7 Best Lightweight Walking Shoes

Laci
Laci on
7 Best Lightweight Walking Shoes
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If you're intent on walking the extra mile, being in an agile pair is the way to go. One of the most surefire ways you do that is by having the best lightweight walking shoes in your arsenal.

Are you looking for a lightweight all-rounder? Perhaps you want a highly cushioned pair? Or maybe you're after something that doesn't break the bank? If you fall under any of these categories, this space should be right up your alley.

We have worn these shoes ourselves and everything we say about them truly reflects what we encountered, observed, and felt while strolling in them in different settings. We have selected the top picks for various categories so you have more liberty in choosing what speaks to your needs and wants the most.

How we test walking shoes

Zeroing in on the finest lightweight walking shoes implies a whole process here at RunRepeat:

  • We purchase lightweight walking shoes with our own funds. We stay away from third-party deals so we feel more detached from brands, allowing us to share the truth and nothing but the truth.
  • To find out each shoe's strengths and fortes, we wear-test these kicks for days on a variety of surfaces. We even do light runs in them just to evaluate if a walking shoe is just light on paper or actually light on feet, too.
  • We collect supplementary data in our lab by weighing, measuring, and gauging their functionalities and other aspects. For the weight of the walking shoes, we put our digital weighing scale into use. To be able to further analyse if a shoe is indeed light, we compare the recorded value to the average weight of walking shoes. And we also go all-out geeky and comprehensive by calculating the percent difference from the mean.

Most comfortable lightweight walking shoes

What makes it the best?

For us, the most comfortable and lightweight walking shoe should be able to maximize every gram of weight it has to provide perfection to the foot. In this regard, no other shoe comes close to doing this better than the Allbirds Tree Runners. After spending hours with it in the lab and on foot, we found it to be the best lightweight partner that one could wish for. It can hit its stride with its lightweight construction, effective cushioning, and accommodating upper.

As we went through intensive walking sessions with the Allbirds Tree Runners, we couldn’t help but lose track of the time. It just felt so weightless on foot! We then took it to the lab where we weighed it to compare it with other amazingly light shoes. We found that its weight of 8.6 oz (245 g) makes it 22% lighter than the average walking shoe! In fact, it’s lighter than 77.7% of the walking shoes in our database.

That said, it offers much more than an essential experience. We found its cushioning to be great for long hours. Its midsole hardness of 29.6 HA makes the shoe’s sole only 7.2% more firm than the average walking shoe, giving a fine balance of softness and structure. What elevates the Allbirds Tree Runners into a shoe that can go at it for hours is a good stack height. Surprisingly, its heel stack height is 31.1 mm, which is higher than the average walking shoe’s 30.9 mm. This is amazing, considering the weight difference! 

The upper of the Allbirds Tree Runners is another key aspect of the shoe. It definitely does not skimp in terms of dimensions, as it fits medium and wide feet nicely. Its width of 99.8 mm at the forefoot provides more than enough breathing room as it’s 3.9 mm wider than the average walking shoe.

We must warn about the Allbirds Tree Runners’ lack of durability on its outsole. It doesn’t have a layer of protection underneath and its outsole hardness is 13.6% lower than that of the average walking shoe. Thus we don’t recommend the Allbirds Tree Runners for those who want something to beat around in without a care in the world.

Pros

  • Extra comfortable interiors
  • Equally cozy in 40 and 85ºF
  • Can be worn without socks
  • Lightweight and packable
  • Flexible sole
  • Removable insoles
  • Easy to style
  • Machine washable
  • Sustainable design

Cons

  • No half sizes
  • Lacks arch support
Full review of Allbirds Tree Runners

Best lightweight walking shoes overall

On Cloud 5
88
Good!

What makes it the best?

Of all the walking shoes we’ve tried on and scrutinized, we found the On Cloud 5 to be the best lightweight pair ever. It stood out among others as it never became a pain in our legs and backs because of its feathery construction. Also, bending over backward just to put on the shoes is not necessary. A simple sliding of our feet already sufficed. What even sealed the deal is the locked-in feel the Cloud 5 provided even for long hours of wear: goodbye heel slippage, hello convenience!

We looked over the shoe’s weight in our lab and our scale revealed a 7.9 oz (225g) weight, which is 14.1% lighter than average. Along with Cloud 5’s airiness is its pliability. Upon checking our digital force gauge, we discovered that it only resisted bending by 19.8N, which is super close to the average of 19.1N. This combination granted our feet smooth bending, as well as strainless experience. 

