7 Best Running Shoes For Walking in 2024

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
7 Best Running Shoes For Walking in 2024
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It’s undisputed — running shoes have the best cushion not just for marathons but also for your daily casual walks. If you want to have just one shoe to rock your daily jogs and stay comfortable all day long, there are a lot of running shoe options that can double as your pair of walking shoes.

And in this list, we are giving you the cream of the crop in terms of cushion, style, support, and price, which are the topmost priorities when it comes to choosing the right pair of walking shoes. We have tested each shoe and filtered the strong contenders to the weak ones based on our intense scrutinization.  

How we test running shoes

There are a lot of things we consider before we choose the best running shoes for walking. And to make sure we end up with the finest, we put them through a series of tests in our own RunRepeat testing lab. Here we do the following: 

  • Cut the shoes into several pieces to measure them via 30+ parameters, including flexibility, strength, cushion, and more
  • Log 30-50 miles of running in various terrain and conditions

Take note that for all the shoes we test, we buy with our own money to avoid brand bias.

Best running shoes for walking overall

What makes it the best?

The Adidas Ultraboost Light provides the ultimate overall walking experience from a running shoe. That’s because of its cloud-like comfort and cushioning, sock-like fit, and terrific durability, which set it apart from other running shoes when it comes to walking.

As great as the Ultraboost Light's boost midsole is for running, it might be even better for walking. With a softness of 15.5 HA, which is 36.7% softer than the average road running shoe, the Ultraboost Light delivered serious comfort during our casual strolls, not to mention a good amount of responsiveness. Moreover, the midsole is sufficiently cushioned in the heel. We measured its heel stack height at 30.1 mm, and it kept our feet well-protected with each step.

Meanwhile, the sock-like upper held our feet perfectly in place for the duration of our walks. And that upper can also withstand the wear and tear from miles of walking. It did brilliantly in our toebox and heel padding durability tests, scoring 4 and 5 out of 5, respectively, with 5 being the most durable.

However, the Ultraboost Light's traction is suspect on wet surfaces. We found the grip to be lacking on a damp patch of cobblestone, so be cautious while walking on wet spots.

Pros

  • Cushy and responsive ride
  • Good for easy runs and long distances
  • Ideal for heel strikers
  • Suitable for wide feet
  • Effective stability elements for mild pronation
  • Snug and secure lockdown
  • Durable toebox and heel
  • Outsole built to last
  • Ready for winter runs
  • Works as a comfy walking shoe
  • Sustainably designed upper

Cons

  • Thin forefoot cushioning
  • Could be lighter
  • Slippery on wet surfaces
  • Not for speedwork
  • Average at best breathability
Full review of Adidas Ultraboost Light

Running shoes for walking with the best comfort

Brooks Ghost 15
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What makes it the best?

Slipping our feet in the Ghost 15 has a similar homey feeling to tucking ourselves under a blanket and lying on our soft pillow and bed. It’s all about exceptional comfort, freedom of movement and a protective outsole — making it our most comfortable walking-running pair.

Our durometer confirms its velvety touch, measuring 33.5% softer than average. Its heel measures 36.3 mm, 2.9 mm higher than average. This makes it more suitable for walking since most naturally land heel-first. Its forefoot falls slightly below average, resulting in a heel-to-toe drop of 13.2 mm (vs. the 8.8 mm average). The top of our foot is hugged by a tongue that’s 96.6% thicker than average.

Our movements feel natural with the unopposing midsole. Our flex test shows it's 40.3% more flexible than average, explaining why it’s easy for us to move. This makes us feel more relaxed when taking our strolls.

Its outsole feels tough, looking new even after our test walks. Our durometer confirms the 84.4 HC rubber is harder — and therefore more durable — than the 80.0 HC average.

Its focus on padding tipped the scales. At 9.8 oz (279g), it’s heavier than the 9.5 oz (268g) average.

Pros

  • Supreme comfort
  • Plush, stable ride that's a delight
  • Optimised for heel strikers
  • No heel slippage
  • Great grip in wet conditions
  • Built to endure countless miles
  • Impressive value for £150
  • Great for both running and walking
  • Available in up to four different widths

Cons

  • Slightly heavier than its predecessor
  • Could use some improvements in breathability
  • Not a good one for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Ghost 15

Running shoes for walking with the best cushioning

What makes it the best?

In our quest for the ultimate cushioned walking-running shoes, we rigorously tested various contenders, both in and out of the lab, until we discovered ASICS Gel Nimbus 26. This shoe epitomises maximalism in every aspect, enveloping our feet with luxurious padding from all angles.

