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Would you walk 500 miles? Recent trends indicate you probably would – with or without The Proclaimers song blaring in your earbuds.
Walking for fitness is booming across the country. In 2021, 115.8 million Americans reported that they walked for fitness at least once, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
This walking trend may seem obvious given the pandemic. We were all desperate for any excuse to get out into the fresh air and gyms were closed. But even now, with offices reopening and routines “normalizing,” a survey of 1,700 adults by the Rockport Group showed that well over 60% of professionals still plan a few walk breaks into each workday.
Could it be that we have finally gotten wise to the incredible, highly accessible health benefits of spending just a few extra minutes on our feet?
“Studies have shown that walking around 2.5 hours per week can lower the risk of heart disease by 30%,” says certified trainer, Todd Allen. “It can also decrease risk of diabetes and cancer, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and keep you mentally sharp.”
You don’t have to be a Wall Street analyst to recognize that’s a pretty high return on investment. 2.5 hours a week translates to just 20 minutes a day. And that is pretty doable even for the busiest of schedules.
But if you’re looking to commit to a real walking fitness regimen, you’ll want to pay special attention to what treads you are trodding on and how often you should be replacing them – ironically, every 500 miles, according to Dr. Emily Splichal.
Nancy Sinatra may have sang that her “boots were made for walkin’,” but were they really? If you’ve ever taken a step too far in the wrong pair of shoes, you know the difference a well-fitting, comfortable walking shoe can make.
Now that you are thinking more about how you use your feet, ahead are 25 pairs of the best walking shoes for men that will suit a range of needs and lifestyles.
Best Men’s Walking Shoes for Low Arches
The New Balance 577 V1 is easy to slip on thanks to hook and loop closures. Reviewers provide near constant endorsements for their suitability for walkers with low arches, making this purchase a pretty easy one for those with low arches. Add the hundred year heritage of Boston-based manufacturer New Balance and a reasonable price point into the equation and we’re pretty sure you’ll be adding these to your closet in no time.
Best Slip-On Walking Shoes for Men
These easy slip-ons are the number one best-selling walking shoes for men on Amazon. The 28,000 reviews for the Skechers Go Walk Max garner a near perfect five-star average, and reviewers rave that the shoes pretty much speak for themselves. “I honestly don’t know where to begin with how truly comfortable these shoes are,” declares one reviewer. “They are a godsend. I don’t have enough good things to say about these shoes.” But if they did, they might mention that they are extremely lightweight, thanks to a breathable mesh upper, while still delivering extreme comfort underfoot due to Skechers’ proprietary Goga Max technology and 5Gen sole.
Converse’s Converse Chuck 70 AT-CX sneakers don’t sacrifice style for comfort. These shoes deliver the look and feel we love from the label’s iconic and classic sneaker with a reimagined chunky CX foam midsole and sockliner for exaggerated comfort. It also has a TPU Bosey toe for durability and a diamond lugged outsole for additional traction.
Best Lightweight Slip-On Walking Shoes
Sometimes you just need to get up and go. And for those moments, a trusty slip-on, like the Skechers Go Walk Evolution Ultra, will be your best friend. These featherweight slip-ons weigh in at a mere 7.2 ounces, but still provide sufficient cushioning without the bulk. One Amazon reviewer shares that they are “absolutely the best-fitting and most comfortable shoes,” they’ve ever worn. An added bonus? They’re machine washable.
Best Leather Walking Shoes for Men
For a walking shoe that can perform double duty either at the office or out on the town, look no further than the Rockport Eureka Walking Shoe. The genuine leather uppers provide a versatile look that belies the foot fatigue fighting technology within the shoe’s latex foam footbed and impact-absorbing EVA midsole. With over 13,000 reviews and an average 4.5-star rating on Amazon, one reviewer exclaims, “They’ve exceeded all expectations! Like the reviews, these shoes are solid!” The reputation of Rockport is equally solid. The company is largely credited with inventing (and perfecting) the category of walking shoes back in 1973 with the introduction of the iconic Country Walker.
