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.