Best Shoes for Long-Distance Walking

If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best shoes for long-distance walking are, then I recommend the Skechers Men’s Classic Fit-Delson-Camden Sneaker as the best pair for men and the Saucony Women’s ProGrid Integrity as the best pair for women.

Woman walking

Not everyone realizes the importance of wearing the best shoes for long-distance walking. These provide the ultimate cushioning for the extended pounding you put your feet and body under. I’ve done the work to help you find shoes that may help you with your walking.

Here are the best shoes for long-distance walking in 2020:

Why Walking Shoes Matter

Walking is good for the heart, helps with weight loss, and it even improves your mood. It’s something you have to do most days, even at a short distance, but you can’t get any of these positives out of it if you’re in pain.

Additionally, when people are in pain, they’re probably not inclined to go walking. If the walking is unavoidable, your mood may plummet.

Bad walking shoes have no support, no cushioning and may put your feet out of action for a while. That’s not ideal for anyone, especially someone who likes their daily walks, but don’t go out and buy a pair that looks good, which most running shoes do—they might not be optimal for walking.

Walking vs. Running Shoes

If you are, or were, a runner, you might think you can save time and money on reusing your running shoes. There are some differences between the two types of shoes, though, so you may want to rethink your reuse.

Cushioning

When you run, you’re putting more pressure on your feet more quickly than walking. Runners put up to three times their body weight of impact on the ground as they go. 

More cushioning in shoes means more weight in the shoe, which can tire a long-distance walker. So you still need excellent cushioning, but the cushioned area in a walking shoe will be lighter.

Heel Height

We naturally walk by planting the heel down first, then rolling onto the ball to then push off and complete the step. With this in mind, walkers need a stable, flat shoe to do this efficiently.

Meanwhile, runners, technique dependent, hit the ground with different parts of the foot, often the toe first. Higher heels can help runners get their heels down quickly. So when their heel strikes, it’s not taking too much pressure on the fallback from the toes.

Having active feet while walking can help stimulate the muscles throughout the body and improve posture, but having the correct walking sure is key to this.

What to Consider in Walking Shoes

Other than less cushioning and a lower heel than running shoes, a few elements come into play. When shopping for the best shoes for long-distance walking, consider:

  • Comfort.
  • Durability.
  • Flexibility.

Comfort

I mentioned that you don’t need as much padding in a walking shoe as a running shoe. That doesn’t mean you should forgo padding completely.

Look for a decent amount of light cushioning inside your walking shoes—enough to keep your feet padded and elevated from the hard surface. It doesn’t need to be excessive like in a sports shoe, but be mindful.

Thicker soles that are softer are also a great form of cushioning. It’s not just the inside of the shoe that matters. The sole takes all the force of your steps, so a thicker, softer sole makes a difference.

The Correct Fit

A good fit is a part of a shoe’s comfort. If it’s too tight, it’s going to rub and hurt. If the toe box is too narrow, you may get bunions. If the shoe is too big, you’ll slip around inside it, and they could start to feel clunky.

Pay attention to how the company tends to sell its shoes—true to size? Or will you need to buy a size up or down? 

Durability

You’re potentially going to be in these shoes for hours at a time, so you need a shoe that can keep up with this lifestyle each day.

Pay attention to the structure of the shoe. Look for thick soles, which tend to wear down less easily. Look for sturdy materials, not cloth, like you’d see on slippers. The flimsy cloth may be more susceptible to wear and tear than a thick sneaker-like textile or leather.

Flexibility

Unless you’re marching, your feet will naturally move as you walk, starting at the heel, rolling into the toes.

If your foot is trying to move a certain way but your shoes restrict it, it may be time to find a new shoe.

Look for one with a rubber sole, as rubber usually tends to be flexible. Also, try to avoid stiff materials in the upper. Leather, specialized synthetic materials and mesh are most often right for the job. They’re typically made to be durable, but not thick and restrictive, allowing free movement.

The Five Best Shoes for Long-Distance Walking

Aren’t all shoes comfortable, flexible and made to last? Sadly not, but these best shoes for long-distance walking combine these elements well.

1. Saucony Women’s ProGrid Integrity

These are a shoe for the sporty woman and are perfect for both athletic walking and on-your-feet jobs. Their thick rubber sole should provide soft support, along with the padded tongue and interior. The rubber sole also provides excellent traction, so you’ll be safe when walking fast or uphill.

With uppers made of full-grain leather, the shoes were made to be durable and comfortable. Plus, most rubber and leather tend to be flexible, so your foot won’t be constricted wearing these shoes.

