No matter if you're working out, sightseeing, or running errands, you need a pair of women's walking shoes that will keep your feet happy all day long. Because of its supportive, adaptable design, the Brooks Ghost 14 emerged as the winner after I put it through my paces on a variety of surfaces and took into account a number of different factors, including cushioning, arch support, traction, and heel drop. After testing numerous pairs of walking shoes, I determined that the Under Armour UA Essential Sportstyle Shoe was the best value.

Under Armour's Women's UA Essential Sportstyle Shoe vs. the Brooks Ghost 14 was a battle that lasted weeks of testing. [ ] and the women's On Cloud 5 walking shoes came out on top.

Reference: Retailers / Forbes Illustration

Walking is a great form of exercise to stay healthy, and according to research, the benefits kick in even if you get less than the recommended 10,000 steps a day (if you want to log your miles, we have recommendations for the best fitness trackers and the best smartwaches for women to track your steps) Many people walk in sandals or other inappropriate footwear, but you can walk further and safer in shoes designed for the task. According to Nelya Lobkova, DPM, a podiatrist based in New York City, "walking shoes are often more rigid, less flexible, and slightly heavier than other options, including running shoes." They offer superior support and stability compared to a standard sneaker, which is a major plus." Best walking shoes, no matter the style, should support the arch, cushion the heel, and keep the foot in place.

All the top-tier ladies' walking footwear is listed below.

A Specialty of Mine

For over thirty years, I've been a runner, and since the year 2020, I've been a walker with a specific goal in mind. I've logged countless miles over various terrains and suffered my fair share of injuries over the years. Having undergone three separate foot surgeries in the past five years has left me extremely particular about the comfort and functionality of my footwear. As a daily form of exercise, I usually go for a walk or a run, and when I travel, I like to go on hikes, which can be done in a wide range of climates, from arctic to subtropical. I have traveled roughly 520 miles in the past year. I've written about fashion, health, and celebrity for publications like The New York Times, Vogue, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

Nelya Lobkova, DPM, is a podiatrist and foot surgeon who owns the New York City clinic Step Up Footcare, whom I consulted for this article. Anne Holland Johnson, M.D., was another interviewee. D , a sports medicine expert and orthopedic surgeon at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery who serves as the team doctor for the WNBA's New York Liberty At last, I talked to Annabelle Lemes, a certified trainer in Connecticut who stresses strength training, flexibility, and movement via a wide range of sports, including aerobic walking.

I sought advice from professionals, did extensive research on online reviews, and thought about sneakers across price ranges before settling on the pair I tested. When researching walking shoes, I zeroed in on top-tier manufacturers and looked at casual and performance options to meet a wide range of preferences.

The top-tier footwear for strolling must be versatile and long-lasting. I also thought about how well they would look and feel outside of the gym because they should be able to be worn frequently. With this information in hand, I devised a set of rigorous testing criteria to determine which sets will be most useful to you.

As I strolled around, I mentally compared each pair of shoes to the following standards:

Comfort: I wore each pair of shoes for a few hours to see if they were too stiff, too narrow, or too wide in the toe box, and if they rubbed in any uncomfortable places on my feet or ankles. I thought about how long the shoes would take to break in and whether or not they would be comfortable right away. Finally, I thought about the lacing system and how simple it was to put on and take off each pair of shoes.

The amount of padding in a shoe, or its cushioning, is a key factor in the shoe's overall comfort. I used a measuring tape to determine the thickness of the material beneath the shoe's midsole in centimeters and a finger squeeze test to rank the midsole's firmness from least to most.

Arch support: Different types of feet require different amounts of arch support to avoid pain while walking. I took out the shoe's insole and inspected it for any contoured arcs or padded surfaces that might offer some additional support for my midfoot. (If you want a more tailored fit, talk to your doctor about whether orthotics or other inserts might help).

I also put each pair through its paces on a wide range of surfaces, including paved roads, dirt paths, and rolled grass, in both wet and dry conditions to evaluate the shoes' traction. I also checked out the bottoms of each pair to see how they felt and how well they gripped the floor.

