The Best Walking Shoes for Women 2019: My Buyer’s Guide

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What Are The Best Walking Shoes For Women?

You arrived here looking for the best women’s walking shoes, maybe seeking the answer to the question ‘What is the best walking shoe for women.' That’s a great question, but it’s not an easy one to answer.

It’s hard to answer because the word ‘walking’ can have different meanings, and so I need to cover a range of different shoes that would be the best for all of those meanings.

There are rugged trail walkers & hikers, power or fitness walkers, people who want to walk half an hour or so a day for general exercise and those who do their walking around all day at work. All of these types of walking are different and the best shoes for each will be different.

In this buyer’s guide, we will focus on the best women’s walking shoes for walking exercise in general.

Also, check out our guides for supination, overpronation if your gait has one of those issues – they cover a wide range of use types. One light hiking shoe is covered in this review.

If you have a specific foot shape or problem that makes finding a comfortable shoe difficult, such as wide feet or flat feet, high arches, or metatarsalgia then please check out the pages for those specific issues or use the menu selecting Women’s Shoes – Shoes by Problem.

In this buyer’s guide, we will give you our best women’s shoes for walking as exercise or as a focused activity so most of the shoes are the sporty type.

If you are looking for the best women’s shoes for general walking all day either shopping or at work or just for casual wear, then check out our article on the most comfortable women’s shoes which focuses on work and casual shoes.

There are quite a few things to consider when picking a shoe for walking as an exercise and I cover these after the reviews but you can jump straight there using the orange button below.

Links disclosure: We spend many hours researching our posts and provide links to important articles relevant to the topic of this page. We also link to products or services offered by third parties such as Amazon.com and other online retailers where you can see more information and images of the product or service and decide if it is right for you. We may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase. We want you to know that we only recommend products and services we believe to offer you great value either through our thorough research or that we have personally purchased.

The table below gives a quick view of the shoes reviewed in this article.. Use the jump links in the table as well as in the reviews to jump up and down the page quickly and easily.


Best Walking Shoes for Women
Quick Navigation Table


Saucony Womens Integrity ST 2 - White

New Balance Womens 928v3

Hoka One One Womens Bondi 6

Gravity Defyer Womens G-Defy Mighty Walk

Brooks Womens Addiction Walker

Asics Womens Gel-Tech Walker Neo 4https://woowalkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Asics-Mens-Gel-Venture-6-Orange-1.jpg


Best Walking Shoes for Women – The Reviews

1. Ryka Rythma

Best Lightweight Lifestyle Walking Shoe for Women

50% savings
Ryka Women's RYTHMA Walking Shoe
$39.99
(As of: 2019/09/17 11:51 pm - Details)
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Shoe Specifications
Style:Lifestyle Walking Shoe
Use:Everyday Walking Shoe
Sizing:5 – 12 with Half Sizes to 12.5
Widths:Medium to Wide
Upper:Mesh
Cushion:Good
Sole:Rubber Cushioned
Insole:Good Quality – Removable
Pronation:Neutrals
Rating:98%

Overview

Ryka has been making shoes specifically for women since 1987 and knows a thing or two about fit.

The Rythma is the latest walking shoe for women from the company and is firmly designed for comfort whether you are out for a 20-30 minute walk for exercise or just want some fashionable looking sneakers to pop out to the store.

The colors are restrained and adorable in pastel shades of sea green (which Ryka call blue for some reason), lilac as well as a black and grey.

They will match almost every type of casual wear and look indecently hot!

Comfort & Cushioning

Unlike a training shoe that has to handle forces from side to side as you twist and turn, a walking shoe needs to focus on the walking gait which is heel strike to toe-push off.

The heel needs to handle the shock as you first strike the ground and the midfoot needs to be stable to guide your foot onto the blls of your feet to push off.

Your foot is made to flex at the balls and toes and this is where the sole of the Rythma has flex grooves. These allow the shoe to flex where it should and help your foot to flex and propel you forward.

The Rythma has Rezorb foam cushioning that provides a soft yet springy feel underfoot as opposed to the marshmallow sinking feeling of memory foam.

The Rezorb foam is thickened under the heel for super shock absorbance and tapers through the midfoot and forefoot to provide consistent cushioning through the shoe.

More technology from the heel counter, which is a stiffened, padded stiffly flexing plastic piece which cradles the back and sides of the heel. The benefit of this is to help position your heel securely and provide structure to the shoe.

Fit, Sizing & Support

These beautiful pastel colored sneakers come in sizes from 5-12 and in medium as well as wide fittings, which should suit most people.

Support is courtesy of a removable insole that is firmly flexible and overlaid with cushioning. The result is plenty of support for your arches without being clog-like and a nice deep heel cup to cradle and securely position your heel.

The shoe is nicely lightweight and feels as great as it looks. It is positioned securely on your foot by a good and wide lacing area and system with fabric eyelets.

The laces do not run particularly easily through these eyelets but unless you want to tighten them very tight you can easily slip the shoes on and off by grabbing the padded tongue and heel tab which avoids all the hassle of relacing every time anyway. That's what I do.

Conclusion

This is a lifestyle shoe that looks fantastic and feels really comfortable but is not a shoe for walking marathons.

If your walking exercise is moderate or you simply want a really comfortable and fashionable shoe in a pastel color for everyday wear then the Rythma has you covered.

