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The Most Comfortable Walking Shoes, According To A Podiatrist

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By Rachel Cavanaugh and BDG Commerce
Updated: 
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Whether you're traveling, running errands, exercising, or spending time on your feet at work, you’ll need to be armed with the most comfortable walking shoes to keep your feet properly supported. According to Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab Member, the three most important “foot-friendly features” to look for in the most comfortable walking shoes are “cushioning, arch support, and shock absorption.”

The Expert

Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab Member who focuses on the prevention and treatment of foot pathology. She received her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. She is also board-certified in foot surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons.

What To Look For When Shopping For The Most Comfortable Walking Shoes

Support

As Dr. Sutera noted above, the most comfortable walking shoes should first and foremost be outfitted with supportive soles. According to Dr. Sutera, that means they have a “contoured arch, cushioned insole, and deep-seated heel cup.” Look for insoles equipped with polyurethane or EVA foam, which offer both durability and arch support.

Flexibility

Additionally, the most comfortable walking shoes need to be flexible. If you've ever spent an afternoon walking around town in stiff, clunky shoes, then you know it's a recipe for blisters and soreness. Materials such as mesh, nylon, and other stretchy fabrics are ideal. That said, you still want good traction to keep you steady on your feet. Make sure you have sturdy rubber soles equipped with reliable treads.

Breathability

Breathability is another important factor — no one finds sweaty soles comfortable. The same materials that provide stretch typically breathe well, too, so stick with mesh, nylon, and comparable fabrics. It's also great if they're moisture-wicking and antibacterial to handle sweat.

Shoe Style

While you can technically walk in any style of shoe, Dr. Sutera strongly recommends sticking to sneakers if you’re walking long distances or for exercise. In particular, Dr. Sutera says that “walking sneakers should have a thicker sole and preferably have a ‘heel to toe’ drop, meaning that the back of the heel is slightly thicker than the front of the shoe.”

But if you must wear sandals or flats, look for styles that have those aforementioned supportive features. “Flats should have a well-padded insole and preferably a rubber outsole to absorb shock and cushion the foot,” Dr. Sutera recommends. “They should not be flimsy or very flat.” Strappy styles are also generally more supportive than open styles.

Shop The Most Comfortable Walking Shoes

In a hurry? Here are the top three most comfortable walking shoes on Amazon:

1. The Overall Best Walking Sneakers: adidas Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe

2. The Best Slip-On Walking Sneakers: TIOSEBON Athletic Walking Shoe

3. The Best Sandals For Walking: Megnya Walking Sandals

With these considerations in mind, here's a list of the most comfortable walking shoes in every category.

1

The Overall Best Walking Sneakers

What's great about them: With over 55,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, and a 4.6-star rating overall, it's no surprise that the adidas Cloudfoam Pure Shoe is a number-one best-seller on the site. It's designed for running, so needless to say, the stretchy and breathable mesh upper, memory foam liner, and plush cushioning are also ideal for walking long distances. The rubber sole prevents slipping, while the heel platform offers superior shock absorption. Get this pair in over 27 colors.

According to fans: "My feet usually are sore after being on them all day but not anymore. I wore these for a 4 day trip to Disney World of walking over 5 miles a day and standing in lines for hours and my feet never hurt. I was so impressed of how comfortable and how light they were. The cushion was just what I needed."

  • Available sizes: 4.5 — 12
  • Available colors: 27

2

The Best Slip-On Walking Sneakers

What's great about them: Some people want an athletic look without the hassle of laces. Cue this walking shoe, which has a sleek silhouette, a non-slip sole, and a latex arch insert, much like your favorite sneakers. The mesh upper is breathable and takes the place of laces since it's stretchy, flexible, and foot-conforming. As a result, you can pull it on and kick it off with ease — but it stays put while you're on the move.

According to fans: "So very comfortable. Great walking shoe. Top part is some kind of knit mesh fabric that feels very sock-like, so it doesn't put any pressure on any part of the top of the foot, which means no blisters or rubbing anywhere."

