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When most of us made our New Year’s Resolution to get back in shape, we weren’t quite thinking of everything that would come along with it. We took our oath to eat clean and exercise every day. We promised ourselves we would get our bikini bodies back in time for summer and that we would be able to fit in our favorite dress again. Read on for the rest of our Best Walking Shoes For Women article.
Like many things in life, this was far easier said than done. Two weeks of grueling sessions on the elliptical and expensive spinning classes will teach you one thing; working out isn’t anywhere near as fun as the girls on TV make it seem.
However, that’s no reason to give up.
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Best Walking Shoes For Women
As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder.” This solution has helped women achieve a great many things over the years. Most of us might not be able to beat a full-grown man in a weightlifting competition, but we can sure beat him in a walking competition.
Stop letting your friend drag you along to her high-intensity crossfit class. While she may mean well in doing so, it’s certainly not doing you any favors. Instead, join the ladies walking around the block.
You’ll get all of the great mental and physical benefits of exercising, you’ll be happy, and you won’t feel like you just got beat up every time that you walk in the door. While your friend walks in the door every evening and crashes on her sofa, barely able to stand up, you’ll be singing a song, sipping a glass of wine and cooking your favorite meal.
Today, we’re going to be talking about good old-fashioned walking. We’re going to give you our personal recommendations for some of the best walking shoes for women, but first, let’s take a brief look at what the benefits of walking are, and why you should start.
The Benefits of Everyday Walking
From the moment that we first come into this world, we try to walk. First, we crawl, then we stand (wobbling the whole time), and then the day comes when we take our first step. Our family applauds us, and before long, we’re walking just about everywhere that we can.
Have you ever wondered why little children are so happy and full of energy? It’s likely because they spend most of their waking hours walking around and chasing the next adventure. While we can’t exactly go back to those carefree days, we can capture the child-like freedom and energy through daily walking.
You Can Do It Anywhere
The reason why most people can’t stick to a scheduled workout routine is that it involves a lot of extra work. After you’re done with your workday, you have to get in your car, drive to the gym, change into your special workout clothes, and then waste time waiting for Sally Supergirl to share the squat machine or elliptical with you. Once you calculate all of the extra time, going to the gym can take hours out of your day.
Walking, on the other hand, you can do anywhere. You can slide right out of bed, into your favorite walking shoes, and go around the block. You can walk up the stairs to work, you can walk around in your backyard, and you can walk on the beach.
You don’t need an expensive gym membership, and you don’t have to spend time sitting around in sweaty locker rooms. Walking gives you the freedom to exercise anywhere, and everywhere, on your terms.
Walking Makes You Creative
Have you ever stayed up late at night trying to think of the answer to a problem? Have you ever experienced writer’s block or couldn’t decide where you wanted to put your new furniture? You’re probably suffering from a lack of creativity. After a long day of solving problems, sometimes the brain just gets tired, and you seem to lose that creative spark.
However, taking a 20-minute walk could fix that. In a recent study performed at Stanford University, participants were tested for “divergent thinking” (aka creativity) while sitting, and after taking a walk. After taking a brisk walk, the participants were almost twice as creative as they were before walking.
This seems to prove that there is a positive correlation between walking and creative power. It opens up your brain to think about things in new ways and increases your problem-solving skills. So the next time you’re feeling groggy and uncreative, take a walk around the block.
Walking Keeps Your Heart Healthy
Humans weren’t designed to be sedentary. As television and video game usage has gone up over the decades, so have the instances of heart attacks, stroke, and cancer. Walking can go a long way to prevent this, and the American Heart Association recommends that every person, regardless of age or weight, should get 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day.
When you go for a walk a lot of good things start happening in your body. Your heart starts pumping, your blood starts circulating, and oxygen starts flowing into your muscles. When your blood starts flowing like this, it expands your blood vessels and mitigates the risk of blood clotting.
Your heart is a muscle just like anything else and needs to be exercised. The healthiest way to do this is by daily walking. It raises your heart rate enough to keep it in good shape, without over-straining it.
