and more, which is exactly we’ve put together this review:

To show you the very finest product on offer today.

In a hurry? Here are our top picks:
Brooks Men’s Addiction Walking Shoes

Our no.1 pick – Brooks Men’s Addiction Walking Shoes – are the best overall walking shoes you’ll find. They are lightweight but stable, making them comfortable to wear for long walks and ideal for people with leg and foot problems.

Product Name Here

Our runner-up choice is Skechers’ Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-Up Sneakers. With their breathable mesh upper, memory foam insole, and padded ankle collar, they are the most comfortable walking shoes you’ll find anywhere.

And there’s more:

We’re also going to give you an in-depth guide to taking care of your walking shoes, as well offering a comparison between walking and running shoes so you understand the important nuanced differences.

First though, we’re going to look at 7 factors you should be taking into consideration anytime you buy walking shoes.

Quick summary

bb2-table__imageBrooks Men’s Addiction Walking Shoe
  • Lightweight but stable
  • Ideal for people with leg and foot problems
  • Comfortable to wear for long stretches of time
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bb2-table__imageSkechers Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker
  • Breathable mesh upper, also supportive
  • Padded ankle collar
  • Rubber sole, good traction
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bb2-table__imageColumbia Men's Ivo Trail Breeze Shoes
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Fashionable and stylish
  • Versatile
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bb2-table__imageSkechers Performance Men’s Go Walk Slip-On Walking Shoe
  • Lightweight but durable
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Well-ventilated
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bb2-table__imageNike Men’s Air Monarch Iv Cross Trainer
  • Excellent support and stability
  • Works well on all types of terrain
  • Breathable leather upper
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bb2-table__imageRockport Men’s World Tour Classic
  • Sturdy leather construction
  • Breathable
  • Good for all types of terrain
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bb2-table__imageMerrell Men’s Jungle Moc Slip-On Shoe
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Wide selection of color choices
  • M Select Fresh feature
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bb2-table__imageOrthofeet Proven Heel and Foot Pain Relief Orthopedic Walking Shoes
  • Offer additional support
  • Orthopedic
  • Very comfortable
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Before you buy: 7 Things to consider when purchasing walking shoes

Walking shoes, running shoes, sandals – you’ll soon notice that choices abound as you begin to shop, but we’re going to direct our focus on walking shoes – not the many other kinds – because they’re made for just that: walking.

Finding the right pair of walking shoes that fit your needs, that are comfortable, and that come at the right price can be a challenge, but the following tips can help you narrow the field.

1. Cushioning

Cushioning means comfort, and no one has much patience for a pair of shoes that’s uncomfortable right down to your sole(s). Why bother wearing a pair that’s too tight or feels like you have plywood attached to the bottoms of your feet?

The overall cushioning of your men’s walking shoes helps determine how much pressure you feel on your feet as you’re walking or standing in them.

Check out your shoes’ inner cushioning; is it made from inferior foam or another material base? If so, you’ll soon experience the agony of your feet while those shoes you spent your hard-earned money on likely will wear out faster than higher-quality brands.

2. The Fit

This tip is where trying on shoes in a store, rather than purchasing them online, has an advantage. Fit = Comfort (just like proper cushioning, ankle and heel support, etc.), and an ill-fitting pair of shoes is, as mentioned, nothing but aggravation.

The best shoe stores generally have someone who can measure your feet for proper length and width. Here are some things to consider when getting the right fit.