I put the shoes through their paces in wet and dry conditions on a variety of surfaces, from roads to uneven trails, to determine how well they would grip. [ ] and rainy conditions

By Kari Molvar

Your feet should feel stable in your walking shoes; there shouldn't be any wiggle room, and you shouldn't be afraid of falling over. As a firmness test, I pinched the heel counter, the area at the back of the shoe where it wraps around the heel. According to Lobkova, this indicates the degree to which the heel stabilizes your foot. What's more, Dr. The point at which your foot rises from the floor during your gait (an effortless toe-off prevents tripping) is called the toe-off, and Lobkova advised that I place the shoe on a flat surface and push down at the toe to see if it rocked forward smoothly.

Shoe width and weight: Some individuals may feel more agile in thinner footwear. or a wider shoe for more room I weighed all my shoes on a digital food scale and compared the results to how my feet felt while wearing each pair. So that I could get a feel for how much room there was in the shoe, I took out the insoles and slid my bare foot inside.

Heel drop: walkers with heel pain should look for shoes with a larger heel drop, which indicates a higher heel in comparison to the toe. I counted how many millimeters of cushioning is located under the heels versus the balls of the feet for each pair of shoes. A drop of four to eight millimeters, for instance, is ideal for most people with plantar fasciitis, helping to relieve pressure at the heels. Low-drop or zero-drop footwear is flat and uniformly cushioned, simulating the feel of walking barefoot as closely as possible.

For this, I compared the shoe sizes and measured the distance from the heel to the toe. To avoid heel pain, choose a heel that is higher than the average shoe. [ ] soreness

Ms. Kari Molvar

In the late spring and summer of 2022, I began testing out different pairs of walking shoes in my home state of Connecticut, which is located about 40 miles outside of New York City. At a minimum, I wore the sneakers for two hours per day across a variety of surfaces to gauge their efficacy. I traversed paved and unpaved streets, hardwood and stairwells in my home, wet grassy parks, and open fields. I did the usual things like grocery shopping and going to the mall, and I also kept up with my two kids' schedules of sports, activities, and field trips. I was able to gauge the shoes' breathability in a variety of climates, from mild to hot, with temperatures ranging from 55 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of the testing period.

I took fashion into account when deciding on the winners. I looked to see if there were other colorways of the shoes to accommodate a wider range of fashion preferences and wore them with both workout clothes and casual streetwear. If you plan on wearing them for long periods of time—at the gym, at the office, or just around town—you should prioritize fit and comfort over style.

For Women, These Are The Best Walking Shoes Available.

Superior Walking Shoes in Every Way


Weight: 7 Weighing in at 9 ounces, having a traditional lace-up closure, and sporting a 12 mm heel drop, this shoe comes in sizes 5-13 (medium, wide, and narrow) and a total of 32 colorways, 14 of which are limited edition.

Best for:

  • People who are constantly on their feet, such as avid walkers and athletes.
  • Individuals who participate in a wide variety of sports and physical activities, such as walkers who also run or engage in cross-training
  • Those who tend to land on their heels and those who seek enhanced comfort without sacrifice to stability

Skip if: 

  • This is a midweight option, and the additional shock absorption in the heel may make the shoe feel too bulky for your needs.

Because it can be worn by a wide variety of walkers and serves a variety of purposes, this pair tops our list of the best walking shoes. It has a grippy outsole that makes it ideal for fast walks and casual strolls on flat and textured ground. If you also engage in higher-impact aerobic activities like running, the cushioned EVA foam midsole will protect your feet from the impact of your heel striking the ground. The Ghost 14 is the most versatile of the tested shoes, and it's the one I find myself reaching for the most often.

If you have achy tendons, flat feet, or stand for long periods of time, the Ghost's curved insole will be a welcome relief. Over-pronation, or ankle rolling, can be avoided with the help of the Ghost's firm heel counter (the part of the shoe that wraps around the back of your ankle). With a 12 While most running shoes have a heel drop of 10mm, the Ghost has a drop of only 5mm. These kicks are a size 4. with a 25 cm heel stack (heel height) and a 7 The 9-ounce weight was in the middle of the pack when compared to the other sneakers I tried; the moderate amount of padding in this shoe is a plus, as excessive padding can lead to a loss of stability.

