While it seems like you always need a new product for a new hyper-specific thing (neck cream comes to mind), sometimes this really is a valid notion. Like running and walking shoes, for instance. Most experts agree you need an individual pair for both of those activities.
Often, if you use your running shoes for walking, you risk wearing through the cushion more quickly, which can lead to injury. Alternatively, if you wear a lighter, less cushiony running shoe (for speed purposes), it may not have enough cushion or support for walking — which, again, can lead to injury.
The key here? Adequate cushion and mindfulness of use. And while podiatrists agree that a specific shoe recommendation depends on the type of foot and gait (ie, it’s personal to you!), There are a handful of shoe styles that seem to work for both walking and running for many people.
Dr. Trent Brookshier, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in San Diego, CA has a tip for this, though. The foot health expert says that when you’re looking for a walking shoe, you’ll need to look for support—specifically “adequate arch support.” Fortunately, you’ll probably want good arch support for a running shoe as well. He uses what he calls the “bend-twist-squeeze test” to gauge if the shoe is supportive enough (more on that in his YouTube video here). Apply this to running shoes, and you should be able to find your goldilocks pair.
Ahead, and keeping what Dr. Brookshier suggests in mind, four of our recommendations for shoes that feel just as great on long, ambling strolls as they do on brisk jogs around the neighborhood.
The best sneakers for walking and running
Hoka ONE ONE Clifton 8 – $ 140.00
A longtime runner favorite (and a common sight in many a Britney Spears Instagram dance video), these maximalist soles offer incredible support and cushion. They’re stable, strong yet flexible, and shockingly light for how bulky they appear. We’ve tried these personally and they’re a favorite in the rotation.
Brooks Ghost 14 – $ 140.00
The Brooks Ghost series also offers flexible stability and a delightful, near cloud-like cushion. Their latest iteration is a carbon-neutral shoe, making it a planet-friendly footwear choice. It’s less bulky than the Hoka ONE ONE style, but still quite stable.
Adidas Ultraboost 22 – $ 190.00
Known for their signature spring and lightweight cushion, the stylish Ultraboost from Adidas offers a plush stride that’ll have you feeling light on your dog walking excursions as well as your treadmill sprints. The upper knit is soft, breathable, and helps prevent blisters — and it’s made from ocean plastics!
Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 – $ 160.00
Walking on a dream or running through a cloud? You can feel like you’re doing both with Nike’s top-rated, best-selling addition to the Flyknit collection. The breathable, soft, responsive outsole tows the line between supportive and light.
Want to put your sneakers to the test? Follow along with the video below.
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