  • Always wear socks when fitting your shoes – that is, unless you don’t wear socks on an everyday basis, but we think most of you do.
  • Try on both shoes, because your feet may be of a slightly different size.
  • Walk around in the shoes before deciding whether to buy them. You probably won’t need more than a few minutes of walking to determine how they fit, but don’t be in a rush, either. Also, keep in mind that they may be a little stiff when you first wear them, but if they’re excessively stiff, you probably need to try a different size or different brand.
  • Wait until later in the day to go shoe shopping, because your feet are likely to be a bit swollen from being on them most of the day. This helps to find a “true” fit.
  • Another important part of a shoe’s fit is the roominess of the toe box. Many walking shoes come with rounded toe boxes that provide comfort on long walks and help prevent issues such as calluses and blisters. On the other hand, too much roominess in the toe box can cause your foot to move around too much and may lead to stability issues.
  • Pay careful attention to the length and width of the shoe. Too much length may cause your foot to move around excessively in your shoe, while shoes that are too short can cause calluses, blisters, and other not-so-fun issues, such as hammertoes. Similar problems may occur if you wear shoes that aren’t wide enough. Even worse, too-tight shoes may hinder proper blood circulation and lead to serious foot problems.
  • Another thing to consider is whether the shoe has an Achilles tendon protector. Also known as a tendon lock, it reduces stress on your Achilles and keeps your heel in place. While we’re not saying that you should never buy walking shoes online, just make sure to check the shoe’s dimensions and specifications. Read the reviews of others; customers often reveal whether a shoe runs big or small.

3. The Shape of Your Feet

The shape of your feet is another factor for finding a comfortable fit. You may wear the same size as someone else but have a different foot shape regarding width, the shape of your foot arches, and more.

Your arch shape may be flat, normal, or high, and it has a significant effect on the fit and comfort of your new walking shoes.

4. Ankle & Heel Support

Walking on uneven surfaces on which you may suddenly bend or twist your foot can cause injuries or excessive strains. That’s why finding a shoe with the best ankle and heel support is so important.

Some men’s walking shoes come with extra shock absorption that limits the effects of hard impact and makes it easier to walk on different types of terrain without stress and strain.

5. The Outsole

The outsole is often the first thing to wear out on a pair of shoes. If you choose an outsole that’s too thick, the chances are good that your shoes will wear out faster than you expected.

Walking shoes with rubber or rubber-synthetic compounds provide durability and comfort, and you may need a heavier outsole depending on how hard you are on your shoes.

However, in general, most men prefer lightweight walking shoes, and you can find shoes that are lighter but still durable.

6. Material

Any number of materials may make up the upper portion of a walking shoe, including leather, synthetics (such as polyester), or a wide variety of mesh types.

Mesh materials, as well as those made with cotton, breathe better than synthetic materials and usually weigh less.

7. Flexibility

The most comfortable walking shoes bend easily and match the flexibility of your feet while you walk. You need some resistance to protect your feet from undue strain, however.

8. Arch design

Not everyone needs walking shoes with extensive arch support, although you might think otherwise. It’s important to buy shoes that fit your arch shape.

For example, if you have low arches or flat feet, a shoe with motion control and balance helps to keep your feet stabilized.

If you have high arches, then you’ll probably need walking shoes that have cushioned soles with extra shock absorption and stability.

9. Style

How a shoe looks often affects how often its owner uses it. Staying motivated is important for maintaining a walking-for-exercise regimen, and having a pair of shoes that you like looking at and like to show off helps.

Next, we’ll take a look at our picks for the best walking shoes for men.

The 8 best walking shoes for men in 2020

1. Brooks Men’s Addiction Walking Shoe

Brooks Men's Addiction Walker Walking Shoes

Brooks is a company that focuses primarily on running and walking shoes, and millions of customers over the years can attest to the quality of their products.

The men’s Addiction Walking Shoe lives up to the lofty Brooks’ reputation and has many features that make it the best on the market.

Brooks advertises its Addiction Walking shoe as having the fit and feel of a running shoe, which are nice attributes to have in a more casual walker. It’s excellent for people who have foot problems or suffer from leg pain, and it combines sturdiness with durability.

The Addiction Walking shoe includes a full-grain leather upper that provides plenty of comfort, while Brooks’ patented HydroFlow technology creates excellent midsole cushioning and shock absorption.

There’s plenty of padding around the collar that makes them comfortable to wear for long stretches; in fact, this makes them good shoes for walking all day.

You’ll also love them if you’re on vacation or frequently out of town, because they’re the most comfortable men’s walking shoes for travel.

While these shoes provide the stability you, your feet, and your legs need, they’re also lighter weight than many other walking shoes. There’s plenty of arch support, and they have a classic, sleek design that looks good with anything.

