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Picking out the best pair of walking shoes is important. If you choose something that lacks support or wears out too quickly, you could cause yourself harm — we’re talking shin splints, arch pain, and overall achiness that could take days or weeks to get over.
To help keep you moving, whether you’re at work or on the pavement, we carefully researched dozens of walking shoes for women. We looked for those that absorb impact, cradle your arches, and let you travel for miles. Our top pick is New Balance’s FuelCore Nergize V1. These shoes are lightweight, but they pack a big punch when it comes to comfort and durability.
Keep reading to learn more about our top picks, and then review our buying guide to make sure that you pick the best walking shoes for specific circumstances.
Best walking shoes for those who are on their feet all day
New Balance’s FuelCore Nergize V1 are among the best walking shoes for women who are constantly on the go. They’re not ideal for hiking or other strenuous activities, but they do offer plenty of support and cushioning for long days at work, shopping, theme parks, or spending time with family.
These sneakers offer great midsole cushioning to support your arches all day long — this really cuts down on aching feet or legs when you get home.
You’ll also find Memory Sole Comfort inserts to cushion every step. Similar to the memory foam you find in pillows, this plush layer of padding absorbs impacts to keep you comfortable.
When it comes to the exterior of the shoe, you’ll find durable rubber soles with lots of traction to help you tackle hard floors, concrete, and grass. The shoe features a bootie-style upper with high laces — this hugs your foot for a snug fit. No matter where your day takes you, a slipping shoe won’t slow you down.
Despite all these comforts, FuelCore Nergize V1 walking shoes are still lightweight. This is important because heavy shoes will weigh you down and contribute to sore, achy muscles by the end of the day. They’re also sleek and close-fitting, so you won’t be kicking things or catching on edges as you walk.
This shoe doesn’t get too wild when it comes to colors — this could be a positive or negative depending on how loud you like your shoes to be. In addition to essentials like black, white, and grey, you’ll also find pink and navy blue, as well as select styles that feature two tones. If you’re looking for an awesome black or white shoe for work; these definitely fit the bill.
The only real downside we could find to these shoes is the sizing. Like many other customers, we found that they run small, so you’ll want to order ½ size up to ensure a comfortable fit.
What I Liked
- Lots of cushioning and support for long days on your feet
- Gripping rubber soles work great on multiple surfaces
- Lightweight and form-fitting — they don’t weigh you down or feel clunky
What I Didn’t Like
- Runs small — order at least ½ size up for a proper fit
- Only available in a handful of basic colors and patterns
Best shoes for long-distance walking or running
ASICS Gel-Venture 7 walking shoes give you a happy medium between walking shoe and running shoe. They’re a smart pick if you’re not sure where the day will take you, but you want to keep up either way.
Our favorite thing about this shoe is the sole. It’s made of rubber and offers great traction — we didn’t have any trouble with any surface we traversed, from wet grass and rocky beaches to concrete stairs and sandy walking trails.
The rest of the shoe is made from breathable mesh protected by a durable synthetic leather. These shoes have full-length laces, which combined with the rugged construction, offer a tight, supportive fit.
The heel of this shoe is lined with a gel cushion that does a great job of absorbing shock. We tested them with some light jogging on concrete, and we didn’t experience any discomfort during or after the run.
A unique ORTHOLITE liner that runs the length of the insole offers even more support, molding to your foot’s shape and wicking away moisture to prevent friction issues. We found that this liner definitely added some softness to our step, but we wish it provided a little better arch support.
These shoes run true to size, so order in your regular size without worry. As for color, this brand tends to get pretty bold. We checked out the Blue Expanse/Heritage Blue — with its bright blue upper and fluorescent orange accents — and they were just as “vibrant” in hand as they were on the computer screen. If you need something subtle, you’ll find just a couple of mostly black and grey options.
