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The 10 Best Walking Shoes For Women Of 2022, According to Podiatrist Guidelines

Rachel MacPherson
Author:
September 17, 2022
The Best Walking Shoes For Women Hero Green Background With Cloud Shoe
Image by mbg creative
September 17, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

Finding the right walking shoe can make a world of difference in your comfort level, physical health, and performance. Shoes that aren't supportive or functional for your specific needs can interfere with your natural gait—which can increase or aggravate issues like plantar fasciitis and overpronation—and get in the way of your daily activity.

Studies show that one in five people experience regular foot pain, aching, or stiffness, and most of those people are women. So whether you're supporting your longevity with daily "hot girl" walks or have an active job with long hours on your feet, this expert-advised list of the best walking shoes for women will keep your feet comfortable and your body happy.

What to look for in walking shoes.

To learn more about how to choose the best walking shoes for women, we spoke with a licensed podiatrist and founder of the Quality Podiatry Group, Sidney Weiser, DPM. When considering which shoe will be best for you, you'll want to keep in mind your foot type (i.e., narrow or wide), how much walking you will be doing, and the type of ground you are standing on, per Weiner. 

"Whether it is a soft or hard surface will determine which shoe gear is best for standing all day," says Weiser. For hard floors, Weiser recommends always wearing shoes—not going barefoot—and adds that your shoes should have a cushioned insole to prevent heel pain. "Cushioning throughout the shoe is important not only for the heel portion of the shoe but also for the sole and midfoot," he adds. 

While having the right shoes plays a large role in keeping your joints and your body healthy, it's still important to pay attention to the full picture. "Don't depend on your shoes to do it all," Weisner says. He recommends incorporating stretching into your routine to increase flexibility and maintain core strength, which he says is essential for back health (since your back is part of your core).

If you've reviewed this list and are having trouble choosing the best walking shoe for you, consider your foot type and needs. For instance, if you have flat feet, wide feet, or other specific conditions, choose the pick that will provide you with the most support and comfort.

How we picked:

Comfort

Comfort is essential when walking, so each pair we picked incorporates plenty of cushioning to keep your feet feeling great for extended periods of time.

Support

Walking shoes need to be supportive for your arches, heels, and ankles, so only shoes that provide sufficient support across the board made the list.

Quality

No one wants shoes that break down shortly after purchase, so we chose products that stand the test of time (making many worth the splurge).

Expert criteria

We sought advice from a podiatrist to ensure our picks meet the demands for not only walking—cushioning, arch support, and stability—but also the needs of individuals, with options suited to a range of concerns and foot types.

Our picks for the best walking shoes for women:

Pros:

  • Balanced support
  • Soft cushion
  • Secure fit

Cons:

  • Narrower toe box
Sizes available: 5-12, (half sizes available), (wide fit available)
Colorways: 40 options
Return policy: 30 days

The Ghost 14 is the first carbon-neutral shoe from Brooks, and it combines comfort, support, and quality in one standout design. This neutral support shoe is equipped with BioMoGo DNA Loft throughout the midsection for a smooth heel-to-toe experience. When paired with 3D Fit Print upper technology, which provides structure that moves with the foot (no blisters!), the end result is a secure and stable fit that's bound to carry you for miles to come—and it's available in both wide and narrow widths.

What Customers Say:

This shoe has a ton of dedicated customers, and one reviewer writes, "Supportive—great for a neutral walker. Wider toe box for those of us with box-like feet. I'm on my 5th pair and plan to order another soon." Others rave about the shoe's breathability and the way it holds up over time (and miles).

Best budget: New Balance 608 v5

New Balance 608 v5
VIEW ON Amazon | From $40VIEW ON New Balance | $75

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Long-lasting support
  • Absorptive insoles

Cons:

  • Bulky appearance
Sizes available: 5-12, (half sizes available), (wide fit available), (narrow fit available)
Colorways: 5 options
Return policy: 45 days

This comfy shoe has a cushioned rubber sole and oversize heel crash pads for reduced impact and less stress on your joints. The grooves on the outsole allow some flexibility, but the shoe itself is still quite durable, with a molded foam insert that guarantees support and comfort. The phantom liner reduces unwanted friction on your foot, and the suede and mesh upper give it a breathability you wouldn't expect from a heavier-looking shoe like this. Users love the quality absorptive insoles that relieve foot and back pain at a reasonable cost.    

What Customers Say:

Some reviewers note that the toe box is a bit smaller than they'd prefer, but the reviews for this shoe are mostly positive. One satisfied shopper says, "Great shoes at a reasonable price. Good support. My fantastic physical therapist says they are great and wrote down the model number to recommend to his patients. Besides all that, they look really good!"

Best for women over 50: Skechers GoWalk Joy

Skechers GoWalk Joy
VIEW ON Amazon | From $30VIEW ON Skechers | $45

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Easy slip-on

Cons:

  • Low support
Sizes available: 5-13, (half sizes available), (wide fit available), (narrow fit available)
Colorways: 6 options
Return policy: 45 days

Weisner's recommendation for women over 50 is to "avoid rigid fabric, tight shoe gear, and non-flexible soles, which can cause blisters." The GoWalk Joy fits the bill perfectly, and reviewers rave about the fit and durability of the design. 

