We spent 4 weeks testing 13 different types of walking sneakers to come up with this list of the top 10 best walking sneakers. We considered insole, heel collar, midsole material, breathability, versatility, and outsole. Our top pick was New Balance Men’s MX608V4 because it has just the right balance of all the features we look for in a good pair of walking sneakers. The IMEVA insole offers great comfort and cushioning while the dual-density foam heel collar is comfortable right out of the box. This pair is versatile enough for long-distance walking, gym, and as casual wear. We especially loved the great value for money with multiple features at a reasonable price.
Walking Sneakers Buying Guide
What Are Walking Sneakers?
The idea of walking sneakers is shoes that are designed so you can walk in comfortably for long distances. You may walk long distances for your daily commute or exercise, or tend to stand on your feet for prolonged periods of time. The right pair of sneakers helps to avoid calluses, blisters, and other common injuries. Generally speaking, walking sneakers have better shock absorption, have better circulation and weigh less than ‘regular’ sneakers.
What to Look For In the Best Walking Sneakers
As you soon discover while browsing your options, not all sneakers are the same. There are very specific features that you would want to see on walking sneakers compared to casual shoes. We used these very same features to determine our top 5 best walking sneakers.
Heel Collar: the sneaker’s heel collar should offer padding to protect the ankle and ensure the shoe fits properly.
Achilles Tendon Protector: should fit seamlessly around the heel. The idea is to protect the Achilles tendon from stress and undue pressure while walking.
Midsole: this may be made with air, foam or gel. Whatever the material, the insole should offer padding to absorb shock every time your foot hits the ground.
Insole: again, the insole should be padded to offer arch and foot support while walking. Removable insoles are preferable since you can swap them with options that better fit your walking needs.
Outsole: this is the outer bottom of the shoe that touches the ground as you walk. A good outsole should give proper traction, especially on slippery surfaces. Opt for threads, grooves or other features specifically designed to provide good traction.
Shoe features aside, you need to make sure that the sneaker you choose fits correctly.
Length and Width: measure your shoe size before buying to ensure that you are getting the right sneaker. A sneaker that is too wide or narrow can lead to calluses, blisters and other painful problems. While at it, ensure that the toe box offers enough room to wiggle your toes. This extra room helps to prevent or manage hammertoes, bunions, and other such disorders.
It is not only necessary that the sneaker fits comfortably, but that it also supports your specific foot type. Ligaments, muscles, bones, and tendons move lengthwise and from side to side as you walk. During this movement, your body weight is spread in a particular way which is referred to as the arch.
It is necessary that you know your arch type to distinguish what kind of shoe would be the best choice.
How to Measure Arch Type
Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need a doctor’s diagnosis to figure out your arch type. Set a piece of dry cardboard flat on the floor and dip one foot in the water. Make a firm footprint on the cardboard and observe the result.
If your footprint is minimal, you may have a high arch. If you can see nearly the entire footprint, you may have a flat foot or low arch. If you see about half of your footprint (like in the cartoons) you have a normal or medium arch.
Low-arch and flat feet: flat feet and low-arch may cause joint problems and muscle stress while walking. A shoe with motion control is necessary to stabilize your movement.
Neutral-arch feet: neutral arch is just the right balance between flat feet and over-arched. A little stability at the rear of the foot may be necessary while walking. A firm midsole is also the most comfortable for this type of foot.
High-arch feet: the main concern with a high arch is that the foot is not able to adequately absorb shock while walking. This deficiency may lead to muscle and joint pains. A sneaker with lots of cushioning in the midsole is recommended especially for high-impact activity such as running and jumping.
Versatility is an important consideration since you don’t want to own a separate pair of sneaker for every activity conceivable. The perfect walking shoe should offer support for walking and physical activity such as running or working out at the gym. The same pair should also offer enough aesthetics such that you can wear it to a casual event without looking like you came straight from the gym.
The idea is you will walk for long distances in the sneakers so they should have good air circulation. Breathability helps to avoid odor, hot spots, blisters and damp socks. Mesh is a common feature on breathable shoes and has the advantage of keeping your feet cool even on a hot day. We should note that the mesh may add to the overall weight of the shoe so you want to make sure it’s made from lightweight material.
Factor in what climate you walk in most of the time to determine the best type of sneaker. If, for example, you live in a rainy or wet area, choose waterproof upper that is easy to wipe off. For hot or humid areas, you want a lightweight shoe with mesh and made from a synthetic fiber.
Finally, think about any special requirements you might have before making a final selection. If you have a wider foot than most people, you’d first want to make sure that the shoe of your choice caters to your size. If you have orthotic insoles prescribed by your doctor, get a pair with removable insoles.
Choosing a good pair of walking sneakers is a lot like searching for a running shoe. It takes careful consideration and checklist items to ensure that you have the right choice. A good walking pair motivates you to stick to your exercise regimen and helps to avoid common injuries including blisters.
It may be necessary to get your shoe size measured by at a sneaker store just as a precautionary measure. The brands we have suggested here perform well for walking long distances are durable and mostly fairly priced. Remember that the most important factor, all things considered, is the comfort. As long as the shoe fits well and is comfortable to walk in, you don’t have to worry too much about the technical aspects.