Best Barefoot-Style Walking Shoes for Men
If a barefoot, minimal style is your priority, the Prio from Xero Shoes come highly recommended by podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal. “The difference and benefit with minimal shoes is that they don’t have the structure and cushion to break down,” she says. Fewer materials mean you won’t have to replace your shoes quite as often. And reviewers on Zappos agree, stating that the shoes, “have been super sturdy, and handle wear and tear well.”
Best Walking Shoes with an Extra-Wide Toe Box
With an extra-wide toe box and a slipper-like fit, the Hana Canvas Shoe from Xero offers casual comfort and style for those who would rather feel like they aren’t wearing shoes at all, or maybe just one of the best men’s sandal slides. This style offers the same barefoot fit Xero is known for, but eschews the athletic-look of most of their other styles. And reviewers on Zappos love them: “I have never had a pair of shoes that made such a difference for my feet and legs.”
Best Budget Walking Shoes
Priced at less than $50, the Wonesion Breathable Slip-Ons, offer major bang for your buck. And with 15 available colors, you can stock a different pair for any occasion. Don’t let the low price point fool you though, reviewers will tell you these shoes deliver. “I was skeptical at first, but I was very surprised and shocked. Looks are second to none. Comfort is there. Support is too due to the stiffer sole construction.”
Best Men’s Walking Shoes for High Arches
If you have high arches, like Allen, the Hoka Challenger ATR 6 is the walking shoe he recommends first. “I have super high arches, so I look for walking shoes with a lot of cushion in the heel and midsole. This walking shoe is perfect for walking my dogs on roads or trails. They’re super cushioned and very stable.” Which makes a lot of sense as they were developed by the French “maximalist” shoe company, Hoka One One, to place extra emphasis on cushioning for comfort.
Best Walking Shoes for Long Distance on Concrete
If a comfortable walking shoe is on the agenda, the Skechers Go Walk Arch Fit Workout Walker checks all the boxes. This style delivers on superior arch support with a removable podiatrist-designed arch fit insole. The arch molds to your foot and delivers the even weight distribution and shock absorption that professionals, like pedorthist Michael Fiskin, recommend. The Hyper Arc technology also adapts to your stride and is optimized to provide a smoother, more efficient walking gait. And a breathable mesh upper leaves your foot feeling dry, as Allen prefers.
Best Men’s Walking Shoes for Foot Pain
When you know you have a range of existing foot conditions that leave you in pain, you may be best served by a specialist orthopedic shoe, like the Orthofeet Lava Walking Men’s Shoe. Built with premium orthotic insoles and an adjustable arch booster, these shoes are designed to address almost any common foot condition you can think of, from plantar fasciitis, knee pain and flat feet to bunions and hammertoes. They are even recommended for those with pain from diabetes and arthritis. One reviewer on Amazon reported that for his extremely painful plantar fasciitis in his left heel, “the relief was immediate.’
Best Budget Walking Shoes for Shock Absorption
If you’re spending a lot of time on hard surfaces, you may be especially concerned with shock absorption. With spring in their name, the Aprilspring Walking Men’s Shoe provides plenty of bounce in its step. One reviewer on Amazon raves, “The shock absorbing soles make these the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn, right out of the box!” With an average 4-star rating and a $45 price tag, these shoes will have your feet living in luxury without breaking the bank.
Best Modern Walking Shoes for Men
While it was developed as their flagship running shoe, On’s Cloud 5 is one of our favorite hybrid running/lifestyle sneakers. The style’s molded heel provides stability that is complimented by a memory foam insole that offers both comfort and support. But the real coup d’etat, as the French speaking Swiss shoemakers would say, is the slip-on style and superior outer cushioning. Those features have made these sneakers a staple of sidewalks all over the country — and has reviewers buying multiple pairs.