The plushness of the upper material is unparalleled, offering a level of comfort that surpasses anything we've experienced before. Testing this feature was a delight, as the premium material proved to be both stretchy and airy. Our breathability tests confirm its exceptional ventilation, earning a commendable 4/5 rating. Furthermore, it elevates comfort to new heights with its exceptionally soft heel padding.

Even with the visual bulk, we’re blown away by the amount of foam it has. Our measurements with the calliper unveiled a towering stack height of 40.4 mm, boldly surpassing race limits. On top of this, the heel includes the PureGEL technology to facilitate gentler landings. Forefoot strikers also won’t have much ground feel with its above-average 32.0 mm stack. Our durometer readings reaffirm its commitment to comfort, registering a softness level of 18.5 HA.

What we noticed is that the shoe lacks the natural feel some athletes are looking for. While our bend test shows an average 30.2N flexibility for running, it’s quite stiff compared to the average for walking (19.2N).

Pros

  • Premium all-around comfort
  • Enhanced toebox design
  • Exceptional durability
  • Best-in-series outsole
  • Ideal for long distances
  • Superb knit upper
  • Surprisingly stable
  • A dream for heel strikers

Cons

  • Increased weight
  • Limited energy return
  • Tongue lacks padding
Full review of ASICS Gel Nimbus 26

Best stability running shoes for walking

What makes it the best?

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 is our clear top pick for the best stability shoe for walking. It has an impressive level of cushioning, comfort, and breathability, which other stability shoes just can't compete with.

Rock-solid stability is the Adrenaline GTS 23’s big claim to fame, and with good reason. Its guide rails on both sides of the shoe did a fantastic job of helping prevent our feet from making excess movements. And the wide landing platform provided additional stability and gives us more confidence on each step. We measured the forefoot midsole's forefoot and heel width to be 4.5 mm and 7 mm wider than average.

The Adrenaline GTS 23 shoe doesn't sacrifice stability for comfort, though. We felt the shoe had a good blend of softness and stability during extended walks. And our durometer confirmed the midsole foam was indeed nicely balanced with a softness of 19.5 HA, which is 20% softer than the average running shoe. 

But perhaps the Adrenaline GTS 23’s standout feature is its exceptional breathability. We gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 in our breathability test as the smoke we pumped in almost instantly escaped through the large ventilation holes in the upper. And our feet were kept capably cool on our walks thanks to that breathable upper.

Unfortunately, that upper lacks durability, particularly in the toebox. The mesh material was significantly damaged we put a Dremel to it, which is why it scored a lowly 1 out of 5. So for those looking for a walking shoe that has more durability, look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Excellent stability without being intrusive
  • Ideal for easy miles
  • Specifically designed for heel strikers
  • Outstanding breathability
  • Comfortable and cushioned
  • Availability in narrow and wide sizes
  • Capable of handling tempo paces
  • Not expensive at all

Cons

  • The engineered mesh upper lacks durability
  • Lacks cushion for forefoot strikers
Full review of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23

Best lightweight running shoes for walking

Hoka Clifton 9
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What makes it the best?

Among all the daily trainers out there, the Hoka Clifton 9 is clearly the best choice for walking. That’s because of its light weight, soft and energetic midsole cushioning, and great fit, which other daily trainers just can’t compete with.

The Clifton 9 is among the lighter daily trainers around at just 8.78 oz (249g). That's a good 1.3 oz (38g) lighter than the average daily trainer, and it sure felt that way as we hardly had to exert much effort lifting our feet while walking.

And the overall walking experience is made all the more enjoyable by its fantastic midsole foam. Not only is it 16.7% softer than the average road running shoe, but it is also more responsive. There is also a good amount of cushioning, especially in the forefoot, which has 2.4 mm more stack height.

The fit of the upper is excellent, with the semi-gusseted tongue providing a secure lockdown. The tongue, which we measured to be 0.8 mm thicker, and the heel collar are also generously padded and add to the comfortably snug fit.

But the Clifton 9 is not quite wide-foot friendly as its toebox width at the widest part and at the big toe are 2.1 mm and 1.8 mm narrower than average, respectively. However, Hoka does offer a wider option of the shoe.

Pros

  • Thicker and more energetic midsole cushioning
  • Lighter than the v8
  • Easy on the knees
  • Durable upper
  • Available in wide
  • Good traction on roads and mild trails
  • Mild, unobtrusive stability elements
  • Can handle faster paces better than previous editions
  • Best for easy days and long runs

Cons

  • Not for wide feet
  • Upper needs some time to break in
  • Average breathability
Full review of Hoka Clifton 9

Best trail running shoes for walking

What makes it the best?

