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Equipping your feet with the best shoes for walking is the first step to enjoyable, pain-free activities. Though it may sound obvious, taking a walk each day is one of the most beneficial things you can do, yet many don’t because of discomfort. When it comes to these aches, everything from knee soreness to back stiffness can often be traced to improper walking shoes. All muscles and nerves point to your feet during a walk and a lack of arch or ankle support will lead to pains. The best walking shoes for men address this by being well-constructed, high-quality footgear designed for their namesake activity. Shopping for them, however, can sometimes be so frustrating you want to sprint away.
In the shoe emporiums of olden days, polite salespeople accurately measured feet and offered sage advice. These days, many shoe stores at the mall lack helpful experts, and customers are left to their own devices to find the right fit. As for online shopping, trying to buy the most comfortable sneakers through the mail can lead to too many returns and much hassle. How can you tell what fits and what shoe will work best for walking? What types of shoes should you avoid for walking? What type of insole do you need? And what do you call those cold, metal measuring devices? (Answer: Those are called Brannock Devices.) All these considerations can seem intimidating, but consider the following tips and carefully curated suggestions when it comes to shopping time and you’ll find the best walking shoes for men.
The best walking shoes for men: Reviews & Recommendations
Best for flat feet: OrthoFeet Sprint Tieless Walking Shoe
The lightweight, comfortable material of the OrthoFeet Sprint Tieless Walking Shoe makes it one of the best walking shoes for flat feet. Many stability and orthopedic shoes can feel heavy and clunky, but the Sprint is airy, yet still supportive. It is a great walking shoe for anyone with mild pronation. The included orthotic insole is a real arch-saver and the adjustable heel grip can be loosened and tightened as needed to give you a snug fit. And, as an added bonus, you only need to tie the walking shoe once thanks to a handy slip-on and go laces. Flat footers of the world will feel like they are walking on a straight, supportive cloud.
Best for standing all day: Brooks Addiction Suede Walker
Brooks is an industry leader in walking shoes and Brooks walking shoes do for casual outdoor strolls what Nike shoes have done for basketball. Plus, they are the best walking shoes for standing at work all day. The high-quality material laughs in the face of everyday wear and tear. The non-slip tread keeps you upright, even on ice. And the insole offers the arch support that makes these the best comfortable work shoes needed by many hard-working walkers. Waiters, teachers, nurses—you can appreciate the complete and utter joy of finding good walking shoes, and Brooks shoes will become your new favorite coworker.
Best for high arches: Skechers Men’s GOwalk Arch Fit Idyllic Sneaker
The GOwalk Arch Fit evens out the weight placed on your heel and ankle, making it one of the best Skechers shoes, or shoes in general, with arch support. It’s also great for any type of foot. The Skechers shoes’ heel is raised enough to take the force of a step and spread it out to the entire foot. It also has great cushioning across the entire shoe and there is plenty of room for toes to move. The lightweight men’s Skechers shoes hold up on long walks or long workdays and the mesh knit fabric keeps your foot cool and comfortable through any workout.
Best for wide feet: New Balance Men’s 847 V4 Walking Shoe
Shopping for the best walking shoe is a multistep process. Measuring your foot is the easy part; now you have to actually find a pair of shoes wide enough to match. New Balance has been providing customers with a nice variety of widths to help get the best fit. And the 847 Walking Shoe is a wonderful, versatile walking shoe that can slip on just about any sized foot. New Balance widths are measured in Wide and X-Wide. According to their size chart, Wide is equivalent to a EE, X-Wide is 4E, and XX-Wide is 6E. The 847 is a stylish and comfortable shoe for walking and offers the benefits of durable, comfortable cushioning from toe to heel.
Best budget: Saucony Men’s VERSAFOAM Cohesion 12 Road Running Shoe
A walking shoe is just a running shoe that takes its time. While there are significant differences between most running shoes and walking shoes (namely heel drop, weight, and ankle support), the Cohesion 12 Road Running Shoe does excellent, affordable double duty for walkers and casual runners. The cloud-like heel is comfortable for high arches and the arch support adds some support for flat-footed walkers. While it won’t help much with overpronation, if you need a simple walking shoe that can handle most terrains and conditions, the Saucony Cohesion is one of the best men’s walking shoes you can find at that price.
When shopping for the best walking shoes for men, you can get lost in options and materials. Some athletic shoe companies make bold claims about pressure points and their shoes with arch support. Others boast of high-tech gels and space-age toebox construction. But which of these things, you might wonder, actually makes for the most comfortable sneakers for men.