Pros

  • Lightweight but stable
  • Ideal for people with leg and foot problems
  • Comfortable to wear for long stretches of time

Cons

  • The leather upper may get warmer than other types of material

Bottom Line

Comfort, durability, protection – the Brooks Addiction Walking Show provides all of these and more. The company says that they feel like a high-quality pair of running shoes, which is saying a lot, and it’s hard to argue with them.

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

Skechers Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker

Who wouldn’t like a walking shoe that combines comfort, style, and function? If Amazon reviews are any indication, thousands of men get it with the Skechers Afterburn lace-up sneaker.

The latter is what you’d expect from Skechers, and that’s a good thing. A global leader in lifestyle footwear, Skechers is a trend-setter in many ways, including when it comes to style. The Afterburn features a cool design that you can purchase in a variety of colors.

But the Afterburn more than its good looks. It features a leather and synthetic composite upper that helps create optimal comfort, and includes mesh overlays, as well as a padded collar for added comfort around the ankle.

There’s also a memory foam insole that enhances comfort during long walks or when you spend long hours on your feet for work and other activities.

Indeed, while the Afterburn ranks among the best walking shoes for men, it’s also ideal for anyone whose occupation requires them to be on their feet for eight hours or more.

The Afterburn also includes an Articu-Lyte rubber sole that’s flexible and offers the traction you need on all types of surfaces and terrain.

Pros

  • The mesh upper is breathable and provides plenty of support.
  • It features a cushioned mesh tongue and padded ankle collar.
  • The rubber sole offers plenty of traction.

Cons

  • Sizing may run narrow.

Bottom Line

The Skechers Afterburn is great for walking but also great for anyone who’s on their feet a lot. It combines a stylish design with excellent overall comfort.

3. Columbia Men’s Ivo Trail Breeze Shoes

Columbia Men's Ivo Trail Breeze Shoes

Columbia Sportswear has been around over 80 years, and their Ivo Trail Breeze Shoes are a testament to time served well.

With their solid construction and superior cushioning, these are hugely functional shoes. But they’re also very stylish – and it’s for that reason they’re on this list.

They come in 4 different styles, each a striking and unique color combination. So if you’re hoping to look good while out on a hike, these are absolutely the shoes for you.

Their techlite lightweight midsole ensures your feet will stay comfortable all day long, with superior cushioning and an open mess upper that is very breathable and will keep your feet feeling fresh throughout the walk.

And they’re not just for walking; you can also run in them, which is useful. And while their grip is not up there with the very best, it is unlikely ever to be an issue – just be a little careful in wet climates.

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Highly versatile
  • Superior cushioning

Cons

  • The grip could be stronger

Bottom Line

The most stylish walking shoes we’ve found – very comfortable and versatile, too.

4. Skechers Performance Men’s Go Walk Slip-On Walking Shoe

Skechers Performance Men's Go Walk 3 Slip-On Walking Shoe

It seems like wherever you go in the U.S. these days you see someone wearing a pair of Skechers.

That’s hardly a surprise, considering that Skechers has, since its inception in 1992, risen to become the third-largest athletic footwear brand in America, behind Nike and Under Armour.

Skechers fills a gap that the two behemoths ahead of them mostly don’t, i.e., they provide a simple, casual, quality shoe that isn’t high-performance athletic footwear.

That said, you’ll love the performance you’ll get from a pair of Skechers, particularly with products such as their Performance Men’s Go Walk Slip-On shoe.

While there’s nothing overly fancy about the Go Walk slip-on, it checks all of the boxes for consistent performance and ranks among the most comfortable walking shoes for men.

It’s made of mesh fabric and slips on and off easily (while providing more of an elegant look than many lace-up shoes).

One of the best things about mesh fabrics is how well they breathe and provide excellent ventilation. Your feet remain comfortable even on the warmest days, whether you’re on a trail in nature or walking from place to place in your everyday life.

Skechers has two patented technologies that play a huge role in their shoes’ overall comfort: a Goga Pillars sole that provides excellent flexibility to enhance your walking experience, and a GOga Mat insole for superior cushioning.

The outer sole also features multi-directional traction that adjusts nicely to the terrain.

