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WALKING IS a great way to step into a steady exercise regimen, even when you aren't feeling a workout. Especially if you're aiming for that daily 10,000-step goal, a quality pair of supportive walking shoes for men are essential. While the magic of this number is debatable, the benefits of walking more are clear.
One small from the University of Texas found that when active people took 5,000 or fewer steps in a day, they were less able to efficiently metabolize fat the next day. As you increase your activity levels, you'll require comfortable and supportive footwear—specifically, high-quality men's walking shoes.
The key mistake you want to avoid: Focusing only on the length of the shoe, says Mark J. Mendeszoon, DPM, FACFAS, podiatrist at Precision Orthopaedic Specialties in Ohio. Measure the width as well. Certain brands and particular men's walking shoes excel at accommodating wide or narrow feet, so it's crucial to understand your foot anatomy.
We've put a range of walking shoes for men to the test, including renowned running classics and cloud-like cushioned options. Over the last few years, our MH fitness editors and experts, including Senior Fitness Editor Brett Williams, NASM, have been assessing the comfort, fit, support, value, and durability of men's walking shoes. We also consulted podiatrists Dr. Mark Mendeszoon and Bradley Schaeffer, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon featured on TLC's show My Feet Are Killing Me, to grasp the elements that define a genuinely excellent pair of walking shoes for men.
Once you find the right pair, keep in mind that you should replace them after you've racked up some miles. "It is important to realize that shoes are generally good for 500 to 600 miles," says Dr. Mendeszoon. Even if you're only sporting them for walking.
The more you wear your walking shoes for every day activities, the quicker they'll break down. So, keeping a couple of well-fitting shoes for walking in your rotation is always a smart move.
GEL-Contend® Walker 2
These shoes feature ASICS' signature GEL technology in the rearfoot, which provides superior cushioning and shock absorption during impact. Which helps to reduce the risk of injury and fatigue, allowing you to walk for longer periods without discomfort. An EVA midsole also provides additional cushioning and support.
The sockliner is even built to provide moisture management, and we found it to work pretty well for those with sweaty feet (no shame here). The upper is made with a durable synthetic leather and mesh material that provides excellent breathability and ventilation, even for long walks.
The outsole is made with a durable rubber material that provides excellent traction and grip, making these shoes suitable for a variety of different surfaces and terrains, especially for those who prioritize stability.
What do buyers say? 1,065 Amazon customers gave the ASICS Men's Gel-Contend SL Walking Shoes a 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Read more: Best Stability Running Shoes
Our experts love how responsive and cushioned the Saucony Ride 15 is. Dr. Mendezoon recommends says these multi-colored kicks are "perfect for walking with a neutral gait."
They're made for running, so you can trust that the shoe is lightweight and adequately cushioned. The upper is made from recycled materials, making it an eco-friendly choice if you're shopping with sustainability on the mind. Available in over 10 unique colorways, these deliver on functionality and looks.
What do buyers say? "I don't run. I am a large man that walks a good bit. These are supportive and comfortable," said one Saucony reviewer.
Read more: Best Shoes for Standing All Day
HOKA has really been having their moment the past few years, and the Arahi 6 is one of the brand's highlights. A durable and flexible curved rubber outsole provides durable traction and grip, letting you move confidently through both dry and wet conditions.
This shoe boats a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance, meaning a committee of discerning podiatrists tested them and ruled that the design promotes good foot health.
One downside: In our experience, they don't feel amazing high arches, as the midsole is on the tighter side.
"The Arahi 6 uses J-Frame technology for a supportive and cushioned ride," says Dr. Mendeszoon. "Perfect for someone with a lower arch that is looking for comfort."
What do buyers say? "I suffer from overpronation, which causes knee pain. I chose the Arahi 6 because of its stability profile. After 150+ miles of daily walking, I am no longer having knee discomfort, and I am pleased that I do not find any crushing of the instep sidewall of the sole," said one HOKA reviewer.
Read more: Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet
Another crowdpleaser (and best seller) from HOKA. And another great walking shoe that is recommended by the American Podiatric Medical Association.
"I come back to the Clifton every year because it's such a solid shoe. The 9 is a great example of this: It's cushioned, but not overly soft; it feels snappy off the road, but it's not an overpowering energy return for an everyday running shoe," says Williams.
This shoe boasts a thoughtful balance of soft and light. In fact, at just under 9 ounces, it's one of the lightest shoes on this list. The brand's signature curved outer sole helps to rock you forward with each step, keeping you comfortable so you can enjoy walking more.
"The Hoka Clifton is back for its [ninth] edition and is lighter and softer than ever," says Dr. Mendeszoon. "The Clifton has a re-done upper and the same plush ride that we have come to expect from Hoka."
