The best walking shoes for women combine comfort, functional design, quality materials, and a price that won’t break the bank. However, finding a pair that offers all of this can be a challenge, and there is nothing worse than an uncomfortable, ill-fitting pair of shoes.
In this article, we’ve rounded up some of the best walking shoes on the market to give you a starting point for your search. These shoes receive rave reviews, look great, and are made to last. They should all be comfortable enough for use on daily walks.
While we have included some trail-focussed shoes below, if you’re looking for shoes for more serious adventures, check out our write-up on the best hiking shoes.
Pros: Classic style, responsive cushioning, midfoot support
Cons: Less durable upper than other options, bulky sole
The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 walking shoes are a nod to the classic Pegasus shoes but with added traction and support to suit being on your feet all day. These shoes offer additional support around the midfoot and plenty of grip to help you out when walking on uneven terrain.
At first glance you will notice the collar and tongue of these shoes are the same as the classic Nike Pegasus trainers. The upper features mesh to stop your feet from getting too hot and sweaty. There is also Nike React foam to provide responsive cushioning and comfort which is perfect for walking on hard surfaces.
The shoe sole has a pattern style similar to a mountain bike tyre to help give you grip in a range of terrains and there is more traction on the heel and the toe to help with control going uphill and downhill. We like the small touches like the pull tab on the heel to help you get these walking shoes on and off easily.
Pros: Lightweight, waterproof protection
Cons: May not be as durable as other options
If you’re looking for a relatively minimalist, lightweight walking shoe the Ultra Fastpack IV Futurelight is a good option.
These shoes have a Vibram Megagrip outsole which is one of the best options and performs well in most conditions. With this, you will be able to gain traction on surfaces the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 shoes would struggle with.
We like the addition of the Futurelight membrane which is both breathable and waterproof to help keep your feet dry and comfortable whatever the weather. These are good quality, comfortable walking shoes that excel in day hikes and wet weather walks.
Pros: Waterproof materials, personalised comfort and fit preferences, breathable and flexible, lightweight shock absorption, EVA footbed for support and stability
Cons: Sole traction not suitable for trail walking, expensive
Rockport are one of the most trusted names in footwear and the Trustride Prowalker is one of their most popular models.
Not only do these shoes look great (and come in a range of colours), they are designed and manufactured with comfort as a priority. Incredibly lightweight and flexible while remaining supportive, these shoes offer a range of features generally only found in sports footwear such as injection-molded EVA outsoles an OrthoLite footbed.
Pros: Versatile, sleek, stable
Cons: Best suited to sports
These are the newest generation Gel shoes from Asics and are based on the popular 540TR. The 550TR have a sleeker design and are lighter in weight. These versatile shoes are ideal for sports, workouts and walks.
The midsole cushioning is made from FlyteFoam Propel which is designed to complement speed and agility. They also have a hard-wearing outsole that can handle the trails.
These shoes provide stability with the added benefit of being lighter and able to handle fast movements responsively. The forefoot and rearfoot gel absorbs shock so you will be comfortable on any terrain.
Pros: Excellent fit, great cushioning, high-quality
Cons: Best suited to running
The 880 series from New Balance is a popular range for daily use thanks to the combination of comfort and performance. The Fresh Foam 880 V11 do not disappoint, being responsive, supportive and having a perfect amount of cushioning.
One of the major changes between V11 and previous versions is the upper which is now an engineered double jacquard mesh, it is supportive and unrestrictive while offering a premium fit.
The Fresh Foam midsole is soft and comfortable so you can walk all day without feeling sore. This is a great running shoe and walking shoe, it can handle whatever you are up to while keeping your feet supported.
Pros: Renewable materials, flexible, machine washable
Cons: Fit seems slightly wider than standard
The Allbirds Women’s Tree Dashers are high performance shoes that have been made from renewable materials. They look great and are machine washable so you don’t have to worry about scrubbing them clean after a long hike.
These shoes move with you so you don’t feel resistance while walking. Something we like is the single piece upper that is lightweight, breathable and flexible. The fit of these shoes seem to be slightly on the wider side so are best for wider feet.
The dual-density SweetFoam midsole offers cushioning, stability and is even carbon negative. These walking shoes also have a natural rubber traction pad to help improve stability and the Allbirds wool on the heel counter helps to keep your foot in position.
Pros: High-quality, shock-absorbing, water repellent, comfortable
Cons: Less protective than some walking shoes
The Salomon X Ultra 4 are walking shoes that you can’t go wrong with. These women’s walking shoes have been updated to make them lighter and more agile than before. They have an active support upper that adapts to your foot and accompany its movements.
There is a protective mudguard that wraps around the base of the foot for protection, a high performance EVA foam midsole that absorbs shock and a quicklace system to get the shoes on and off easily.