The answer is different for everyone. Some walking shoes are designed for those with high arches. Others are made for walkers with stability concerns. Therefore, the first step to buying any walking shoe is to take a long, hard look at your feet.
Feet change as you age. What you thought was a narrow foot in your teens may have shifted to a wider foot in your 30s. Examine not only the length and width of your foot but also the arch. Place your wet foot on a paper bag or piece of cardboard and look at the footprint. If you see one long print, you have flat feet and may benefit from a walking shoe with stabilization. If you see only your toes and your heel, you have a high arch and you’ll need more cushion in the heel and toes to absorb impact.
Your arch can show signs of pronation and supination. These terms refer to how your foot “leans” when walking. Those with low arches often have pronation (leaning inwards), meaning the big toe and inside of the foot are doing most of the work when walking. Supination (leaning outwards) usually affects those with high arches and puts extra strain on the little toes and outside of the foot. Depending on the severity of pronation and supination, a specially made orthotic may be needed for walking.
But there are over-the-counter walking shoes specifically designed to help moderate overpronation and supination. Stability shoes and motion control shoes can help those with overpronation. Walking shoes with greater flexibility can help those suffering from supination. Walk-in a straight line and take notice of how your foot, ankle, and shin line up. An inward bend is an overpronation. An outward bend is pronation. Armed with this knowledge, you can now begin the quest for your best shoes for walking.
Related: These are athletic shoes that will give the best and the rest a run for their money.
Flat feet need significant arch support in a comfortable walking shoe
If you have flat feet, the shoe for walking is one that offers great arch support to compensate for overpronation. A stability walking shoe is designed to keep your foot facing front and center instead of rolling inwards. This is accomplished thanks to heavy-duty arch support that positions the foot and keeps it from bending off course.
Stability shoes may be heavier than other walking shoes due to the beefy arch support and lack of flexibility, but there are still lightweight walking shoes that won’t tire you out. When trying on a stability shoe, pay attention to the arch: it should feel solid, not squishy. While extra soft walking shoes may be comfortable at the shoe store, they won’t help your flat feet and legs feel better after long walks. You want the extra rigidity, not a pillow.
Motion-control shoes offer even more rigid support than stability shoes. These specialized shoes are used for severe overpronation. They will be heavy but greatly improve the quality of walking. Motion-control shoes will be specially made with insoles designed by your podiatrist.
Keep in mind that mild pronation is common and many neutral walking shoes that don’t advertise explicit overpronation support will still have some level of arch support built-in.
Get great traction with comfortable shoes
Walking shoes, unlike hiking shoes, are made for the road most traveled. The tire-like tread of a great walking shoe prevents slipping on asphalt, concert, and even wet surfaces. And for active workers on their feet all day, a non-slip tread can be a literal lifesaver.
A great walking shoe is also a great standing shoe. For standing and walking all day long, you want a shoe you won’t even notice. Heel pain, toe cramps, and more can be avoided by ditching flimsy, ultralight running shoes, and wearing a more supportive walking shoe. The bit of added weight from a walking shoe won’t exhaust feet; the right pair will make those feet happier. The best walking shoes for men are more than footwear: they are tools of the trade.
For those on the clock, or those who need to get in their recommended 10,000 daily steps, a walking shoe must be durable and comfortable. Who cares if they look a little chunky? If they provide solid support and the feeling of walking in bedroom slippers, appearances can take a backseat. Still, you should be able to find great non-slip walking shoes that look better than two black boxes with string.
Find soft, comfortable shoes for high arches
Many of the walking shoes on the market are aimed at those with flat feet who need a strong, stable shoe with significant arch support. But for those with high arches, the best walking shoes for men should have a few special features to keep you and your feet comfortable.
High arches mean the weight and force of every step are concentrated at the heel, ankle, and toes. You may not feel pain in the arch of your foot, but after a walk or day of work, your feet and ankles will feel tired and sore all over.
Because less of your foot is making contact with the ground, the walking shoe for high arches should have a high heel to strategically position your foot and help evenly distribute the weight. On any shoe, the angle of heel to toe is called the drop. Zero-drop walking shoes are flat, and not ideal for high arches. If the walking shoe doesn’t have a high enough heel, a heel insert can help give you the angle you need.
You also want a roomy, comfortable toe box—the part of the shoe housing your toes, which needs to be spacious enough to let you move and flex. Crowded toes will make a short walk feel like an entity. And to keep your ankle happy, look for soft and strong support in the back of the shoe. Pinch the ankle of the shoe. If it folds easily and feels like a sock puppet, it won’t have the support high-arched walkers need.
