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30 Cute, Comfy Walking Shoes That Are Super Gentle On Your Feet, According To Podiatrists

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Not all walking shoes are built the same way, and determining the best pair to buy with so many options out there can feel overwhelming. Thankfully, Bustle asked podiatrists to weigh in on what to look for in comfortable, gentle walking shoes — and we’ve determined that supportive outsoles, arched insoles, and lightweight, breathable linings are key factors to keep in mind.

Supportive Outsoles

While shopping for a comfortable walking shoe, you’ll want to look for supportive, grippy outsoles with shock absorption. Dr. Bruce Pinker, a board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon, tells Bustle, “Most comfortable walking shoes have an outersole that provides traction and grip that is appropriate for walking. The heel region, or counter, of the shoe should be stable to provide support.” And don’t neglect that shock absorption; he explains: “In the midsole, there should be adequate shock absorption and cushioning to help provide for comfortable ambulation.”

Built-in Arch Support

Next, look for shoes with insole arches. “Insoles work best when they match the contours of your feet,” explains Dr. Jackie Sutera, a nationally-renowned podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member. Many walking shoes are built with arched insoles made of foam — but it’s important to make sure they’re not too squishy. Dr. Sutera says, “The ideal insole material should be firm enough so that when you step down on the arch, it supports the foot and doesn't allow the arch and midfoot to collapse.”

Lightweight, Breathable Material

Finally, you’ll want shoes made with lightweight, breathable material. “An ideal pair of comfortable walking shoes are lightweight, breathable, and fit well for someone's particular biomechanics,” says Dr. Suzanne Levine, an aesthetic podiatrist, podiatric foot surgeon, and the founder of Millennium Podiatry.

While those may be the “big three” of shoe shopping, ambitious shoppers can make their wish list even more detailed by considering things like heel height and wide toe boxes, which are discussed below. Read on for tons of super cozy shoes that meet these criteria and more. Your feet will thank you.

1

These Airy Hiking Sandals With Built-In Arch Support

These hiking sandals check a few important boxes on the comfy shoe checklist. For one, they feature grippy rubber outsoles. For another, they have ideal arch support within the EVA insoles to help prevent your feet from getting overly tired. Plus, the braided rope straps add an element of style to this practical shoe.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12
  • Available colors: 21

2

A Pair Of Durable Sandals With Cute Toe Straps

Not only do these hiking sandals have arch support, but they also have adjustable straps, ensuring you can fit the shoe appropriately to your foot. They also feature a super lightweight insole, so they won’t be too heavy for a long day of walking. The diamond lattice pattern on the outside of the sole is a playful touch, too.

  • Available sizes: 5.5 — 11
  • Available colors: 5

3

The Casual Lighweight Loafers With Cozy Padded Insoles

If you’re looking for a pair of loafers with lightweight, padded insoles, these flats fit the bill. Made from leather, the loafers come in tons of colors and also feature a textured rubber outsole to grip the ground and help prevent slips. The chic exposed stitching and the metal ornament on the side add a layer of flair.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12
  • Available colors: 38

4

These Breathable Walking Shoes You Don’t Need To Lace Up

These slip-on sneakers live at the intersection of convenience and comfort. They feature a grippy sole for stability and a cute sweater collar cuff around the ankle. What’s more, they come with a cushioned insole and a breathable mesh upper to keep things comfortable and dry.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 13
  • Available colors: 18

5

These Mesh Sneakers Made With Flexible Material

These mesh sneakers feature fun and trendy mesh cutouts as well as latex arch support within memory foam insoles, making them both cute and comfortable. Plus, the lining is flexible, which is ideal: “Flexibility at the toes is also important to help provide smooth range of motion,” says Alison Croughan, DABPM, and a podiatrist with Advanced Podiatry.

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

6

A Pair Of Brightly Hued Slip-On Sneakers With Laces

These flexible and comfortable slip-on sneakers are great for walking because they each feature a removable insole that delivers arch support. In addition to the grippy rubber bottom, they’re also made from mesh. And as Dr. Croughan explains, “Shoes with mesh offer better ventilation, especially in warm weather months.”

  • Available sizes: 6 — 10
  • Available colors: 11

7

The Walking Sneakers That Can Go In The Washing Machine

Dr. Suzanne Levine specifically recommends these walking sneakers from Sketchers. She’s big on cushioning for a walking shoe, and this pair delivers with its responsive midsole cushioning. These are also easy to care for: Just toss them in the washing machine whenever they need a cleaning.