Best Walking Shoes for Flat Feet
The Gel Kayano 28, from the legendary Japanese shoe company Asics, are the gold standard for many runners. (This writer has sworn by them — buying pair after pair — for the last 15 years.) Thanks to incredible stability and, as the name implies, gel cushioning, these shoes provide excellent support, especially for those with flat feet. The rear and forefoot Gel cushioning system absorbs shocks through multiple planes, supporting a variety of different gait styles, making these shoes ideal for walking as well.
Best Walking Shoes for Metatarsal (Ball of Foot) Pain
When the metatarsal bones that meet at the ball of your foot become inflamed, relief can be hard to come by — unless you have a pair of Brooks Ghost 14 sneakers. The BioMoGo DNA Loft cushioning provides “just-right” softness underfoot without sacrificing responsiveness or durability. The segmented crash pad — a system of integrated shock absorbers — ensures you’re cushioned at every step and provides super smooth heel-to-toe transitions. One reviewer on Amazon raves, “You won’t regret these. Great support, super light, super fast, and just the right amount of ‘bounce.’ Awesome shoe.”
Best Men’s Walking Shoes for Diabetes
Allowing your foot room to breathe is central to maintaining good circulation for diabetics. And the Yibobay Diabetic Men’s Shoes are designed to be extra-wide with that in mind. Coupled with memory foam soles and a velcro buckle, these comfortable shoes are spacious and perfectly suited for swollen feet. One reviewer reported that these shoes were perfect for her father. “His ankles swell, and these shoes are easy to slip on and adjust. They are also lightweight, but provide more stability than slippers. Great shoes!”
Best Men’s Running Shoes
When Allbirds set out to develop the Tree Flyer they aimed to earn a spot among the best running shoes. They took the task seriously. Developed over two years and tested with 115 runners, the Tree Flyer was designed to go the distance, literally. As our Footwear News review reports, an all-new insole and flared external heel provide cushioning and support, while the toe spring eases the transition of your gait. The result is a serious shoe for those who demand ongoing comfort for long distances. “I now have just over 300 miles on them, and 3 or 4 sessions in the washing machine and they are still holding up incredibly well,” says one wearer. “They have a great cushion in them, but still manage to be lightweight and not bulky, which is the ideal.”
Best Lightweight Men’s Running Shoes
This shoe is sure to take a spot as one of the best Adidas walking shoes. These Adidas Swift Run Men’s Shoes, while sporty, were built to be worn throughout your daily life — from work to weekend. Part of the Originals line, the Swift Run is lightweight, thanks to a sock-like knit upper. The OrthoLite insole provides sturdy support for all around comfort. Adidas has been an iconic and trusted shoe maker since 1949, second only in size to Nike. “I own many pairs of Adidas shoes and these are high on my list. Love the look and comfort,” reported one buyer. A slip-on style available in a huge range of colors, the Swift Run can be thrown on quickly, leaving you ready to head out the door on a moment’s notice and handle whatever the day throws at you in comfort and style.
Best Men’s Walking Shoes for Style
When it comes to trendy shoes, Cole Haan has been a trusted go-to for over 90 years. The Grand Pro Rally Men’s Shoes carry on that tradition with a casual, versatile look. A loafer-sneaker hybrid, the perforated leather outer delivers style cred which pairs just as well with jeans and a t-shirt as it does with a button-down and khakis. However, unlike most loafers, these soles contain a sneaky surprise, providing comfort from an Ortholite foot bed. Howard from North Carolina comments: “Great looking casual sneakers. They are very comfortable yet stylish. I highly recommend them, and I should also mention that they are a great value for the price.”
Best Trendy Walking Shoes for Men
If you’re looking for a comfortable shoe for a variety of occasions from the boardroom to brunch, our tried-and-true standard is the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38, AKA one of the best Nike walking shoes around. Named after the trusted winged steed of Greek mythology, this style is our trusted workhorse as well–and not just because of its classic good looks. Cool, breathable uppers, a slightly wider fit, and plenty of underfoot cushion all make this shoe as comfortable as it is fashionable. And if you, like Pegasus, decide you want to take flight, it still delivers the performance a comfortable running shoe at its core.
