Hey ladies! Want to know the best (and cheapest) mode of transportation to take on the world?
Your feet! If you’re ready to clock up some serious miles on your feet, we think you’ll love the Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 19 sneakers. We also have nine other winners to keep your feet happy and moving all day. These shoes were made for walkin’!
Don’t let anyone tell you that running is better than walking, because it’s really a situation of apples and oranges. While you burn more calories per minute running, you actually spend less time being active than someone walking the same distance. Walking is an amazing way to stay healthy and fit without having to schedule in a specific workout.
Ready to admit you like walking better than running? Great! Us too — you’re in good company. But just because we go at a more tortoise-like pace than the crazy hare runners, it doesn’t mean we don’t need to protect our feet. Here at RAVE Reviews, we narrowed in on 10 amazing walking shoes specifically designed for women’s feet and style.
Speaking of style, no one (well, no one except Iggy Azalea) is telling you to walk a mile in a pair of Louboutins. In fact, please don’t. Our top 10 walking shoes for women are definitely more practical, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on style. There is, in fact, a way to be trendy and comfy at the same time. Don’t believe us? Read on.
The Walking Shoe for Women We RAVE About
It may feel superfluous to buy shoes specific to walking, but trust us, your feet will be so grateful for it. If you take the time to select walking shoes that fit your feet and your walking style, you are guaranteed to notice a huge difference. After all, most of us are on our feet for close to 12 hours a day. So why not treat your feet?
Choosing the right walking shoe for you
In the world of walking shoes, you have to select the type that fits your walking style and gait. You have three solid options:
- Cushion shoes
- Stability shoes
- Performance shoes
Let’s break each category down a bit further.
Cushion shoes are supportive, cushioned, and designed for walkers with a neutral gait. If you have a neutral gait, you strike the mid- to lateral (or outside) part of your foot in a heel-to-toe rocking motion. A neutral gait is how humans naturally evolved to walk. Cushion shoes put most of the support on your heel to absorb a maximum amount of pavement shock.
Stability shoes are primarily for walkers with overpronation, which happens when your foot rolls slightly inward with each step. Over time, pronation tends to pivot your knees inward and wear down your arch. A stability walking shoe helps return your foot to neutral gait with extra support in the arch.
Performance shoes tend to be popular among walkers who are also serious athletes. These multipurpose shoes can be equally effective in the gym as they are outside or on a trail. In part because of their versatility, you can expect to spend a little more on them.
But how do you…walk?
Most of us have been walking since we were babies, and at this point, it’s just second nature — one foot in front of the other. But if we actually break down the process of walking, we can learn a bit more about ideal walking practices.
While walking involves the whole body — from your abdominal muscles to your hips to the swing in your arms — for our purposes, we’re most concerned with what your feet are doing.
Walking requires a flexible, fluid heel-to-toe motion. For runners, on the other hand, a good footstrike lands on the forefoot, up near the ball of your foot. Here’s the entire walking motion in three easy steps:
- Hit the ground with your heel.
- Fluidly roll from your heel to your toes.
- Gently push off the ground with your toes evenly distributed.
So whether you’re putting in a morning workout on the treadmill, walking your dog, or doing a walk-and-talk with friends, just keep in mind: heel-to-toe, heel-to-toe, heel-to-toe. Good to go!
Care for a walk?
What separates walking shoes from regular shoes? As it turns out, a lot! You have already learned that walkers and runners use different parts of their feet during their respective activities. There are four main structural differences between walking and running shoes:
- Shoe weight: Running shoes tend to be lighter than walking shoes. That’s not to say you can’t find lightweight walking shoes, but runners often seek out shoes that will help them move faster.
- Heel depth: Walkers should stay away from a thick heel. Runners need heel depth for shock absorption, but for walkers, thick heels prevent full foot flexion and can cause shin splints. Pro Tip: The heel of your walking shoe should be less than an inch higher than the depth of sole.
- Sole flexibility: You’ll find more bend and give in the soles of walking shoes. Running shoes tend to have a stiffer sole for durability. Pro Tip: Hold your walking shoe at its center and give it a good twist. It should bend easily at the ball of the foot, but stay sturdy at the arch.
- Motion control: Since runners are more likely to experience foot rotation, you’ll see more motion control features in running shoes. Folks who primarily walk, on the other hand, don’t require as much stability for their feet because they experience less impact.
