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These 8 Best Walking Shoes for Women Let You Stroll Safely and Stylishly

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When you’re constantly on the move, the importance of reliable footwear cannot be overstated. Whether you’re conquering city streets, exploring nature trails, or simply navigating your daily routine, walking shoes for women (and men!) can make all the difference. Gone are the days of sacrificing fashion for function—today’s walking shoes seamlessly blend support, technology, and trendy designs, so you can stroll safely and comfortably.

We’re lucky to live in a world where you don’t have to exchange style for support, but in a sea of stylish sneaks, finding your *sole* mate can be confusing. That’s why we chatted with the pros to round up the best of the best walking shoes for women, guaranteed to protect your feet and look good while doing it. The next time you lace up, put your best foot forward with these top picks.


Experts In This Article


The best walking shoes for women, at a glance:

  1. Best overall: Hoka, Gaviota 5, $175
  2. Best for running *and* walking: Brooks, Glycerin 21, $160
  3. Most versatile: Frankie4, Billie, $209
  4. Best arch support: New Balance, Fresh Foam X 1080xv13, $165
  5. Most lightweight: On Running, Cloud 5, $140
  6. Best for city dwellers: Klaw, 528 Walking Shoe, $148
  7. Best for foot pain: Hoka, Clifton 9, $145
  8. Best high-top: Reebok, Freestyle Hi Shoes, $80

Running shoes vs. walking shoes

Caroline McCulloch, DPM, podiatrist and founder of Australian footwear brand FRANKIE4, explains that running shoes have a more technical sole and a mesh upper—the soles are usually quite thick, and made with different materials, as well as wedging to provide specific levels of control. “Such running sole designs aim to combat the higher impact of running, and often to reduce prolonged or excessive pronation,” McCulloch explains, “and though walking shoes can have a thick sole, a slimmer sole can work even better since you experience much lower impact while walking.”

What to look for

As you look for a pair of walking shoes, you’ll want to keep in mind the correct fit, individual support needs, and cushion preference.

According to McCulloch, walking shoes shouldn’t feel heavy, (except for trail shoes, which are specifically designed for uneven surfaces) and instead, should feel like supportive clouds under your feet. Your walking shoes should fit well so you can avoid joint compression and skin discomfort. This goes beyond just your numeric shoe size; many people have wide or narrow feet and need to choose shoes accordingly.

“A footbed designed to prevent or alleviate common foot symptoms is ideal,” McCulloch shares, but above all, comfort is key. She explains: “A good walking shoe has the responsibility to be the most comfortable pair in your wardrobe—as you’re shopping, set the comfort bar sky-high so you prevent problems down the line.”

How do you choose the right size and fit for walking shoes?

Always go with the feel over numerical size! According to McCulloch, if you find your toes hitting the end of your shoe, it can create other issues over time. “Ensure you have enough space at the front so you can comfortably walk in the shoes and not bang against the end,” she says. Similarly, you don’t want too much space so that your shoes are slipping and you have to fight to keep them on—your feet shouldn’t strain while walking around.

Over time, you’ll want to make sure you take good care of your walking sneaks, too. For leather shoes, purchase a good quality leather conditioner and waterproofing spray. “Treat your leather shoes like your skin—keep them moisturized to avoid drying out and wearing down before their time is up,” McCulloch says. You should avoid getting your leather shoes too wet, but if you do end up in a rainstorm, always dry your shoes in a shaded place out of direct sunlight. And for non-leather shoes, you can make an easy at-home cleaning mix with laundry detergent and water. Just spot clean and leave in the shade to dry.

Finally, “Remember, your shoes should be worn!” McCulloch says, “A lot of materials aren’t designed to sit in your closet and only be worn once a year, so keep your shoes on a rotation and wear them often to get the most out of them.”

The 8 best walking shoes for women

Best overall: Hoka, Gaviota 5 — $175.00

Available sizes: 5-12 (in select half sizes)

Hokas are beloved by nurses and other healthcare professionals, so they’re a tried and true option for those of us who have to stand for long periods of time. And the Hoka Gaviota 5 is also a favorite among podiatrists, particularly for its comfort level. For Jason Spector, DPM, MS, AACFAS, a board-certified podiatrist in Florida, this shoe is perfect for extra support and control.

“I like the Gaviota as it provides the highest degree of stability and cushioning,” Spector says. He likes that it also has increased shock absorption, provides comfort, and reduces the impact on the foot, which, “may help during long periods of standing and walking.”

Weight: 9.10 oz.

Heel-to-toe drop: 6 mm

Colors: 9

  • Plush tongue and collar
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Soft EVA foam
  • Stabilizing H-Frame™ technology
  • MetaRocker for propulsion
  • Pricey
  • Rocker bottom not ideal for those with balance issues

Best for running *and* walking: Brooks, Glycerin 21 — $160.00

Available sizes: 5-12 (in select half sizes and two widths)

For the best of both worlds, you can’t go wrong with the Brooks Glycerin 21. Crafted for road running but just as great for walking, you’ll say goodbye to aching feet and hello to cloud-like cushioning. The Glycerin 21 is engineered with DNA LOFT technology, cradling your feet in luxurious softness without compromising responsiveness. The cushion feels great whether you’re miles into your run or walk, as does the mesh upper, which keeps your feet cool no matter what you’re doing.

Weight: 8 oz.

Heel-to-toe drop: 10 mm

Colors: 7

  • Versatile
  • Nitrogen-infused cushioning
  • Soft and smooth transitions
  • Made with recycled materials
  • Breathable

Most versatile: FRANKIE4, Billie — $209.00

Available sizes: 5-13 (in select half sizes)

For a unique spin on a contemporary style, the Billie shoe from FRANKIE4 is the perfect hybrid of support, comfort, and style. Aesthetically, the Billie shoes specifically have a sleek silhouette made with a side zipper and butter-soft leather that can be worn with just about anything.