What I Liked
- Excellent traction over even rougher terrain
- Great shock absorption thanks to gel padding at heel
- True to size, so you don’t have to worry about trying on first
What I Didn’t Like
- Arch support is okay, but we wish it was better
- Many color choices are really bright and loud
Lightweight walking shoe for errands and quick walks
Skechers GOwalk Joy walking shoes may look somewhat simple, but that’s kind of the point: They’re an awesome option for getting from point A to point B without much fanfare.
The first thing you’ll notice about these walking shoes for women is that they’re super lightweight and flexible. Seriously, you can slip on these no-lace shoes and be bounding out the door in 15 seconds.
However, flexible uppers are typically not great when it comes to support — they simply won’t fit snugly enough for a quick game of basketball, lots of stair climbing, or agility training with the dog. But if you want something for slow strolls on the beach, running to the store, or taking a walk around the block, these won’t let you down.
They’ve got patented 5Gen cushioning for a plush feel, and their Goga Max insoles with bamboo covers help to reduce sweating and odor. This means that if you need to go sock-less because you’re in a rush, you don’t have to worry about stinky feet.
Should your GOwalk Joy sneakers get dirty, they’re super easy to get clean: Just rinse them in the sink or toss them in the washing machine, and then let them air dry.
One thing we should caution you about when it comes to these shoes is that they really are meant for low-impact activities. They’ve got synthetic soles with a simple tread pattern, so they don’t offer lots of traction for jagged or wet surfaces. We also noticed that they stretch out if you overuse them — they were fine for weeks of light walking, but they started to lose shape after a few days of running.
What I Liked
- Simple, slip-on walking shoes for quick errands and short walks
- Easy to keep clean by throwing them in the wash
- Bamboo-lined insoles do a great job of reducing sweat and odors
What I Didn’t Like
- Stretch out with excessive wear, like running or playing high-speed sports
- Synthetic soles don’t have the best grip on wet surfaces
Walking shoes for women that come in fun colors and patterns
Whereas we were a bit critical of the boldness of ASICS sneakers, we found that Ryka offers just the right mix of color and style for its Devotion Plus 2 walking shoes.
Listen: We know that color doesn’t play any role in a shoe’s performance, but we also know that choosing something that fits your personality is sometimes just as important — and these shoes deliver. That said, our favorite color was the Burgandy; it was so rich and cheery.
Beyond looks, the Devotion Plus 2 offers lots of comfort for regular walkers. Its Lycra-lined tongue is very smooth, so it moves with you, rather than slipping to the side or bunching. The collar includes its own cushions to help with a tight, comfortable fit.
The shoe’s Anatomical Precise-Return insole is contoured to follow the lines of your foot and provide strong arch support. An added RE-ZORB foam layer gives you a bit of spring to deal with the impact of hard surfaces, like concrete, and the tread pattern gives you wonderful traction and helps with forward momentum.
All this being said, these shoes are definitely suitable for walking and light exercise, but they aren’t great for running or other high-impact activities. We had absolutely no issues with them for the two weeks we used them for walking around the neighborhood and aerobics.
However, we found that running in them caused premature wear — after a week, we noticed a developing hole in one of the toe beds, and both soles looked as if we’ve gone hundreds of miles, even though we’d done 25 miles tops.
Another thing to keep in mind: These shoes run a little small. We had to move up to 8.5 from our regular 8 for a comfortable fit, and other customers noted the same thing.
What I Liked
- Lots of nice, stylish color options that aren’t too bright
- Insole provided excellent support and cushioning
- Specially designed treads helped with forward momentum
What I Didn’t Like
- Using these for more than walking will cause premature wear
- Sizing isn’t quite right — move up ½ size to be safe
Timeless design is perfect for work and play
Reebok’s Princess sneaker has a simple, sleek design that’s perfect for situations and activities where sneakers don’t quite offer the right look.
Featuring a streamlined profile and classic white styling without distracting accents, the Princess sneaker is suitable for all kinds of professional environments, like hospitals, schools, and stores. It’s also a low-cut shoe that looks good with a pair of jeans or even a skirt, so you’ll enjoy comfort as you walk throughout the day, without the sometimes-aggressive look of traditional sneakers.