When it comes to cushioning, the Brooks Ghost 14 hits the sweet spot: not too much, not too little. [ ] stability

Cari Molvar

Unlike rocker-sole shoes, which have a curved bump in the midsole to help propel your foot forward in an arc, the Ghost didn't help my foot move forward in any particular direction. The air-filled foam core, however, gave me a little extra spring in my step. Because your foot is not resting on a flat surface in rocker-sole shoes, I have had trouble maintaining my balance when navigating obstacles such as fallen tree branches and making sharp turns.

The Ghost sneakers' mesh upper is lightweight and incredibly breathable; even on hot days, my feet stayed dry. You won't find a better sneaker than the Ghost 14 if you're an avid walker who also enjoys running (I logged 84 miles in this pair) and completing a variety of tasks throughout the day.

The Finest Walking Shoe for the Money

Women's Walking Sneakers That Breathe Well, Are Padded, And Are Reasonably Priced

Weight: 7 Weight: 26 oz. | Lacing: Classical | Drop: 7 mm 3.1 mm | 5-12 sizes | varying colors (11 total at time of publication)

Shoes like these can be purchased on Amazon for $38 and up.

Best for:

  • Those who don't really get into their standing or walking routines
  • If your feet are wide, you have bunions, or you just like a looser fit,
  • Anyone looking for a reasonably priced walking shoe that doesn't skimp on support and cushioning

Skip if:

  • More active days call for a shoe with greater stability.
  • You feel more secure when walking on slick floors because of shoes with good traction.

These shoes are great for everyday use because they are roomy, supportive, and airy, making them ideal for walking. Although Under Armour normally sells them for , I've seen them as low as $45 during testing. Compared to the average MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) of athletic sneakers in 2021 (estimated at $110; source: RunRepeat), that's a huge bargain. The Sportstyle was about $100 cheaper than the other shoes I tried.

The price is extremely reasonable, and the number of included features is impressive. Reviews consistently highlight the Sportstyle's comfort features, and my testing confirmed that the claims are accurate. A 7-millimeter heel cushion ensures a comfortable walk. There is a 3mm heel drop and a 4 75 cm is a good heel height for those who tend to walk heel-first or have Achilles tendon problems. This shoe tips the scales at 7 ounces because of the added support it provides. Amongst the middle weights in our data, at 26 ounces The mesh upper and the plush sockliner prevent any heaviness or clumsiness from being noticeable in this shoe.

I found that the Sportstyle was the most comfortable pair of walking shoes for my wide feet. The insole was the widest I've ever worn, and it kept my feet from getting scraped up on the sides. The Sportstyle shoes are the best option if you have bunions and need to stand for long periods of time, such as when traveling and sight-seeing or, in my case, watching a soccer game that goes into overtime. These sneakers have a roomy interior and a generous toe box, so your feet and toes will have plenty of room to splay.

The UA Essential Sportstyle shoes were the most comfortable due to their extra-wide insoles. [ ] choose these if you like a roomier fit or have wide feet.

Ms. Kari Molvar

The heel counter on this pick is not as rigid as it would be on a regular pair of walking shoes, earning a flexible (rather than firm) rating on the pinch test. As your foot might shift around in it slightly, it's not great for strenuous walking on uneven, gravely terrain. The outsole is smooth and lacks extra grip, so you probably shouldn't wear them on a long walk, but they performed admirably in my tests on both paved streets and various indoor surfaces. If you're looking for a lifestyle walking shoe that will keep your feet comfortable and supported all day long, the Sportstyle is a great option. This pair is an excellent buy for under .