What do buyers say? 2,345 customers gave the HOKA Clifton 9 shoes a 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Read more: Best Hoka Running Shoes
Sustainable fashion is looking better and better these days. These go-with-everything sneakers are made from merino wool, so they're as comfortable as they are innovative. Merino wool is super effective in protecting your feet from cold weather conditions, but won't allow your fee to overheat or retain moisture, either. The fabric is grown through regenerative farming practices, too, so you can feel good about sporting them.
Don't be afraid to get these cream-colored kicks a little dirty—they're totally machine washable.
What do buyers say? 3,872 customers gave the Men's Wool Runners from Allbirds a 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Read more: Best Workout Clothes for Men
Get off the beaten path with these kicks, which were made by outdoor stalwart Salomon to bridge the gap between urban and adventure wear. The brand—and more specifically, the XT-6 Expanse—has blown up over the past year for their 'gorpcore' aesthetic and made-to-last quality.
The waterproof, breathable upper makes this shoe a solid choice in any weather, while the high energy return cushioning and lugged rubber outsole help you to drive forward with every step. Because they're designed to withstand long sessions over tough terrain, they'll hold up well to whatever your daily walk puts in your path.
One downside: The textile upper tends to get water-stained when confronted with moisture (from sweating or wet conditions), and is especially noticeable with the lighter colored offerings. While they're easy to clean (manually or in a washing machine), it's something to keep in mind when choosing a color.
What do buyers say? "Love the shoes, perfect mix of urban and off-road style and ability. Salomon service too has been top class," said one Salomon reviewer.
Read more: Best Trail Running Shoes
It's hard to go wrong with an old classic. Especially now that 'dad shoes' are trendier than ever.
The classic silhouette from New Balance has been updated with a sleeker, more modern profile, but the focus is still on quality. A pigskin and mesh upper in a classic runner design feels elevated but maintains the best parts of a classic athletic shoe.
It's marketed as a 'lifestyle' shoe, so it's a great choice for those looking to up their footwear game for casual walks and everyday activities. But you can trust that you're wearing one of the best, however you're using the 990s.
What do buyers say? Out of more than 7,200 Amazon reviews, 93% recommend the New Balance 990v5 shoe with at least a 4-star rating.
Read more: Best Dad Shoes
We like these shoes from On Running as a great choice for all day wear thanks to zero-Gravity foam and CloudTec technology in the outsole, which provides a soft, cushioned landing. And without compromising on responsiveness.
This model is deemed by the brand as "the perfect performance shoe for all-day, everyday wear."
CloudTec pods in the sole compress upon impact to absorb shock and reduce pressure, then release to propel you forward with every step. We found this design provides a feel-good spring with each step and comfort for hours.
What do buyers say? Dick's Sporting Goods customers gave the On Running Cloud 5 shoes a 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Read more: Best On Running Shoes
This ASICS shoe has maximum cushioning thanks to its GEL technology in both the forefoot and rearfoot, as well as FLYTEFOAM Propel technology that helps propel you with each step. We found the 10 mm heel elevation to slightly pitch the foot forward, which feels good on long walks especially.
The brand qualifies the support in this shoe as neutral, so it's a good choice as is for those without special needs for arch support. For those with low or high arches, pop a customized insole in these bad boys and you'll be good to go.
"Mirrored after cumulus clouds, the ASICS Cumulus 24 has a soft squishy feel. Added Gel in the heel makes for a great walking shoe," says Dr. Mendeszoon.
What do buyers say? Out of more than 1,000 Amazon reviews, 83% recommend the Gel-Nimbus® 25 with at least a 4-star rating.
Read more: Most Cushioned Running Shoes
Hours-long treks call for athletic sneakers that can take the extra mileage. "The Glycerin 20 is new and improved with super soft DNA LOFT cushioning, perfect for long walks," says Dr. Mendeszoon.
It's a bestseller in the running community, having received plenty of love for its DNA LOFT cushioning that's somehow both soft and secure. Meaning your foot will be fastened and comfortable during all your afternoon walks.
The shoe features a round toe silhouette and a redesigned wide midsole and outsole silhouette, which, in our experience, allows for optimal toe spread and great stability. A cushioned textile and synthetic upper delivers comfort and breathability.
What do buyers say? Out of more than 800 Amazon reviews, 93% recommend the Brooks Glycerin 20 Running Shoe with at least a 4-star rating.
Read more: Best Shoes for Standing All Day
Fresh Foam X 1080v12
The Fresh Foam X 1080v12 is the running shoe from New Balance, in our opinion. They're designed to keep your feet comfortable and light for long distance runs, so they can take on whatever daily step goal you're aiming for.
A thoughtful balance of cushioning, weight, and flexibility make the shoe a great choice for those looking for a shoe to wear for casual everyday activities and hold up to long walks. A foot-hugging knit upper allows for breathability and upper foot supprt, too.