Ryka Rythma – Features of Interest

Good Things

Shaped for Women's Feet

Great Looking Fashionable Shoe

Beautiful Colors

Flexible & Breathable Uppers

Good Arch Support

Multi-Purpose

Lightweight Shoe

Orthotic Friendly

Not So Good Things

If You Walk a Lot Durability Maybe an Issue


2. Saucony Integrity ST2

Best for Narrow & Wide Feet

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Shoe Specifications
Style:Casual Sports
Use:Walking Exercise
Sizing:5 – 12 with Half Sizes to 10.5
Widths:Narrow to Extra Wide
Upper:Leather & Mesh
Cushion:Good
Sole:Rubber
Insole:Removable
Pronation:Mild Overpronators / Neutrals
Rating:93%

Overview

The Saucony Progrid Integrity ST2 has been around a while and continues to be one of the best selling women's shoes in the Saucony line up.

With soft leather uppers and a sporty rather than casual design, this is a shoe for walking exercise more than for window shopping.

Comfort & Cushioning

The Progrid ST2 is designed for walking.

The sole is designed to flex in the forefoot, as it should, and is reinforced with more durable (and so stiffer & heavier) rubber in areas that normally wear the most.

This allows the shoe to be both lightweight and durable and at a price that makes them great value for money.

An EVA midsole provides plenty of cushion underfoot without too much excess material weight which makes them comfortable but so cushioned that they unbalance the shoe when walking more determinedly.

The cushioning is beefed up under the heel and forefoot to provide extra protection from impact forces as your heel hits the ground and your toes press to propel you forward.

Fit, Sizing & Support

Available in Black, Tan & White, there are not so many color choices available which is fine for a dedicated walking exercise shoe.

All three colors are fairly neutral and so work pretty well to match most outfits you are likely to be wearing.

With sizes from 5-12 and width fittings from Narrow to Extra Wide, the ST2 is a great fit for walkers with narrow or wider feet as well as all of us in between.

The wide range of width fittings and styling of the shoe also allow for orthotics to be inserted to replace those supplied for a little extra support if needed for high arches or flat feet.

That said the support provided is good enough for most with neutral arches.

The leather uppers are soft and do not need so much breaking in and the laces enable you to tie the shoe down for stability and are cushioned from your instep with a great breathable tongue to spread any lace pressure.

Conclusion

Built for exercise walking for women who are looking for neutral support and with a neutral gait whilst orthotics are catered for if needed.

The Saucony Integrity ST2 offers exceptional value for money for the features offered by a shoe manufacturer of pedigree and along with the New Balance 928v3, which is more expensive, is the best buy for women with very narrow or wide feet.

Saucony Integrity ST2 – Features of Interest

Good Things

Quality Leather Uppers

Great Value for Money

Narrow & Extra Wide Widths

Good Cushioning

Lightweight

Pretty Durable

Made for Exercise Walking

Orthotic-Friendly

Not So Good Things

Not Made for All Day Casual Wear


3. New Balance 928v3

Best Walking Shoe for Heavy Women

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Shoe Specifications
Style:Walking Shoe
Use:Walking & Casual
Sizing:5 – 13 with Half Sizes to 10.5
Widths:Narrow to Extra Extra Wide
Upper:Leather & Mesh
Cushion:Good & Supportive
Sole:Rubber
Insole:Supportive – Removable
Pronation:Overpronators / Neutrals
Rating:90%

Overview

New Balance makes some great shoes and the 928v3 is a fantastic example.

This roomy shoe is made for overpronators and is a sturdy and roomy piece of kit that admittedly is not in the running for the most stylish walking shoe in the world.

This is a motion control shoe made to withstand the harder wear that heavier people put their shoes through whilst providing great levels of comfort and cushioning which is no mean feat.

Comfort & Cushioning

I've alluded to the design of the shoe but in all reality, it looks OK with the leather uppers interspersed with mesh to add a bit fo breathability which in turn adds to drier and more comfortable feet.

The midsole provides lots of cushioning whilst resisting torsional flex which helps keep your overpronating feet better on line. There is extra cushioning at the heel to provide excellent shock absorbing for the high forces at heel impact, especially if you have yet to lose those extra pounds.

There is a heel counter below the mesh uppers around the ankles and plenty of cushioning under the laces which works together with the mesh sockliner to give comfort and breathability throughout the shoe.

This sturdy shoe has to be a little heavier than some others in my list in order to stand up to the extra wear that more weight requires but is still a very comfortable shoe, even for all-day wear.

Fit, Sizing & Support

Available in Black, Tan & White, there are not so many color choices available much as the Saucony ST2 above.

Again, all three colors are fairly neutral and so work pretty well to match most sporty outfits.

The 928v3 is a roomy shoe with a good supportive insole and should you need a bit more support then orthotics will not cramp the inside fo the shoe.

With sizes from Narrow to Extra Extra Wide, these shoes are suitable for the whole gamut of foot sizes and are a great choice for you if you have very narrow or wide feet because they provide more features than the Saucony but at a premium to price.

Conclusion

The New Balance 928v3 is an excellent shoe that will fit most women and with lots of room to suit orthotics and a whole host of foot problems which need more space.

It is still a great shoe for any overpronator just as it comes, even if you do not need orthotics, with a design that helps correct that inward ankle roll and providing high levels of comfort as it supports you.