The downside is its very tight fit. Using our caliper, we discovered that the widest part of the toebox (89.5 mm) is actually 8.2% narrower than average. Due to this, we advise trying on the pair first before getting your own. A size up would also be sensible, however, we find it safer to personally gauge the fit first.

Pros

  • Perfect for all-day wear
  • Unbelievably lightweight
  • Can do low-impact workouts
  • Amazing in-shoe feel
  • Very breathable
  • Super easy on-off
  • Great flexibility
  • Regular laces are added
  • Sustainable materials (44%)

Cons

  • Not for wide feet
  • Lacks durability
  • Outsole catches pebbles
Full review of On Cloud 5

Best lightweight walking shoes with a sock-like fit

What makes it the best?

The walking shoe that dominated the field of lightweight sock-like pairs is the Skechers GO WALK 6 because it felt like an extension of our feet: natural and unrestricted. Its minimalist structure not only bestowed us with lightness but also with top-tier walking comfort.

Our weighing scale vouched for the weightlessness of the GO WALK 6 as it only registered a weight of 8.78 oz (249g), 2.8% lighter than average. Apart from the hardly detectable weight, the sock-resembling characteristic that we absolutely relished in this shoe is its foot-hugging fit. With the widest section of the toebox being 98 mm wide and almost as wide as most shoes at 97.9 mm, that lovely snugness is really achieved, especially with the stretchable upper. 

We were left dumbfounded when we tested for the durability of the shoe’s upper. For a sock-like fabric, we didn’t expect it to put up with the tearing force of our Dremel tool but it did, scoring a 4/5 in toebox durability. 

The problem with this shoe is that support cannot be demanded from it. We discovered that it has a great tendency to wobbliness on account of its nonexistent rigidity. We rated its torsional stiffness with 1/5 as it didn’t call for much strength in twisting it. If you suffer from foot pains and are in need of supportive elements, we suggest looking for other shoes.

Pros

  • Pillow-like comfort
  • Cushioned for all-day wear
  • Amazingly lightweight
  • Surprisingly durable upper
  • Snug sock-like fit
  • Easy on and off
  • Super flexible
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Not breathable
  • Outsole lacks durability
Full review of Skechers GO WALK 6

Lightweight walking shoes with the best support

What makes it the best?

Lightness and support don’t always come hand in hand but in a world where both exist in a walking shoe, On Cloudnova Form is our definitive top choice. It supports our feet perfectly, without being too aggressive and harsh. Also, our foot wellness absolutely felt catered in this shoe.

Our ankles are sealed in this shoe, driving out the chance of sprains. In our lab, we found out that the heel counter considerably repelled pinching, which is why we rated it a 3/5 in rigidity. At this level, the heel counter held our ankles gently while preventing them from twisting.

Although Cloudnova Form came in at 9.56 oz (271g), which is 5.9% heavier relative to the average, on our walks, this couldn’t feel more like the opposite. Adding on to the fact that this shoe offers a solid framework for added support, it’s really lightweight. This is actually reflected in the shoe’s stiffness, which we confirmed by bending it using our digital force gauge. Our tool perceived a 20.9N opposing force, which indicated that it was 16.1% stiffer than average.

However, during the cold season, this stiffness increased by 57%, which is equivalent to 32.8N as shown after we put the shoe into our freezer. This is 14.3% more rigid than the average stiffness at low temperatures, so we suggest taking note that Cloudnova Form needs warming up in winter.

Pros

  • Excellent for all-day wear
  • Very stable and supportive
  • Great in-shoe comfort
  • Non-constricting toebox
  • Reflective elements
  • Sustainable materials
  • Appealing design

Cons

  • Lacks durability (especially the upper)
  • A little heavier than average
Full review of On Cloudnova Form

Best lightweight waterproof walking shoes

What makes it the best?

The best lightweight waterproof walking shoe for us would be something that’s able to fit a LOT of functionality within its lightweight build. After we put the On Cloud 5 Waterproof through several walking sessions and lab tests, we’ve decided upon it as our pick for this category. What sealed the deal for us is its no-nonsense waterproofness and its finely-tuned cushioning in a lightweight package.

Something that remained constant as we tested hundreds of shoes across several categories is the fact that waterproof versions of shoes tend to be on the heavy side. We felt that to a much lesser extent with the On Cloud 5 Waterproof. We confirmed this in our lab by placing it on our digital scale for measurement. Its weight of 288g (10.2 oz) is 11% lighter than that of the average waterproof walking shoe - a significant difference!