The Finest Ultralight Hiking Boot

Lightweight, Adaptable, and Stylish Footwear

Weight: 6 Weight: 9 ounces | Lacing: Speed laces with knotted cord; regular laces included as well | Heel height: 2 in 5mm | 5-11 size range | 14 available colors

Best for:

  • Those looking for a versatile, all-terrain shoe that is still lightweight and responsive
  • Those who walk frequently and have feet that are slightly narrower or wider than average
  • Those who want to look good while working out or just going about their daily lives

Skip if: 

  • Those are some seriously swollen feet.
  • Your feet are particularly sensitive to the ground, necessitating a high-drop shoe, or you simply favor a more cushioned shoe

The On Cloud 5 is the best walking shoe you can buy if you're looking for something that will keep your feet comfortable all day long without making them feel like they're being weighed down. It's only 6 ounces! The lightest of the ones we tried weighed 9 ounces. It's great for both long and short distances, a variety of surfaces, and arch support with minimal bulk.

On, a Swiss company that launched in 2010, has quickly amassed a devoted fan base thanks to their innovative midsole design, which features holes to allow air to flow and help the shoe compress vertically and laterally as you land. To lessen the impact on your muscles, the design cushions your feet and allows for a more controlled "toe-off," or launch, at the beginning of your stride. Comparing slow-motion footage of my foot in this shoe to others, I noticed a slight upward shift at the end of my gait cycle. In addition, Annabelle Lemes, the trainer I spoke with, recommended these shoes to me. "On's are my go-to shoes because I'm always on my feet." ”

With only a 2-millimeter The On Cloud 5 shoes are fantastic, as they have a 5mm sole and a very firm insole. [ ] for those who value speed and stability above all else, whether navigating rocky paths, uneven pavement, or a constantly shifting landscape

Said Kari Molvar

With a 2mm heel drop, the Cloud is a very comfortable shoe. This shoe's 5mm sole and extremely supportive insole make it an excellent option for people who have trouble keeping their balance or who want to run, walk, or climb quickly and safely in unpredictable conditions. The heel counter was also rated as moderately firm. Unlike the Brooks, the ankle collar on these shoes didn't extend beyond my bone, so they didn't rub. They also kept my foot in place very securely. Airy mesh covers the upper, and subtle reflective stripes add a nice (and fashionable) layer of protection for nighttime strolls.

There is a water-resistant variant of the Cloud 5 that I would not recommend. Since it's protected by an anhydrous membrane, it prevents water from getting in but makes the shoe smaller in width than usual (the manufacturer suggests ordering a half size up). But even the regular Cloud 5 has a narrow waist and a tight fit, I discovered. During the insole evaluation, my foot lingered outwards by about 0. In my case, the gap of about 5 inches didn't present a problem, but it might for those with wider feet. The speed-lacing system may also be a drawback for these shoes. The thin cord used to lace these On shoes is knotted at both ends, so all you have to do is slip your foot inside and pull the cord tight to keep your foot in place. Time seemed to relax the tethering of the cord, as I discovered. On includes a spare set of traditional laces with every pair because the design element isn't for everyone.

The On Cloud 5 shoes can be worn with both activewear and casual attire.

Kari Molvar.

The Cloud 5 met all my requirements from a style standpoint. The Swiss shoe is minimal and chic, so when I wore them with a skirt, it looked like the shoes were a deliberate fashion statement rather than a compromise I'd made for practicality. The only complaint I have is that the colorway I wanted (Glacier White) is currently sold out (On has promised to restock in October due to the shoe's popularity). The greenish silver I tried, Surf Cobble, is highly recommended by me.

Other Women's Walking Shoes I've Tried

A person's unique foot shape and the biomechanics of their gait and weight distribution will determine which shoe style is best for them. These shoes didn't make our top picks, but they're a great option for some runners. I've included the results of my other experiments below.

While the Hoka Clifton 8's lightweight design and airy mesh upper won me over, I was ultimately disappointed by the shoe's lack of stability. Though it was one of the lighter options (at 3 ounces, the third lightest of the ones I tried), the excessive padding in the rocker-style heel made for an uncomfortable wear.

The New Balance Foam Fresh X 1080v12 is a responsive pair of sneakers thanks to the springy foam heel that provides a pleasant rebound as you walk. Unfortunately, I have a narrow foot, and the high collar went past my ankle bone, causing a blister. Because the gusseted tongue is attached at the sides, I couldn't move it out of the way to avoid chafing.