New Balance 928v3 – Features of Interest

Good Things

Diagonal Rollbar for Motion Control

Sturdy Shoe for Heavier Women

Well Cushioned and Comfortable

Made for Overpronators

Loads of Width Fittings

Durable Outsole

Not So Good Things

Not the Cheapest

Color Styles Limited

A Bit Heavier than Most


4. Hoka One One Bondi 6

Most Cushioned Women's Walking Shoe

HOKA ONE ONE Womens Bondi 6
$209.00
(As of: 2019/09/17 11:51 pm - Details)
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Shoe Specifications
Style:Walking & Exercise Shoe
Use:Walking & Casual
Sizing:5.5 – 11 with Half Sizes to 10.5
Widths:Medium to Wide
Upper:Engineered Mesh
Cushion:Excellent
Sole:Rubber Extra Cushioned
Insole:Cushioned – Removable
Pronation:Neutrals
Rating:95%

Overviews

The Hoka One One Bondi 6, is the most cushioned shoe in this list.

Built for a neutral gait with plush cushioning throughout from the dual density springy midsole right through to the excellent fitted orthotic.

Although marketed as a running shoe, the Bondi 6 has a rocker sole bottom and is much heavier than most running shoes. And that rocker sole helps soak up the impact shocks and encourage your foot on through the stride which makes them feel a lot lighter in use.

Comfort & Cushioning

Comfort and cushioning is what this shoe is all about and it is an excellent shoe for exercise walkers because it offers such a high level of comfort and weight is not the governing factor as it is in running shoes.

You will find the shoe to be excellent at absorbing shock as you stride out; so there'll be no jarring which your knees will thank you for.

The shoe has plenty of padding although not excessively around the collar which stifles the foot and makes a shoe less breathable.

The uppers are an engineered mesh construction which ensures great breathability through the shoe and allows a little flexibility in fit in the places where you want the flexibility. The engineered mesh allows for variable flexibility of the upper by altering the knit pattern to achieve this.

If your feet are slightly swollen or fat then consider sizing up a half size but otherwise, the shoes fit more or less true to size.

The toe box is spacious to ensure that your toes are free to spread and push off and there is little rubbing anywhere.

The rubber outsole in the Hoka One One Bondi 6 has been upgraded from the previous model and also adds to the cushioning the shoe generally as well as providing some durability.

Fit, Sizing & Support

The shoe looks comfortable and sporty and that is exactly what it delivers.

A classic sporty yet restrained style with an over depth sole that can be worn for exercise or casually and is also suited to casual work.

The Bondi 6 comes up a little small so be sure to upsize slightly in both length and width, especially if you are planning to change out the orthotic.

With medium and wide fittings and a reasonable range of lengths, the Bondi 6 should fit most foot shapes and has a lacing opening that will allow for a range of instep heights.

Conclusion

The Bondi 6 is one of the most cushioned shoes on the market and I love walking in them.

There is no medial support or other stabilizer for overpronators but for the neutral gaited walker they do a great job for comfort.

If you want a wide fitting Hoka One One shoe with a little bit more stability and are prepared to sacrifice in cushioning then you can go for the Gaviota Leather as an alternative.

It's also available in wide fitting.

Hoka One One Bondi 6 – Features of Interest

Good Things

Outstanding Cushioning

Outstanding Comfort

Wide Stable Sole

Great Cushioning

Multiple Width Fittings

Not So Good Things

Pricey but Good

Last a Little Narrow – Up 1/2 Size & Width

Annoying Tongue for Some


5. Gravity Defyer Mighty Walk

Best Walking Shoe to Help Foot Problems

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Shoe Specifications
Style:Sporty Shoe
Use:Walking Exercise & Casual
Sizing:6 – 11 with Half Sizes to 10.5
Widths:Medium to Extra Wide
Upper:Synthetic & Mesh
Cushion:Good
Sole:Rubber
Insole:Cushioned – Removable
Pronation:Mild Overpronators / Neutrals
Rating:90%

Overview

Gravity Defyer has been around since 2008 and so are a relative newcomer to the world of shoe manufacturers and have quickly gained an excellent reputation.

The Mighty Walk is a shoe that provides room as well as comfort to those that need a little extra love for their feet.

Designed to help women with foot problems for all manner of foot afflictions such as plantar fasciitis, arthritis, bunions and much more, they positively bristle with technology for comfort.

Comfort & Cushioning

This lightweight breathable sneaker has a quite low profile design which belies the fact that they provide so much room inside.

The seamless mesh uppers ensure there are no rough surfaces for your feet to rub against and the foam midsole provides excellent shock absorbance thanks to the VersaShock dual density heel and softness to give relief from foot pain.

The shoe comes with a very good orthotic insole which can be removed for custom orthotics if needed for which there is plenty of available room.

The roomy toes box gives plenty of space for toes to spread into and the rocker sole makes rolling through your stride easy.

Fit, Sizing & Support

There is plenty of leeway in the available sizing which should make it easy for you to find your size and fit.

There is a nice wide lacing area which can adapt to accommodate most instep shapes and plenty of lacing eyelets so you can lace up for the perfect fit.

Cushioning to the collar and shoe tongue ensures the Achilles, ankles, and instep are all given the cushioning they need for a very comfortable feel.

Conclusion

For any woman with foot issues, the Gravity Defyer Mighty Walk should be high on the list of shoes to consider.

This is a quality, comfortable walking shoe both for walking exercise and for all day wear and is available in a very nice range of colors.

Well designed shoes that will not have anyone suspecting you have a shoe designed to relieve pain.