The Nike React Pegasus Trail 4 is the perfect trail shoe to use for walking thanks to its impressive lightness, outstanding comfort, and great grip for both roads and trails. 

The Pegasus Trail 4 is feather-light on feet. It weighs just 9.59 oz (272g), which is 0.8 oz (23g) lighter than the typical trail shoe. That significantly reduced weight makes it significantly easier to pick up our feet on our trail walks.

Meanwhile, the cushioned and responsive React midsole makes it a real treat to walk on, not only on trails but also on roads. There is 12% more stack height in the heel, while the midsole, which is 24% firmer than average, has the right amount of responsiveness on hard surfaces.

We also found the grip to be great for a road-to-trail shoe. Its updated tread pattern, which features three different types of lugs, works especially well while walking on hard-packed and gravely trails.

However, the Pegasus Trail 4 lacks the traction for the most challenging terrain. With its average 3.4 mm lugs, we do not recommend this shoe for walking on soggy or muddy trails.

Pros

  • Efficient road-to-trail
  • Well-cushioned
  • Stable ride
  • Excellent, secure fit
  • Very breathable
  • Great traction
  • Unexpectedly light
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Not for muddy areas
  • Not for wide feet
  • Could be more stylish
Full review of Nike Pegasus Trail 4

Best budget running shoes for walking

Nike Winflo 10
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What makes it the best?

After intensive testing in and out of the lab, we found the Winflo 10 from Nike to be the ideal budget shoe for both walking and running, with a £110 price tag vs. the £140 average. What a steal for all that it offers: full-length Air cushioning, a flexible midsole, and a durable outsole.

Underfoot is a plush and gentle sensation throughout. We weren’t surprised when our durometer revealed it was 31.5% softer than average. It effectively protected us from landing impact, babying our legs for long days on foot. Moreover, its versatile design allows for seamless transitions between walking, running, and even cross-training, owing to its malleable construction. Its minimal resistance encourages our natural movement, a fact supported by our bend test, which showed it to be 25.2% more flexible than the average.

The outsole withstood countless miles with barely any scratches. Our lab results indicate a durable outsole boasting harder and thicker rubber than average, measuring 87.4 HC and 4.3 mm, respectively. 

However, with its focus on comfort, it lacks the energy and explosiveness that more advanced runners want.

Pros

  • Combines durability with breathability
  • Exceptionally long-lasting outsole
  • Versatile design for casual wear or cross-training
  • Enhanced plush midsole
  • Air cushioning improves the running experience
  • Easy on the wallet
  • Fantastic for beginners

Cons

  • May not suit forefoot strikers
  • Could benefit from increased energy return
Full review of Nike Winflo 10

Unsurprisingly, the best running shoes are also excellent walking shoes. Many essential shoe features remain unchanged, no matter your speed.

Brooks Ghost 15

However, that doesn’t mean all running shoes are suitable for more pedestrian pursuits. And running shoes are increasingly designed around performance-oriented features, sometimes at the expense of their walking versatility.

Here is how to identify and choose among the best running shoes that are still fit for walking.

What makes a running shoe good for walking?

Whether you’re walking or running, the best shoes do the same things well: they are comfortable, durable, supportive, and (hopefully) stylish enough to be more versatile than your typical pair of running shoes. 

Comfort

Adequate midsole cushioning, flexible and breathable upper construction, and ergonomic footbed design are nearly universal qualities of every great running shoe. These qualities make for the best walking shoes, too.

The most comfortable running shoes for walking tend to have average-to-high stack heights (midsole thickness). Low-stack (minimally cushioned) shoes provide ground contact and feel light and nimble, but are not very comfortable for walking or working on your feet.

hoka-clifton-9-stack-heel.JPG

The optimal heel stack height for a comfortable walking shoe ranges from 30 to 40 mm.

Durability

Durable running shoes are often even more durable when used as walking shoes. This is because walking creates significantly smaller impact forces than running, so it takes longer to compromise the material integrity of a shoe’s midsole foam. Compressed midsoles are what typically spell the end of a running shoe’s useful lifespan, as they will no longer absorb and distribute shocks effectively.

High-quality and durable running shoes last for at least 500 miles. If you use them mostly for walking, it is possible to double that mileage.