These trendy and functional Sorel Kinetic Impact Laces are perfect for those who suffer from heel pain. However, not everyone will appreciate the lacing system, which requires wrapping the laces around the entire shoe, and the scalloped outsole caused me to walk unevenly.

Skechers Go Walk Arch Fit Unify: This sneaker, like many others made by Skechers, has an Ortholite insole to conform to your foot, cushion your arches, and disperse your weight more evenly. However, the upper was too rigid, making it uncomfortable to flex and bend while walking.

A lot of people have been raving about Allbirds' ultra-comfortable shoes, the Tree Flyers, but I was disappointed by the most recent iteration. While I admired the eco-friendly construction (it's made from natural and recycled materials), the shoe was uncomfortable because my foot sat too low in it. The new "flared" heel's acute angles made the shoe uncomfortable to wear.

The Rockport Prowalker Eco Walker is a prime example of how far this classic walking-shoe brand has come in terms of its use of color and design features. However, I found these footwear items to be extremely heavy, and testing revealed other footwear items to be just as stable despite being significantly lighter. In sum, these shoes were much too cumbersome to wear all day.

A few brands caught my eye, but they just weren't a good fit for me. Nike running shoes are more comfortable for me than Nike walking shoes because of the way my feet and gait are constructed. Although Atoms footwear has received high marks for its durability and comfort, there are only two styles available at the moment. Although Asics was not at the top of the list of brands our experts recommended, we will be taking it into consideration along with Saucony for upcoming revisions.

Walking Shoe Buying Guide

The ideal pair of walking shoes is something you have to find for yourself. Here are some things the pros suggest thinking about as you evaluate your options:

Softness: Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how much padding they prefer. If you're going to be on your feet all day, most people will find it more comfortable to wear shoes with a standard amount of padding rather than a shoe with an oversized heel. You're less likely to twist an ankle or catch your heel on the carpet's edge if the sole is evenly cushioned.

Cushioning and heel drop (the difference in midsole height between the heel and the balls of your feet) are closely related. Nelya Lobkova, DPM, a podiatrist in New York, says that the ideal heel-to-toe drop for walking shoes is between 4 and 8 millimeters. The implication is that the heel-lift and toe-off phases of the walking cycle are less traumatic to the Achilles tendon. ”

Since running is a more impactful activity than walking, running shoes have a larger heel-to-toe drop (typically between 10 and 13 mm) to absorb the shock of impact. Still, Dr Lobkova cautions against going with an entirely flat aesthetic. "Shoes with a zero-drop leave the foot vulnerable to muscle and bone injuries when walking further than the corner coffee shop," she says.

Dr. J. says that the sole, also known as the outsole, is the part of the shoe that makes contact with the ground. Lobkova It shouldn't be possible to fold the shoe in half or twist it by holding both ends, she explains. To avoid heel pain and other walking injuries like plantar fasciitis, shoes should have sufficient rigidity in the sole and cushioning in the midfoot. ”

Ann H. Johnson, MD D who works as a foot and ankle surgeon at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery, favors rocker-soled shoes. Hoka was the first company to use this type of sole, but other companies have since caught on. She explains that a rocker bottom sole allows the shoe to absorb some of the impact of walking rather than the wearer's ankles and feet. When viewed from the side, a shoe with a rocker heel can be identified by the upward curvature of the toe and heel. This design feature aids in the wearer's gait, making it more gliding and less jarring, and thus lessening the strain on the feet. However, rocker soles typically aren't as stable as traditional flat soles, so keep that in mind if you're in the market for new footwear.

As a general rule, use your current shoe size as a guide, but be ready to go up or down a half size to find the perfect fit, as sizing varies by brand. To account for the swelling that occurs throughout the day from walking, it is best to try on new shoes in the late afternoon. Make sure the shoes are a good fit by wriggling and stretching your toes in the toe box (the front part of the shoe). Apply the classic shoe-fitting rule of thumb and ensure that your toes have a thumb's width of room between the front of the shoe and the tip of your longest toe.