  • Available sizes: 5 —13 (with wide and narrow options available)
  • Available colors: 26

8

A Sporty Sneaker With Lots Of Comfort Features

Another option specifically recommended by Dr. Suzanne Levine, these New Balance sneakers are both sporty and comfortable for walking. They’re both lightweight and mesh, checking several priority boxes, but they also have a memory foam cushioned insole, making them a prime choice for long walks.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12 (with wide and narrow options available)
  • Available colors: 12

9

The Eco-Friendly Sneaker With Lots Of Cushioning

Another specific recommendation Dr. Suzanne Levine, these running sneakers have the Adidas’ Cloudfoam padding in the midsole to offer comfort and support for walking. They’re also environmentally conscious, as the upper of the shoe is made from 50% recycled materials. The rubber sole adds extra traction, too.

  • Available sizes: 9.5

10

The Leisure Sneakers That Come With Orthotic Arch Support

It’s easy to see why these leisure sneakers are another pick from Dr. Suzanne Levine. They feature a removable, orthotic insole, plus a podiatrist-designed footbed that helps with high arches, bunions, and more. They contour to your foot’s curves to give you tons of comfortable support.

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11 (with wide options available)
  • Available colors: 8

11

A Pair Of Athletic-Looking Slip-On Walking Shoes

These walking shoes are easy to slip on and off and are made from breathable mesh, making them a good choice according to sources. They also have a memory foam insole for arch support. The textured, nonslip rubber sole provides traction and stability, too.

  • Available sizes: 5.5 — 10
  • Available colors: 12

12

These Boat Shoes You’ll Want To Wear On And Off Deck

If you’re looking for a pair of walking shoes that up the style and sophistication level beyond basic sneakers, these boat shoes are right on the money. They’ve each got a cushioned insole and a grippy outsole, making them comfortable and practical. The linen-like textile upper is a nice touch, too.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12 (with wide options available)
  • Available colors: 6

13

The Sandals That Prove Fashion Can Be Comfy

Each of these sandals feature a cushioned, contoured insole for comfort, but the strappy detailing adds style. Plus, they’re made from a flexible material, which our sources point to as a top-quality to look out for when shopping, as it allows for free range of movement. They’re even lightweight, adding yet another comfort benefit to those cute sandals.

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11
  • Available colors: 7

14

The Cute But Durable Tennis Shoes With Great Arch Support

These lightweight tennis shoes have tons of comfort benefits, including nonslip grippy outsoles and memory foam insoles with arch support. The laces are a helpful tool, too. “Walking shoes with laces are preferred to those without for providing a better fit,” explains Dr. Pinker.

  • Available sizes: 5.5 — 9.5
  • Available colors: 11

15

A Pair Of Soft, Faux-Leather Sandals With Adjustable Straps

These cushioned sandals are a walker’s dream. They’re lightweight, so they won’t make you feel weighed down as you move, and they feature adjustable straps so you can customize a close, supportive fit. The insoles are cushioned and the upper is made from attractive vegan leather.

  • Available sizes: 6.5 — 11 (with wide options available)
  • Available colors: 7

16

These Outdoor Sandals That Offer Support & Durability

These active sandals from trusted brand Teva are a solid addition to your comfortable shoe collection. For one, they have sturdy arch support. For another, they have a durable vinyl footbed that stands up to tough use. Plus, they’re lined with breathable mesh to help reduce friction.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 14
  • Available colors: 4

17

A Slip-On Walking Shoe That Works At The Gym Or On The Street

These slip-on walking sneakers deliver the trifecta of comfort. They’re mesh-lined and breathable, feature foam insoles for support, and have grippy rubber outsoles for support and shock absorption. Plus, the pull tab on the back of the heel makes them even more convenient, meaning they’ll be a wardrobe staple in no time.

  • Available sizes: 5.5 — 10
  • Available colors: 13

18

The Casual Slip-Ons With Adjustable Laces

These slip-on sneakers have loads of comfort features and come in plenty of bright hues and neutral colors. They have a ridged rubber sole for traction, wear-resistant memory foam insoles, and a breathable mesh upper. Plus, you get the ease of a slip-on with the customization of laces so you can adjust them to your perfect fit.