Lose Weight… Without Injury
While walking won’t necessarily turn you into a Hungarian bodybuilder, it will definitely help you to burn fat. If you’re walking on a flat surface, you’ll burn between 100 and 150 calories per mile (depending on how much you weigh). If you walk up a couple of hills along the way, then you’ll burn even more calories. It’s great for your legs and will keep your thighs, calves, and buns tight and toned whether you’re young or old.
Unlike your friend’s crossfit class that will have you climbing ropes, swinging on monkey bars, and bench-pressing free weights, walking is very safe. With a workout program like crossfit, you have to worry about breaking bones, spraining ankles, and pulling a muscle. The only thing that can happen while you’re walking is that you might slip and fall, which will almost never happen as long as you have a good pair of walking shoes.
Boost Your Mood!
Walking is one of the best ways to naturally reduce stress and depression. When you go for a walk, you’re temporarily leaving all of your problems behind. This is the “you time” that you deserve. You won’t have to respond to emails, deal with stressful phone calls, and sit in a dark room with your thoughts.
Walking will give you fresh air, sunshine, and get your blood flowing. Once you’re 5 minutes into your walk, you’ll start feeling energetic, rejuvenated, happy, and confident about your body. It’s scientifically proven that aerobic exercise also triggers the release of hormones called endorphins. These endorphins are your “happy chemicals” and effect similar to morphine. Some people who start walking actually develop an “addiction” to it. You may find yourself walking every day.
Meditate While You Walk
Meditation is one of the healthiest things that you can do for your mind and body. It allows your mind to focus, triggers the release of hormones associated with pleasure and contentedness, and gives you a peaceful outlook on life. However, many people find traditional mediation to be boring. Sitting in a dimly-lit room and sitting cross-legged on the floor just doesn’t sound very appealing.
However, the truth is, you can meditate just fine while you’re doing light aerobic activity. In fact, Shaolin monks incorporate meditation into almost all of their physical training. While they are walking, running, doing backflips, and performing other extraordinary feats, they are meditating. Most monks attribute their abilities not to their bodies, but to the extreme focus and control that the meditative process gives them.
You may not be able to do a double backflip after a few mediation sessions, but you’ll certainly have improved focus and peace of mind. So put on your favorite meditation tones, slip into your walking shoes, and get outside in the sunshine.
Why Women Need To Choose The Right Shoes
If you’re going start a walking routine, then you need to pick the right pair of shoes. While you can walk in a pair of flip-flops or your fashion boots, it’s not going to be very comfortable or safe. The women who hate walking are those who spend their days walking through the office in uncomfortable heels. Who can blame them? Nobody likes to deal with wobbly ankles, hard soles, and stiff muscles.
Going for a walk with the right pair of shoes is a life-changing experience, however. The right walking shoes will make you feel like you were meant to walk. They’ll make you want to walk every hour of every day. A good pair of walking shoes will turn your daily exercise into an experience instead of a chore. They’ll support your weight, take pressure off of your heels, reduce muscle pain, and put a spring into your step.
A common mistake many women make is that they keep on walking in their old, worn-out shoes. This is bad for several reasons:
- Over time the soles become worn down
- The supportive gel becomes weakened
- The outer structure of the shoe becomes weak
Wearing shoes past their period of recommended use is little better than walking in a pair of heels. They lose their support over time, and the soles wear down causing each step to have a greater impact on your body and increase the risk of you having ankle and leg pain.
What To Look For In Your New Walking Shoes
With the advent of the internet and the increasing popularity of imported shoes, there are quite a lot of options that you’re going to have when trying to find the best pair of walking shoes for women. You shouldn’t just choose the pair of shoes that look good, however. There are thousands of counterfeits and cheap knockoffs for sale. They may look good, but many of them aren’t made with your comfort in mind.
When you’re choosing your next pair of walking shoes, you need to look for features such as comfort, arch support, the firmness of the sole, the size, and the style of shoe. You will be rewarded for your research with a pair of shoes that will make you want to walk in them every day.