We also test the durability of each shoe's toebox and heel padding as well as the rubber outsole. Using a Dremel allows us to see how wear-resistant each of these shoe parts are.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 23 Toebox durability

Support

The support features you need depends on personal preferences and your unique biomechanics. Fortunately, the shape of your foot remains the same—whether you’re running or walking. If you need extra arch support or stability features to correct overpronation, you will benefit from wearing those supportive shoes for both running and walking.

Some of our favourite running shoes with arch support are Brooks with "GTS" in their names. GTS stands for "Go-To-Support." Another all-time favourite is the ASICS Gel Kayano series.

Style

Neon green and orange running shoes look slick if they’re paired with split shorts and a race bib. But they’re a little more conspicuous than desired for a casual weekend stroll through town. The best running shoes for walking tend to reign in the bright colorways in favour of more versatile styles.

Adidas Ultraboost Light tie

The best running shoes for walking shoes to consider

In testing dozens of running shoes for comfort, support, style, and more, we identified the running shoes that best moonlight as reliable walking shoes. Here is a quick summary of what makes them exceptional.

Adidas Ultraboost

Cushioned Comfort

Well-cushioned yet super responsive, the Ultraboosts are simply a joy to walk in. It is also supportive, stable, and built with durable outsoles and upper components.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS

Stability Stand Out

Brooks’ GTS guide rails arm the Adrenaline with outstanding stability characteristics. Further, its comfort, cushioning, and breathability outmatches most other running stability shoes.

Asics Gel Nimbus

Plush Cushioned Cruiser

The Gel Nimbus was designed to eat up easy miles and protect tired feet on recovery runs. It is also a maximum cushion, endlessly comfortable walking shoe.

Nike React Pegasus Trail

Off Road Versatility

The Pegasus Trail is a lightweight and comfortable trail running shoe. Smaller lugs make it perfect for hiking and trail running on dirt trails, but it is not too overbuilt for casual wear around town.

Hoka Clifton

Do-it-all Daily Trainer

Big on cushioning and comfort for long days on your feet, the Clifton is a classic daily training or work shoe.

Adidas Duramo

Low-budget, High Performing

The Adidas Duramo is comfortable, breathable, and provides impressive cushioning. It’s more than you’d expect for a shoe and an entry-level price point. 

Brooks Ghost

Lightweight All-Rounder

The Ghost is Brooks’ eternally popular daily trainer. It is lightweight yet comfy and durable—a perfect all-round running and walking shoe for anyone who regularly does both.

asics-gel-nimbus-25-weight.JPG

Running shoes for walking: features to avoid

Although similar in many ways, the biomechanics of a walking and running stride still have some remarkable differences. With innovations in shoe technology, designers are increasingly targeting the biomechanics of running specifically. As a result, many modern running shoes do have features that make them super-optimised for running but not ideal for walking. 

Some features to avoid when choosing running shoes for walking include:

Carbon plates: High-end performance-oriented running shoes feature a thin carbon plate above the midsole. These ultralight plates maximise stride efficiency and encourage a quick heel-to-toe-off. It makes them a game-changing innovation for uptempo running, but the propulsive effects are actually a bad thing for walking due to the biomechanical movement changes they encourage.

Saucony Endorphin Elite Drop

The black piece inside the white foam is the carbon plate

Aggressive rocker designs: Running shoe insoles have a rockered shape to encourage an efficient and propulsive stride. Rockered insoles that are particularly stiff and aggressive may feel awkward while walking.

new-balance-fuelcell-supercomp-trainer-style.JPG

Advanced PEBA-based foams: PEBA (polyether block amide)-based foams are used in many running shoes marketed for race day or uptempo training sessions. They are light, stiff, and bouncy to encourage optimal running efficiency. While helpful for chasing a marathon PR, this efficiency is unnecessary for walking. Stiff foam midsoles like this create greater instability and are less suitable for slower paces and walking gaits.

FAQs

What are the best running shoes for walking?

The best walking shoes for running are comfortable and breathable, with moderate midsole thickness and excellent durability. The Adidas Ultraboost Light is our overall favourite walking shoe for running. 

Can I use trail running shoes for walking?

Trail running shoes can make for excellent walking shoes, especially if you are walking primarily on natural surfaces. Indeed, many hikers and backpackers now prefer the comfort, breathability, and traction of trail running shoes over heavy and clumsy hiking boots. 

Are low-drop running shoes appropriate for walking?

Low-drop running shoes can be good for walking, but like most things, it depends on your stride and personal preferences. Higher drop (10-12mm) shoes encourage heel striking, which puts more strain on the knees and hips, but less on the calves and feet muscles. Low-drop (0-6mm) shoes do the opposite.

hoka-clifton-9-outsole.JPG

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.