  • Available sizes: 7 — 11
  • Available colors: 7

19

These Leopard Print Slip-Ons With Sneaker Ease, But Loafer Style

These slip-on shoes from Sketchers feature a breathable mesh upper and a cooling foam insole. And when it comes to insoles, experts have a lot of helpful tips to share. “The ideal insole material should be firm enough so that when you step down on the arch, it supports the foot and doesn't allow the arch and midfoot to collapse,” Dr. Sutera explains. These fit the bill, with reviewers raving about how comfortable they are.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 13
  • Available colors: 4

20

The Reebok Sneakers That Stand Up To Lots Of Walking

These sneakers from trusted brand Reebok were designed for walking. They feature grippy rubber outsoles along with laces for optimal adjustment, as well as memory foam cushioning. As one reviewer gushed, “I walked a little more than 4 miles wearing these brand new walking shoes with absolutely no pain or discomfort.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12 (with wide options available)
  • Available colors: 3

21

A Pair Of Ultra-Flexible Running Sneakers

These running sneakers are made from breathable, stretchy mesh. The toe box also features a ton of flexibility, which really matters in a shoe — and the nonslip outsoles are lightweight, yet durable. Plus, the insoles are lined with soft, sweat-absorbent memory foam.

  • Available sizes: 5.5 — 13.5
  • Available colors: 8

22

A Walking Shoe That’s A Hybrid Of A Sneaker & A Sock

These walking shoes offer a fun, sock-like silhouette with slip-on convenience and sneaker functionality. Made from mesh, they’re lightweight, extremely soft, and super comfortable, almost like a slipper. Even the insole has venting holes, and the shoe mouth is elastic for a secure fit.

  • Available sizes: 5.5 — 12
  • Available colors: 19

23

These Brightly Hued Sandals With Great Arch Support

These colorful hiking sandals are an excellent addition to your closet due in part to the ideal arch support. The adjustable straps help you ensure a perfect fit, too. Finally, the thick sole provides a bit of height without sacrificing comfort. Dr. Alissa Kuizinas, a board-certified holistic podiatrist, tells Bustle, “A shoe with a zero or low heel-to-toe drop is ideal as it will put the foot into a natural alignment and reduce pressure on the ball of the foot.”

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11
  • Available colors: 14

24

These Cute Faux-Leather Sandals You Can Wear All Day

These flat sandals feature a cute faux leather top and toe strap, plus a whole lot of arch support thanks to an orthotic insole. The heel is contoured in a low heel cup, and the whole shoe is water-resistant. They’ve received an impressive 4.3-star rating after over 3,500 reviewers weighed in, too.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 10
  • Available colors: 6

25

A Pair Of Low-Heeled, Detail-Rich Sandals

These sandals feature attractive geometric details on the patent leather upper with lots of comfort features. The arched footbed features slight shock absorption, and the heel measures just 1 inch, putting in the expert-approved sweet spot for height. Moreover, the rubber outsole also offers up traction.

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11 (with wide options available)
  • Available colors: 3

26

A Cute Heel You Can Feel Good About Wearing

These adorable block heel sandals are a great option for when you need to dress up but still want to be comfortable. They each feature a cute ankle strap and a memory foam insole. Plus, this kind of chunky block heel is expert-approved: “[Chunky heels] are perfect due to the fact they provide greater assistance for walking than stilettos,” Dr. Alireza Khosroabadi, a fellowship-trained foot and ankle specialist explains.

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11 (with wide options available)
  • Available colors: 7

27

The Padded Ballet Flats That Actually Offer Support

Many ballet flats can be sorely lacking in support, but these round-toe ballet flats feature a soft suede-covered insole with arch support and a substantial rubber outsole for extra grip. Plus, the synthetic leather upper of the shoe is super easy to wipe down when it needs a quick cleaning.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 11
  • Available colors: 4

28

These Versatile, Lightweight Tennis Shoes

This pair of tennis shoes is a cute, goes-with-anything staple. They feature hexagonal ridges on the bottom of the rubber outsole for extra grip and are extremely lightweight. The laces are ideal for creating a custom fit, while the removable insoles provide arch support. Throw in a wide toe box and these are great for a long day of walking.

  • Available sizes: 6 — 12
  • Available colors: 22

29

The Round-Toe Flat You Can Easily Dress Up Or Down

These round-toe flats come in all wide sizes, making them ideal for larger-width feet. Featuring a super-soft padded footbed made of foam, plus they’re flexible, allowing for a greater range of motion. The open weave of the fabric upper is even breathable, ensuring you have the ventilation you need on longer walks.

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

30

These Rhinestone-Embellished Slip Ons Lined With Mesh

If you’re looking to add a little sparkle to your shoe collection without sacrificing comfort, try these rhinestoned slip-on shoes. Made from knitted mesh, these lightweight shoes offer good breathability while the soft insoles provide support. The stretchy ankle and pull tab makes them easy to remove, too.

  • Available sizes: 6 — 10
  • Available colors: 8

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