10 Best Walking Shoes in 2021

Olesya Kryakvina
Olesya Kryakvina on
10 Best Walking Shoes in 2021

Walking is rarely considered a fitness activity on its own. That’s why people usually go with their running shoes or gym trainers for taking strolls and getting around. And these shoes do get the job done in many cases.

But when your feet start craving for more comfort and support in your daily walks, it’s time to consider a dedicated walking shoe.

We have tested over 80 pairs of walking shoes to help you find the best one. Understanding that people may expect different things from their walking shoes, we have selected top picks in five different categories.

How we choose top-rated walking shoes

We are a team of shoe fanatics who has dived into the nitty-gritty details of 250+ walking shoes from over 10 brands. Our specialists spend 7 hours per product on average, putting hundreds of user and expert reviews into a concise summary.  

On the back-end, our proprietary algorithm collects all available user ratings for every shoe. The result comes back as a number from 0 to 100, which we call the CoreScore. Based on the users’ opinion only, it shows where the product stands compared to all other models.

Best overall

Looking for an uber-comfortable and supportive shoe to wear all day long?

There is no other waling shoe that we would praise more than New Balance 877. It excels in so many departments that we can confidently recommend it to a very wide variety of people.

Perhaps you’re looking for a well-cushioned shoe that doesn’t bottom out by the end of the day? The 877 has got you covered. We spent an entire 8-hour workday walking around and standing in this shoe. And it nailed it! The cushion is slightly on the firmer side but it works to an advantage, maintaining that initial support and response.

The generously padded upper gives you a big plush hug with no hot spots or pressure points. We just loved how much cush there is in the tongue and around the ankle. If you suffer from Achilles pain or plantar fasciitis, this soft yet solid heel clutch will help to ease your strain.

People with wider feet will also enjoy this option from NB. The deep and wide toebox along with the selection of Wide and Extra Wide versions will accommodate a great variety of foot shapes.

And shall you need to put your own orthotics, you can easily remove the insole.

It can also be recommended for people with diabetes as it has been approved by Medicare under the A5500 code.

Overall, New Balance 877 is a sturdy, reliable walking shoe that can become the go-to option for both work and athleisure.

Released several years back, it’s been among our top-rated walkers for years! And if you value comfort above anything else, this is a definite winner for us!

See our full review and facts

New Balance did it again!

Very similar to the 877 design, this is the all-leather version that instantly grabbed our attention with its clean aesthetic.

We spent a full day walking around in the 577 and were blown away by its ability to provide consistent support for many hours!

It also creates a very plush and padded environment for the foot. It was even approved by Medicare (A5500 code) as appropriate for diabetes. We think that people with plantar fasciitis, Achilles pain, and other foot conditions will also benefit from the comfort of this model.

Even though it’s not a pronation control shoe, we felt exceptionally stable walking on its wide steady base. The midfoot cage also creates a very secure foothold once you lace it up.

It is a perfect option for work thanks to its austere all-black and all-white color options.

Sure, it’s not the lightest one but it places a lot of focus on keeping the wearer nice and supported.

We can also highly recommend it to people of age who need extra care for their feet and knees.

See our full review and facts

Best for flat feet

If you have flat feet and overpronate, this shoe is a real catch!

Having tested plenty of Skechers shoes in the past, we got used to their insanely plush midsoles. They were unbelievably comfortable but there was one problem: if your feet tend to roll inwards, they would always do that in Skechers.

Now, the Arch Fit has finally put an end to this!

Never once did we feel tippy or unstable in this supportive shoe. It’s got a wide base that is plush right under your foot but firm on the outside. This combination creates a very stable platform, guiding your foot from the heel to the toes with no awkward rollover in between!

If you are suffering from any foot condition, knee, hip, or even back pain, there is a VERY high chance that this Skechers shoe will help to ease your strain.

We couldn’t believe that for $85 we got a shoe that helped us walk all day long without the accustomed lower back pain!

