Best Walking Shoes for Women, According to Podiatrists

When it comes to buying walking shoes, many people prioritize style over fit.

However, as Kenneth Cornell, DPM, a podiatrist at Austin Regional Clinic, shared that it’s important for women to have good quality shoes – not just for maximum comfort but also to prevent future injuries, especially when walking for longer periods of time.

“Women tend to wear a wide variety of shoe types that are often not very supportive. High- or medium-height heels, many flats like ballet slippers, flip-flops with thin soles, pointy shoes, and very flexible shoes can lead to foot, leg, and back pain, ”Dr. Cornell explained.

To help you find the best pair of walking shoes to meet your needs, we considered the following criteria:

  • Expert recommendations. We asked podiatrists for their recommendations on what makes a great walking shoe, as well as any specific brands and models they often recommend to their clients.
  • Comfort and durability. All of the shoes listed below have mostly positive customer reviews for being comfortable and durable.
  • Intended use. We included walking shoes to fit a variety of needs, from hiking shoes to sandals.
  • Price. All of the shoes on our list offer good value for the price.

Here are the 9 best walking shoes for women, according to podiatrists.

Curious about what to look for in a walking shoe? We asked Dr. Cornell and Derek Anders, DPM, a podiatrist at the Permanente Medical Group in Antioch, California, for their top tips for choosing the right pair.

Go shopping at the end of the day

When it comes to shopping for walking shoes, Dr. Anders recommended trying on shoes at the end of the day, as feet tend to be their biggest or may be swollen at that time.

Pay more attention to the fit than the listed size

“[Pay less attention to] the stated size of a shoe and be open to the fact your feet change and your foot size changes, ”said Dr. Anders.

He also recommends trying on different brands, as sizing will also differ between brands and lines of shoes.

“There should be some space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe – about a finger’s width,” he says. “It’s also common for one foot to be slightly bigger or longer than the other, so size your shoes to your bigger foot.”

Consider your intended use and foot and ankle structure

According to Dr. Cornell, the best choice for a walking shoe will vary by individual.

“Some may need extra cushioning because they walk long distances, and others might need motion control because they overpronate,” he explains. “Universally, shoes should be flexible and properly fitted.”

If you’re unsure about how to identify a good fit, Dr. Cornell recommends visiting a local athletic or running store, as their employees are likely to understand foot sizing and can make sure you leave with the right shoe for your foot.

Ask a professional about orthotics

If you have chronic foot pain issues you can’t seem to figure out, it may be worth talking to a podiatrist about considering orthotics.

If given the green light, Dr. Anders says you should wear orthotics for 1 month to give them a chance to make a difference, while also avoiding walking barefoot and limiting slipper and sandal use during that time.

Follow up with a physician or podiatrist on any changes in your comfort level in the meantime.

Best overall walking shoe

Saucony Triumph 18

Price: $$$

The Saucony Triumph 18 comes in a wide range of color patterns, from solid black and gray to combinations of orange and bright yellow, purple and lime green, pink and black, and more.

The shoe’s bouncy, cushioned midsole, geometry, and blown-rubber outsole also provide flexibility, durability, and springiness in a lighter foam that makes for a comfortable walk or run.

According to Dr. Cornell, the Saucony Triumph 18 is a good choice because it’s a supportive running-style shoe that provides cushioning to the forefoot and support and stability to the whole foot.

Best sandal for walking

Powerstep Archwear Women’s Sandals

Price: $

When it comes to sandals, Dr. Cornell recommended selecting a pair with adequate arch support and cushioning for the forefoot, both of which this shoe offers.

Unlike many sandals, which can be thin and flimsy, the Powerstep Fusion Orthotic Sandal has built-in arch support and plenty of cushioning in the midsole to absorb impact.

Its treaded, lightweight outsole also provides better traction, while its comfortable straps won’t dig into the tops of your feet.

Best slip-on walking shoes

OOFOS Women’s Ooahh Luxe Recovery Sandal

Price: $

OOFOS have a reputation for feeling like you’re walking on clouds, which is why they’re the recovery shoe of choice for runners to switch into after a long marathon-training run, myself included.