  • Available sizes: 5 — 13
  • Available colors: 33

3

The Best Sandals For Walking

What's great about them: Specifically designed for walking, reviewers say these lightweight trekking sandals are super comfy. The adjustable straps are made of flexible but sturdy braided nylon for support across your midfoot, and they have durable midsoles made from top-grade EVA foam. What's more, the strong rubber soles have shock-resistance to prevent foot fatigue, as well as firm, anti-slip traction. They come in 16 cool colors, so you can match any outfit.

According to fans: "My feet feel like I'm walking on clouds. I cannot believe how comfortable they are for the price. I bought the black in my size 8 and they fit perfectly. They are very well made, very sturdy, the braiding is impeccable, which is shocking for [the price]. I will be buying more."

  • Available sizes: 5-5.5 — 12
  • Available colors: 16

4

My Favorite: The Best Fashion Slip-On Sneakers

What's great about them: I personally have these casual, lightweight slip-on sneakers, and I can attest to how comfortable they are, even when walking long distances. They're built with ultra-soft mesh that's both flexible and breathable (so you won't get too hot). In the back, they boast tough leather heels that are durable while also looking sleek. The footbeds feature reactive, dual-density polyurethane that's lined with moisture-wicking microfiber to control sweat, and they’re cushioned for ample arch support. Best of all, they slip on and off with ease.

According to fans: "I’m amazed how comfortable these shoes are! They fit perfect, true to size. Mesh toe keeps your feet cool and the comfy soles allow me to walk on them all day."

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12
  • Available colors: 24

5

The Best Ballet Flats For Walking

What's great about them: While not the most supportive shoes on this list, these ballet flats will nevertheless do in a pinch if you’re looking for a classic, stylish shoe that’s comfortable enough to walk in. They’re made of flexible faux leather and lined in soft, breathable microfiber, while the rounded toe keeps your toes feeling comfortable and free, not squished. The rubber soles are textured for grip, despite being thin and sleek. The footbeds are padded, but if you do plan to walk long distances in these flats, consider slipping in a pair of cushioned insoles for more arch support.

According to fans: “I have them in two colors and they are AWESOME! [...] They are durable enough that the soles are not wearing thin, even after a TON of nearly constant wear this fall. They have gone on walks, through the factory, around the office, to holiday parties, etc. Very versatile and I can wear them ALL DAY without my [toe] box or heels getting sore.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 15 (available in wide sizes)
  • Available colors: 34

6

Another Pair Of Cushioned, Ultra-Supportive Adidas Sneakers

What's great about them: Another popular adidas option, the QT Racer 2.0 Running Shoe is equipped with all the features you need in a comfortable walking shoe: The upper is made of breathable, stretchy mesh; the midsole is cushioned with the brand’s signature Cloudfoam for comfort and support; and the outsoles are lightweight yet durable to grip onto uneven or slippery terrain. On top of that, the heel loop helps you slide them on smoothly, and they lace up with ease. Of course, these are just as suitable for other exercises as they are long-distance walking, so consider these your all-purpose workout shoe — though the classic style looks cute for everyday wear, too. Choose from 36 colors.

According to fans: “I got these to wear to work and they are perfect! The are very comfortable for all day wear and provide great arch support. I typically wear a 10 and they fit exactly as expected.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12
  • Available colors: 36

7

The Best Loafers For Walking

What's great about them: Dinner, work meeting, interview — if any of the aforementioned activities include some walking, the VenusCelia loafer is the way to go. Despite its sleek leather construction and traditional loafer design (in your choice of 32 colors), this shoe is actually great for walking. That's all due to its anti-slip outsole, foot-massaging bottom, and memory-foam insole. According to reviewers, even though they look professional, they're “like walking on a cloud.”

According to fans: “I am 6 months pregnant and work in a busy office where I am back and forth between meetings all day long; sometimes walking between office buildings that are located on the same street. [...] I highly recommend for pregnant women or anyone who does a lot of walking at work but can't wear tennis shoes.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12
  • Available colors: 33

8

These Sock-Style Sneakers With Unparalleled Support

What's great about them: Made with extensive walking in mind, these sock-style slip-on shoes offer a striking degree of comfort. The uppers are built with stretchy mesh, and the insole is made with perforated air cushion technology for breathability and unparalleled comfort. Meanwhile, a tough, durable, thick sole keeps you stable, but they’re surprisingly lightweight, so you can move with ease.