You need to pick a pair of shoes that you can be comfortable in. Nobody wants to put on a pair of stiff shoes every time that they go for a walk. Comfort is a combination of things and can be different for different people. Some women might want a shoe with softer soles; others might prefer a firmer feel. Some may want arch support, and some may want a minor heel.
You’ll know within a few short minutes of walking around in a new pair of shoes whether they’re right for you or not. Of course, it’s worth noting that a new pair of shoes may take a couple of days to break in, especially if they’re made from genuine leather. This may result in some initial stiffness. As you walk in them more, the leather will soften up and mold to your foot’s natural shape.
After you’ve established that your shoes are comfortable and that you enjoy walking in them, you need to look at a few of the other features. The most important of these features is the sole. The sole has two sides; the ground side and the foot side.
The ground side is the bottom of the shoe which makes contact with the surface you’ll be walking on. This part of the sole is usually going to be harder and more durable. It’s going to have patterns cut into it to give you better traction in different environments and be made out of special anti-slip materials.
Soles meant for running on harder surfaces such as cement and asphalt with be more narrow to give you more power and grip in your step. Other soles will have a wide base, and deeper grooves meant for walking over less stable terrain such as sand, grass, or a forest trail.
Depending upon the shoe, the sole may be more or less durable. If the shoe was meant for walking on a regulation track (which contains a lot of clay) or a rubber treadmill, then the rubber will tend to be soft and supple. This will give you more grip on the surface and a more cushioned walking experience. Softer soles also tend to be more slip-resistant. A shoe meant for the outdoors, however, will be more durable. These soles need to be able to withstand the rough, abrasive surfaces, and a soft-soled shoe would get torn up and wear down quickly.
The foot-side of the sole is the part that is going to be cradling your foot. This is going to have the most significant effect on your comfort. Some shoes have pockets of air or gel in the heels which make for a more bouncy walking experience. Others are firm and allow you to feel the ground a little bit more. If you opt for an orthopedic shoe, they might have built-in memory foam to help support your back and give you a more comfortable stride.
If you have your own inserts and would prefer to use them, you can often do so. The shoemakers often design the soles to be easily removable.
Arch support is another important aspect of comfort. Most people are born with a different amount of natural arch in their foot, and some are born flat-footed. Most foot doctors agree that arch support is important, and that lack of arch support can lead to back problems and puts additional strain on the knees.
If you already have a healthy arch, then you may not need as much support. However, if you have a weaker foot or you are naturally flat-footed, then you should get a shoe that has firmer, more pronounced arch support.
In the old days, you usually had to choose between style and comfort. The comfortable shoes wouldn’t look very appealing, and the nice shoes would be stiff and cause you to have blisters. However, most shoes that you’ll find today try to mix looks with style. You can often find a shoe that is both stylish and comfortable.
There are many different styles of walking shoes. Some are designed to look and feel more athletic and are designed for treadmills and Olympic-style tracks. Others are made for the outdoors and are designed for walking on muddy trails and wet leaves. There are even some women’s’ walking shoes that are both fashionable and practical. You’ll be able to look professional in the office and walk around in comfort.
Another style-related feature to take into consideration is whether you want a traditional lace-up shoe or whether you want a slip-on. While shoes with laces offer a better fit, it can often be a pain to sit down and lace them up every time that you want to go for a walk. Slip-on walking shoes are usually made with elastic materials that can stretch while you slip your foot in.
Last, but not least, you need to make sure that you’re getting the right size of shoe. This means not only getting the shoe that has the right length but accounting for the width of your foot as well. While many shoes are universal, some make shoes especially for women with wide or more narrow feet.
Also, many shoe manufacturers will size their shoe slightly smaller, or slightly larger than the status quo. They may also offer the shoes in international sizes, which are different from the American size scale. As long as you make sure to double-check your order before you confirm payment, you’ll usually be just fine.