Best Sustainable Walking Shoes
If a pair of classic white kicks that deliver on both style and comfort are what you crave, look no further than the Rothy’s RS01. Delivering on all the support and comfort you would expect from a classic, court-style sneaker (flexible upper, contoured footbed, a grippy outsole), all of Rothy’s styles are made of their signature thread, spun from recycled plastic water bottle and are 100% machine washable. John K. raves, “I’m kicking myself for not getting these sooner. They have become my everyday go to. With or without socks, it doesn’t make a difference. Walked almost 8 miles in them the second time I wore them. Feet felt great. Need any other pair…”
Best Walking Shoes for Summer
Another comfortable classic men’s white sneaker option, the product reviews on the Cariuma Oca Low men’s shoes speak for themselves: “The most comfortable sneaker I’ve ever worn. Literally like how I imagine walking on a cloud would feel and they go with everything!” Cariuma blends classic styling and construction with new school ethics (natural rubber, vegan insoles, organic cotton, recycled materials) to deliver a shoe that will leave your foot–and your soul–feeling great.
Best Men’s Walking Shoes for Trail Walking
When it comes to running footwear, you can’t go wrong with Asics and the Trabuco Max — one of the prolific Japanese maker’s outstanding entries into the trail running category — is no exception. Neutral shoe with a ton of support, the Guidesole technology reduces ankle flexion and provides an ultra shock-absorbent landing zone, making these a great option to log long trail miles at any pace or gait. “This shoe is very comfortable. My first day I went on an 8.5 mile walk and the shoes felt great,” says ons reviewer.
Best Walking Shoes for Rugged Terrain
If you’re planning for the uneven surfaces of a trail, the New Balance 669 v2 should be the shoe you grab from the closet — it’s simply one of the best New Balance shoes out there. The Abzorb midsole technology were designed for comfort while walking, but its the rugged rubber outsole and durable leather uppers that make this shoe trail appropriate. One reviewer reports they are especially good for slippery surfaces due to winter weather. “These offer greater traction on icy(or slushy snow) than regular walking shoes. Underneath, the contour of the exterior sole has good spacing between the ‘faux cleats’ to keep you from slipping.”
Best Walking Shoes for Light Hiking
Styled more as a combat boot than a hiking boot, the Free Soldier Hiking Boot will leave you ready to battle both rugged trails and city streets. “They look like a cross between a sneaker and a combat boot,” enthuses one Amazon reviewer. The upper sports durable, anti-puncture fabric and waterproof material provides general all-day use in a variety of activities. If the terrain you’re tackling is particularly rugged, you may want to look for an option with slightly more attention to traction. But if your Saturday is going to take you from the trail, to yard work, to a well-deserved drink at the bar, this is the comfortable hiking boot for you.
Best Men’s Walking Shoes for Long Hikes
When traction and stability are at the top of the list to ensure you make it to the top of the peak, there are few options better suited than the Scarpa Men’s Zodiac Plus GTX. The GTX brings together the exceptional traction of a technical mountaineering boot with none of the weight that can drag down the average day hiker. The Sock-Fit DV System adds water resistance and elasticity to the tongue that ensure a snug, mid-foot hugging fit. The Perwanger leather outer, coupled with a Gore-Tex Performance Comfort footwear lining, makes for high water resistance. And while many hiking boots require a breaking in period, Amazon reviews report that this model is, “Amazing right out of the box. Didn’t need much breaking in.” You’ll be hiking in comfort in no time.
Our feet are our primary mode of transportation. So comfortable men’s shoes that you feel great walking in should be staples of your closet. Fit is key to comfort and isn’t too hard to come by, according to Allen. A good first step is to make sure you have enough room in the toe box of your walking shoes to move your toes around with ease.
Chances are you also aren’t isolating your fitness to one type of exercise or surface anymore. And you also probably don’t have room in your closet (or budget) for a pair of shoes for every activity. So you may want to try and find shoes that foot the bill for a diverse lifestyle and specific needs.