The shoe’s body is made from synthetic leather, so it offers the same durability as the real thing, without the larger price tag. The rubber soles give you good traction over pavement and grass, but they’re not the shoes to take hiking or running.
We really liked the lining of these shoes — it’s similar to terry cloth, and it’s soft and absorbent. There was no friction with our socks, and In the heat of summer, we didn’t have any issues with sweaty feet.
Foot support is great with these shoes, provided you’re going to use them for day-to-day wear and walking. They have a nice EVA foam insert, but if you want something with greater shock absorption, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
If you’ve got wide feet (or think that you do), don’t hesitate to order these in a wide size as the shoe is a little bit narrow. We tried these in both our regular 8 and an 8 wide, and the wide was so much more comfortable. Aside from that, we found the sizing to be very accurate.
What I Liked
- Classic style that’s great for work and casual wear
- Synthetic leather upper holds up well after long-time use
- Terry-clothing lining helps to wick away moisture
What I Didn’t Like
- Good support, but not enough for anything more than walking
- Sizing is good, but the shoe is a bit narrow — try ordering in wide
What We Looked For in the Best Walking Shoes for Women
A couple of sentences introducing this section and reaffirming our expertise. Followed by a bullet list of key criteria.
As avid walkers, we know the difference a good walking shoe can make. While some manufacturers may try to confuse you with fancy-sounding features and flashy looks, it’s important that you look beyond that to understand a shoe’s ability to support you as you move. As we researched shoes, we looked for those that:
- Offered the right type of cushioning and shock absorption for walkers
- Had adequate arch support to prevent muscle fatigue and aches
- Featured good traction to take you over various surfaces
- Are high-quality shoes without an exorbitant price tag
How to Choose the Right Walking Shoes for Women
We love the FuelCore Nergize V1 walking shoes from New Balance, but they might not be the right shoes for you. When shopping for good walking shoes, you have to think about how you’ll use them and the specific needs of your feet.
The first thing to ask yourself when shopping for walking shoes for women is what you actually plan to do with them. When you say walking, do you mean laps around your neighborhood or some time on the treadmill? Or do you mean being on your feet all day, either at work or during your time off?
The answer to this question will determine the importance of the following considerations.
When talking about a shoe’s stability, we’re referring to its ability to support your ankles. Stronger shoes might feature a cushioned collar, high laces, and an upper made from a rugged material to stabilize your ankles to reduce pain and prevent injury as you walk, pivot, twist, and turn on tougher surfaces. If you plan to do low-impact walking, such as on a sidewalk or well-maintained street, you may not need as much stability.
If you’ve ever taken off a pair of shoes, only to sore, throbbing feet, you know how important it is to find footwear with good support. The best walking shoes for women will offer contoured insoles that support your arches, without putting too much pressure on other parts of your foot. The amount of support you need will depend on how much walking you do and whether you have flat, regular, or high arches.
When you’re on your feet for an extended period of time, the pressure of putting your weight down with every step can lead to pain. You can alleviate this discomfort by shopping for good walking shoes that have layers of cushioning. Typically made of memory foam or gel, cushioning absorbs impact so you don’t get as sore.
No matter how many incredible features a shoe may have, they don’t mean anything if you’re not wearing the right shoe size. Choose shoes that are too small, and you’ll deal with blisters, muscle spasms, and friction burns from being too cramped. But if you pick shoes that are too big, your feet and legs will start to ache from trying to keep them from slipping off, not to mention you won’t properly benefit from features like arch support and cushioning.
Stability, support, and cushioning play big roles when you’re deciding on the best walking shoes for women. You should also make sure the shoes you choose offer the right level of traction for the activities in which you’ll partake and are the right size. We named New Balance FuelCore Nergize V1 walking shoes our #1 choice because it ticks off all these boxes, but you really can’t go wrong with any of our suggestions.
Want to make sure that you’re doing enough walking? A pedometer can help! Check out our pedometer buying guide for help in choosing the right one.