Where You Should Buy Your Walking Shoes From
In days past, you would visit your local shopping mall to shop for shoes. If you lived in a small town, you might have one or two local shoe distributors as well. You would be able to go in, get a great deal, and maybe even take advantage of a buy one, get one half-off sale.
In recent years, however, in-store sales have become far less common, and prices have raised exponentially. This is due to inflation, rising prices of rent, and the ever-rising minimum wage that the stores have to pay the employees. To account for all of this overhead, store owners have to upcharge the price of their shoes so that they can make a profit and afford to keep their doors open. Sometimes this upcharge is up to 40% more than factory costs, however.
Many people simply can’t afford that, and as a result, they’re opting for cheaper knock-off brands that they can find at their local Walmart. They may save money at Walmart, but the quality of shoes that they are getting are usually sub-par and can cause injury and discomfort.
Thankfully, we live in the age of online shopping! All of the shoes that we recommend are sold on Amazon for a fraction of the price that you would expect to see in your local shoe store. Not only will you save up to 40% on name-brand shoes, but you’ll save yourself the time and gas of having to drive to the store.
You can order these shoes from the comfort of your own home while you’re sipping your morning coffee or watching the news. Quite a few of these are even eligible for Amazon Prime, which means that you’ll get free two-day shipping directly to your doorstep.
Amazon offers thousands of choices. While this certainly gives you plenty of options, sometimes it can be a little bit overwhelming. Scrolling through hundreds of pages with differently priced shoes, differently rated reviews, and different shipping policies can be exhausting and aggravating.
That’s where we come in.
To make your hunt to find the best pair of women’s walking shoes easier, we put together an inclusive list of some of our favorite pairs. We decided on five major categories of walking shoes; lightweight, orthopedic, athletic, trail walking, and fashion. We then set out to find the best shoe in each of those five categories, tested them out, and took care of all the hard part for you. If these five aren’t quite what you’re looking for, we even included five great alternatives worth considering.
So, without further ado, let’s go shoe shopping!
Best Lightweight Walking Shoe: New Balance Women’s WA365v1 Cush +
- Cush + foam technology
- Soft rubber sole
- Removable insole
- Low-profile design
- Great arch support
If you’re looking for a stylish, lightweight pair of shoes, then you can’t go wrong with the New Balance 365 line of shoes. The WA365v1 were designed especially for active walkers and were built with their patented Cush + foam technology. These shoes were designed by athletes who wanted a soft, pair of shoes that they could throw on at the end of the evening and go for a relaxing walk in.
Great Arch Support
When New Balance was first founded in 1906, they were called the “New Balance Arch Support Company.” They were one of the first companies to introduce arch support in shoes, and they have been innovating ever since. These shoes provide great support for those who have little to no natural arch in their foot and are also a great option for flat-footed women.
Cush + Technology
Just under the sturdy rubber sole is a layer of New Balance’s patented Cush + technology. This high-density foam was designed to absorb impact no matter what surface that you’re walking on and provides superior comfort. Despite the humble design of the shoe, they really do make you feel like you’re walking on a cloud.
Best Orthopedic Walking Shoe: Orthofeet Women’s Comfort
- Anatomical arch support
- Cushioned heel
- Non-binding design
- Patented Ortho-Cushion insole
- Breathable mesh fabric
If you have diabetes, joint pain in your ankles, or hammer toe, then the Women’s Comfort shoes by Orthofeet should be at the top of your list. These conditions can often cause pain and swelling in the feet, making walking a painful experience in most traditional walking shoes. However, these were made specifically for people like you. Even if you don’t suffer from a chronic foot condition, you’ll still find these shoes incredibly comfortable.
This is a unique feature of these shoes and is especially important if you suffer from any nerve or swelling problems in your feet. Traditional walking shoes tend to have a tight fit which can cause your existing swelling to worsen, and can cut off circulation to the foot. Orthofeet designed these shoes to have a flexible upper that will automatically expand and give your foot room if it begins to swell. It’s also made out of a breathable mesh that will give your feet plenty of airflow.