Now that you’re an expert in walking shoes, you’ll have no trouble picking out a pair. The shoes on our list are specifically designed for walking. Some, however, have a hybrid function (walking and running, for instance). Just do a quick assessment of your walking gait, activity needs, and design preferences, and go from there.
Of all the walking shoes out there, how did we settle on just 10? Here at RAVE Reviews, our methodology is all about carefully calculated data: spreadsheets, number-crunching, internet sleuthing. The whole deal.
We made sure to consider not only the objective factors (price, materials, style options), but also the more elusive, subjective factors (customer reviews, blogs, etc.).
This time, we didn’t want cost to get in your way of finding a solid shoe. So while we factored in the price tag, it wasn’t a top contender in our criteria. Here are the bigger hitters in our methodology:
- Shoe design
- Extra features
- Customer reviews
- Industry rankings
The Best Walking Shoe for Women
Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 19
The Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 19 is in a league of its own as the best walking shoes for women. A breathable hybrid shoe with dialed in arch support, it covers all the bases. While it is one of the most expensive shoes on our list, the Adrenaline GTS 19 is still an affordable option, especially considering its support features.
This model is considered to be a stability shoe, which is good news for overpronators: The new and improved GuideRail Support System boosts arch support. If you have flat feet, this shoe is a good match for you, ultimately protecting your knees as you rack up miles.
This particular Adrenaline GTS shoe also includes DNA Loft cushioning, an updated element from previous models. Beyond the fancy name, this feature truly ups the game in shoe comfort. You’ll find full foot support without the extra bulk.
- Great for overpronators
- One of the top road shoes
- Extra cushioning and stability
- Fit a half-size small
- Unnecessary motion control
Teva Women’s Sanborn Sandal
You might argue the difference between a sandal and a shoe. Semantics aside, the Teva Women’s Sanborn Sandal 100% deserves a spot on our list. The Teva Sanborn Universal has proven to be a trusty albeit basic shoe companion on all terrain, in a style-conscious package.
The two stand-out features for this shoe are the water-resistant polyester material, and solid rubber outsole. The Sanborn Teva doesn’t skimp on arch support, either. The midsole is injected with EVA foam, which forms a solid and cushioned arch.
Reviews are overwhelmingly positive for this shoe, and women are impressed with the perfect combination of comfort and style. These shoes come in three different color options: blue, coral, and teal. The Sanborn Sandal is equally fitting for a six-mile hike through water crossings or a date night on a beach. So go on a hike…but do it in style.
- Suitable for any terrain
- Adjustable velcro for fit
- Sporty and stylish
- Run small and narrow
- Take a week to break in
- Doesn’t come in half-sizes
ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 24
The ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 24 is a cross-training hybrid shoe that performs exceedingly well for both runners and walkers. Weighing just over 7 ounces, this shoe is one of the lightest on our list. The Gel-DS Trainer 24 also wins big for overpronators.
Looks are certainly not the most important factor, but it sure is nice to feel good in your kicks, and the ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 24 has a particular flair for style. The upper body of the shoe is constructed out of a knit textile, which accounts for its superb ventilation and lightness. This shoe comes in zippy color schemes that are sure to stand out.
If you’re looking for the latest technology in footwear, you’ve come to the right shoe. The ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 24 has at least seven new features that optimize your walking performance. Some of them include the Impact Guidance System, Ortholite Sockliner, and more.
- Great for overpronators
- Tons of support features
- Attractive color schemes
- Short lifespan
- Narrow toe box
Adidas Swift Run Primeknit
Adidas has somehow always been able to knock it out of the park with both high-performing and fashion-forward footwear. Equally a style statement and a workout companion, the Adidas Swift Run Primeknit fits in wherever you are — the gym, a night out, and anywhere in between.
Part of the unique charm of this shoe is the insanely comfortable fit. Constructed out of a one-piece knitted upper, the Swift Run Primeknit fits like a sock. The knit upper also makes this shoe breathable, allowing you to walk comfortably in it all day.
While the Swift Run Primeknit is not designed as a performance shoe, it is perfect if you are on your feet most of the day. You won’t find any extra arch support in this shoe, however, the insole is removable, so you can put in your own orthotics.
- Removable insole
- Trendy shoe design
- Breathable knit upper
- Reduced traction
- Sizing runs large
- Heel on upper tends to crease
Brooks Addiction Walker
Brooks makes our list again with its Addiction Walker shoe. This shoe doesn’t exactly look stunning, but it will keep your feet happy and healthy for mile after mile, perfect for you Fitbit fanatics out there. It brings ultimate support and stability to your feet.