Gravity Defyer Mighty Walk – Features of Interest

Good Things

Foot Pain Therapy Shoe

Nice Designs & Colors

Special Shock Absorbance Features

Roomy and Very Comfortable


Lightweight

Not So Good Things

Not Many to Speak of


6. SAS Free Time

Overall Best Women's Walking Shoe

SAS Women's Free Time
$95.00 - $165.00
(As of: 2019/09/17 11:51 pm - Details)
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Shoe Specifications
Style:Active Smart Casual Walking Shoe
Use:Work & Casual
Sizing:4 – 12 with Half Sizes to 11.5
Widths:Narrow to Extra Extra Wide
Upper:Leather
Cushion:Great
Sole:Rubber
Insole:Quality Orthotic – Removable
Pronation:Neutrals
Rating:97%

Overview

The San Antonio Shoemakers or SAS Shoes for short, make some seriously great shoes. Hand made in the USA to exacting standards.

Quality materials and workmanship make this shoe stand out from the rest by some margin.

A versatile, very comfortable shoe with class!

Comfort & Cushioning

The shoe uppers are made from very nice soft leather so there is practically no breaking in period. They are perforated to aid breathability and shaped to give ample room for your feet.

The shoe sole is made to absorb shock and yet provides softness underfoot that you will need to feel to believe. There are three special shock absorbing pads within the heel and both small and larger balls of your feet to ensure that these high-pressure areas are protected.

There is cushioning built into the leather collar which is durable to an extent the exposed fabric covered foam of most sports shoes cannot hope to match.

The shoes are treated to reduce foot odor and have an excellent orthotic which is marketed as CoolStep which has a friction-free cover that keeps the footbed and so your feet cooler and is removable, washable and anti-bacterial.

Super comfortable.

Fit, Sizing & Support

The Free Time has a wide range of width fittings and lengths that should be a match for even the most challenging foot shapes.

The lacing system is brilliant with metal eyelets that allow the laces to glide easily, making the shoe really easy to get on and off so be careful not to overtighten!

The tongue is well padded to distribute the forces from the laces on the instep, and gusseted to keep it in place and to stop loose dirt getting into the shoe so easily.

These shoes are a wonderful fit and provide excellent all-day comfort.

Conclusion

For me, the Free Time is the best women's walking shoe because of the superior comfort, durability, and quality of manufacture.

It is a company that cares about the quality of its product and the satisfaction of its customers. The Free Time is a remarkably versatile and comfortable shoe that should grace every wardrobe and suits every casual occasion.

SAS Free Time – Features of Interest

Good Things

High-Quality Materials

Handmade in the USA

Premium Removable Insoles

Soft Leather Upper

Roomy Fit

Wide Range of Widths

Not So Good Things

Expensive (but still great value)


7. Brooks Addiction Walker

Best for Overpronators & Flat Feet

Brooks Women's Addiction
$99.95
(As of: 2019/09/18 2:19 am - Details)
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Shoe Specifications
Style:Walking & Work Shoe
Use:Work & Casual
Sizing:5 – 12 with Half Sizes to 11.5
Widths:Medium to Extra Wide
Upper:Leather
Cushion:Very Good
Sole:Rubber
Insole:Removable
Pronation:Overpronators / Neutrals
Rating:88%

Overview
Brooks Running has been making the Brooks Addiction Walker for many a year. A shoe with a diagonal rollbar for overpronators and plenty of support for flat feet as well as more neutral arches.

But stability and support are not all this shoe is about. There's plenty more walking tech inside this shoe to make it a serious contender for your hard earned cash.

Comfort & Cushioning

The uppers are made of supple full-grain leather while the materials used for cushioning and lining are also of superior quality to most shoes.

While the leather upper provides structured flexibility for your feet, the cushioning to the heel and collar are working to maintain a soft surface for your skin, preventing rubbing and adding to comfort.

There's plush cushioning to the tongue too which spreads the forces of the laces on your instep.

But in the sole of the shoe, the cushioning is more restrained so as to support your foot arch and distribute forces more effectively and maintain a straighter gait by resisting torsional twist.

That is not to say the shoe is not comfortable underfoot – it is. But it is not soft and squishy that feels great at first and ends up inducing aches like a mattress that is not firm enough.

The cushioning underfoot comes from an excellent insole as well as the springy compressible midsole which has just enough give to provide comfort and cushion whilst still offering proper support.

Fit, Sizing & Support

Sizing is taken care of by the extensive range of length and width fittings available as well as a little extra room in the toe box and square shaped design for midfoot width.

The lacing system is good with plenty of eyelets for securing the shoe to the foot though once the lower section is laced to your liking you will probably be able to leave it be, just undoing the upper section to get the shoe on and off.

Support from the insole is very good and the excellent foam material that forms the midsole provides cushion and support for flat feet to normal arches. There are fluid-filled pods at in the heel and forefoot for extra shock absorbance as well.

The insole is removable too in case you need to fit orthotics.

Conclusion

An excellent choice if you are flat-footed or like a little extra support under your arch and especially if you are an overpronator. Note that if you have a neutral arch the diagonal torsion bar will not add much but neither is it a negative.

A good comfortable women's walking shoe with plenty of comfort and good cushioning without being excessive and versatile enough to be worn casually too.

Brooks Addiction Walker for Women – Features of Interest

Good Things

Supportive Cushioning

Good for Low Arches & Flat feet

Wide Range of Sizes & Widths

Moisture Wicking Insole

Good Comfort

Good Shock Absorbancy

Not So Good Things

Not so Breathable


8. ASICS Gel Venture 6

Best for Uneven Surfaces & Light Hiking

ASICS Gel-Venture 6 Women's
$52.90
(As of: 2019/09/17 11:51 pm - Details)
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Shoe Specifications
Style:Heavy Wear Walking Shoe
Use:Walking on Rough Surfaces
Sizing:5 – 12 with Half Sizes to 11.5
Widths:Medium to Wide
Upper:Mesh & Synthetic
Cushion:Good
Sole:Rubber
Insole:Removable
Pronation:Mild Overpronator / Neutrals
Rating:92%

Overview

Are you fed up feeling stones under your feet because the soles of your shoes are just too thin? Maybe you are walking on surfaces that fall short of perfect?

