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Brands including OOFOS, Hoka, New Balance, and Asics offer women style, stability, and function for walking, hiking, and more — plus support for concerns like pronation and plantar fasciitis.

When it comes to buying walking shoes, many people prioritize style over fit.

However, according to Dr. Kenneth Cornell, a podiatrist at Austin Regional Clinic in Texas, it’s important for women to have good quality shoes — not just for maximum comfort but also to prevent injuries, especially when walking for longer periods.

“Women tend to wear a wide variety of shoe types that are often not very supportive. High or medium-height heels, many flats like ballet slippers, flip-flops with thin soles, pointy shoes, and very flexible shoes can lead to foot, leg, and back pain,” Cornell explains.

That makes it all the more important to have a reliable walking shoe in the mix.

While this can vary depending on the brand, he explains that shoes for men are typically constructed with much more stability and longitudinal arch support and tend to have more cushioning across the forefoot.

Meanwhile, walking shoes designed for women are often more narrow and sleek, with less motion control and less padding across the forefoot.

With that in mind, we asked Cornell and other podiatrists to weigh in on the best walking shoes for women to help you make the best choice.

To help you find the best pair of walking shoes to meet your needs, we considered the following criteria:

  • Expert recommendations: We asked podiatrists for their recommendations on what makes for an ideal walking shoe, as well as any specific brands and models they often recommend to their clients.
  • Comfort and durability: All the shoes listed below have mostly positive customer reviews for comfort and durability.
  • Intended use: We included walking shoes to fit various needs, from hiking shoes to recovery sandals.
  • Price: All the shoes on our list offer good value for the price.

We even tried one of the shoes in real life (more on that later).

Here are the 14 best walking shoes for women, according to podiatrists.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Note that shoe prices on Amazon vary significantly depending on your preferred color and size. Generally, prices range from $63 to $150, though this may vary depending on where you shop and the color you choose. On Amazon, the color and even the size of the shoes can affect what you’ll pay.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $75
  • $$ = $75–$145
  • $$$ = over $145
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StyleFeatures and highlights
Saucony Triumph 19
lace-up• cushioned forefoot to provide support and stability to the whole foot
• lighter foam for added comfort
PowerStep Archwear Women’s Sandals
flip-flop• built-in arch support
• cushioned midsole to absorb impact
OOFOS Women’s OOahh Luxe Recovery Sandal
slip-on• cushioned arch support
• may be helpful for those prone to plantar fasciitis
Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 22
lace-up• DNA Loft Crash Pad designed to cushion your feet with every step
Ryka Women’s Devotion Plus 4
lace-up• designed specifically for the unique shape, muscle movement, and build of women’s feet
New Balance Women’s 928 V3
lace-up• designed to control rear-foot movement for enhanced support
• made to guide your foot through the walking gait cycle with motion control and stability
OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe
slip-on• more stylish than many other walking shoe options
• pairs well with a variety of outfits
• easy to slip on
HOKA Women’s Speedgoat 5
lace-up• softer sole for comfort
• good traction
ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 24
lace-up• Gel technology cushioning for shock absorption
• foam technology designed to provide extra bounce
On Cloudmonster
lace-up• shock-absorbing CloudTec technology for top-notch cushioning
ASICS GT-1000 11
lace-up• designed with foam cushioning and rearfoot Gel technology to provide lightweight impact absorption
Brooks Ariel 20
lace-up• features GuideRails technology to support feet, knees, and hips by keeping excess movement in check
Skechers GO WALK Massage Fit
lace-up• uses two different midsole components to massage and cushion your feet
New Balance 990 V5
lace-up• dual-density collar foam that offers support and comfort for your ankles
• ENCAP midsole cushioning for long lasting support

Curious about what to look for in a walking shoe? We asked Cornell and Dr. Derek Anders, a podiatrist at Permanente Medical Group in Antioch, California, for their top tips for choosing the right pair.

Go shopping at the end of the day

When it comes to shopping for walking shoes, Anders recommends trying on shoes at the end of the day, as feet tend to be at their biggest or may be swollen at that time.

Pay more attention to the fit than the listed size

“[Pay less attention to] the stated size of a shoe and be open to the fact your feet change and your foot size changes,” says Anders.

He also recommends trying on different brands, as sizing differs among brands and lines of shoes.

“There should be some space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe — about a finger width,” he says. “It’s also common for one foot to be slightly bigger or longer than the other, so size your shoes to your bigger foot.”

Consider your intended use and foot and ankle structure

According to Cornell, the best choice for a walking shoe varies for each person.

“Some may need extra cushioning because they walk long distances, and others might need motion control because they overpronate,” he explains. “Universally, shoes should be flexible and properly fitted.”

If you’re unsure about how to identify a good fit, Cornell recommends visiting a local athletic or running store, as the employees are likely to understand foot sizing and can make sure you leave with the right shoe for your foot.

Ask a professional about orthotics

If you have chronic foot pain issues you can’t seem to figure out, it may be worth talking with a podiatrist about considering orthotics.

Anders recommends wearing orthotics for a month to give them a chance to make a difference. It’s also important to avoid walking barefoot and to limit slipper and sandal use during that time.

You can follow up with a physician or podiatrist about any changes in your comfort level in the meantime.

What walking shoes do podiatrists recommend?

Podiatrists typically recommend athletic shoes with arch support and cushioning technology for walking, often from popular running shoe brands such as:

  • Brooks
  • HOKA

There are also a lot of solid sandal and slip-on options out there, such as those from OOFOS and PowerStep, that are equipped with similar technology to promote optimal foot health.

Shoe shopping is nuanced, and it really depends on your foot’s individual shape and your preferences. You can look for shoes that you can try on in-store or return if the fit isn’t exactly what you wanted.

Is it OK to wear running shoes for walking?

Yes — many of the shoes podiatrists recommend for walking happen to be running shoes. If a pair of shoes provides optimal comfort on the run, they can often be solid walking shoes.

“A good running shoe will offer the foot more stability and motion control, so the structure of the shoe should be rigid in nature (as opposed to a thin, flexible shoe),” Cornell says.

Which shoes should you avoid wearing for long walks?

For long walks, Cornell says, you should avoid wearing any shoe that doesn’t offer arch support to control the collapse of the longitudinal arch of the foot, as well as support across the fall of the foot in the form of adequate padding and cushioning.

This includes flat flip-flops and ballet flats as well as high heels and boots.

Walking has numerous benefits for your health, but finding the right pair of walking shoes can be overwhelming.

When shopping for your next pair, be sure to consider your intended use and foot shape to narrow your selection.

By doing your research ahead of time and trying on shoes toward the end of the day, you can walk away with the best pair for you.