The mesh fabric helps make the shoe lightweight, which helps to reduce further the sort of strain that can tire your feet easily, but doesn’t reduce its overall durability.

What else? Well, there’s a memory foam padded heel cup that helps provide an excellent fit and a midsole that has excellent impact absorption.

Pros

  • Lightweight but durable
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Well-ventilated

Cons

  • Durability is a concern for some customers

Bottom Line

The Performance Men’s Go Walk Slip-On is another hit by a footwear company that keeps coming up with winners. Some reviewers say the shoes feel like bedroom slippers, and it’s hard to beat that kind of comfort.

5. Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer

Nike Men’s Air Monarch IV Cross Trainer

It’s nice to have options, if your fitness routine is multi-faceted. That’s why we think you’d like the Nike Monarch IV Cross Trainer; as its name suggests, you can wear it as a walking shoe but also for other types of workouts.

Or, if you simply want a comfortable casual shoe that makes vacation sightseeing feel as if you’re walking on air, then the Monarch IV Cross Trainer has you covered.

As you’d expect from the Nike Air line, the Monarch IV provides superior support and has a pylon midsole. The Air-Sole covers the length of the shoe and contributes greatly to the shoe’s overall comfort.

The solid rubber outsole has a variety of traction patterns that give you the stability you need on a variety of surfaces. We also like its leather upper that has perforations for better airflow, as well as overlays for additional support.

The Monarch IV represents the best of Nike technology and is a superb walking shoe. But its sleek design – which resembles that of many Nike running shoes – is best for casual or active situations.

In other words, you shouldn’t wear it for more formal occasions – but we don’t think that’s a problem for most men.

Pros

  • Excellent support and stability
  • Works well on all types of terrain
  • Breathable leather upper

Cons

  • The sole can be a bit stiff, especially in the beginning

Bottom Line

The Monarch IV cross-trainer is an excellent walking shoe that is a close cousin to Nike’s line of running shoes. You can use it for a variety of activities with the expectation of comfort, stability, and support.

6. Rockport Men’s World Tour Classic

Rockport Men’s World Tour Classic

Rockport is a pioneer in developing casual shoes that utilize athletic footwear technology. They have a long line of casual – and formal – shoes that provide superior walking comfort and stability, and the line includes their World Tour Classic.

And what’s not to like about a shoe that’s comfortable, durable, and excellent for people with foot issues who need a less-constrictive shoe?

The World Tour line of shoes is among Rockport’s best in many ways.

It comes with a padded tongue and collar that limits excessive rubbing (and prevents blisters), while it also has breathable polyurethane cushioning that absorbs moisture and also provides odor resistance.

The shoe’s upper consists of full-grain leather that’s easy to clean and which conforms nicely to the foot for a comfortable fit. It also has an EVA foam midsole footbed and a rubber outsole that’s very durable.

Pros

  • Sturdy leather construction
  • Breathable
  • Good for all types of terrain

Cons

  • Some customers say the newest World Tour version is narrower than in the past

Bottom Line

Rockport is a well-established company that’s at the forefront of modern casual shoe technology. Their World Tour line is of superior quality and ideal for a variety of uses.

7. Merrell Men’s Jungle Moc Slip-On Shoe

Merrell Men's Jungle Moc Slip-On Shoe

Is it a walking shoe? A casual shoe? At first glance, the Merrell Men’s Jungle Moc Slip-On seems to fall into the latter category, but it also provides most of the benefits of a good walking shoe without necessarily looking like one.

We like it as a walking shoe because, among other reasons, it provides exceptional comfort and slip-resistant stability on all kinds of terrain, i.e., wet, dry, even, uneven, and so on.

It’s an ideal shoe for trail walking and has a stylish design that makes it suitable for wear just about anywhere, including casual work environments.

Merrell’s shoes come with their M Select Fresh feature that prevents sweat and moisture from affecting your shoe’s freshness, thanks to antimicrobial agents that penetrate and limit the production of the odor-causing microbes.

The most important feature of the Merrell Moc, however, is its comfort. The elastic at the top is easy on your foot and makes it simple to take the shoes on and off. Moreover, the shoes are comfortable right out of the box.

