Walking is a wonderful way to exercise and see new places. But, if you don't have comfortable walking shoes your walks will go from wonderful to woeful. In this article you'll learn which features are important when choosing proper footwear for hiking or walking. After the instructions you'll find short reviews of four very comfortable shoe models.
Qualities of comfortable shoes
A good shoe will be stable, provide shock absorption and be lightweight. When it comes to walking cushioning is key. Shoes that have padded tongues and collars eliminate chaffing. Sufficient cushion is vital in a walking shoe (especially when walking on concrete). The shoe must be able to absorb and distribute the impact of walking.
A shoe that stays in place on your foot will provide a comfortable fit. The area where the tongue rests should conform to your foot and keep the shoe secure.
A proper walking shoe will give you stable footing. The outsoles of walking shoes should maintain contact with the ground and provide reliable traction.
Also, it's important to know about your gait type when choosing new footwear. Do your feet roll inward (overpronation) when the sole hits the ground? Do you have flat feet? Do you supinate? These are all considerations you should know about when making your choice. You can find out how to determine your foot and arch type in my guides about the best walking shoes for women and men.
With these qualities in mind, let's move on to the shoe reviews.
The Most Comfortable Shoes for Walking
Here are three reviews of the most comfortable walking shoes that you can wear at work, in you free time and when you're working out.
Saucony Pro Grid Integrity ST2
Some people swear by the need for super lightweight shoes for everyday wear. I beg to disagree.
There is a balance to be struck between lightweight and protection to the sole.
Most lightweight shoes have insubstantial midsoles and lack the material needed to provide good cushioning.
So whilst the weight factor is beneficial and fine for all day office wear, you'll be cursing when you step on a pebble whilst rushing for the cab.
The Saucony ST2 has a great balance of cushioning and support that will be great for everyday walking.
The midsole is thick enough to even out the surface irregularities and gives good stability.
It is great for those who overpronate, good for supinators too (which might sound wrong and if so this article might help explain why). It is also helpful to those with flat feet and plantar fasciitis.
The fact it has removable footbeds to enable your custom orthotics to be fitted should be of help to those who need additional support. You might need to up a half size in that case.
The Asics Gel-Tech Walker NEO 4
The Gel-Walker is a lightweight shoe that is constructed from synthetic fabrics. The tongue and collar are padded and made from a breathable high-tech fabric.
The shoe uses an asymmetrical lacing system. These qualities allow the upper shoe to move with the foot in a natural way. The toe box has a medial side bunion window that prevents pinching during walking.
The NEO has a removable gel insole and the base is made of Solyte 45 material.
The two provide long-lasting support and cushion. The outsole of the Walker is a rubber sole that offers reliable traction.
Favorable qualities include a precise fit, durability, cooling mesh fabric and a weight of 1.6 ounces.
Common complaints are the high placement of the arch, difficulty getting the correct size and lack of color choices.
New Balance Women's WW769v1 Country Walking Shoe
The New Balance 759 is an attractive brown suede walking shoe. The collar and tongue are padded for comfort.
The upper part of the shoe is made of a breathable mesh fabric.
It is equipped with ABZORB cushioning to create a comfortable insole. The 759 features Stability WEB, this offers comfortable support for the midfoot.
The sole of the walking shoe is constructed out of a tough rubber that provides stability and traction. This is a shoe that is designed for tougher terrain.
Women like the stability and support that the outsole provides, the comfortable fit, good arch support, and high quality.
Some women were not happy with the durability, narrow fit, and small sizes.
ECCO Women's Arizona Sneaker
The ECCO is a cute stylish leather sneaker. ECCO has incorporated a unique moisture wicking fabric into their shoe.
This fabric lines the inner shoe and covers the padded tongue and collar.
Unlike other walking shoes, the ECCO has a thinner sole that gives a natural low foot position. To compensate for the shallow sole the sneaker uses an injected polyurethane cushion. Because polyurethane is dense it is still able to provide adequate shock absorption.
Positive features are a comfortable fit, flat sole and a snug fit on the heel.