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Best lightweight walking shoes - May 2019
There’s nothing more freeing than walking around your house barefoot - nothing is weighing you down, nothing is holding you back. Just your feet moving naturally, unhindered. But you can’t go barefoot everywhere because of potential hazards that could harm your foot while walking. Not many people like wearing traditional walking shoes because they are often bulky and heavy, especially if you want reliable protection under your feet. The good news is, there are a lot of options for people who are in search of lightweight walking shoes.
Benefits of lightweight walking shoes
Have you ever worn walking shoes with a hard sole unit or which overall just felt heavy on your feet? If you have, then you know that walking a mile in them could mean blisters, sweaty, tired, or even aching feet. This feeling is one of the reasons why people have become more critical when purchasing their next pair of walking shoes.
- You barely feel them
Lightweight walking shoes generally weigh under 300 grams, which means when you put them on, you barely notice that you are wearing them. Your feet won’t feel tired because they’re not wrapped in a heavy enclosure.
- Free from fatigue
Another benefit of wearing lightweight walking shoes is that your feet won’t feel too tired after a long day. The reason behind this is that they incorporate pliable materials in the upper and in the sole unit. This construction allows the feet to move naturally, lessening the chances of experiencing foot fatigue. It should be noted though, that there are lightweight walking shoes with thick midsoles but the platform is created to be flexible at the forefoot, promoting natural foot bending.
- Soft and sound
And finally, lightweight walking shoes incorporate upper materials that are soft and breathable. The use of these components ensures that the inside is aerated, but still supported and protected from outside elements.
What to look for in lightweight walking shoes
Various materials used in lightweight walking shoes include mesh, jersey, neoprene, and knitted fabric. These textiles do not weigh much, allow the foot to move and expand naturally, and keep the inside well-ventilated.
The forefoot of these trainers it typically designed to have ample room for toe splaying. It allows the toes to spread out so the foot can better support the weight of the person. The spacious room also permits the natural expansion of the foot throughout the day.
Depending on the brand or type of lightweight walking shoes, the midsole could be just an EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam insert or a thick but lightweight compound. The primary purpose of this component is to attenuate shock when the foot hits the ground.
For reliable traction, the underside is typically made of rubber. It can either be a full-length rubber outsole or pods that line the high-wear areas such as the heel and the forefoot. However, there are some lightweight walking shoes that use a specially engineered EVA foam that provides traction and protection.
Types of lightweight walking shoes
Weight: 200-300 grams on average
Drop*: varies from 0 mm to 15 mm, depending on the shoe
*The drop, or the heel-to-toe offset, is the difference between the heel stack height and forefoot stack height. You measure the heel stack height and subtract the forefoot stack height from it to get the value of the drop. An offset of 0 mm - 5 mm means that it's a low-drop shoe and there is little to no heel elevation. If a shoe has a heel-to-toe differential of 10-mm or more, it is considered a high-drop one.
- Use: This category of walking shoes is intended to keep the wearer’s feet supported and well-padded throughout a long day of walking and standing. Their sole units are typically made of a responsive foam material which absorbs the low impact of daily walking.
- Weight: 150-200 grams on average
- Drop: 0 mm.
- Use: Over the years, there has been a growing interest in the fitness community with regards to wearing minimalist footwear. It is believed that wearing this type of shoes strengthens the muscles of the feet and legs and allows the foot to move more naturally. The same principle is now being adapted by fitness walking enthusiasts or anyone who just wants to feel more connected to the ground while taking their daily walks, going to work, or running errands. But keep in mind that these trainers do not offer the same amount of impact protection as the cushioned models do. Their construction also tends to be somewhat unconventional compared to other walking shoes. A good example would be the Furoshiki model from Vibram.