The Brooks Addiction Walker is designed as a motion control shoe, using the signature Brooks BioMoGo DNA midsole technology. This unique foam essentially adjusts its elasticity depending on the pressure of your stride, doing wonders for shock absorption and heel-to-toe fluidity.
The Addiction Walker shoe tends to be popular among walkers with past hip and knee injuries. You can trust its durable construction and arch support to prevent further injury. Even more, the outsole is fitted with slip-resistant rubber to forever keep you upright. If you value function over fashion, this shoe is for you.
- Ultimate comfort and stability
- BioMoGo DNA technology
- Slip-resistant outsole
- Only three muted colors
- Some report squeaking
- Can feel heavy and clunky
Nike Odyssey React
Want a shoe that is basically an extension of your foot? Welcome to the Nike Odyssey React. This Flyknit hybrid shoe gives you fashion on top and comfort on bottom. The Flyknit upper displays what Nike does best — the iconic swoosh against a classy backdrop. Beneath it is a midsole that beautifully supports your arch, ankle, and overall gait.
You won’t see this shoe going the extra mile to support an overpronated gait: The Nike Odyssey React is for walkers with a neutral foot strike. However, it performs well for walkers who need an extra “oomph” in their heels. The Odyssey React uses a special foam that absorbs extreme shock and allows for a faster toe spring recovery.
Nike appeases style-forward walkers with a huge selection of colors. You can choose from over 15 dynamic knit patterns, including Atomic Pink, Desert Sand, and more.
- Extra heel support
- Attractive colors and designs
- Hybrid shoe
- Narrow toe box
- Upper shoe crinkles easily
- Less support for overpronators
Versatility sets the Saucony Women’s Inferno shoe apart from the rest. That, and a million other things. For starters, Saucony is one of the most trusted brands for elite runners and athletes. You can be sure that an investment in a Saucony shoe yields quality results.
These sneakers are extra comfortable, because of the one-of-a-kind VersaFoam technology. This foam is a durable and flexible material used on the midsole and heel. You’ll pound the pavement for miles before you experience any foot fatigue.
While this shoe is marketed as a neutral running sneaker, the Saucony Inferno is popular in walking communities because of its durability. It’s less bulky than other women’s Saucony models. It comes in six unique options, along with regular and wide foot size variations.
- Wide sizes available
- Durable VersaFoam technology
- Not for overpronators
- Hybrid shoe
- Not water-resistant
PUMA Dare AC Sneaker
The PUMA Dare AC Sneaker takes the typical walking shoe in a totally new direction, ditching the laces and using an elastic hook-and-loop structure. Visually, these shoes resemble hip slippers more than walking shoes.
The PUMA Dare AC Sneaker was originally designed as part of a footwear line that speaks to fashion, sport, and lifestyle. This shoe hits the nail on the head. The design is fresh, your foot is supported, and the shoe just begs to be taken out the door! You can wear it for a treadmill workout, a walking tour on vacation, or a neighborhood exploration on foot.
There’s beauty in the simplistic design of the PUMA Dare AC Sneaker. Aside from the durable rubber sole, there’s a minimalist, knit upper material. This shoe does not have the muscle or technology to accommodate overpronators, but it is highly praised for overall comfort.
- Slip-on design
- Attractive and unique
- Highly affordable
- Upper material is not durable
- Lacks arch support
- Low mobility support
KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal
An iconic shoe that stole the hearts of outdoor enthusiasts and urban dwellers alike, the versatile KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal performs well in nearly every setting. It is lightweight, breathable (thanks to the exoskeleton design), and waterproof.
If you have any outdoor inclinations, the KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal is the perfect companion. The part shoe, part sandal hybrid design automatically elevates its potential. This shoe’s exterior design is covered in a bungee lace capture system, customizing the fit even more.
The insole uses a Metatomical Footbed design, which is shaped into a supported arch. Even more, the insole uses Cleansport NXT, which combats foot odor. Some reviewers criticize the toe box and heel strap, both of which can run small or tight. The KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal comes in 10 different colors.
- Bungee lace system
- Debris can get stuck in shoe
- Some dislike the bulky design
- Arch support can be lacking
Oofos OOMG Women’s Low Shoe
Oofos brings a truly unique addition to the walking world: The OOMG Women’s Low Shoe is designed with a minimalist intention, and looks more like a slipper than a walking shoe. It doesn’t use any shoelaces; rather, the OOMG Women’s Low Shoe is fully slip-on, with a single enforcement elastic strap across the top.