We also think you’ll like the Merrell Moc’s mesh lining, which provides breathability and excellent airflow.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Wide selection of color choices
  • M Select Fresh feature

Cons

  • The shoe is almost too good-looking to take on a trail walk

Bottom Line

Whether you wear it for walking or use it for everyday life, the Merrell Jungle Moc will provide superior comfort. They’re stable, slip-resistant, and simply look good.

8. Orthofeet Proven Heel and Foot Pain Relief Orthopedic Walking Shoes

Orthofeet Proven Heel and Foot Pain Relief Orthopedic Walking Shoes

Comfort is one of the absolute essentials of walking shoes: if you’re going to be on your feet for long periods, often in tough terrains, you absolutely have to feel secure and supported by what’s on your feet.

Orthofeet’s shoes absolutely fit this bill. They have a bunch of smart design features which promote absolute foot health, such as:

  • Orthopedic insoles that boast plenty of arch support and plenty of cushioning
  • Extended width non-binding and hugely soft uppers that help ensure a perfect fit
  • Wide toe box giving your feet room to breathe

While the style won’t be to everybody’s taste, these truly are an exceptionally comfortable pair: they have room to remove or add extra orthopedic insoles if you need to, and there are several layers of cushioning to give you a level of security and comfort that is rare in walking shoes.

Orthofeet are so confident you’ll love their shoes they even offer a 60 day free returns period, so if you don’t love the way they feel when you walk

Pros

  • Orthopedic design
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Extra support

Cons

  • Some will find the price a little steep

Bottom Line

If you have any kind of foot issues – from bunions to heel pain – these will help you walk with ease and comfort.

Why we chose these shoes for our best-of 2020 list

Anyone who’s looking for a good pair of walking shoes will tell you that comfort is king. After all, if they don’t fit and feel right, why wear them?

Then again, a shoe that’s comfortable for another person might not be comfortable for you, especially when you take into account your foot’s shape, what type of walking you do, and so on.

Still, overall comfort is among the main considerations for choosing one walking shoe over another, and many things contribute to a shoe’s comfort, including breathability, the quality of the inner and outer soles, and the materials used in its construction.

We also considered price. Although a shoe’s cost isn’t one of the most important reasons for why we choose one brand over another – because price doesn’t guarantee quality or a lack thereof – we strive to list products in a variety of price ranges.

Taking proper care of your walking shoes (and when it’s time to replace them)

No one wants to spend good money on a product and then have it wear out too quickly. That’s certainly true of walking shoes, which should provide you with plenty of use.

However, you have some responsibility, too – namely, caring for the shoes – and it’s a key component of ensuring your shoes’ longevity. Here are some steps you can make to make sure your shoes have the best care.

1. Use your walking shoes for walking

best-walking-shoes-for-men-1

Some runners and walkers make the mistake of using their workout shoes for other activities. Not that they’ll harm your feet – although they are designed for their intended activity – but using them only for walking and running will help them last longer.

2. Air them out

best-walking-shoes-for-men-2

Don’t store your walking shoes in your gym bag or another less-ventilated place between uses. They need to breathe and fully dry out between uses.

3. Dry them out

best-walking-shoes-for-men-3

It’s important to let your shoes dry out between uses if they get wet. Air drying them is the best method – and, really, the only method you should use – and make sure to loosen the laces and pull out the insoles first.

You also can put wadded-up paper (such as newspaper) inside them to hasten the drying process.

Never dry your shoes on or near direct heat sources, such as on a radiator, because the heat can dry out the leather, as well as the adhesive and other materials.

Always air dry your shoes if you wash them, as well. Use cold water and gentle soap to wash them, and never toss them in the dryer after you’ve finished.

4. Replace the insoles, but don’t use this to avoid replacing the shoes

best-walking-shoes-for-men-4

Your insoles may break down, but never replace them as an alternative to buying shoes that have worn out.

The shoe provides the majority of the cushioning and support you need, and new insoles won’t make up for the cushioning and support lost through regular wear and aging.