The slip-on shoe is flexible and lightweight—yet it doesn't sacrifice comfort or style. The design boasts a breathable mesh upper (for plenty of airflow), a cushioned sole (for much-needed comfort), and traction support on the bottom (for smoother walks). Another great shoe for walking, it's also made from vegan materials and is machine washable. 

What customers say:

One shopper says, "They're easy to slip on which is really important for me. One knee replacement and 2 hip replacements help me to walk comfortably, but it's still sometimes difficult to pull shoes on… They are lightweight but sturdy and provide decent support. I am on my feet about 5 hours working on a cement floor and have no pain when I'm done."

Best for flat feet: Asics Gel-Kayano 28

Asics Gel-Kayano 28
VIEW ON Amazon | From $103VIEW ON Zappos | $110VIEW ON Asics | $110

Pros:

  • Supportive
  • Rearfoot and forefoot gel
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Tight collar
Sizes available: 5-12, (half sizes available)
Colorways: 14 options
Return policy: 60 days

For flat feet, Weiser says to look for a shoe with arch support to prevent rolling (overpronation), and a firm heel counter (back of your shoe). "The front of the shoe needs to be wide enough to accommodate for splaying of the forefoot and deep enough to accommodate custom orthotics if needed to prevent overpronation," adds Weiser. The Gel Kayano's Dynamic DuoMax Support System does just this, enhancing stability and platform support to prevent the collapse of the foot arch. 

It also features a stable heel counter for more rearfoot support, and is equipped with cushioning in the midsole to reduce shock during impact and toe-off phases. Designed specifically for those with neutral or overpronation, this lightweight shoe won't slow you down while still keeping your gait smooth.

What Customers Say:

Walkers and runners alike are loyal to the Gel Kayano. "These shoes are so comfortable with great arch support and a pillow-like cushion for the heel. I've struggled with foot pain, and these ease that pain," one reviewer says. Others love that the cushioned base helps support their feet through long days of standing at work and that this shoe easily accommodates their orthotics.

Best for wide feet: Ryka Devotion Plus 3

Ryka Devotion Plus 3
VIEW ON Ryka | $100

Pros:

  • High performance
  • Soft cushioning
  • Designed for female foot

Cons:

  • Low support for high arches
Sizes available: 5-12, (half sizes available), (wide fit available)
Colorways: 7 options
Return policy: 45 days

Ryka prides itself on creating comfortable shoes specifically designed for foot movement—and the Devotion Plus 3 is no exception. Made for high-performance walking, it relies on the brand's signature cushioning to provide shock absorption and impact protection. Other specs include a breathable mesh upper and anatomical insert for added arch and heel support. 

But the real standout of this sneaker is the shape; it's specifically designed for a woman's foot, with a roomier toe and more narrow heel. This follows Weiser's suggestion to "choose a shoe that is comfortable and can accommodate natural splaying" and allows for "a quick, pain-free insertion of your foot." 

What Customers Say:

One shopper says, "As a person with flat feet and ankles that pronate, I find this shoe has the perfect support, perfect toe room, and the support pods on the sole are absolutely the perfect support." A few others mention that these do not hold up well over time and are not the best for longer walks.

Best for plantar fasciitis: Hoka Clifton 8

Hoka Clifton 8
VIEW ON Zappos | $140VIEW ON Hoka | $140

Pros:

  • American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) seal
  • Stabilizing design
  • Cushioning throughout entire foot

Cons:

  • Too narrow for some
Sizes available: 5-12, (half sizes available), (wide fit available)
Colorways: 20 options
Return policy: 30 days

The Hoka One One Clifton 8 is the newest model in the Clifton line, and the lightweight-yet-durable pick provides plenty of cushion throughout the entire shoe, per Weisner's recommendation. The design provides neutral stability and a balanced cushion that's supportive but still reactive. It's also incredibly easy to put on and take off, thanks to the extended Achilles pull tab. Naturally, the Clifton 8 has even earned the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of acceptance, which recognizes footwear that benefits foot health. 

What Customers Say:

With over 1,500 five-star ratings, this shoe gets a lot of love. One grateful shopper says, "I have worked on my feet for 50 years. I have hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, and bunions. These shoes feel like clouds on my feet! Lightweight, great support. I wish I'd had these fabulous shoes years ago!!"

Best for high arches: Dansko Women's Pace Walking Shoe

Dansko Women's Pace Walking Shoe
VIEW ON Dansko | $90VIEW ON Amazon | From $80

Pro:

  • High arch support
  • Quick dry & breathable
  • Stain-resistant

Cons:

  • Heel noticeably higher than the front
Colorways: 8 options
Return policy: 60 days

When searching for a walking shoe for high arches, it's important to have a sneaker that pairs midfoot support with flexibility. This Dansko design provides maximum arch support and heel stability, all in a stylish, breathable leather sneaker. The casual sneakers have the brand's Natural Arch Plus footbed, which has a shock absorption pad in the heel and extra cushioning in the forepart (both a must for high arches). Plus, the material is stain-resistant and treated with an odor control shield to prevent scents from escaping, even after hours of strolling.