The ASICS Gel Venture 6 is a light hiking sports style shoe marketed as a running shoe for which it is really a little too heavy. It's not too heavy for walking though!

If you walk over uneven ground or maybe your walking exercise is more akin to light hiking than park walking then these may be just the ticket.

Comfort & Cushioning

The Gel Venture 6 is an excellent shoe from ASICS that has a good rugged sole. That means that it is made for handling stones under foot and is much more protective than the ordinary sports shoe sole.

There is some excellent cushioning courtesy of the rear gel inserts under the heel that cushion the shock as you start your stride with a heel strike.

In order to provide the stability needed of a shoe when you are walking on surfaces a bit uneven, cushioning through the shoe is not as plush as some of the other shoes in this list.

But the shoe is still a comfortable light hiking shoe.

Fit, Sizing & Support

The shoe comes with an insole that offers fair support but you can swap out that insole for a custom orthotic if you need to.

Fitting is available for wider feet as well as medium although the medium is a little tighter than some other brands – just a little.

The lacing system and cushioning around the collar are good and do their job without affecting shoe stability so you should be pretty surefooted wearing these.

Conclusion

A great shoe at the price for women who do their walking over surfaces that are uneven, needing a thicker and more substantial sole.

At the current price point, they represent a bargain, possible as the Gel Venture 7 has just been released but is, as yet, very hard to find. Snap these up if they are on offer.

ASICS Gel Venture 6 – Features of Interest

Good Things

Easy Fit Velcro Straps

Substantial Sole

Rear Gel Inserts

Good Shock Absorbance

Bargain Value

Stable Shoe

Not So Good Things

At The Price – Nothing


How to Choose Walking Shoes for YOUR Feet?

If you ever felt like your feet are not like anybody else's, you're not just imagining things. Feet can be very individual and you'll need shoes to match your feet specifically if they are going to be comfortable.

Besides finding a shoe that you like the look of, you'll likely be mindful of the environment you will be wearing the shoes in. Will it be wet, have uneven surfaces or smoother but hard concrete or paved areas.

I've found the best method to narrow down my choice is to filter first by the type of environment I'll be wearing them in.

The next filter I use is to look at any restrictions on style – do I need dress shoes or will casual style do and do I want a sporty or more restrained look.

Now is the time to look at more technical issues. The next filter is are the shoes made in my size and width – that's easy and why we include it in our summary tables.

The last main points I need to consider is whether they have enough support for my foot style (which is important for any use type) and whether they will match or help any pronation issues I might have (more important if I will be using doing walking exercise than just mooching around).

Only when I have a pool of shoes that match these requirements will I look at cushioning and comfort, which is usually the first thing people look for.

If you focus on cushioning and comfort and mostly ignore the other factors you will NOT end up with shoes that are going to feel comfortable long term and will likely end up with foot pain from a lack of support or bad load distribution.

Assuming you know what style of shoe you need and what type of surface and environment you will be using the shoe in which are intuitive, the next thing to think about is pronation and support – so let's look at those factors.

Understanding Pronation

The Best Men’s Shoes for Walking on a Treadmill 7
Pronation & Supination Showing Right Foot

Overpronation

  • Overpronation happens when your foot rolls inward too much, creating instability when your foot and ankle have trouble supporting your weight and the foot's natural ability to absorb shock is compromised.
  • Overpronation also puts a lot of extra pressure of the big toe and second toe because they bear the brunt of shoving off again with the front of the foot.
  • Stability shoes or shoes with some resistance to torsional twist are useful to resist overpronation
  • Motion control shoes are best for people with collapsed arches (flat feet).

I have a much more in-depth explanation of overpronation on my post covering shoes for overpronators – just skip down to the information section – the link opens in a new tab so you can come back here easily.

Underpronation

  • Underpronation (also called supination) happens when the foot rolls inward at less than 15 percent, which puts more pressure on the outside of your foot and your little toes that take the brunt of the work when pushing off with that foot.
  • Cushioning shoes (also called “neutral shoes”) will provide the kind of flexibility and cushioning you need to correct any difficulties you have with the lack of natural shock absorption.
  • If you underpronate then avoid shoes with motion control or stabilizing technology as they will reduce any natural pronation you do have which is the opposite of what you want.

I have a much more in-depth explanation of overpronation on my post covering shoes for underpronators – just skip down to the information section – the link opens in a new tab so you can come back here easily.

Neutral Pronation

  • During normal pronation, the heel hits the ground first, and then your foot rolls inward about 15 percent to make contact with the ground and support your weight. When you push off with that foot, the workload is distributed evenly across the front of the foot.
  • This is the most common foot type. Normal pronators can choose most types of shoes since any technology to resist twist will be redundant given your foot does not excessively pronate anyway. As for shoes for supinators, these allow for flexibility which is also not an issue for the neutrally gaited.

Check out this cool video to find out more about pronation:

How to Choose Proper Running or Walking Shoes. Best Information.

Measure Your Level of Pronation

Measuring pronation can be a bit more difficult because, while pronation does tend to go along with arch, you usually aren't staring at your feet to see what they're doing when you walk.