These rubber sandals are also a great house shoe for those who may be prone to plantar fasciitis – an injury identified by sharp, stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot and heel.

Thanks to its cushioned arch support, this recovery sandal offers a comfortable way to avoid making your plantar fasciitis any worse.

Best lightweight walking shoe

Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 21

Price: $$

The Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 21 is a versatile shoe that can be used for everything from walking to running.

It’s also great for cross-training and comes in a wide range of colorways, including solid black, gray, white and purple, and fun combinations like red and teal or turquoise and lime green.

The shoe is lightweight and features a DNA LOFT Crash Pad to cushion your feet with every step and stride.

It also offers a GuideRails holistic support system that’s designed to help you move comfortably and works to reduce excess shin and heel rotation. It likewise promotes natural knee motion to reduce or prevent pain.

Offering support and cushioning to promote stability and decrease pronation, it’s no surprise that these have an abundance of favorable reviews.

Best value walking shoe

Ryka Women’s Devotion Plus 3

Price: $$

Featuring a lightweight, molded, ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam midsole and specially designed platform to absorb shock and impact, the Ryka Women’s Devotion Plus 3 is a relatively inexpensive walking shoe that will keep your foot comfortable, even over long distances.

What’s more, the shoe is designed specifically for the unique foot shape, muscle movement, and build of women’s feet.

Reviewers note that the shoe fits true to size and remains comfortable, even after all-day wear.

Best cushioned

New Balance Women’s 928 V3

Price: $$

If you’re looking for a shoe with lots of cushioning that’s available in a range of sizes, New Balance Women’s 928 V3 is a great option.

In addition to offering sizes from 6–13, this shoe comes in narrow, standard, wide, extra-wide, and XX-wide, making it easy to find your perfect fit.

The shoe features a ROLLBAR stability post system, which works to control rear-foot movement for enhanced support, and it’s designed with Walking Strike Path outsole technology to guide your foot through its walking gait cycle with motion control and stability.

Plus, the shoe includes a cushioned midsole that absorbs impact and offers compression resistance, and the removable polyurethane foam footbed is designed for extra durability and comfort.

While it isn’t the most stylish of shoes, your feet will be thanking you for prioritizing a good fit.

Best for travel

OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe

Price: $$

Choosing comfortable shoes for traveling can be challenging.

On one hand, you want to make sure that your shoes are comfortable enough for all-day wear, but on the other hand, you don’t want a bulky shoe that takes up precious suitcase space.

OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe is the perfect solution, as it’s easy to slip on and off (ideal for airport security), goes with a variety of outfits, and is extra cushioned to keep your feet comfortable.

The brand’s OOfoam technology also absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam, reducing stress on your feet, joints, and back.

Plus, the footbed provides ample arch support, which helps reduce energy exertion in the ankles and makes all-day wear easier and more enjoyable.

Best for hiking

HOKA Women’s Speedgoat 4

Price: 145

HOKA shoes have a reputation for being ultra-cushioned and are arguably the gold standard for trail runners.

It’s no surprise then that the HOKA Women’s Speedgoat 4 is a popular option for hiking, whether you’re walking on flat gravel trails or hilly, technical terrain.

With a softer sole and stronger grip than hiking boots, you’ll likely forget about your feet as you’ll instead be able to take in the scenery as you log some serious mileage.

As a bonus, the Speedgoat 4 comes in eye-catching colors, including Dazzling Blue Phlox Pink and Provincial Blue Luminary Green.

Best walking shoes for high arches

ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 23

Price: $$$

If you have high arches, you’ll want to choose a shoe that offers arch support, as well as plenty of cushioning and stability – all of which are found in the ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 23.

Specifically, the shoe features ASICS ‘GEL technology cushioning for top-notch shock absorption, while the FlyteFoam Propel Technology offers extra bounce due to the unique elastomer compound it contains.

The Gel-Nimbus 23 also offers a roomy toe box and is available in a variety of fun colors.


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