What Customers Say:

People with high arches love this shoe. One reviewer writes, "I have a very high arch and always have to add more support to accommodate it. The Pace is the best shoe l have found for this issue." Another adds, "These have to be one of the most comfortable shoes I've purchased. I wear them daily for work. Very supportive in both the arch and heel. Very good toe space. True to size. There is nothing I dislike about them at all." On the other hand, a few negative reviews mention that the footbed is too narrow and that the shoe does not hold up over time.

Best for back pain: Hoka Bondi 8

Hoka Bondi 8
VIEW ON Zappos | $165VIEW ON Hoka | $165

Pros:

  • Full-length foam midsole
  • Balanced step
  • Great support

Cons:

  • Bulky
Sizes available: 6-11, (half sizes available), (wide fit available)
Colorways: 7 options
Return policy: 30 days

The Bondi shoe is Hoka's flagship design and has been highly reviewed for years. This newest version features a full-length EVA foam midsole for shock absorption and stability, a new extended-heel geometry, and a rear crash pad for an even softer and more balanced step. Another perk of this new model is that the foam is lighter than previous models yet still offers excellent shock absorption.

What Customers Say:

While some say this shoe is too narrow for them, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. One shopper with back problems and plantar fasciitis says, "These shoes help me walk and limit pain. I swear by them. Great support. Expensive but worth it." Another raves, "This is my sixth pair, and I will not wear anything else. I'm 64 years old with bunions and tired feet, and these are so comfortable with a nice wide toe box."

Best for travel: Vessi Women's Everyday Classic

Vessi Women's Everyday Classic
VIEW ON Vessi | $135

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • 100% waterproof
  • Breathable knit

Cons:

  • Low support
Sizes available: 5-11, (whole sizes only)
Colorways: 8 options
Return policy: 90 days

This lightweight shoe is great to take anywhere thanks to the Dyma-Tex 100% waterproof technology, which Vessi upholds with a one-year dry socks guarantee. Although the shoe is waterproof, it is made from an ingenious, temperature-regulating knit that's breathable and won't leave your feet sweaty. For those who need a little more support than this shoe offers, you can remove the insoles and replace them with any custom orthotics.   

What Customers Say:

There are over 5,000 reviews for this shoe on the Vessi website, and they have an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5. Negative reviews mention that this shoe runs a bit large and wide and that they are difficult to put on and take off, but the majority of shoppers are pleased. One writes, "I really like that they've got good grip on the bottoms, and they're very comfy. I have planter fasciitis, and these shoes prevent sore feet. They're a great investment, and I'd buy them again!"

Best for standing all day: On Cloud 5

On Cloud 5
VIEW ON On | $140VIEW ON Nordstrom | $140

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Supportive

Cons:

  • May need to size up
  • Returns may need to ship overseas
Sizes available: 5-11, (half sizes available)
Colorways: 14 options
Return policy: 30 days

Designed for all-day wear, the Cloud 5 is made with 44% recycled materials and a breathable antimicrobial mesh upper for extended comfort. The design incorporates On's patented zero-gravity Cloudtec cushioning for a softer landing with every step. And online reviews compare the model to standing on (you guessed it) clouds.

But what really sets this shoe apart is its signature speed-lacing system, which eliminates the need to tie (or re-tie) your laces—although if you'd prefer a more classic shoelace, you'll find that option in the box as well.

What Customers Say:

Some reviewers say they wish these shoes offered more support and comfort during long wears, but others are pleased with how they hold up during everyday use. One says, "I have severely arthritic damaged feet, and these shoes are so comfortable on my feet and allow me to walk with minimal pain."

FAQ

Walking shoes vs. running shoes

Walking shoes are a bit stiffer than running shoes and do not tend to bend and flex in the same way; it's not a good idea to run in walking shoes for this reason.

What type of shoes are most comfortable for walking?

The type of shoes most comfortable for walking are those that provide a flatter sole with a lightweight and flexible fit. Your walking shoe should also have a secure fit, which means it doesn't shift or slide while you walk, as this can cause discomfort and blisters.

The takeaway.

Walking is a great way to incorporate movement into your day, and it can have a seriously great impact on your physical and mental health. Even 10 minutes of walking a day can help you live longer. All that said, finding the right fit, style, and functionality in a walking shoe can make or break those daily strolls. Be sure to look for shoes that suit your particular needs, budget, and style.

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Rachel MacPherson
Rachel MacPherson

Rachel MacPherson is an expert writer and content creator, certified personal trainer (including pre-natal and post-partum experise), and nutrition specialist, among other certifications. She has written for various publications and brands, such as Livestrong, Verywell Fit, Clean Eating Magazine, Business Insider, Shape, and more. She is also the author behind radicalstrength.ca