How you can determine your level of pronation at home:

Take an old pair of shoes of yours (it doesn't matter if it's a sports or casual shoe) and have a look at the wear pattern on the outer and inner part of the sole.

If the inner part at the toe and heel area is more worn than outside you are most likely an overpronator and should wear motion control or stability shoes (depending on the level of inward rolling).

If there's more abrasion on the outer parts: You might be an underpronator and should consider wearing cushioned walking shoes with a flexible sole.

If the wear and tear is similar on both sides then you have a more neutral gait and can wear pretty much any shoe so just pick the most comfortable as long as it is the right size.

Additional notes

There are several factors that include walking habits you might have developed over the years, issues with the performance of your joints that could affect your gait, and any past injuries that your feet and legs might have suffered.

Many retailers that specialize in walking and running gear usually have someone on staff who can analyze your gait and give you advice on the products you actually need to support your feet.

These products may be as simple as a shoe insert that can help support your arch or may be a little more involved such as a specialized shoe like the ones that can help with plantar fasciitis.

However, these products should not be considered a cure-all if you have any lingering issues with your legs and feet. In cases in which even the best walking shoes might actually fall short of what you need, you may wish to consult a podiatrist for any issues besides the arch that may be affecting your pronation.

A good physical trainer may be able to show you exercises that help correct any bad habits you may have developed and help optimize your joint motion.

When combined with good walking shoes, these professionals can alleviate any existing issues you have with your feet and legs beyond arch and pronation.

Arch is another important consideration when choosing the right walking shoe for your needs and actually goes hand in hand with pronation.

Why You Need Arch Support in Your Walking Shoes 6
Various Types of Foot Arch

Understanding Your Foot Arches

Flat Arches

  • Flat arches are usually accompanied by a tendency to overpronate, are fairly common in people weighing more than 165 pounds and would do well with a shoe that offers better stability and motion control.

High Arches

  • People with high arches have a greater tendency to underpronate and can develop problems with their knees if they do a lot of walking without the right support. Shoes that maximize flexibility and are neutrally cushioned are most likely to give people with a high arch the right kind of support.

Normal Arches

  • People with a normal arch tend to also have normal pronation and can benefit from a stability shoe with a moderate amount of flexibility.

How to Find your Foot Arch Type?

A good way to “measure” your arch is to take a footprint on any flat sheet of paper using methods similar to fingerprinting.

  • Dip your feet in water, shake off the excess and then stand on each foot on a sheet of paper, or better still the cardboard cut from the side of a packing box.
  • Examine the Pattern of your footprint and compare to the image below.

Feet with a flat arch generally give the outline of your entire foot.

Supination or “high arch” will give an impression of mostly the front of the foot and the heel.

With a normal arch, you can see most of the foot in the imprint except for a large part of the inside of your foot.

8 Best Walking Shoes for Overweight Men 5
Which Foot Arch Type Are You?

Differences between Motion Control, Stability and Cushioning Walking Shoes

Motion control, cushioning and stability shoes are not necessarily the same package. In this section, you will learn more about the differences between each shoe type.

Motion Control Shoes

Motion control shoes are generally recommended for people with flat arches and overpronation.

These shoes generally have a thicker midsole made of hard material designed to correct your gait and are a little heavier than most athletic shoes. They also incorporate stiffened bars or rods or other shapes within the midsole and usually running at an angle from outside of the shoe towards the inside.

The purpose of the stiffeners is this. With overpronation, your foot tries to rotate inwards and in so doing twists the shoe along with it. The stiffeners in the sole resist the ability of the shoe to twist and so resist the foot twisting in as the shoe does not want to follow your foot. The result is less overpronation due to the resistance to torsional twist by the shoe.

If the overpronation is severe, it is not a bad idea to use these shoes in conjunction with exercises to correct severe overpronation issues and strengthen the ankle to reduce the risk of the ankle rolling too far which will eventually result in injury.

Best Walking Shoes for Overpronation

Neutral Shoes (Cushioning)

Neutral walking shoes are ones that focus on cushioning instead of motion control and stability. This type of shoe tends to be a little heavier than the stripped-down minimalist styles because they add thicker midsoles (needed for the cushioning materials) and sometimes more durability from tougher outsole materials, though this varies greatly.

Neutral shoes the most common type for people who have high arches and can also be used with orthotics for specific support benefits needed in some circumstances according to your foot shape.

They are more flexible shoes than motion control or stability shoes, allowing for more torsional and longitudinal twist so that your foot can follow its natural path through your stride. They are also suited to supinators generally who need to allow the torsional twist in order to encourage what little pronation they have to occur unrestricted.

Best Walking Sneakers for High Arches

Stability Shoes

Stability shoes provide corrective support that is usually below the level of motion control shoes and is more concentrated in the midfoot area in the form of support. These shoes can cover support needs for people with normal to high arches with a firmer material in the inner part of the shoe called a medial posting.

Some shoes may also have additional features that promote stability but, if it doesn't have the medial posting, it's probably not a stability shoe.

8 Best Walking Shoes for Overweight Men 1
Plantar Fasciitis from Overstressed Arches

Are you Suffering from Plantar Fasciitis?

There are also walking shoes that can help with painful foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis, a condition in which the ligament that connects your heel to your toes swells up and makes walking, hiking or jogging painful.

This condition is most common in the middle-aged and people who do a lot of standing, walking or running, such as athletes.

Most doctors will recommend getting the weight off your heels and bottom of your feet as much as possible if you develop plantar fasciitis.