The overall sensation from walking in the Arch Fit can be described as “buttery smooth.” You are almost gliding on its chunky yet surprisingly lightweight sole!

The great news is that Arch Fit is not just one shoe. It is a whole series with dozens of styles and designs to suit every taste. No matter which shoe you pick, you can rest assured that the Arch Fit platform will keep your feet comfortably supported.

See our full review and facts

The 928 v3 has got to be one of the most stable motion control shoes ever produced.

If you suffer from a severe case of overpronation and need all the support you can get, this is THE shoe. There is a firm, non-compressible Rollbar system embedded under the heel. It protrudes on both sides, creating a highly stable chassis. We have performed multiple wear-tests on it and there was no hint of rolling our feet or ankles.

The shoe is extremely well-built and durable. And we are confident that it will serve you for several seasons.

Its sturdy leather upper with heavily padded interiors provides a very secure and supportive foothold. This shoe has even been approved for diabetes (Medicare, code A5500), and based on our research, it was able to help hundreds of people with various foot conditions including arthritis, neuropathy, bone spurs, among others.

We also loved that it comes in five monochromatic colors that can match any formal or casual occasion as well as passing a dress code at work.

Overall, if you are looking for maximum support and are not willing to compromise foot health, the New Balance 928 v3 is our highest recommendation.

See our full review and facts

Best slip-on

Don’t like fiddling with the laces?

This slip-on walking shoe from Skechers won our adoration from the start.

Inheriting all that cushy comfort that the brand’s GOwalk series is so well-known for, it is a fantastic option for your summer walks!

We have worn this shoe for miles on concrete and cobblestone, experiencing no discomfort or fit issues.

Its soft upper wraps around the foot securely with no rubbing or hot spots. We also don’t see any issues with heel slipping for people with medium-sized or wider ankles.

Incredibly lightweight, it is more than 3.5 oz lighter than walking shoes on average and is actually among the lightest you can get in this category, It simply disappears on the foot!

On top of that, it is also highly breathable, keeping your feet fresh all day long.

We can also recommend it as a travel option as it is very easy to put on and take off at the airport. It also feels accommodating for foot swelling which often occurs after long hours of traveling.

See our full review and facts

Best for heavy people

The Addiction Walker has become a classic motion control walking shoe from the brand.

We have tested this tank of a shoe along with all the other supportive options on the market to find out what makes it so popular with thousands of people.

And indeed, this shoe is the embodiment of support!

With its tough, well-built platform, the Walker holds up all day long, even if the wearer is of above-average weight. It is very wide and steady and will take hundreds of miles before bottoming out.

The shoe’s upper is made of full-grain leather, contributing to the experience of solid support. It is significantly more durable than the textile and synthetic uppers on most other walking shoes.

This is a burly shoe and is, in fact, on the heavier side of the weight spectrum. But in return, the amount of comfort and support it gives is incomparable to the lighter options.

We highly recommend this option to people with foot conditions like flat feet, overpronation, plantar fasciitis, or any other health issue that requires extra support.

And if you are especially sensitive to slipping on a wet surface, this Brooks shoe has a certified slip-resistant outsole. Having tried it on wet tile, we can confirm that you will feel surefooted in this shoe.

All in all, this is the type of footwear that puts foot health above anything else. It is not a fashion statement, and it only comes in simple, monochromatic color options. But if you require a premium level of comfort underfoot, Brooks Addiction Walker is one of the best options released in the past years!

See our full review and facts

Best budget shoe

Skechers have always been known for their budget-friendly approach.

But with a $50 walking shoe of this comfort and quality, they have surpassed themselves. And on a sale, you can get this shoe for as low as $30!

It is super easy to slip in and out of the shoe but not easy enough to make the fit too loose. We never experienced any heel slippage throughout our wear tests.

And with the pillowy-soft goodness of its cushioning, you are in for a treat in the Skechers Summits. Even if you walk all day long, the plushness is not quick to bottom out.