Small holes across the shoes and a mesh covering on the tongue also make these cozy shoes breathable—an excellent bonus if you work up a sweat while walking.

Sizing is available from a 5 to a 12, and narrow, wide and extra-wide options for each are available. The shoes are said to fit as expected 86 percent of the time. 

Pros

  • Athletic look, but can double as casual if needed.
  • Padded for prolonged comfort.
  • Thick soles for durability and extra cushioning.
  • Made of durable materials.
  • Perfect for athletic walkers.

Cons

  • Customers comment that the insoles can feel quite thin.

2. Skechers Men’s Classic Fit-Delson-Camden Sneaker

Sketchers has made a walking shoe that’s a cross between sporty and casual, making them acceptable for some work environments, too.

The interior contains memory foam, so your shoe remembers your foot for your comfort. The exterior is a synthetic textile, which looks like it could take a few scratches safely. The sole is also synthetic, but it’s thick without being too hard.

This is a comfortable shoe I can see pounding the pathways or casually meandering through a long day of work. It’s flexible that way, and in the way you need it to be. The sole is squishy, and the synthetic material is light for ultimate flexibility in walking.

In terms of sizing, there’s a wide range on offer: 7–16, with the biggest size only available in wide. Several other sizes have wide options, too. The shoes are said to fit as expected 82 percent of the time.

Pros

  • Flexible look and feel.
  • Memory foam padding.
  • Comes in wide sizes.
  • Lightweight.

Cons

  • The wide sizes may be too wide for some.

3. Skechers Men’s Go Max

If you like Sketches but want something fully casual, here it is. These shoes almost resemble slippers, with more support and similar comfort.

On the inside, there’s there Goga Max cushioning to make them feel great to wear. For the outside material, the sole is synthetic and the upper part of the shoe is mesh, which allows for breathability and flexibility. The sole isn’t too hard, nor is it too soft, for support and comfort, all in one.

Skechers say these shoes are super lightweight, so they should be easy to walk in, especially around the workplace, where you might be on your feet for a long time. I’ve also noticed that these are used around the house by some users.

These shoes are available in sizes 7–16. Some of these are available in narrow or extra-wide. The shoes are said to fit as expected 74 percent of the time.

Pros

  • Ultra casual.
  • Breathable.
  • Lightweight.

Cons

  • Can be difficult to put on.

4. Yhoon Women’s Walking Shoes

YHOON’s walking shoes are more of a casual shoe being a subtle slip-on with a mesh upper, but they’re still suitable for long-distance walking.

They don’t have a huge amount of padding, but the sole is soft to cushion your feet. This provides an adequate buffer between your feet and the ground, while the rest of your foot is cradled by a gentle, yet durable, textile material.

I like how lightweight these shoes are, so it might feel like you’re wearing no shoes at all—your foot just grew a thicker, softer sole. This is great if you don’t like shoes weighing you down on long walks.

YHOON’s women’s walking shoes come in a 5.5 to a 12 and are said to fit as expected 72 percent of the time.

Pros

  • Extremely casual.
  • Lightweight.
  • Gentle on the feet.
  • Comfortable without the added padding.
  • Slip-on.

Cons

  • The soles add quite a bit of height, which may not be desirable for everyone.

5. Feetmat Men’s Non-Slip Gym Sneakers

For versatile shoes that work for walking, running and even tennis, Feetmat has got you covered. These are specifically covered by a breathable mesh upper and provide lightweight support, keeping your feet dry, cool and unburdened.

Feetmat’s multifunctional shoes offer you a flexible sole with excellent traction, great for walking uphill or on smooth surfaces. Also, the soft insoles offer protection throughout, while the gentle padding keeps you stable and free from pain.

If you have limited closet space or lack the patience to change shoes for every activity, these may be perfect for you. They’re a balance of everything you need for most workout activities but also function really well for long-distance walking.

Pros

  • Multi-purpose.
  • Extremely breathable.
  • Lightweight.

Cons

  • Less durable sole than some other shoes available.

Shoes That Go the Distance

Hiking boots

In my opinion, the best shoes for long-distance walking for women are the Saucony Women’s ProGrid Integrity. The leather upper makes them the most durable, which is fantastic. They also provide comfort through a springy rubber sole and padded interior, so your feet should feel pressure-free and protected in one.

For men, the Skechers Men’s Classic Fit-Delson-Camden Sneaker is a solid choice in my eyes. It not only suits those long walks, but it looks stylish enough to be worn casually, too. Also, the rubber soles, memory foam interiors and padded uppers make sure of excellent comfort and support for your feet.

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