Walking shoes that offer excellent arch support, a firm outsole and a slightly elevated heel can help reduce the “wear and tear” on this ligament while it recovers from the inflammation.

Are Walking Shoes More Suited to Specific Places or Surfaces?

Much of the answer is common sense because different surfaces demand different features.

A hike through short wet grass would need some waterproofing to the ends of the toe box and around the bottom of the shoe just above the joint between upper and midsole and that joint would need to be waterproof. A hike through thoroughly wet ground would need waterproofing throughout the shoe to stop your feet getting soaked – wet skin damages easily. Or maybe you would need a water shoe if walking through water – check out my guide for the best water shoes here.

Are you walking on hard smooth surfaces like concrete roads, paths in the park or hard surfaces at work? You probably don't need waterproofing then, but you do need protection against the shocks as your weight lands on your foot on such unforgiving surfaces.

And there are a myriad of other situations you could think off such as if you are working out at the gym and doing aerobics as well as treadmill walking where you will need a shoe that can cope with sideways forces rather than just the heel to toe pressures that straightforward walking produces.

So the surface and environment on which you intend walking are a definitive factor in what type of shoe you should be choosing and what features it highlights.

What are the Differences between Walking and Running Shoes

​Runners want lightweight, flexible shoes to reduce fatigue and also high shock absorbance materials for the heel and toes because of the greater forces the feet are required to absorb. Materials have weight, so there is a balance between cushioning and weight reduction to be chosen. Walking shoes do not need to be so lightweight and so the focus is on more on comfort than the other factors.

Can running shoes be used for walking?

One common misconception about walking shoes is the idea that it doesn't really matter whether you choose walking or running shoes for fitness walking.

However, running and walking should be considered moderately different in not only the amount of force that the shoe must absorb with each stride but also the parts of the sole that are impacted the most when running or walking.

It can be confusing sometimes because manufacturers tend to market nearly all their shoes as running shoes but the huge variation in balance between cushion and weight blurs the line between whether a shoe is well suited to purely walking or purely running. In any case, a lot of runners have spells of walking as part of their routine.

In the recent past minimalist running shoes have been all the rage but these have been proven to be not so great for your feet and so the fad is on the wane.

Runners land harder on their heels and push-off harder by their toes and so need more cushioning in these areas. But then diabetics for instance also need extra attention in these areas too, though for different reasons. Walking shoes can afford to be lighter than running shoes because the forces to be resisted are lesser, but in the attempt to increase comfort, this is not necessarily the case either.

And then there is the fact that walkers with foot issues need more cushioning as well and there tend to be walkers than runners with foot issues.

Runners and fitness walkers benefit from features that include a more rounded heel and more flexible sole.
In some cases such as severe overpronation, underpronation, or conditions of the feet and legs that require extra support, you may wish to consult with a podiatrist to determine whether lightweight walking shoes, running shoes that offer more support or a specialized combination of orthotics and stability shoes are better for your needs.

In moderate cases, though, walking shoes that offer a good amount of stability and support for fitness walking are actually preferable for fitness walking to make sure your heels are getting a good amount of support.

Finding the proper walking shoes can actually cut down on the risk of an inflamed tendon or any other painful foot condition that can be caused by improper support when combined with spending a lot of time on your feet.

The fact is there is a wide grey area between shoes that runner only focussed shoes and walking only focussed shoes and I hope that my guides can help you steer yourself towards the shoe that is right for you.

Fit is one of the major factors in choosing a shoe and many people do not realize that your adult foot shape and size change over the years. So it is a good idea to measure yourself every couple of years to see if you really are the same size you have been buying for the last decade. You might like to check out my guide on determining your correct shoe size and maybe save yourself the hassle and cost of returns.

What to Look for in a Walking Shoe

Determine the surface you will walk on and pick a style of shoe to suit. Determine your gait and pick the technology needed to offer some correction if needed. Determine your foot arch shape to gauge the amount of support you need. Adjust specifics for any foot condition you may have – more room for diabetics or bunions and more supportive cushioning for plantar fasciitis for example. Lastly, choose the one you like the look of and do not get hung up on whether it is labeled a running shoe or walking shoe.

Focus on fit because the most common cause of foot pain and fatigue is simply shoes that do not fit right.

If you are an overpronator try holding the shoe with one hand at the heel and the other at the toes and twist. If the shoe is hard to twist it will likely be a stability or motion control shoe suited to overpronators particularly.

If you twist and the shoe twists with just a little resistance then it is suited to anyone who does not have an overpronation issue, which is most people. If it offers no resistance at all then it is probably one to put back as it is too insubstantial and will offer no support.

Then look at the uppers – are they breathable, allowing air to circulate in the shoe and aerate your foot to keep them drier?

Look at the insole and give it a poke – does it have some give in it and feel a bit cushioned?

Check out the lacing opening especially if you have a low or high instep. Are there plenty of eyelets to vary lacing for a good fit and is the opening wide enough to provide a range of widths between opened up and tightened together.

How to Test Whether a Shoe is a Good Fit

Put the shoe on. Your heel should feel stable in the shoe and not slide around. The collar of the shoe should not be pushing into your Achilles. The shoe should not feel overly tight across the midfoot area (a common problem as shoe lasts are empirically skimpy in this area). There should be about the thickness of your thumb space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe and it should fit slightly snug.

Rock your feet from side to side – does the shoe offer at least some resistance? It should!

The overall feel should be that you can barely feel the shoe whilst standing still. If it is pressing anywhere then it is too small in that area but maybe adjusting the laces can sort it out. If not try a different size or brand with a different shape last.