Here’s a few things to take into consideration before you take another step on your path to purchasing a comfortable walking shoes for men.
Comfortable Walking Shoes for Rugged Surfaces
When it comes to rough terrain, it’s best to pay attention to the type of traction you’ll need. If you’re regularly rambling at a pace that exceeds more than a brisk walk, seasoned trail athletes will tell you that a comfortable trail running shoe will provide the protection, cushion, and grip that will keep your feet happy. But if your pace is a bit slower, a comfortable hiking shoe might be the way to go.
Comfortable Walking Shoes for Pavement and Hard Surfaces
The streets of the city can be pretty mean on your feet. Concrete, asphalt and other hard, paved surfaces provide very little natural cushion when you walk them. Take into account where and on what kind of surface you’re going to be doing the bulk of your walking as you’re looking for shoes. Comfortable shoes for standing all day should be a good match for hard surfaces, but be careful not to take it too far, warns Dr. Patrick McEaneaney. “Soft and spongy insoles can make your foot work a little harder and create instability, so firmer can be better.”
Comfortable Walking Shoes for Staying on Your Feet All-Day
If you’re truly working on your feet all day long, it’s important to focus on finding walking shoes that will distribute your body weight evenly, according to certified pediatrist Michael Fishkin. Proper heel cushioning, plus midfoot and arch support will leave your foot less apt to fatigue quickly, he says. As many nurses — and podiatrist Dr. Glenn Davison — will attest, the thick rubbery soles of a comfortable pair of clogs provide an exceptional level of both shock absorption and traction.
Comfortable Walking Shoes for Diabetics
Diabetes can cause all sorts of discomfort for your feet. Dr. Mike Rushton explains that poor circulation to extremities can cause problems like neuropathy and loss of sensation. The key here is to look for diabetic shoes with a roomy fit, he says. Apart from shoes specifically tailored for diabetics, opt for wide box toes and soft shoe interiors, which will help decrease friction on the foot.
Comfortable Walking Shoes for Arthritis
Arthritis is joint inflammation that causes pain and stiffness — which can make standing or walking for long periods of time a real challenge. As in most cases, the key to alleviating arthritis pain is proper support. Look for shoes with a secure fit, arch support and plenty of underfoot cushioning.
Comfortable Walking Shoes for Running
If your workouts typically involve logging long miles on the road or track, you know the value of a purposefully designed running shoe. Running shoes have gotten so good, according to running coach Cory Smith, that you really can’t choose wrong, as long as you follow your own personal preferences. Take into account what’s important and feels good to you — whether that’s weight, stability or cushioning.
Comfortable Walking Shoes for Workouts
If you’re looking for a good generalist workout shoe, be attuned to any known foot problems that might cause flare ups. Think about whether you have high arches, a wide foot, or bad knees. Doctor of physical therapy, Dillon Caswell, reminds us that there isn’t a shoe that can do everything, nor is there one universal shoe that works for everyone. In addition to any known physical conditions, take your own workout habits into close account.
They say that knowledge is power and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to your feet. Knowing what your natural foot type is — as well as any ongoing conditions you may be experiencing — will leave you prepared to make an informed decision when purchasing a comfortable walking shoe. “There are different schools of thought when it comes to shoes and various foot conditions such as flat feet, high arches and plantar fasciitis,” says podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal.
Walking Shoes for Flat Feet
For someone with flat feet — where your entire foot is touching the ground — wide lasted shoes are generally the best option. Pedorthist Michael Fishkin reminds us that flat footed folks should not look for shoes with an hourglass shape at the bottom. “Instead, they should have a straight-across design underfoot,” he says. Your foot will be cradled better, and you’ll avoid painful pinching, chafing and rubbing.
