The holidays and winter are coming up, but we still have to find ways to meet our fitness goals when things get hectic. Whether you are trying to stay fit or get healthy, having all of the gym equipment and attire you need is important. Some people want intense spin workouts, while others prefer yoga. Walking is one of our favorite — and one of the healthiest — forms of exercise. First of all, it’s low impact, so you can maintain a conversation about last night’s Bachelor episode while doing it. Another benefit is that people who walk at a moderate intensity regularly have a lower risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
But that doesn’t mean walking is always easy-breezy. We’ve all been there: Your “dogs start barking” and your toes cramp, you have aching pain in the soles of your feet or shooting pains through your arch or heel, or plantar fasciitis decides to kick in the second you wake up. That usually means it’s time for a new shoe. In fact, these are biggest signs that you need to replace your workout shoes with a good walking shoe.
What you are looking for is a shoe that is breathable and comfortable all day long, cushions your heel and supports your arches. (Plus, it still should be a stylish walking shoe and look cute.) Supportive, well-made and comfortable walking shoe options or sneakers can make all the difference in how many miles you put in without foot pain.
We rounded up some of the best walking shoes for women (check out our best running shoes if that is your thing) that also happen to be sleek and stylish — meaning you can wear ’em off-duty, too.
Browse through favorites for the best walking shoes for women, below.
ET Style’s Picks for the Best Walking Shoes for Women:
If you’re looking for tennis shoes made for a wide foot, these are stability shoes have enough cushion to avoid foot pain like plantar fasciitis.
If you’re looking for women’s athletic shoes for wet weather, the Merrell Moab 2 Waterproof shoe is great for hiking and walking on rough terrain. It’s designed with a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry.
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21 was crafted specifically to help support your knees. The GuideRails(R) technology is designed to limit excess movement and ease knee pain, making it a great stability walking shoe.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1365 is designed for consistent comfort with its plush Fresh Foam cushioning in the midsole. It has a thick polyurethane insert for extra support and instead of a rubber sole, it has an ethylene-vinyl acetate sole with rubber pods to make it the ultimate comfortable shoe.
The Ryka Devotion 2 is a walking-style sneaker with pillow-soft cushioning and firm heel support that provide the utmost in comfort. These affordable athletic shoes include memory foam, a rubber outsole and shock absorption, and they come in myriad colors to match your workout gear and personality.
For a casual shoe, these white sneakers with a neutral arch from Ecco are well made and made for walking. It’s also a comfortable travel shoe — they’re the perfect pair of sneakers to wear with pants, shorts or dresses.
This is a running shoe, but if you have flat feet or your feet are sensitive to hard surfaces, the Nike Air Zoom Tempo NEXT% may ease some of the pain associated with plantar fascia if you use them as a lightweight walking shoe. There’s plenty of toe box room and you can actually bounce in these shoes. They are worth every penny.
As its name implies, the Asics Gel-Quickwalk 3 walking shoe has gel cushioning in the midsole and built-in shock absorption, which make your steps feel soft and steady. This comfortable women’s shoe also features breathable mesh, lace-up closure and a padded tongue — all of that will come in handy if you’re hiking in the woods or walking on uneven pavement.
This Adidas women’s walking shoe has a sock-like fit with a full-length Boost midsole which reduces shock from hard impact. It also has a 3D heel frame for easy Achilles movement and lessen heel pain.
These comfortable and affordable walking shoes from Skechers have a classic round toe, Air-Cooled Goga Mat(TM) breathable insole with high-rebound cushioning for maximum comfort with every step.
You don’t have to be a trail runner to appreciate this sturdy walking shoe from Salomon. Known for their hiking footwear, you can walk all types of terrain in these shoes. They have a breathable, sock-like textile lining and cushioned midsole.
This walking sneaker doubles as a trail running shoe from New Balance. This trail shoe features a rounded toe box and rubber sole for traction and foam inserts for comfort.
If you’ve never tried a Hoka, the lightweight shoe is known for extra wide design and extra cushioning, but the Bondi 7 is the most cushioned model with full-length compression-molded EVA midsole. These are designed to be comfortable for hours of use.
If you’re looking for a cute walking shoe, the On Cloud 2.0 is a multi-tasking athletic shoe that makes walking feel like floating on clouds. Made for all-day wear, they are also comfortable travel shoes.
Brooks has released a walking version of Addiction, one of its most beloved running styles. Not only does this comfortable footwear a round toe with a bumper, a padded tongue and collar, but it has good arch support. Additionally, the outsole is totally slip-resistant — just in case your walk gets vigorous, fast.
This uber comfortable shoe from Allbirds is super soft for walking, but provide stiff support if you want to use it for running.
The New Balance Fuelcore NERGIZE Sneakers happen to be slip-ons sneakers, which makes them extra convenient when your BFF texts after dinner to ask, “Want to go for a walk?” They also have removable memory sole insole, meaning they meld perfectly to your foot. They also have a mesh upper for maximum breathability.
If you’re looking for a walking boot to get you through the winter, let us introduce you to the Teva Ember Commute Waterproof. This shoe provides all the comfort of a walking sneaker but it’s crafted with leather and suede and has a rugged lug pattern for excellent traction in the snow. These are also waterproof shoes thanks to the bootie membrane that keeps out all things cold and wet.
If it’s a comfortable hiking boot you want, Hoka’s Anacapa Low GORE-TEX hiking shoe is the only shoe you need. It provides plenty of support and may relieve heel pain as you’re climbing peaks.
Walking sandals are also an option. This sandal from Danish shoe company Ecco is designed for lasting comfort.