Next, raise up your heel as if you are about to walk off into the distance. Is there is any pressure on your foot? Maybe the top of the shoe is creasing and pressing uncomfortably on your instep? Maybe you toes are pushing into the end of the shoe? In either case, try a different size or brand with a different shape.

Lastly, walk about in the shoes naturally and make sure they feel comfortable and slightly snug.

If they pass all these tests then the shoe should serve you well.

How Many Pairs of Shoes Do I Need?

You need as many pairs of shoes as the types of walking you do, the number of different surfaces you walk on and the social environments you encounter.

You'll know you have too many if you have more than three different pairs of shoes to choose from given any particular set of circumstances.

And if your shoes have more room in your bedroom than your clothes do then you probably have the balance skewed and need a psychiatrist more than a podiatrist!

Lastly a little tip whilst traveling. It is good to rotate your shoes to allow them to air between uses. But the weight of your baggage makes many pairs of shoes impractical to cart around.

Pick your favorite shoes, maybe a couple of pairs, wear the heaviest and invest in a few pairs of quality insoles that you can swap between shoe uses. This will enable you to freshen up the shoes that you will be wearing more often than usual.

NIB // How many pairs of shoes do I own?

How to Last – Walking All Day

The key to not having feet ready to drop off if you are on your feet all day is mostly to do with the shoe but also to do with how often you do it.

If you are starting a job all day which requires you walking all day, then it is a very good idea to get into the habit beforehand. If you have been working on a computer sitting on your derriere all day for the last 12 months then do not expect your feet to be happy carrying you around all day all of a sudden.

If this is your situation then get out and into a walking routine a month beforehand to get your feet a little used to the situation and to check the shoes you have are up to the job.

As for shoes that are up to the job, first make sure you have the fit right, then make sure you have enough support and lastly make sure they are nice and cushioned. If walking all day cushioning is more important and if standing all day then support is the more important.

Lastly, make sure any shoes you intend to wear are properly broken in and resist the temptation to save that new pair for a brilliant first impression in your new environment. The impression will last longer in your poor feet than anywhere else.

Some of the best walking shoe brands

People who have tried motion control or stability shoes have indicated that it can be tricky to find a pair that works for them, so it's worth trying several brands to find the pair that best fits your support needs and possibly even looking online for a better selection.

new balance logo

New Balance has made the fact that its shoes are made in the USA a major selling point and many of its women's walking shoes feature a lightweight EVA foam to save on the weight of the sole without sacrificing cushioning. For an especially good orthotic shoe from New Balance, look for their Dunham line, which features the ability to replace the removable footbed with custom orthotics.

asics logo

ASICS' popular GEL and GT lines focus on advanced cushioning systems and guidance systems that encourage proper gate.

skechers logo

Skechers is one of the leading athletic shoe manufacturers in the USA, besides athletic sneakers, they also offer lifestyle apparel. But still, their main sales products are shoes. When you are doing a lot of walking activity in the summer months: Skechers is offering some of the best walking sandals for women in their product line.

caterpillar logo

If your job requires you to be on your feet all day, you might especially look at the Caterpillar brand that is famous for producing durable shoes for people like you who work with those famous yellow heavy-duty machines.

There are some specialized orthopedic brands (Example: Vionic) that can be a bit pricier but may be more helpful when it comes to finding a pair that suits your needs.

What to consider before buying?

When shopping for a pair of walking shoes for ladies, the return policy of the retailer is one important factor to allow for the return of any pairs that just aren't working for you after you get them home.

Your orthopedic specialist may be able to recommend options and, in some cases, you may be better off shopping at some highly specialized stores or looking online to find what you need even if it means spending a bit more than you normally would for a pair of shoes.

Keep in mind that some shoes may solve one problem but cause another if you do not address any underlying issues that may be affecting your gait, so pay attention to any warning signals your feet may be sending you that show up within a few weeks of buying a pair.

Many experts also recommend shopping for shoes in the evening, when your feet are usually swollen after a full day on your feet.

Personally, I like to buy my shoes on Amazon.com – most of the time they offer the cheapest prices and have a wide selection of models to choose from. I order multiple sizes so I can test which pair fits me best. The other pairs go back at no shipping costs – I never had a problem with their return policy.

Do you often walk or work on hard surfaces? Check out my guide about the best shoes for walking on concrete all day.

Conclusion

The most important thing to consider when shopping for the best walking shoes for women 2019 is that you should never settle for something that almost works even if it means spending a few extra bucks or putting in some extra effort to find exactly what you need.

Even when an orthopedic shoe costs more than $100, that's less expensive and painful than dealing with issues with your legs and feet that occur because they weren't getting the support (cheap shoes) they need while participating in fitness efforts like walking.

If anything at all makes you uncomfortable while shopping, including the occasional pushy salesman or a shoe department full of options that would have worked if they were just a little wider or came up a little more on the ankle, it's perfectly acceptable to just walk away and look elsewhere.
Sellers of women's walking shoes should center around your unique needs rather than trying to fit you into a pair of shoes that just aren't working. They care about their bottom line and you care about keeping the bottoms of your feet healthy with a pair of shoes that can correct problems with overpronation or underpronation by giving you the extra boost you need to correct your gait.
That may mean having a list of requirements from your orthopedic specialist in hand to show the salesman, but it's worth it to get exactly the shoes you need.

Other Posts You May Find Useful:

Beginners Guide to Nordic Walking

Best Water Shoes

Benefits & Pitfalls of Walking on the Beach

Best Women's Winter Boots

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