Walking Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
The stabbing pain on the bottom of your foot, known as plantar fasciitis, is no joke! “Everyone has a rubber band-like structure, the plantar fascia, on the bottom of our feet that attach our heel bone to the front of our foot,” explains Dr. Brad Schaeffer, owner of Sole Podiatry N.Y.C. “When this rubber band becomes too tight, it develops inflammation and then causes pain.” What often causes this condition is unsupportive shoes or improper inserts, which will make walking excruciating. For a comfortable shoe, find the balance between cushion and stability that work best for your anatomy, and pay attention to arch support. When your body weight is evenly distributed across your foot, you’ll ease some of the pressure.
Having high arches means that your foot is structured to naturally place too much weight on the ball or heel when walking or standing. This can lead to a slew of problems if you don’t wear supportive shoes, says Dr. Jackie Sutera. “High-arched feet are best treated with supportive, softer and more flexible, lightweight types of soles,” she says. “Avoid rigid, thin and flat shoes.”
Walking Shoes for Weak Ankles
The causes of weak ankles may be difficult to pinpoint, but the complaint is infamous. If you know you suffer from ankle pain or weakness, look for high-top shoes specifically designed for ankle support. “They’re great for additional structure and support to prevent ankle injury,” says foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Dan Geller. But watch out: “Running shoes may not always be the best for folks with weak ankles as some can actually roll you out,” he says.
Walking Shoes for Wide Feet
If you ever feel pressure on the sides of your feet while wearing shoes, chances are you have a wide foot, says podiatrist and foot surgeon, Dr. Bruce Pinker. Luckily, with at least 10% of the population falling outside normal sizing spectrums, many brands take wide feet into account and offer models in varying widths. Measure your foot and ask if the shoe you’re considering comes in a wide, extra-wide, or extra-extra wide option.
Walking Shoes for Knee Pain
Our knees are in constant use and they’re difficult to rest when you are constantly on the go. Shoes can’t fix knee pain but selecting the right one, tailored to everything else you know about your foot (high arches, flat or wide feet), can make you a lot more comfortable and help alleviate further complications. The key to comfort? Dr. Mark Mendeszoon stresses frequent replacements to make sure your shoe is operating at its best.
Walking Shoes for Back Pain
Back pain is a complex, but common complaint. Like knee pain, shoes can’t fix the problem, but picking the correct one may help ease the ache. When you’re shopping, think about the type of back pain you have and consult your doctor. But if you think you get sore from being on your feet all day — as many nurses and doctors do — you’ll want a shoe that has proper support and cushioning, says Dr. Mendeszoon. “Achieving proper foot alignment helps prevent all kinds of aches and pains, including in your back,” he says.
Walking Shoes for Heel Spurs
“Heel spurs are a growth of bone on the bottom of your heel,” explains Dr. Mike Rushton. In some situations, doctors may intervene with surgery, but Dr. Rushton generally leans towards treating the symptoms with well-fitting, comfortable shoes. “You need a cushy heel,” he says, and recommends brands like Altra and Hoka One One, which tend to offer models with ample support.
Walking Shoes for Bunions
One of the least comfortable foot maladies, bunions, are particularly painful. While it’s commonly misconceived that they are caused by certain types of shoes, they are actually the result of not paying attention to your foot’s specific biomechanics. Unlike back and knee pain, bunions are actually treatable at an early stage by choosing the right comfortable shoe, says Dr. Glenn Davison. Look for shoes that stabilize your foot into a neutral position and distribute weight evenly.
Peter Tittiger is a freelance journalist and content consultant. He is also an avid runner and a slave to his feet. A firm believer in “No Days Off,” he regularly logs at least five runs a week and cross-trains in the pool or on a bike. He has trained for and run in nearly a hundred races, including the New York City Marathon, and near annual completion of the full, 5-borough, NYRR half-marathon circuit.
Dozens of hours of research, reading countless customer reviews, our own editor wear testing, and consulting with several top doctors and athletic experts helped us to determine the best walking shoes for men to wear in any situation for any occasion. As new men’s walking shoes are released in 2023, we will continue to update this walking shoes guide to deliver top recommendations and tips to put your best foot forward, no matter where you are walking.