Updated: December 2017

Walking Shoe Reviews:

For all of us that are walkers instead of runners, it seems like the shoe market has forgotten about our shoe needs. Many of the elite running shoes feature shock absorption systems, extra cushioned soles, and all the latest technology in manufacturing. As I did more research on "walking shoes" I realized that the category is really broken down into various sections like street walking, trail walking, and hiking. We will try to focus the article on street or trail walking and stay away from hiking since the shoes are more like hiking boots in that area. Some of us walk miles a day on pavement and need a particular shoe for that while others leave the pavement and head out on dirt/gravel/rocky trails that required a totally different shoe. What should you look for in a good walking shoe? We found countless shoe buying guides for walkers and all of them essentially say find one that fits your foot the best (pretty basic) but we did come across certain features that they all recommend in any quality walking shoe. Keep reading below to find out what those features are.

Look for walking shoes that are lightweight so your walking motion can be fluid and not hampered by heavy shoes that bog you down. You want a shoe that has a supportive midsole and a flexible forefoot. Experts say you should try bending the shoe in the store before buying it. If it bends too easily in the middle or any other place besides near the forefoot, then avoid it. Remember that many shoe stores will try to sell you on running shoes (more popular and more $$$), but walkers need a different type of support and shoe than runners do. For the heel section of a good walking shoes, look for ones that have a supportive "heel cup". You want your heel to be fitted, solidly in the shoe so there is no excess moving which causes blisters or callouses in the long run. Avoid shoes with thick heels (meant for running) and make sure there is plenty of room for your toes so they can flex as you walk. Generally speaking, you want about a thumbs width between the end of the shoe and your longest toe so there is on feeling of being confined. Other factors to consider for comfort are socks, shoe width, weather you plan on walking in, and how much you will actually be walking each month. Be sure to try on all potential shoes with the same thickness socks you would wear while walking. This way you know beforehand how they will feel. Everyones foot is a little different than others, so try on various width shoes to find the proper fit. If you do plan on walking in wetter conditions, get shoes with a waterproof surface and vice versa, if you will be walking humid conditions during the summer months, consider breathable shoes. Walking shoes should provide about 400-500 miles of reliable walking experience for you and don't be cheap when it comes time to buy new ones. Eventhough they may look brand new on the outside, the inside materials are what get "worn out" fastest and it's not easy to tell that. Keep track of your mileage and protect your feet, muscles and joints by purchasing new ones when the walking distance has reached the alloted amount. The top brands for walking shoes are New Balance, Reebok, Rockport, Nike, Brooks, Ryka, Saucony, Merrill and Asics. We found several review articles online at Health.com, About.com, and Ricksteves.com (the European traveler). For customer feedback and consumer opinions, we went to Zappos.com, Altrec.com, and Amazon.com. RECOMMENDED - We suggest browsing the most popular walking shoes online here. You can see the top selling womens walking shoes here.

Best Walking Shoes:

Instead of going with a particular model since they eventually disappear over time, we decided to select the best walking shoe company for athletic endeavors (recreational) and city walking. New Balance is our pick for "best walking shoe" in terms of recreational use and for the sole purpose of walking. You can find the latest styles and shoes online at NBwebexpress.com. The other category niche is for those city workers that get out of subways, trains, and cars and then have to walk blocks on city pavement but need something stylish for work purposes as well. Rockport walking shoes are the best we found with new designs for men and women that are both functional on city streets and fashionable enough to wear in the office. See the entire line of New Balance Walking Shoe and Rockport shoes online.

High End Walking Shoe:

The Mephisto Match ($325) is the perfect choice between comfort and style. The Mephisto is a man's walking shoe that offers a lightweight and durable design that will keep your feet moving all day. The tongue is padded to reduce pressure and stress on your feet but breathable at the same time to let your feet stay cool. The outer sole is flexible and both the Air Relax system and Air Jet systems keep feet feeling good. On travel forums to Europe, many people recommend this shoe because of it's looks as well. You can walk all day in it and still wear it out in the evening since it has a "dressy" appeal to it. Great well rounded shoe for traveling so you don't have to take dozens of pairs of shoes. If you can't justify spending $300+ on a pair of walking shoes, consider the less expensive Ecco Flexor ($130). The Flexor gives you a sporty look with comfort. It's made of full grain leather with a polyurethane midsole. Again, the Ecco walking shoe combines comfort, durability, and styling so you can wear it in the day or out to nice restaurants at night. I bought a pair for my recent trip to Europe where I did lots of walking throughout Florence, Venice, and Rome. Browse the top selling ECCO walking shoes here.

Race Walking Shoe:

Race walking is a great sport to become involved with. As you begin to increase your daily walking habits, eventually you may want to try a 10K walk or less to start with. I've known many walkers who enter half marathons after only a year or so of consistent walking programs on their own. The New Balance 111 ($75) is the best race walking shoe on the market and it was specifically designed for that purpose. The superior rating on this shoe comes from it's lightweight feel, flexibility in all the right areas, and plenty of cushioning where race walkers need it. The shoe is available for both men and women and owners say the shock absorption and durability are the reason they buy them. You can this buy model and every other New Balance walking shoe online at NBWebExpress.com.

Trail/Walking Shoe:

The clear winner in this category is the Men's Merrell Moab GORE-TEX ($75-$130) which received top rankings on several health and fitness sites. The Merrell walking shoe can handle rocks, puddles, and dirt without a problem. The versatile stability shoes give plenty of support without the weight. The great thing about trail shoes is that they are also convenient to wear around town or walking on pavement. The Brooks Cascadia ($90) trail shoes are a "best choice" buy as well. They are considered a cushioning shoe, come in a bright color, and are well-treaded for any trail surface.