Finally, make sure the shoe is comfortable all the way around the heel counter. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, this "minimizes abnormal stretching of the plantar fascia and diminishes pain and inflammation in the heel and arch of the foot." Lobkova Because of this, you won't get blisters from your feet bouncing up and down as you run.

The insole of a shoe is a good indicator of its arch support. Dr. Comfort says, "You can take the insoles out of most sneakers and take a look at them. Lobkova You can recognize an arch support system by the curved bump or bumps on the insole that are located in the ball and the arch area of the foot. The arch of the foot is supported by it. But not all sneakers have this, says Dr. Lobkova So, "you can add your own custom or prefabricated insole or orthotics for additional support." ”

Dr In order to avoid many of the most common problems with one's feet, Johnson recommends investing in a good arch support "Stability type sneakers, ones that incorporate an arch support directly within the insole," she says, "will likely feel most comfortable for someone with a flat foot or fallen arches." A rocker soled shoe will provide the most shock absorption and comfortable stride for those with arthritis in the midfoot or forefoot. Get fitted for custom insoles or orthotics by consulting your doctor.

Each person has a unique foot shape, so the ideal dimensions, materials, and design of a shoe will vary. However, the most important thing for any wearer is a pleasant wearing experience. When asked what makes a good pair of walking shoes, Dr. Johnson The shoe should feel good right out of the box, without any "breaking in" required. She claims that once you put on the "right" shoes, you will "forget about your feet." ”

It is standard practice for retailers to accept unworn footwear in its original packaging for a refund or exchange. The grace period for such returns can be quite lengthy, though. The return period offered by Brooks is the longest (90 days), followed by Under Armour (60 days), and finally,.

Does It Make a Difference If I Wear Special Walking Shoes, or Can I Just Use Regular Sneakers?

If you know you'll be doing a lot of walking, whether for work, exercise, or leisure, investing in a supportive pair of walking shoes is a better option than a general-purpose pair of sneakers. Shoes designed for walking are distinct from those designed for running. According to Anne Holland Johnson, MD, a foot and ankle surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, "a walking sneaker generally refers to a comfortable sneaker with supportive cushioned insoles and a sturdy outsole." While you probably won't hurt yourself in a pair of running sneakers, walking shoes are typically built with a stiffer outsole and heavier weight to provide a more stable stride while engaging in lower-impact activities. Those who experience foot problems like flat arches or heel pain benefit from shoes with a high heel-drop of about 10 mm, as this provides extra support and comfort.

Which is better, women's shoes or unisex styles?

Although women's shoes tend to come in a wider range of sizes, the sex designation of a shoe is ultimately irrelevant as long as it fits properly. According to Dr. B. F. Skinner, "foot shape does not vary dramatically between sex, other than the fact that women's feet are typically smaller." Johnson Conversely, females are more likely to experience foot deformities like bunions and flat arches. She explains that people with these problems will have more success finding shoes that fit by selecting a wide width and opting for a flexible material like a mesh upper.

Shoes That Reduce Foot Pain While Walking

Pain in the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia) and the heel (plantar fasciitis) are common walking injuries. As New York podiatrist Nelya Lobkova, DPM explains, "these are weight bearing areas on the foot that pass through ground reactive forces during walking." Shoes with a firm heel counter can help minimize abnormal stretching of the plantar fascia, which in turn reduces pain and inflammation in the heel and arch, helping you avoid discomfort while you run. Dr. Andrew Weil warns against wearing "barefoot" or minimalist shoes. Lobkova She explained that the shoes' long-term health risks stem from their "very little stability in the sole, no cushioning under the heel, and maximum stress on the heel bone."

What Are the Most Comfortable Shoes to Wear While Standing All Day?

The weight of your body and the pull of gravity can be taxing on your feet. It's important to find shoes with enough room for your toes to spread out and your heels to absorb shock if you stand for long periods of time. Lobkova Rocker-soles are beneficial because the platform concave area helps reduce pressure on the arches. You won't experience any discomfort thanks to your purchase of the best shoes. The doctor should be consulted if the discomfort or swelling persists. Be proactive, as advised by Lobkova, and seek medical attention. Get your feet checked by a podiatrist to make sure you're doing everything right. ”