Why it’s so hard to measure the width of men’s walking shoes
The best walking shoe for men must have the best fit. But if you tried to decipher online width charts or read labels on shoe boxes, you know it’s not as easy as it seems to size. Part of the reason is that there’s no official, set-in-stone, absolute way all shoes are measured. Not only do women’s and men’s sizes not line up, but men’s widths can mean different things depending on the country and the shoe company.
In America, a medium-width shoe will be labeled as D, M, or R…if it’s labeled at all. This is the shoe width you’ll most likely see on the shelves. Narrow shoes are harder to find and may be labeled S, A, B, N, or C. A shoe with a 3A width will be narrower than a shoe with a 2A width. Confused? Hang in there. Wider shoe widths are easier to identify; they start at E for slightly wider feet: 2E is wider than E, 3E is wider than 2E, and so on. But some companies don’t use Es and will label wide shoes with a W, for wide, or XW, for extra-wide, just to add to the confusion. And this doesn’t include European shoes, which often don’t display width measurements at all.
You can measure the width of your foot at home, even without a fancy Brannock Device. Simply trace your barefoot on a piece of paper and measure the distance across at the widest point. Then use an online chart to find your size and width encoded in the mysterious shoe size letter system. For best results, consult the specific brand’s website for sizing information.
Here are the best men’s walking shoes you can get for less than $50
You don’t need to spend a lot to find a comfortable walking shoe. Even the big names in sneakers have affordable options. You can find a good pair of Nike walking shoes for around $60. And Asics sneakers can drop below the $40 mark. There are plenty of affordable options if you’re willing to sacrifice a few features: Namely style.
Budget-priced walking shoes will look like a basic, plain shoe. There will be no bright flashes or fun accent colors. You may also be giving up some comfort. Lower-priced men’s walking shoes will be heavier and a little clunkier, without high-tech materials and streamlined edges. If they are on your feet all day, you will notice the added ounces of thick walking shoes.
Of course, cost-effective men’s walking shoes can also lean the other way and be as light as a feather. Except that’s not a good thing. These lightweight shoes are made of practically nothing—a few strands of mesh fabric over the thinnest sole imaginable. The ultra-lightweight sneakers are better for runners who aren’t looking for an all-day shoe. The flimsy materials won’t offer enough support and alignment for flat-footed walkers or enough heel cushion for high-arched walkers.
You never want to go too cheap with your walking shoes. Anything below $40 can be made out of brittle rubber and fake leather that will crack after a few trips around the neighborhood (if the material is real leather, it will be labeled as such). And avoid any and all footwear sold at the grocery store.
Q: How do I choose a good walking shoe?
Choose good walking shoes by giving them two quick endurance tests: First, try to twist the walking shoe like wringing out a towel. It should be stiff. If it twists easily, it’s too flimsy and not good for walking. Then bend the toe up. If the bend on the bottom occurs where your toes would bend, that’s good. If it bends back in the arch area of the sole, that’s bad. Shoes should bend where toes bend. Try the shoes on at the end of the day because your feet change sizes as you walk. Don’t assume the shoes will “feel good” once you break them in. If they hurt now, they’ll hurt later. While leather shoes stretch a bit, synthetic materials won’t. And remember: Most people have feet that are two different sizes, so always try on both shoes before buying.
Q: What are the best lightweight walking shoes?
The best lightweight walking shoes have enough support to still be effective. Running shoes are much lighter than walking shoes because they lack the ankle support and arch support of walking shoes. It can be tempting to go for the lightest shoe available, but make sure it still keeps your feet in place. Stability shoes that help overpronation will need enough material and rigidity to keep the foot in place, so flimsy running shoes won’t help. If you want something lightweight, that still provides arch and ankle support, many of the best Brooks walking shoes can be running shoes that are strong yet nimble.
Q: What is the best shoe for walking all day?
For walking all day, you want a walking shoe that’s able to tackle every condition. Sightseers and travelers need a durable walking shoe with a strong sole. It’s a good idea to pay for a higher-end shoe if you plan to use it constantly. The 1400 V1 Walking Shoe from New Balance is a hearty hightop that can take paved surfaces and rocky roads equally.
The final word on choosing the best walking shoes for men
The best walking shoes for men, or any athletic shoe, will be designed for your specific feet. Flat feet need more shoes with arch support than those with high arches. Some with high arches will need soft, impact-absorbent heels. If you don’t know how your foot bends and twists, ask a professional. You may need a specialized orthotic insole or custom-made option to achieve the most comfortable sneakers. Don’t take your feet for granted; they’re the foundation for your entire life.
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