A good pair of walking shoes can make the difference between a comfortable walk and a painful one. Of course, finding the perfect pair of women's walking shoes isn't always simple. There are lots of things to consider like fit, materials, cushioning, foot shape, and arch. That's why our top 10 list and buying guide delves into the wide range of choices and factors.
For our number one pick, we chose New Balance's Women's 411 V1 Walking Shoe for its unmatched combination of comfort, support, and performance. As you'll find out in the buying guide, cushion and stability make up the different categories that can impact whether a shoe is right for you. Let's get started on some ideas for good women's walking shoes with the rest of our list of favorites.
Selecting a pair of women's walking shoes involves considering cushion and stability. You will also need to consider the width of your feet, your arch height, and the functions of different materials.
In general, there are two different categories for walking shoes: stability and cushion. Walking shoes that fall into the stability category offer extra motion control. If your feet tilt inward, more motion control can help. Those who have conditions that impair their ability to move freely can also benefit from added stability.
Cushioned walking shoes offer better comfort and are ideal if you do a lot of walking or standing. If you're going to be walking for several miles, additional cushioning can help absorb repetitive shock. A lot of walking shoes have even cushioning, which means that the heel and toe are at the same height or nearly the same height.
There are five main parts to a walking shoe: the insole, midsole, upper, outsole, and toe bumper. Midsole and outsoles are often made of rubber or another flexible material, like EVA foam or Phylon.
The upper portion of the shoe is usually made of synthetic materials, leather, or mesh. A toe bumper sits at the top of the shoe and usually consists of the same materials as the upper section. Most people are concerned about breathability and comfort for the upper section since feet can sweat and get tired when walking or standing.
Shoes with leather can give you more protection from weather and work well in rocky terrain. Leather is easier to clean and lasts longer, too. However, it is a heavier material that does not provide as much breathability.
Fabric and mesh are more breathable, tend to be lighter in, and don't require you to "break in" the shoes as much. However, they are less durable, do not stand up as well to rough trails, and are more difficult to clean.
Other material features you may want to look for are reflective stitching or reflective materials for safety in low-light conditions. Some shoes also have added traction and slip-resistant soles to help in more hazardous environments, like restaurants, the outdoors, delivery trucks, and factories.
If you have wide feet or are slightly bow-legged, look for shoes in wide or extra-wide widths. If the brand or style does not have a wide width, you can try the next half- or full-size up.
If you have narrow feet, some brands also offer narrow sizes. But the majority of shoes have medium widths, so you can also look for brands and styles that tend to run narrow. An athletic shoe store will be a good starting point for knowledge about these brands.
Neutral arches benefit the most from shoes with firm midsoles and straight or slightly curved midsoles. You should also look for moderate stability.
High arches need additional shock absorption. Curved soles and cushioned shoes are best for high arches. You can also add additional cushioned inserts.
Individuals with low arches are best served by a straight sole and stabilizers or motion control. Shoes that fall into the stability category or that list motion control and stability in their features can prevent unnecessary discomfort.
Consider going to an athletic shoe store to get a professional fitting. This will give you a more accurate size since shoe size can fluctuate with age, pregnancy, and other hormonal or weight changes. Different brands and types of shoes can also vary in fit.
It's better to try on shoes toward the end of the day or after you have been on your feet for a while. Feet can swell and become larger during the late afternoon or evening. You will want to wear nearly identical socks to the ones you will be wearing with the shoes. Be sure to stand when getting measured and trying the shoes, too.
Test different positions by walking around and sitting. Make a note of the fit across your foot's width, toes, arches, and heels. There should be a minimum of half an inch from the top of the shoe and the top of your largest toe. The heel shouldn't slip when you walk, and the shoes should fit snugly without feeling too tight or restrictive.
Although it can be more challenging to find the right fit if you have one larger foot, you should find shoes that fit the bigger foot. You can pad the other shoe for the smaller foot to fill the extra space.
Volume or thickness can also impact fit. When the shoe has too much volume for your foot, it can slip and move around too easily. When there is not enough, the shoe will be too tight. You can go by similar brands and styles that have fit well in the past or ask a professional at an athletic shoe store.
Everyone's feet are different, which can influence whether a shoe made to provide cushion, performance, or stability is the right match. There are also considerations like if it fits properly across the width of your foot, has enough room for your toes, and the soles are shaped right for your arch.
Women's 411 V1 Walking Shoe
Women's Devotion Plus 2 Walking Shoe
Women's Go Walk Joy Walking Shoe
Slip On Breathe Mesh Walking Shoes
Women's Athletic Walking Shoes
Women's ProGrid Integrity ST2 Walking Shoe
Women's Romy Sneaker
Women's Walking Shoes Sock Sneakers
Performance Women's Go Step Lite Slip-on
Women's Work N Cushion 3.0 Walking Shoe
Lightweight Cushioned Shoes With Dynamic Traction
Additional Arch and Heel Support
A Convenient Slip-On Design
Shock Absorption and Arch Support
Lightweight and Environmentally-Friendly
Good for Neutral Arches
Classic Cushioning and Plenty of Color Options
Stylish Arch Support
Mesh Uppers for Maximum Breathability
Oil-Resistant Soles and Supportive Cushioning
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