Despite this, we didn’t feel any indication that its waterproof ability slacked off in any way. We found it ultimately reliable, keeping our feet dry as we walked through puddles in the rain. We put this to the test in our lab by pumping smoke into its interior to see how the smoke escapes. We noted extreme effectivity as the smoke particles couldn’t find a way out of the shoe’s upper.

Another great thing about the On Cloud 5 Waterproof is the fact that its cushioning is well-balanced. We found it great for long walks, keeping our feet happy day in and day out. We took a deeper look into this in our lab by pressing our durometer against its midsole. The On Cloud 5 Waterproof’s midsole hardness of 30.4 HA is 10% firmer than that of the average walking shoe, putting it squarely on the balanced side of cushioning. It’s able to last for long hours without pain or fatigue. 

Although the On Cloud 5 Waterproof is able to dish massive amounts of value on several fronts, its utility isn’t available to all types of feet. We measured its toebox to be 94.7 mm. Compared to the average walking shoe (95.9 mm), we found it to fit medium to narrow feet only. As such, we don’t recommend the On Cloud 5 Waterproof for wide-footers.

Pros

  • Perfect for all-day wear
  • Super light for its kind
  • Easy on-and-off
  • Amazing in-shoe feel
  • Sustainable materials (40%)
  • Regular laces are added
  • Reflective elements

Cons

  • Catches rocks and debris
  • Can get smelly
Full review of On Cloud 5 Waterproof

Best lightweight walking shoes for cool weather

What makes it the best?

We found that Allbirds Wool Runners perfectly go with our balmy weather walks, thanks to its wool upper that conforms pleasantly to our feet, minus the risk of cuts and blisters. The lightness of this shoe also complements the crisp autumn days – both very freeing – making it the top runner for lightweight shoes for the cool weather.

When we subjected this shoe to our breathability test, we realized that Wool Runners was not made for the summer, especially when the smoke we pumped inside had a hard time coming out, thus a score of 1/5. We also brought it on rainy walks to see if it’s made for the rain, but it also isn’t. Where it fits best is that cool weather that isn’t too hot and too cold.

When we planted the Allbirds Wool Runners on our scale, it read 8.61 oz (244g). This is 4.7% under the usual weight of the shoes we tested, which is a huge relief to our feet. The thing that also made our trips even more delightful was the suppleness of the shoes that allowed us to move our feet without restrictions. In our lab, we bent the shoe using our digital force gauge and it unveiled 14.8N, which means the shoe resisted the bending using this amount of force, therefore making it 17.8% more flexible than the average. 

However, we do not recommend this for those who overpronate or people who need ample support. We dissected the shoe and no supportive feature is present. Its wobbliness also didn’t help. So, we advise checking other selections with a more rigid and bolstering construction.

Pros

  • Amazing in-shoe comfort
  • Equally cozy at 41 and 68ºF
  • Can be worn without socks
  • Super lightweight
  • Machine-washable
  • Sustainable materials
  • Simple, easy-to-match style

Cons

  • Not for rain or snow
  • Not for hot weather
  • Loses traction over time
Full review of Allbirds Wool Runners

Best budget lightweight walking shoes

Skechers Summits
91
Great!

What makes it the best?

In the realm of walking shoes that are easy on the legs and easy on the wallet, Skechers Summits holds the crown. This shoe set us back by £70 but it didn’t hurt our budget, especially since it’s 26.6% cheaper than the usual price of walking shoes. Despite being economical, this shoe didn’t compromise on features that ensured our worthwhile and exceptional on-foot experience.

We affirmed the shoe’s unbelievable lightness using our scale. It registered a 6.95 oz (197g) weight, which is 23% lighter than average. This sets our feet and knees free from carrying a load during our invigorating walks. 

The surprising thing about Summits is that its upper and sock liner materials are tough against abrasion. Our Dremel attested to their durability, as the toebox blocked our tool from completely puncturing the material, while the heel padding was totally unaffected, thus earning their 3/5 and 5/5 durability ratings, respectively.

Unfortunately, the outsole exhibited a different result. Our Dremel carved a 2.5 mm hole in the outsole. Therefore, we recommend using this shoe with extra care and caution as its outsole is not for heavy use.

Pros

  • Like walking on soft clouds
  • Super lightweight
  • Easy to put on and off
  • Very affordable
  • Highly flexible
  • Surprisingly durable upper
  • Suitable for casual attire

Cons

  • Lacks breathability
  • Exposed foam wears out fast
  • Memory Foam doesn't last long
Full review of Skechers Summits
Author
Laci
Laci
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.