Other factors to consider
People use lightweight walking shoes on different terrains. They could be used for traversing concrete streets of the city, grassy parks, off-road trails in the neighborhood, gym floors - just about anywhere. So knowing the type of surface you’d be frequenting can help you decide what lightweight walking shoe to get. If you’re fond of walking on trails, then a minimalist type might not be the first pair to consider. If you mostly use it to run errands around the city or for work, then something with a rubber outsole might do you good as it could last longer. Knowing where you will be using the footwear could greatly help you decide what to get.
Most lightweight walking shoes employ a mesh upper or a soft type of textile. It keeps the inside aerated which is beneficial especially when the temperature gets hot. Those living in warmer areas would do well wearing footgear with an open mesh style or with perforations. Those living in places with cooler climates could go for trainers with tightly woven mesh that is less breathable to keep their feet warm.
Lightweight walking shoes are priced between $50 to $100. It depends on the brand, the materials used, and if the footgear is equipped with any special technologies. RunRepeat not only acts as a repository of shoe facts and reviews, but we also provide information on where consumers can get the best deals on the planet. A pair of lightweight walking shoes may be priced at $65 on the brand site, but thanks to our proprietary algorithm, we can help you find deals for that trainer for less than $40.
Frequently asked questions
Can you use lightweight walking shoes for exercising?
The simple answer is yes; you can use lightweight walking shoes for workouts. In fact, many people like using this type of footwear for yoga, Pilates, short runs, aerobics or even cross-training. The key is comfort and stability. If you feel comfortable and steady wearing your lightweight walking shoes for exercise, then no one is stopping you. However, it is always best to wear shoes intended for a particular type of training. Workout shoes always offer better support and traction, especially when doing strenuous exercises.
What is the best brand of lightweight walking shoes?
There are several brands that offer lightweight walking shoes and they all differ in one way or another. Skechers, Asics, New Balance are just some of the brands that offer lightweight walking shoes. There are those that sport a slip-on design while others are equipped with a lacing system. Some trainers have thick midsoles, while others have a minimalist sole unit. A person’s preference is what ultimately determines which lightweight walking shoes work best for them since people’s feet are unique and one shoe may not work the same for two wearers.
Does body weight play a factor when choosing lightweight walking shoes?
Yes, your body weight could affect the choice of your next pair of lightweight walking shoes. Heavy-set people may feel more comfortable using lightweight walking shoes with thicker sole units because there is more cushioning that softens the impact and keeps the foot comfortable. A heavy weight means the force of impact is much greater with each step. So, a thick midsole which has room for compression attenuates shock better and is able to take on the weight of the wearer.
When should I replace my lightweight walking shoes?
Lightweight walking shoes should be replaced every 500 miles or in 3 to 6 months to ensure that the cushioning of the footwear remains intact and serves its purpose. However, how often you wear and where you use it could affect this timeline. If you wear your lightweight walking shoes every day, on hard and abrasive surfaces, then the trainer could be worn out earlier than three months. The rule of thumb is, if the footgear shows any signs of being overly worn out, then you might want to replace them earlier than intended. These signs include loss of traction in the outsole, lack of shock absorption in the midsole, rips or holes in the upper, etc.
Are there lightweight walking shoes for wide feet?
Yes, some models of lightweight walking shoes are available in wide and extra wide options to accommodate people with broader feet. Apart from that, most walking shoes are constructed with a roomy toe box to allow for a comfortable toe splay.
15 best lightweight walking shoes
- Skechers GOwalk Max - Privy
- Skechers GOwalk Evolution Ultra - Impeccable
- Skechers Equalizer 2.0
- Skechers GOwalk Max
- Skechers GOwalk Evolution Ultra - Rapids
- Vionic Bryant
- Vionic Turner
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1165
- Vibram Furoshiki
- Propet TravelFit Strap
- New Balance Ralaxa
- Reebok Ridgerider Trail 3.0
- Propet TravelFit
- Vionic Tate
- New Balance 770
A score from 1 to 100 that summarizes opinions from users and experts. The average CoreScore is 78. More...