The OOMG Women’s Low Shoe was originally created as a post-run sports recovery shoe. After running a marathon, you need a shoe that gives total support to your joints. This shoe’s OOfoam absorbs nearly 40% more than your typical walking shoe. There’s a thick band of rubber on the sole, which cradles your entire foot.
One downside of the OOMG Women’s Low Shoe is that it comes in just one color: the original jet black and green design. Additionally, the sizing only comes in whole sizes. If you want a half-size, choose the next full size.
- Slip-on shoe
- Absorbs 40% more shock
- Post-run recovery shoe
- High price for simple design
- Only one color option
- Only comes in whole sizes
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How do I know what kind of support my feet need?
After all this talk about a supinated, neutral, or overpronated gait, how are you supposed to know what your feet do? The quickest and easiest test is to find a pair of shoes you wear regularly. Flip them over and look at the sole of the shoe. What wear patterns do you notice?
Another more involved option is the wet test. Simply wet the bottom of your foot, and then step onto a cement sidewalk, brown paper bag, or colored piece of paper. It will leave an imprint of your foot shape, which reveals a lot about your gait.
Here’s how to interpret your findings for both the wear patterns test and the wet test:
- Neutral gait: You’ll see most of the wear on the ball of the foot (the padded portion between the arch and the toes). You might also see some wear on the heel. The wet test will likely reveal a standard footprint.
- Supinated gait: You’ll see wear patterns on the outer edges of your shoe, and most of it will be concentrated on the heel and the lateral ridges. The wet test will show only the ball and heel of your foot, indicating a high arch.
- Overpronated gait: You’ll see wear patterns on the inside edges of your shoe. The wet test will show a filled-in arch, or the appearance of flat foot without a curve from the toe to the heel.
If both of these tests prove inconclusive, your best bet is to go to a personal trainer or a running store to get professional advice.
Can I run in my walking shoes? Or walk in my running shoes?
So what’s the big deal with separate running shoes and walking shoes? Even though running shoes and walking shoes have a few design differences, don’t they serve basically the same purpose? Is it just a marketing scheme to get you to buy two different pairs of shoes?
Well, yes and no. The easiest answer: You can walk in running shoes, but don’t run in walking shoes.
You may notice that some of the shoes on our list are technically advertised as running shoes. Walking shoes tend to focus more on comfort than performance. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you have some serious gait issues, you need a shoe with a bit more stability and motion control, like a running shoe.
If your main interest is walking, find a shoe that works for your activity level, foot strike, and aesthetic preferences.
How long do most walking shoes last?
Sometimes a good pair of shoes can feel like a best friend. After all, you go everywhere together! But there comes a time when the two of you need to part ways.
In all reality, most walking shoes last somewhere between six to nine months. It might sound like a short amount of time, but walking shoes tend to wear down after 350 to 500 miles. Depending on your gait, you’ll start to notice the most wear and tear on the outsole. But you should be most concerned about the midsole, which ultimately supports your foot.
If you hope to get a longer life out of your favorite walking shoes, here are some quick tips on how:
- Wash your shoes gently (so, not in the washing machine) with cold water and minimal soap. Instead of tossing them into the dryer, which is likely to break down the seams, let your shoes air dry.
- After your walking workout, let your shoes air out. Don’t toss them into the back of your closet or stuff them in a gym bag. Your shoes need to breathe!
- Find an insole that fits your foot properly and use it the first day you get new shoes. It’s tough on your feet to introduce an old shoe to a new insole.
Don’t walk away just yet! Here are a few more things we recommend for your next walk:
- Fitbit Versa Smart Watch ($170): Count those steps! The Fitbit Versa goes above and beyond to track your steps, sleep cycle, heart rate, and more. Plus, it has music and on-screen workout options.
- VUP Armband ($15): Made with an adjustable strap, the VUP Armband lets you keep your phone close while you’re walking. It fits any iPhone or Android and can rotate 180 degrees for easy visibility.
- Flipbelt ($29): The Flipbelt is an easy answer to working out without pockets. This moisture-wicking belt can carry your keys, cash, license, phone, or anything else without bouncing or riding up.
- BERING Women’s Synthetic Athletic Socks ($12): Give your feet some extra love with these cushioned athletic socks. They feature a breathable synthetic blend material to prevent blisters and optimize comfort.