5. Rotate your shoes

best-walking-shoes-for-men-5

If you don’t mind spending the extra money, you can buy a second pair of walking shoes a month or so after you’ve bought your first pair and then alternate them every other workout.

Many stores and online outlets offer discounts for buying more than one pair, including “buy one, get one free” specials.

How do I know that my walking shoes need replacing?

The bottom line is that your walking shoes lose a bit of cushioning and support with every step you take. Wearing shoes that are beyond their lifespan can lead to a variety of foot and ankle problems, such as shin splints, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, etc.

Here are some signs that it’s time to “retire” your current pair of walking shoes:

  • The tread pattern on the soles is worn down. Some shoes have a color pattern that alerts you when the sole is worn down.
  • The heel shows signs of wear, particularly on one side of it. It can reach a point where the shoe leans towards one side.
  • The uppers around the ankle are breaking down.
  • You notice wrinkles on the bottom or side of the sole, which indicate that the support and cushioning are wearing out.

As a general rule, most athletic shoes should last 350 to 500 miles. While walking shoes don’t take the same kind of pounding as running shoes, the chances of you still getting good support and cushioning past 500 miles aren’t good.

Your weight is also a factor in how quickly your shoes wear out.

Also, keep in mind that your walking shoes have already aged before the first time you take them out for a spin. They’ve been in a warehouse and on a store shelf, and the glue that holds them together is drying out, while the cushioning’s air pockets are diminishing.

Some shoes that are on sale are older models, or soon to be discontinued, and may a year, or more, old. While they often come at a bargain price, they probably won’t last as long you’d like.

You can always ask the store’s staff how long a shoe has been on the shelf, or buy the latest model to be safe.

Walking shoes vs. running shoes: What’s the difference?

Many, many men have asked the same question: “Why can’t I just wear my running shoes as my walking shoes?” and vice-versa.

After all, there are plenty of similarities between walking and running shoes – at least it looks that way – but there also are significant differences, which we’ll discuss here.

These shoes are made for walking: A closer look

While walking shoes have the reputation of being less technologically-advanced than running shoes, the gap isn’t as wide as you think.

Many of the best walking shoes on our list have plenty of bells and whistles, even if they’re not as noticeable of some of the top brands of running shoes.

But running shoes, by necessity, come in a wide range of choices, because they must fit different running styles and needs. While running styles can vary widely from person to person, the ways that people walk aren’t that different.

Let’s take a closer look at walking shoes, what they should provide, and the things that make them different from running shoes.

1. Cushioning

Running is a high-impact sport that puts excessive strain on the body’s joints and muscles. Walking, on the other hand, impacts the body only half as much as running.

That said, walking shoes don’t need an extra bit of forefoot cushioning like running shoes, and most can get by with less heel cushioning, as well.

Fitness walkers should look for lighter shoes that provide enough cushioning, so their legs and feet don’t feel too much impact and pressure from long walks.

Speed walkers typically wear extremely lightweight racing flats that regular walkers may use for short walks, but these don’t provide enough cushioning for regular walks.

2. Can I wear running shoes for walking?

Back to our original point, and the question that many walkers/runners have: the answer is “yes”, you can use running shoes as walking shoes – but only if you consistently walk longer distances (such as six miles or more).

If you fall into the latter category, check out some well-cushioned running shoes, but ones that meet all the criteria for good walking shoes.

Nonetheless, the best choice for walkers is walking shoes, because of the differences in 1) how the foot impacts the ground while walking compared to running and 2) because of the arch support they provide.

With a high arch, your foot usually provides less natural shock absorption, so it’s important to choose a walking shoe with more cushioning.

People with flat feet, meanwhile, also have less support, which can lead to muscle and joint stress. Choose walking shoes with plenty of support if you’re flat-footed.

3. Flexibility

Walkers and runners both need shoes that provide adequate flexibility. One way to test a shoe’s flexibility is to press down on its toe to see where it bends.

Good fitness walking shoes should bend at the forefoot, because walkers push off with their toes, unlike runners, who absorb the most impact at the arch or mid-foot.