If you have pain in your heel or suffer from plantar, then these shoes will provide you with maximum comfort. Underneath the heel support is several gel pockets which absorb all of the impacts and prevent it from putting extra pressure on these tender spots. In combination with the superior arch support, you’re guaranteed to have great support while you walk.
Best Athletic Walking Shoe: RYKA Women’s Devotion
- Breathable mesh upper
- Versatile synthetic sole
- RE-ZORB midsole
- Three colorful options (black/purple/blue, orange/blue/grey, or grey/green/pink)
- Made for women’s feet
Ryka is a women’s-only shoe company. They create all of their shoes to cater to the feet of women. Many other shoe companies just rebrand traditional men’s shoe and put it in a colorful box. Ryka shoes have a narrower heel and more room in the forefoot area which are the two biggest differences between the foot of a man and the foot of a woman.
Ryka’s patented RE-ZORB midsole provides great support for your feet, and also helps to absorb impact when you’re walking on a harder surface. The impact of each step will be evenly distributed across the surface of the sole, meaning that you won’t have to worry about having sore ankles.
Versatile Synthetic Sole
Unlike rubber soles, Ryka’s synthetic outer soles are incredibly durable. They were meant for walking on rougher outdoor surfaces and will last longer than a typical soft rubber or foam sole. For their hardness and durability, they also have a surprising amount of grip. You’ll be able to walk on wet floors and oil without having to worry about tripping or falling.
Best Walking Shoe For Trails: ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 6
- 11 Different color options
- Hard, grooved sole
- Removable sockliner
- Gel-cushioned heel
- Multi-directional lugs
If you prefer a walk in the woods or up a mountain path to a walk around the block, then these shoes are for you. They’re made for durability and longevity, and provide superior cushioning and ankle support. ASICS designs each and every shoe to the highest quality of standards and for maximum performance, and the Women’s Gel-Venture 6 is no different.
The sole on these shoes is built for the outdoors and walking over rocky, muddy, and often unstable terrain. To better aid you in walking through this type of environment, ASICS added multi-directional lugs on the front and sides of the sole. That means that the front, back, and sides of your shoe have just as much grip as the bottom, which is perfect for uneven terrain.
You can’t wear these shoes without noticing the superior heel support. Underneath the removable insoles are small gel pockets which not only absorb impact while walking but give you a wonderful springy feel. Every step you take in the Gel-Venture 6’s feels like a step in the right direction.
Best Fashion Walking Shoe: Clarks Women’s Wave Andes
- Clarks Wave design
- Ortholite insole
- Nubuck leather
- Non-slip rubber sole
Clarks have had a long record of creating high-quality fashion and walking shoes. They combined their expertise in both areas to create the Wave Andes shoe for women. It features their patented Wave design, is made from durable nubuck leather, and has a non-slip rubber sole with a medium firmness.
Clarks Wave describes the shape of their sole. This is the natural shape of your foot when you are walking. Your toes are pointed up, your arch is pronounced, and your heel is low to the ground. The design of these shoes not only accentuates your natural position but provides great arch support as well.
These shoes feature ultra-comfortable and supportive Ortholite insoles. The manufacturer specializes in engineering high-quality, eco-friendly soles for all athletes. The soles in the Clarks Wave Andes provide a soft cushioning and conform to the natural shape of your foot over time.
We looked over thousands and tested hundreds of pairs of women’s walking shoes, so narrowing it down to five was a hard task. So we decided that it would be a good idea to list a few alternatives in case our top picks didn’t quite match what you had in mind. These five fall into various categories, but the overall quality is quite comparable to the top five that you just read about.
New Balance Women’s 1165v1 Fresh Foam
- Fresh Foam midsole
- Removable insole
- Non-slip honeycomb design on sole
- Raised heel
If you’re looking for a simple, high-quality shoe that doesn’t have all of the extra bells and whistles, then the New Balance 1165v1 Fresh Foams are for you. These have a soft non-slip rubber sole that’s great for indoor walking on tracks or treadmills. They feature New Balance’s patented Fresh Foam midsole which is great at absorbing shock, and provides a bouncy cloud-like walking experience. These shoes also have a slightly raised heel which put a little bit more spring in your step.
