There’s nothing more enjoyable than a long walk in pleasant weather. But, if you're wearing the wrong kind of shoes, the experience can turn sour quickly, with you returning home with pinched toes, blisters or worse.
Kickstart your walking program with trainers that are made for low-impact cardio. The best shoe will absorb shock from the moment your heel strikes the ground and shifts to midstance, with neutral cushioning in the bed. It's important to avoid bulky kicks, too, to keep your gait as light as possible.
A carefully designed walking shoe can even help avoid common foot injuries and alleviate joint pain caused by an ill-fitting pair. US-based Harvard Health Publishing advises a wide toe box with enough length, so that there's half an inch (1.27cm) space past the longest toe. If you need greater flexibility on walks, make sure the shoe can be bent in half from toe to heel.
We did the research to curate the best-rated pairs of women's walking shoes that'll provide cushion, shock absorption and a steady grip for your feet. We've also picked the best men's walking shoes, and drawn up a list of specific trainers to wear at the gym.
You can check the availability of your preferred colour and size, and avail of Amazon Prime’s same-day delivery to give them a trial run.
1. Best Overall: Brooks Ghost 14 Running Shoe
- Approved for people with diabetes
- Soft midsole cushioning that doesn't feel unstable
- Crash pad system to absorb shock from heel to toe
- Great for training, running, cycling, walking and more
- Some reviewers needed insoles
Currently, the internet's favourite shoe, Brooks Ghost 14 is a long-term investment for serious walkers. For starters, they're a certified diabetic shoe by the PDAC A5500 guidelines, meaning the Ghost 14 pair reduces the risk of foot ulcers and sores in people with diabetes. It's also been given the stamp of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). The shoes are made for road running, training, the gym and walking. Every step is cushioned by a system of shock absorbers, which aid in a smooth heel-to-toe transition. It's fitted with soft midsole cushioning for gentler landings, but one that doesn't feel too squishy or unstable, either. Reviewers who walk several kilometres daily leave five stars across the board, with many finding relief from the pain they previously experienced in various pairs. Recommendations pour in from nurses, physical education teachers and trainers. Sizes are available in both narrow and wide.
2. Best for Travel: Skechers Go Walk Joy Walking Shoes
- Excellent insole cushioning
- Comfortable slip-on style
- Great option for a travel shoe
- Breathable fabric
- Easy to wash
- Some reviewers advise sizing down
- Can wear out quickly
They're not glamorous or fancy, but reviewers say these are the best walking shoes by a mile, especially if anyone's experiencing knee or ankle pain. With over 27,000 five-star reviews, the Skechers Go Walk Joy sneakers make walking a delightful activity, with an easy slip-on design. The insole has an air-cooled Goga mat that has a high rebound factor and the midsole has responsive 5GEN cushioning, which is just Skecher's own EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam. The upper layer of the shoe is breathable mesh, so it’s easy to machine wash. Make sure to check not just your foot’s length but also its width, to get a pair of Skechers that are best suited to the entire shape of your feet. There are wide sizes available as well. Buyers compare them to socks, and note how they keep their feet pain-free after treading over concrete, gravel and cobblestone paths.
2. Best for Small Feet: New Balance 411v1 Cush+ Comfort Walking Shoes
- Ultra-soft midsole
- More suitable for rough, hard terrain
- Shorter tongue for small feet
- Sizes are available in narrow width
- Easy to clean
- Run small for bigger feet
Small feet with narrower widths will find their match better in New Balance's 411v1 trainers. These shoes lack the all-mesh upper often associated with walking shoes, but still offer breathability from perforated sides. The DynaSoft midsole cushioning provides plush interiors, along with an EVA foam insert for all-day comfort underfoot. With zonal support, your foot feels locked in and stable, even with a 10mm drop. Reviewers in the nursing profession, who spend long hours on their feet, swear by these shoes, saying they're ideal for all-day wear. Others who have plantar fasciitis (an inflammation that causes heel pain) and had back surgery leave five stars. The aesthetics are clean and go along with anything in your wardrobe.
3. Best Value: Under Armour UA W Charged Impulse 3
- Breathable mesh upper
- Firmer padding in the heel and softer foam in the front
- Great for long hours on the feet
- No heel
- Some reviewers say it can pinch at the toes
The Under Armour Charged Impulse 3 double as running shoes so you don't have to change when you head out for a run or to the gym. Engineered with a mesh upper and a bootie design that hugs the midfoot, these shoes have a great fit and feel at a value price. There's added padding around the ankle collar and even under the tongue for an incredibly comfortable feel when running, and the midsole ranges from firm in the heel to soft in the forefoot for better support. Reviewers pull through 12-hour shifts and long walks without experiencing any fatigue. If you have wide feet, however, check out our next pick below.
5. Best for Wide Feet: Hoka One Clifton 8 Women's Running Shoes
- Breathable and cooling
- Supportive through long hours
- EVA midsole cushion
- Extended crash pad to absorb shock
- Those with narrow feet will find their toes sliding
For some reviewers, these Hoka One Clifton 8 shoes rival the Brooks - they're roomy in the toe box, secure in the heel and support the feet during pretty much any activity. Like the Brooks Ghost, these have an extended crash pad to absorb shock with every strike. There's also the compression-moulded EVA midsole that's firm when needed and soft on harder terrain. Happy buyers say that walking in these is like walking on pillows, with many pointing out that they have plantar fasciitis. There's no case of sweaty feet nor any leg pain after long walks or shifts, they add.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh47.41 for 12 months with select banks.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.