Walking is one of the easiest exercises to incorporate into a daily routine, even for regular or full-time travelers. However, having the wrong shoes can make even the lightest walk fraught with blisters and aching feet. Whether you plan to go walking on a countryside trail, pound city streets or stroll along the beach, our guide is geared towards helping you find the best walking shoes for women.
The benefits of incorporating regular walking exercise into everyday life should not be underestimated. It is thought that a brisk walk of around 30 minutes each day can help lower the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, as well as help with weight loss. Regular walking outdoors can also improve the mood, and aids in good balance and co-ordination. It can also be a sociable activity.
Half an hour walking each day achieves more than a third of the recommended ten thousand steps per day. Ensuring your feet are well supported in decent walking shoes can help make achieving ten thousand daily steps an easier feat (no pun intended!) – even when travelling.
So what features should you look for in a decent pair of walking shoes?
Features of good walking shoes
Many people will wear sneakers or running shoes for walking, without realising that shoes are designed differently for each activity. Walking means putting your heel on the ground first, whereas running involves stepping with the insole first. Therefore, selecting the right shoe for walking is important in ensuring your feet will remain comfortable and supported.
Good walking shoes for women will have the following features:
Good, comfortable walking shoes should offer a decent level of cushioning in order to protect your feet from blistering or bruising.
It seems obvious, but it takes effort to lift weight on your feet. If you are planning to spend a lot of time on your feet then the most comfortable walking shoes should not be heavy and allow your feet to move easily.
Comfortable walking shoes for women should be flexible to allow the foot to bend freely as you walk. Running shoes tend to be more rigid, so when selecting a walking shoe make sure it offers some flexibility. A good test is to see if the shoe will twist easily.
The shoes should have a toe box that allows room for your toes to wiggle, without being loose. The shoes should also allow for the shape of your foot arches. If you have low or fallen arches, you need a shoe with a flat sole to offer the correct level of support.
The bigger the heel drop, the more weight you will put onto your toes joints when you walk. Therefore, the best walking shoes will offer a lower heel drop, ideally somewhere around 10-15mm maximum.
With all this in mind, here are our recommendations for the best walking shoes for women.
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Best walking shoes for women
|Ahnu Women's Sugarpine Air Mesh Hiking Shoe||Leather/Fabric||Hiking||Out of stock|
|New Balance Women's W840V3 Running Shoes||Synthetic/Mesh||Running||Out of stock|
|ECCO Women's Bluma Slip On Ballerina Flat||Fabric/Leather||Stylish Walking Shoes||$72.99|
|The First Outdoor Women Waterproof Breathable Climbing Walking Hiking Shoes Sneaker||Fabric/Leather||Waterproof Walking||$79.99|
|Skechers Performance Women's Go Walk 4 Lace-Up Walking Shoe||Mesh Fabric||All-day wear||Out of stock|
|Teva Women's Tirra Athletic Sandal||Synthetic and Polyester||Waterproof Walking||Out of stock|
Best walking shoes for hikes and trail walking
These shoes are a highly popular choice for female hikers. Their most impressive feature is that they are extremely lightweight, making them among the best shoes for long distance walking. Alongside, this, the mesh construction is soft which reduces the risk of blisters and means they are easily broken in.
Although the shoes are not waterproof, the mesh is highly breathable and offers good draining in the event they become wet, which also avoids sweaty feet. The rubber sole has a fairly shallow tread but nevertheless holds well under testing on a variety of surfaces.
The casual design and lack of obvious “hiking shoes” aesthetic means that they can also function as a casual shoe. They come in a variety of colours. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best walking shoes for more intense exercise
Built for durability, this shoe offers the same great cushioning as the WW57 shoe we recommended in the last section. However it is slightly less flexible and with a roomier toe box. It also performs with a high level of stability.
All these features make the W840 V3 better suited for run/walking than a pure walking shoe. It does have a wide fit, meaning it may not be the best choice for those with narrow feet. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best smart walking shoes
There are times when a sneaker-style walking shoe just looks too casual, and for this you need a shoe that you can wear for walking comfortably but would also pass muster in a setting like an upscale restaurant or hotel. For this we can recommend the ECCO Bluma Ballerina shoe as one of the more stylish walking shoes for women.
This shoe has a ballerina style whilst still being sporty enough to be categorised as a walking shoe. Made from a combination of mesh and leather, it also has a foam cushioned sole which the manufacturer claims offers a “pumping” effect to retain air under the foot whilst walking. It comes in a variety of colours meaning you can easily match these shoes to your outfit. Check the latest price on Amazon.
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Best waterproof walking shoes
With a grippy outsole and great performance on the trails, these shoes were also a contender for the best walking shoes for hiking trails. However, the waterproof breathable upper membrane is what clinched their position in our list as the best waterproof walking shoes.
With a comfort air circulation insole, they also prevent your feet from becoming clammy and help them stay fresh throughout wear.
They come in only two colour options, however the price point is fantastic value for such an all round pair of waterproof walking shoes. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best walking shoes for all-day wear
For travelling, you want a shoe that is comfortable enough for all day wear but can still perform on a variety of surfaces. Skechers meet all of these needs and are our recommendation for the most comfortable walking shoes for women.
The Performance Womens Go Walk lace up is made from an attractive knitted fabric that comes in a variety of colours. These shoes have a great cushioning system, meaning they are comfortable for wearing whilst walking streets as well as over rougher terrain. They are also extremely lightweight, making them a great choice as the best walking shoes for travel.
There are a huge range of different styles from Skechers including stylish loafers, that have similar characteristics to this shoe in terms of comfort and weight. However, we have opted for the lace-up as the best option given it offers a more secure fit, and the option to wear socks in colder weather. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Best walking sandals
If you are planning to go out walking in hot weather, then a shoe that covers the whole foot may not be the most comfortable option. Teva are the pioneers in sport sandals, and our top recommendation for the best walking sandals for women.
The Teva Tirra Athletic model are made from polyester. They are waterproof and remain comfortable to wear when wet, so it doesn’t matter if you get caught in a tropical storm wearing them. The rubber outsole has a good grip, whilst still having a comfortable step.
The straps offer a wide range of adjustment meaning that they can fit comfortably to differently shaped feet. Considering they are an athletic shoe, they do still have a feminine look. Check the latest price on Amazon.
Here, we have selected for you some of the best walking shoes for women to suit a variety of scenarios. If you are planning to incorporate more walking into your daily life, we hope our guide can help you choose the best walking shoes to ensure that you can reach your daily ten thousand steps in comfort and style.
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which at no extra cost to you, will earn us a small commission and reduce the costs of running this site.
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