One of the things we love about this walking shoe is that it protects ankle articulations on the outer foot to help reduce injuries. The shoes are also water repellent and have a protective toe cap. With all these finer details, these are some of the best walking shoes for women for a range of conditions. The X Womens Ultra 4 are comfortable, stable and handle uneven terrain incredibly well.
Pros: Comfortable, good traction, supportive
Cons: Heavy, not waterproof
The Moab 2 Ventilator walking shoes for women are designed for excellent traction. They have a supportive footbed and the Merrel air cushion in the heel adds stability and help absorb shock.
We like the tongue as this helps to stop dirt and dust from going into your shoes while you walk. They also have a protected toe cap which helps to keep your toes safe and increases the shoes life span too.
These shoes are not waterproof but they use high-quality performance suede leather and have a mesh lining that help to make these walking shoes comfortable from day one.
Pros: Comfortable, deep cushioning, versatile
Cons: Heavier than previous versions
This shoe from Nike is a high-quality, responsive and comfortable option. The deep cushioning makes them great to wear for long, easy paced walks and they can handle runs too.
This version is the updated Flyknit that has new uppers for added support and breathability. One thing to note about this shoe is the thin tongue that offers very little movement, it would be great if this was a little bit more adaptable so you could adjust it for improved comfort.
These running shoes look good, feel great and offer plenty of cushioning support. The React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 offer excellent traction on wet surfaces so you will have good grip while walking.
Pros: Breathable knitted mesh, suitable for all surfaces, lightweight (160gs/pair)
Cons: Tight across the toes, fabric upper reportedly wears quickly
The Propet Travelfit Women’s is an incredibly well-built shoe designed to provide structure and support in all key places.
It’s suitable for walking on all surfaces and provides plenty of support to an average to high arch. The medium fit makes it perfect for most women, while the Rejuve Motion Technology adds comfort during long walks.
Perfect for casual and fitness walking alike, the Propet Travelfit brings a balanced value for money.
Pros: Midsole contains SpEVA foam and DUOMAX technology, GEL cushioning in heel, design counters over-pronation, wide fit
Cons: Limited colour-ways
If you’re looking a new shoe to provide comfort and support for your regular walks, you may have met your match with the impressive Asics Gel-Odyssey.
The all-important midsole is taken care of with SpEVA foam and DUOMAX technology, while also providing impressive rebound, reducing impact and adding a bit of spring in your step. the heel is cushioned with Asics’ signature GEL technology, to protect your heel over long distances.
Another standout feature is the design to stop over-pronation, the common tendency amongst walkers to roll their foot inwards. Overall, this is a great looking shoe that doesn’t compromise on performance or comfort.
Women’s Walking Shoes Buying Guide
A good pair of walking shoes offer comfort and support when you are on your feet all day. They are designed to feel great, reduce pain and many of them look stylish too. If you’ve found a pair of walking shoes you like the look of, check the model against the list of essential features below to make sure they tick all the boxes.
The intricate anatomy of the foot forms flexible side-to-side and lengthwise arches that distribute your bodyweight evenly and help maintain your balance. They play an important role in how you adapt to walking on various surfaces, that’s why it’s essential to wear adequate shoes that accommodate your arch type.
- Straight to semi-curved lasts and firm midsoles are ideal for those with an average arch foot type.
- Cushioned soles compensate for the lack of natural shock absorption of high arches.
- Straight lasts exert a motion control and stabilising action on low-arched feet or flat feet.
Walking shoes are divided into two basic types, with or without laces. Besides the subjective criteria driven by preference, you must also consider the intended use.
Shoes without laces are easy to slip on like sandals, but they may come off if you during light running or climbing.
Shoes with laces stay fit and snug in all circumstances, but loose laces can be hazardous especially when walking on a treadmill.
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A walking shoe that has shock absorption features help to protect your feet with every step. This makes walking on hard surfaces and uneven surfaces much more comfortable.
Even the best walking shoes won’t do their job if they don’t fit perfectly. Here are a few tips to make sure your new pair fit snugly:
- Try the new pair with socks on, preferably the same socks you use for walking.
- Pay attention to the shoes’ width. They must be snug, not tight.
- Try both shoes before calling the pair a fit. They should feel comfortable even on the first try.
- The toe box at the front of the shoes should leave around half an inch of space between the tip of your toe and the shoe. This gives you enough space to wiggle your toes and helps to prevent blisters.
The upper on a shoe can be made from suede, leather or synthetic materials such as mesh. This needs to help keep your feet from becoming hot and sweaty inside the shoe.
Leather is more durable and can withstand tougher environments while a mesh upper is lightweight and breathable but doesn’t offer that much protection against the elements. It comes down to personal preference, comfort and where you will be wearing your new walking shoes.
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Finally, look at the outsole and the grip that is offered. The outsole varies on different walking shoes but most are made from rubber compounds. This offer excellent traction and durability. One of the best outsole materials is Vibram, this is a high performance option that is extremely durable and offers plenty of traction.