Never buy a shoe that has little or no bend at all. If you’re serious about walking, including fitness walking, there’s no reason – or excuse – to wear a shoe that doesn’t have the proper flexibility. Be wary of shoes labeled “walking shoes” that don’t have the flexibility you need.

4. Heel height & shape

Again, the point of impact is different for walkers and runners, and a proper walking stride causes the heel to strike first. That said, walkers generally need shoes with less of a height differential between the heel and toe.

Examine the heel closely – rather than a shoe’s outer sole – because the soles on some styles can make it appear that the heel has more height than it does.

While runners benefit from shoes with flared heels, good walking shoes typically have an undercut or straight heel that aids the natural, forward rolling movement of walking.

The angle of the heel also is important, because it helps to absorb shock that otherwise falls squarely on the ankles. It’s a must for fitness and speed walkers, because their feet strike the ground many more times than the normal walker.

5. The fit

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a runner, a fitness walker, a speed walker, or someone who just loves to take a low-key, casual walk – your shoes must fit properly!

Shoes that are too big or too small easily can create blisters and other foot issues that can keep you on the sidelines for an extended period.

That leads back to the point about making sure you stroll around in a pair of potential new shoes before buying them (and make sure to wear them on both feet).

Why running shoes are different from walking shoes

Runners can be fickle when it comes to shoes, and with good reason. Running puts a lot of stress and strain on the feet and ankles, as well as the knees and hips, and finding the right shoes is crucial to limiting stress.

So, the question then becomes: “Can I wear walking shoes for running?”

The answer is “no”, simply because walking shoes don’t provide the overall cushioning and support needed for running, which puts a greater strain on the body – especially the lower body – than most other activities.

True, it’s still vital to choose walking shoes that provide enough cushioning and support, but the impact running puts on your body is a whole different animal.

  • Runners need more cushioning – Runners hit the ground with three times their body weight. That’s one of the reasons why extra cushioning is so important, especially cushioning in the heel and forefoot. As a runner, you may land first on your heel and then roll forward to the ball of your foot. Or, you may land first on the ball of your foot; it all depends on your stride, and running strides may vary greatly from person to person.
  • Running shoes have thicker soles – Running shoes are more lightweight than walking shoes but have thicker soles. Thick soles act as shock absorbers for the rest of the body, which is another reason why walking shoes aren’t appropriate for running.
  • Running shoes may have more breathability – Your feet can get hot during running, which is a reason why most running shoes consist of a mesh material that allows air to move freely inside of your shoe. Mesh fabrics also help make the shoe lighter.
  • Running shoes need flexibility – Flexibility is important for running and walking shoes. Many running shoe designs bend at the midfoot or arch, while some flex most at the forefoot. Which one you choose depends on your stride and what part of your foot impacts the ground first.
  • Running shoes and heel height – Walkers tend to strike the ground with their heel first, and the angle of the heel absorbs some of the impact that otherwise falls squarely on your ankles. Runners need different degrees of heel height depending on their stride and how their foot impacts the ground. A flared heel is ideal for most runners, because it provides extra stability. That’s even more important if you run trails or on other off-road surfaces.
  • Running shoes come in many variations – You won’t have much problem finding the right shoe for you if you’re a runner. Whether your someone who runs (jogs) for exercise, competes in races, or a sprinter, there’s a running shoe out there with your name on it.

Whether you’re a runner or a walker, pay special attention to any foot-related issues that may require additional support or special features.

Ask your podiatrist to recommend the best extra support – inserts, etc. – that will alleviate impact that may exacerbate those issues.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts? What’s your favorite brand and make of walking shoes? Why do you like them more than others? We welcome your comments and suggestions and would love to hear from you.


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About The Author

Domen Hrovatin
Domen Hrovatin

Domen—a self-confessed facial hair addict—is a grooming professional, style enthusiast, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about male pattern baldness. His work was mentioned in countless notable men's grooming and style publications, including Beardbrand and AskMen.

  • Wow! Loved reading your post. “Wait until later in the day to go shoe shopping because your feet are likely to be a bit swollen from being on them most of the day. This helps to find a “true” fit.” this is something I have never given a thought but will surely do it. 🙂

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