Saucony Originals Women’s DXN Trainer
- Genuine leather
- 16 different colors
- Patented Grid stability system
- Midway arch support
- Soft rubber sole
Saucony has engineered some of the world’s best walking and running shoes. The stylish DXN Trainer combines top-of-the-line athletic performance while you walk with a great deal of comfort and support. These shoes are also guaranteed to match any outfit you throw at them as well. They’re offered in 16 different colors that range from mild to colorful.
These shoes also feature Saucony’s patented Grid stability system. This helps to give the shoes a natural bounce while you walk and ensures that they are able to grip almost any surface whether your walking on loose sand or hard pavement.
Gravity Defyer Women’s G-Defy Super Walk
- Breathable mesh upper
- Removable insoles
- VS-2 VersoShock sole
- Trampoline heel
- Reinforced toe and heel guards
If you’re looking for a great all-purpose, athletic style walking shoe, then these are great for you. They feature a special “trampoline heel” which will really put some spring into your step. These springs are built into the flexible rubber sole and also provide a good deal of shock absorption. Their patented VS-2 VersoShock sole provides excellent grip on hard surfaces and is pretty good when it comes to weight distribution as well.
Aside from the technology, these shoes are also built to last. The toes and heels are reinforced to prevent scuffing, and the upper is made from a durable mesh that doesn’t easily tear. One of the greatest features on these shoes is how much airflow they get. Aside from the mesh, the insoles are also lined with little tunnels that allow a constant flow of air to reach the bottom of your feet keeping them cool and comfortable.
Dansko Women’s Paisley Walking Shoe
- 1.5-inch high heel
- Waterproof, stain-resistant suede upper
- Vibram sole
- Moisture-wicking Dupont sorona fiber
- Dansko Natural Arch technology
While these shoes are on the expensive side, you can be sure that you are getting your money’s worth. They are made out of high-quality Vibram soles which are some of the best in the world, and are almost completely slip resistant (even in oil and ice). The upper is hand-crafted from genuine suede leather, and is treated with 3M’s Scotchguard protectant which makes them both waterproof and stain-resistant.
Inside of these shoes lies Dansko’s premium Natural Arch technology which provides superior arch support and makes them a great choice for those who are flat-footed or have a very slight arch. These shoes are very common to see among restaurant and hotel workers who often spend 8 to 12 hours at a time walking around for their shifts.
Brooks Women’s Addiction Walker Walking Shoes
- Patented Cushsole technology
- Durable leather/synthetic design
- Recommended by podiatrists
- Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar
- HydroFlow midsole
- Skid-resistant outer sole
If you’re addicted to walking, then the Brook’s Addiction Walkers are a great choice for you. They are designed from sole to lace to be some of the most comfortable walking shoes around. Their main drawback is that they don’t look that fancy. Despite their plain look, however, they are loaded with Brooks’ walking technology.
In the midsole resides their Extended Progressive Diagonal Rollbar which gives the middle of the shoe a natural roll. Your heel will easily roll to the toe while you are walking, reducing strain on your arch and your achilles tendon. Throughout the midsole is Brooks patented HydroFlow technology, which is essentially a layer of adaptive gel that molds to your feet and provides superior cushioning when you’re walking.
We hope that you enjoyed our comprehensive guide to purchasing your next pair of women’s walking shoes. We did our best to include a wide range of brands and styles that would appeal to our readers. Our goal in making this guide was to take away some of the legwork on your end and prevent you from having to sift through thousands of results (like we did) to find the best walking shoes.
If you haven’t implemented daily walking into your life yet, it’s high time that you did. Walking has many great benefits for both your mental and physical health. Not to mention it’s fun and gives you a chance to escape from the stress of life and get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
So grab yourself a pair of walking shoes, put in your favorite tunes, and hit the road.