How do I Choose the Most Comfortable Walking Shoes?

wiseGEEK Writer

A lot of consideration goes into choosing comfortable walking shoes. While people will have a wide selection when looking for a good shoe, there are certain things they ought to consider that can help them find the best shoes for them.

Supportive shoe insoles are critical for walking shoes.
Supportive shoe insoles are critical for walking shoes.

The most important consideration for a comfort is fit. It's not advisable to shop online for comfortable walking shoes because it’s hard to get a sense if a shoe will work. Instead, shoppers should find shoe stores where employees are trained to find the best fit for each customer. An employee of this type is not afraid to reject a shoe he or she thinks won’t be a good fit for the customer because business depends on creating lifetime customers.

Loose fit sandals are preferred for walking on the beach.
Loose fit sandals are preferred for walking on the beach.

At minimum, employees ought to measure the foot, and look at features like its arch and width to get a sense of appropriate styles. They should be able to distinguish between the peculiarities of each brand, knowing when one runs small or large. Good employees easily identify the styles with extra features a customer might want, like padding or roll bars on the heel that stabilize walking.

Some sandals are designed to provide more support when walking.
Some sandals are designed to provide more support when walking.

As a person tries on shoes, he or she should embrace the idea that fit encompasses more than length. The shoe’s width is also vital, and comfortable walking shoes shouldn’t be too tight or overly loose. Though some people are very concerned about shoe sizing and what that says about foot size, this should be less of a concern. People should instead focus on getting the right length and width, which for some women may mean choosing a man’s shoe instead.

Another area of concern is the arch, and shoes have different levels of arch support. The most comfortable walking shoes provide exactly the right support. Those with very flat feet might consider removing the interior of the shoe and substituting orthotics instead, but there are shoe types made for most kinds of arches. There are even some styles that defy conventional wisdom on what a walking shoe should be and instead replicate the experience of walking in bare feet. Many people attest to their high level of comfort, and people might want to try on a pair in this style to get a sense of the difference.

While trying on shoes, take time to walk around in them for a while. Shoes should always start comfortable, and any pair that initially pinches or hurts won’t improve over time. Though it may feel silly, it’s not a bad idea to try to walk for about five to ten minutes in a likely pair to see if problems develop. The time investment may be useful to finding the most comfortable walking shoes.

Walking shoes are usually an investment, and it’s conventional wisdom that most people won’t find a pair of exceptionally comfortable walking shoes for less than $100 US Dollars (USD). This may or may not be true. People without foot problems may be able to spend about half that or catch shoes on sale. It’s likely that a more expensive shoe more easily resolves more serious foot issues, and people may want to be prepared to consider good shoes an investment.

A good, comfortable fit is the most important factor in choosing walking shoes.
A good, comfortable fit is the most important factor in choosing walking shoes.

Discussion Comments


Do as much walking in them as you can at the store. Walk around the store, if possible. See if there are any pinch points or places where the shoe rubs or is uncomfortable. Chances are, those places will keep rubbing, and will be miserable on a walk.

I have wide feet and narrow heels, so I have to look carefully for shoes that fit me well. I also want a really roomy toebox because my toes don't compress at all, so a narrower shoe just doesn't work for me.

I have to make sure the heels grip too, so they don't blister me. Everyone is different, so it's best to try on several pairs and different brands to find just the right fit. Otherwise, you won't feel like walking in them and will have wasted your money. Not a good feeling.


Nearly everyone has a particular shoe brand that seems to fit their feet better than others. My preferred brands are Reebok and Nike. I used to wear K-Swiss, but they changed something about the way the shoes fit, and they aren't my favorites anymore.

If someone has a brand that fits well, then look for walking shoes in that brand. I always look for a lot of shock absorbency in the heel and good arch support.

If I'm using them at the gym, I am willing to pay a little more for good shoes, because I know I'll be putting them through their paces on the treadmill, and I want shoes that will last, and will also not rub blisters on my heels and will feel good all over.

Post your comments
Forgot password?