According to fans: “Love Love Love these shoes. I purchased these shoes for work. I walk on cement 8 hours a day. These shoes are comfy and supportive. They give me a little height. I’m 4ft 11, so I can use all the lift I can get! No rubbing, no blisters, no laces, just a perfect fit. I wear a 5.5 and more times than not, I get stuck with a 6. I was extremely excited to find the perfect fit. Order these you will not be disappointed!”

  • Available sizes: 5.5 — 11
  • Available colors: 12

9

The Best Sports Sandal

What's great about them: Yes, they have a breathable, open design, but these aren't your average sandals. The Skechers On-The-Go 600-Brilliancy sport sandal is designed to prevent blisters with its soft, adjustable fabric straps, support your arch with its high-rebound insole, and reduce fatigue thanks to its lightweight, synthetic sole. In fact, some reviewers have worn them on hikes without experiencing any discomfort (especially since they come in wide sizes, too).

According to fans: "I like to be able to walk, run, and hike among other activities in the summer months and not have to wear hot tennis shoes. I was very pleased when I tried this sandal on. It's very comfortable and has good support with the strap that goes across your toes. It's also light weight and easy to wash and dry. Great to wear in place of flip flops if you still want to be comfortable, have more support, and not worry about a flip flop coming off."

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12 (available in wide sizes)
  • Available colors: 9

10

A Pair Of Stylish Slip-On Sneakers With Cushioned Insoles

What's great about them: If you don’t want to sacrifice style for function, these cute slip-on sneakers are a great choice. The slip-on silhouette and quilted details are a step up from your basic sneaker — you can wear them with everything from jeans to dresses, and even to a casual dinner or office. But with an ultra-cushioned insole for support, padded heel to prevent blisters, and a grippy outsole, they’ll keep your feet comfortable and fatigue-free if you’re spending the day on your feet. Choose from four neutral shades that go with everything: White, Black, Taupe, and Olive.

According to fans: “Comfortable walking shoes. Easy to put on and take off. The shoes seem to fit a wide foot well and it feels like you're walking in clouds. Super comfortable. These are very cute for shoes that you can wear all day long. The quilted design adds a nice touch to an overall basic slip on shoe. I can wear these all day and not complain about any foot pain.”

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11
  • Available colors: 4

11

These Fan-Favorite Sneakers With A Cool, Blade-Style Design

What’s great about them: Boasting over 43,000 perfect ratings, these ultra-cool sneakers are an Amazon fan-favorite. The uppers are constructed of stretchy knit mesh, the honeycomb outsole is bouncy for shock absorption, and the insoles are padded and cushioned. Altogether, you’ll feel like you’re walking on clouds, no matter how many miles you clock. These blade-style sneakers come in 17 eye-catching colors, like vibrant peach (pictured), neon green, and pink camouflage.

According to fans: “When I tell you these are some of the most comfortable sneakers right out of the box I have ever owned! [...] DAY 1 wearing these my feet feel incredible! I am a Phlebotomist and I'm on my feet a lot. My feet don't hurt, my legs don't hurt, my back doesn't hurt! [...] They are so supportive, they have cushion pads at the ball and heel of your foot. The heel of the shoe is sturdy and firm. The quality (IMO) is that of any $100 shoe.”

  • Available sizes: 5.5 — 10.5
  • Available colors: 17

12

A Pair Of Strappy Sandals That Are Comfy Enough To Walk In

What’s great about them: These Plaka Flat Sandals aren’t specifically designed for walking, but according to reviewers, they’re nevertheless a comfortable — and stylish — choice for being on your feet. They’re made with a textured, flexible outsole, and the braided nylon straps are adjustable for a proper fit. The straps are also woven specifically to prevent blisters and chafing. These don’t offer much in the way of arch support, since the insoles aren’t contoured or cushioned; so if you tend to struggle with foot pain, you might want to seek out a more supportive option.

According to fans: “My family and I visited Europe a couple months ago and I wore these most days my family and I toured the cities by foot. [...] It was unbelievable how comfortable they were throughout all of our European vacation; I honestly never felt the slightest of foot pain. No chafing or uncomfortable pokes from the braided straps, even after hours of museum lines and cobblestone ventures, during which I developed a fun foot tan!”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 11
  • Available colors: 26

Expert:

Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, board-certified podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab Member

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