But inside is what counts; the shoe has a patented footbed that lifts, cradles, and cushions your heel, and has arch support to help with better lower-level limb alignment. There are two cushioning zones to help prevent any foot pain, and the shoes come with a Sole Saver Pack of different footbeds that allows you to mix and match components for the perfect fit. Plus, all of the materials are chosen with impact in mind, including responsibly sourced leather, foam made from recycled water bottles, shoelaces made of recycled cotton, and recycled packaging. Talk about a win-win for your feet and the planet.

Weight: Not specified

Heel-to-toe drop: Not specified

Colors: 3

  • Versatile
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Triple-layer arch support
  • Hidden heel support
  • Customizable sizing
  • Podiatrist-designed

Best arch support: New Balance, Fresh Foam X 1080xv13 — $165.00

Available sizes: 5-13 (in select half sizes)

Perfect for arch support, the New Balance Fresh Foam Sneakers are a comfortable, breathable walking shoe that still provides support to help prevent your ankles from rolling while you walk. These shoes are particularly good for those with flat feet or in need of extra oomph in the arch as they’re padded with a 10-millimeter heel drop to alleviate pressure and keep your foot on an incline, rather than staying flat all day. If you need to wear your shoes all day, having a breathable option is essential, and this pair features a mesh upper to keep things airy. These sneakers also received the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) so you can trust that they’re a safe, stable option.

Weight: 8.4 oz.

Heel-to-toe drop: 10 mm

Colors: 5

  • Supportive, especially for those with flat feet
  • Cushioned
  • Breathable
  • Podiatrist-approved
  • Pricey
  • Might be too supportive for those with high arches

Most lightweight: On, Cloud 5 — $140.00

Available sizes: 5-11 (in select half sizes)

For a lightweight shoe option, the Cloud 5 shoes from Swiss brand On are a perfect option, in part because of the patented cushioning to soften the impact of each step. These shoes are great for a long day of walking thanks to the lightweight odor-fighting mesh that keeps things breathable while preventing the growth of odor-causing germs. The shoes also have an embedded Speedboard® that transforms each foot strike into springy energy to propel you forward. Best of all, they’re made with recycled materials (about 44 percent of each pair is recycled) to reduce your environmental footprint.

Weight: 7.1 oz.

Heel-to-toe drop: 7 mm

Colors: 10+

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Embedded Speedboard
  • Recycled materials
  • Slip-on style with knotted elastic lacing

klaw footware 528 sneaker

Best for city dwellers: Klaw, 528 Sneaker — $148.00

Available sizes: 6-11 (in select half sizes)

Urbanites: If you’re pounding the pavement in between subway rides and work commutes, Klaw’s retro-looking sneakers are for you. They’re another podiatrist-designed shoe crafted with walkers in mind, made to cradle your feet from toe-off through touch-down. “The deep heel cup prevents abnormal outward and inward tilting of the heel, which throws off alignment,” the brand’s podiatrist and founder, Nelya Lobkova, DPM, previously shared with us. “The medial and lateral arch support allows the arch of the foot to touch the insole and trigger the proprioceptive response to pronate through midstance.” Bonus: They look really cute with skirts, trousers, dresses, and more, so style won’t be compromised.

Weight: 11 oz.

Heel-to-toe drop: 7 mm

Colors: 5

  • Podiatrist-designed
  • Crafted for walking
  • Shock-absorbing
  • Supportive, especially for those with flat feet
  • Deep heel cup
  • Pricey
  • Heavier and chunkier than other options

hoka clifton 9

Best for foot pain: Hoka, Clifton 9 — $144.00

Available sizes: 5-12 (select half sizes available)

If you’ve been struggling with foot pain, consider a shoe like the Hoka Clifton 9. For Allison Willkom, DPM, AACFAS, foot and ankle surgeon in Minnesota, this shoe is a perfect option because it has, “more cushion as well as a forefoot rocker,” which helps take the strain off forward ambulation. The shoe combines its Meta-Rocker sole with a foam midsole and breathable mesh upper—or, in layman’s terms, ultimate comfort and mobility while standing and walking. Like some of the others on our list, these shoes received the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

Weight: 7.30 oz.

Heel-to-toe drop: 5 mm

Colors: 10+

  • Good for those with foot pain
  • Lightweight
  • EVA foam midsole
  • MetaRocker for forward propulsion
  • Durable
  • Podiatrist-approved
  • Pricey
  • Rocker sole not ideal for those with balance issues

Best high-top: Reebok, Freestyle Hi Women’s Shoes — $80.00

Available sizes: 5-11 (in select half sizes)

So far, we’ve rounded up more traditional “sneaker”-style picks, but what about high-top shoes? Yes, high-top shoes can be a safe option for walking, especially for those who are prone to ankle sprains and other injuries. Though not all high-tops are made equal, according to Dallas-based foot and ankle surgeon Nam Tran, DPM, “Reeboks are good and supportive.”

The Reebok Freestyle Hi shoes have a stylish, iconic silhouette perfect for the fashion icon who still wants some support. This pair has an EVA midsole to absorb shock and provide extra cushioning while you walk.

Weight: Not specified

Heel-to-toe drop: Not specified

Colors: 2

 

  • Podiatrist-approved
  • Lightweight
  • Supportive, tall upper for additional support
  • Die-cut EVA midsole
  • Affordable

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.



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