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We purchase all the shoes we review at retail with our own money, then we run in them for at least 50 miles. We don't receive free samples from companies and provide only expert, unbiased opinions.

Walking is a great alternative (or complement) to running, especially for overweight individual and absolute beginners. It is no coincidence that virtually every beginner running training plan alternates periods of running with periods of walking.

Walking offers similar benefits to running, both in terms of cardio-vascular exercise and calorie burn: walking three miles burns the same amount of calories as running three miles, while being much gentler on heart, bones, joints and muscles.

We are splitting this guide into two sections: shoes that are meant for walking and running shoes that can be used for walking as well - taking into account the differences in bio-mechanics between the two activities.

Best Walking Shoes for Men

Walkers tend to move from the heel to the balls of the feet — in a rocker like motion. This helps the body’s weight be distributed on the feet more evenly. Feet need to absorb shock of 1-2 times your bodyweight while walking where running should absorb the shock of 2-3 times your bodyweight. It is important to keep this in mind while looking for walking shoes.

When you find the right pair of walking shoes, you will notice an increase in comfort, injuries can help be prevented, and being more comfortable will help you stay active. While trying shoes on, keep in mind they should be comfortable as soon as you put them on. The heel should be snug and not slip out of the shoe. In addition, the shoe will not stretch as you wear it, so if it is a little tight then try a half size up. Walking shoes tend to last around 300-500 miles and then they start to break down. After this, they need to be replaced to keep you comfortable and injury free.

The Brooks Addiction Walker is a heavy but extremely comfortable walking shoe that combines the same BioMoGo DNA technology that Brooks adopts in its running shoe line with a solid full grain leather upper.It is a stable and supportive shoe that allows the use of your own orthotics for extra comfort if needed. It is designed from heel to toe with walking in mind and is one of the best options available.
The Saucony Omni Grid Walker is a popular walking shoe because is offers good arch support, is comfortable, and has a decent amount of cushioning. You can insert your own orthotics or leave in the manufacturers. Either way, the shoe is designed to help alleviate joint pain for those who overpronate.
The New Balance 847 v3 is the most popular walking option of the brand. With a slightly more athletic fit than the other shoes in our selection, this shoe is primarily a walking shoe, but can be (gently) taken through your first running steps as well - given the lower weight and enhanced breathability of this shoe.

Best Walking Shoes for Women

Men and Women have very different bio-mechanics and - to be honest - different taste in shoes. While women can successfully and safely walk in the above recommended shoes, here is a selection of three more shoes that we believe have a better appeal for women.

The Ryka Sky Walk is a female-only lightweight shoe that was designed for fitness walking. The upper is made of breathable mesh with supportive leather overlays and the athletic midsole offers the right support and cushioning while maintaining the lighter weight.
new balance 1165v1
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1165 provide arch support, are lightweight, and comfortable to wear. The insole is removable so you can insert your own custom orthotics if needed. These shoes are good for walking and daily wear.
A light, comfortable and sturdy option from Saucony, the Integrity ST2 is one of the most popular walking shoes for women.Classic athletic design and the ability to fit most type of foot shapes and gaits - the Integrity is a very well priced option for beginner walkers.

Best Running Shoes for Walking

Sometimes you need shoes that can handle both running and walking. The following are versatile shoes that offer comfort and durability, together with a design that can accommodate both activities correctly.

Brooks Addiction 13
The Brooks Addiction 13 is a shoe that stands the test of time. It is a motion control stability shoe designed for those with severe overpronation. The Addiction 13 excels in keeping your feet in line without sacrificing comfort.
The Saucony Echelon 7 features a wide base for stability, comfortable to wear, and is designed to fit orthotics. They are heavier when compared to other shoes, but that is because they are designed for those who underpronate. These shoes offer a good amount of support and have no break in period.
Nike Epic React Flyknit 2 - Pair
Nike’s Epic React Flyknit 2 shoe brings a lot to the table and it all comes together to give runners of all levels a quality daily trainer. It’s a pricey daily trainer, but most will find it’s worth the extra cost. Read full review »

Pros

  • Smooth fitting upper
  • Energizing React Foam
  • Modern styling

Cons

  • Much more expensive than baseline Legend React
  • Lots of exposed foam reduces traction and durability

Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes

Is there actually a difference between walking and running shoes? There is a big difference and it is important to know this before you head to the shoe store.

Walking shoes tend to be stiffer than running shoes and are designed more for comfort, rather than performance. Both types of shoes are pretty flexible, but walking shoes should flex more in the forefoot area where there is more push off. Furthermore, since fitness walkers tend to strike with the heel and roll through the step, a lightweight, flexible, and flatter shoe is best while walking.

Keep in mind that you should stay away from minimalist/barefoot shoes for long walks because they do not provide enough cushioning. Another feature to look for in a walking shoe is a heel that is not flared. Typically, running shoes have a flared heel and walking shoes should not. If you do wear a shoe with a flared heel while walking, it can keep you from rolling naturally through your step.


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