Nice and light, it is barely noticeable on the foot, which makes it a great option for a variety of activities. Whether you are running errands, walking the dog, or enjoying athleisure, it’s going to keep you in all-around comfort.

See our full review and facts

3 types of walking shoes

Depending on how you are going to use your pair of walking shoes will help you decide on the kind of shoe you need. Here are the three most common categories of walking footwear based on their intended use:

All-day wear

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Shoes in this range are meant for walking and standing all day long, be it for leisure, errands, fitness, casual outings, or a trip to Disneyland.

They will keep you comfortable on concrete or any other urban surface, as well as cobblestone, and not too rocky trails.

Additionally, you can consider running shoes designed for walking to expand your options.

See our selection of comfy walking shoes for all-day wear.

Traveling

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These are lightweight, airy shoes that are barely noticeable on foot. Most of them have a slip-on design, which makes them easy to put on and take off.

This footwear will cushion your feet in long airport lines, on sightseeing trips, and while meandering around your vacation spot.

Check out the full list of travel walking shoes.

Work

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These models are meant for the workers of healthcare, food, and other essential industries. They typically come with a leather upper which makes them hard-wearing and easy to maintain.

The outsole often features a slip-resistant characteristic to keep the wearer sure-footed on dusty and wet tile floors.

Medical staff might specifically look into walking shoes for nurses.

See our collection of footwear for work.

Walking shoes for flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and other foot conditions

Do your feet have special needs? 

Be it a proven condition like diabetes or just a periodic heel pain, your walking shoe should relieve discomfort and not aggravate it. Here are some general guidelines on what type of footwear to choose for various health issues:

Flat feet / Overpronation

  • stabilizing components prevent excessive inward rolling of the foot
  • the heel is held firmly by a solid ankle collar or an external stabilizer

Go for stability walking shoes if the overpronation is moderate and choose motion control footwear in severe cases.

Plantar fasciitis

  • moderate cushioning: soft enough to protect the foot from the impact but firm enough to prevent wobbling
  • more padding in the heel takes the strain off the plantar fascia ligament
  • a broad sole ensures stability and cushioning in the entire heel area
  • the heel is locked inside a firm heel counter

See walking shoes for plantar fasciitis that meet these criteria, according to users.

Bunions

  • a spacious toe box doesn’t constrain the forefoot
  • flexible upper material stretches in the ball foot area

If you need even more space in the forefoot, go for wide and extra-wide walking shoes.

Diabetes

  • spacious toe box doesn’t cramp the forefoot and helps to accommodate foot deformities if any
  • a moderately-soft midsole keeps the foot cushioned and ensures stable movement
  • the interior is seamless, minimizing any chance of chafing and blistering
  • the midsole has supportive elements that don’t let the foot roll excessively

These shoes are marked with an A5500 code, which makes them subject to compensation by Medicare.

Heavy weight / Obesity

  • extra space in the toe box can fit a larger foot
  • firmer and thicker cushioning helps to absorb impact effectively under heavy load
  • more durable materials prevent the shoe from wearing out too soon

Consider shoes for heavy walkers recommended by overweight wearers.

Disclaimer: These recommendations are based on the general podiatrists’ advice and are not meant as a substitute for professional medical treatment.

Choosing the right material in walking shoes

For a soft, light, and airy experience, choose knit or mesh walking shoes. You can expect a more supportive feel and longer service from shoes with leather or suede uppers.

Knit

Mesh Leather Suede
Pros

vegan

more breathable

softer feel

more durable

more supportive

take longer to soak

some models are waterproof

Cons

less durable

less supportive

soak easily

not waterproof

non-vegan

less breathable

stiffer feel

Other properties
stretchy, conforming moderately stretchy stretch to a small degree with usage
easier to clean and maintain

require special maintenance

Author
Olesya Kryakvina
Olesya Kryakvina

Laci is a contemporary dancer turned shoe aficionado. She is the most knowledgeable person when it comes to athletic shoes, size conversions and details people nitpick about footwear. She keeps the RunRepeat content gears turning 24/7. And she walks 20miles/week.