"The 1080V12 is heavily cushioned with the perfect amount of bounce back," says Dr. Mendeszoon. "A redesigned upper feels like a second sock on top of the foot."
What do buyers say? "I am an intensive care nurse, on my feet 12 plus hours per day. I am finally pain free at the end of my shift. The wide toe box provides extra room for the bunion and the midfoot support really takes the pressure off the balls of my feet," said one New Balance reviewer.
Read more: Best Workout Shoes
How to Choose the Best Walking Shoes (for You)
Whether you're a casual stroller, an avid walker, or a fitness enthusiast, finding the right pair of walking shoes is essential for optimal performance and foot health. Let's delve into the key factors to consider to help you make an informed decision.
Support: "Arch support is a must in ALL footwear–no matter what type of foot you have, this is probably the most critical item that can help prevent a myriad of issues," explains Dr. Schaeffer.
If the shoe itself doesn’t offer enough, Dr. Schaeffer recommends adding an insert. Dr. Scholls, for example, makes great over-the-counter options for sports. If you want a step above, go to a board-certified podiatrist for custom-made orthotics.
Stability: Stability comes next, according to Dr. Schaeffer. "The goal is to keep your lower body in alignment as much as possible.
"Consider your foot type and [walking] gait. There are plenty of [walking] shoes that offer stability features or additional support for over- or underpronation."
Cushioning and responsiveness: Decide if you prefer maximum cushioning for impact absorption and comfort or a more responsive feel. Some shoes offer a balance between the two, so choose based on your preferences and walking style.
"Cushioning absorbs shock and helps to avoid tissue irritation and damage," explains Dr. Schaeffer.
Weight: If you're in the market for a walking shoe to take you long distances frequently, be sure the models you're considering are lightweight. Unless we're talking about a stability shoe, that means under 11 ounces.
Drop and stack height: The drop refers to the height difference between the heel and forefoot. Consider your preference for a lower or higher drop (higher drop will pitch you forward more with each step), as well as the stack height for cushioning and impact absorption.
Comfort and fit: We asked Dr. Schaeffer how walking shoes should fit, here's his take:
"All [walking] shoes should feel snug around your foot, have good arch support, the heel shouldn’t slip around, and there should be adequate room in the toebox. Wear the same socks you wear when you walk when trying them on and remember that our feet expand while walking. Also, we all have one foot that is slightly larger than the other, one may pronate when walking or running, or the opposite, supination."
Terrain: Do you primarily walk on roads, trails, or a mix of both? Do you walk for daily activities only or long distances often? Different shoes are designed for different surfaces and distances, so choose accordingly.
Durability: Although walking shoes don't need to withstand the same wear and tear as running shoes, they should still offer durability and withstand regular use. Look for shoes with reinforced areas in high-wear zones and durable outsole materials, as durability can be an issue with the more barebones models.
Consider reviews and feedback: Read reviews from other buyers to get an idea of the shoe's performance, durability, and overall quality. Look for feedback specifically from those with similar foot types or walking preferences.
Budget: While higher-priced models often offer advanced features, there are also affordable options available that can still meet your needs. Unlike running shoes, when it comes to walking shoes, most higher-end models won't offer significant benefits for casual use.
Plan to replace them after approximately 300-500 miles of use to maintain optimal performance and reduce the risk of injuries, and consider this when determining your budget.
How to Determine Your Foot Type
Understanding your foot type is essential for finding the right walking shoes that offer optimal comfort and support. There are three primary arch types based on arch height: neutral, high, and flat. To determine your arch type, you can start with a simple 'wet test', Dr. Mendeszoon recommends. Wet your feet and stand on a surface like concrete, sand, or a flattened paper bag. Examine the imprint left by your foot.
If your foot leaves a complete, flat imprint, you likely have low arches and would benefit from arch support or stability shoes. If the imprint shows the heel, outer side of the foot, ball of the foot, and toes, but not the arch, you might have a neutral or high arch.
While the wet test provides a basic idea, factors such as weight, biomechanics, and overall fitness also contribute to determining your arch type accurately. For a more detailed analysis, consider visiting a local chiropractic clinic, podiatry practice, or high-quality running shoe store. Some locations offer foot scans that provide intricate information about your feet and arches.
Dr. Sinett from Tru Whole Care in New York highlights a special machine called the Foot Levelers Digital Foot Scanner, which identifies specific pressure points on your feet that could be linked to back pain. This advanced tool offers precise measurements for customized orthotics, ensuring tailored support for your unique foot structure.
Can Running Shoes be Worn for Walking?
Yes, running shoes can absolutely be worn for walking. In fact, they may offer some added benefit compared to conventional walking shoes.
Running shoes are designed to absorb the impact of running, which means they can also provide good shock absorption when walking. Many people choose to wear running shoes for walking because of added support and flexibility, too.
One downside: Running shoes tend to be heavier and less breathable than walking shoes due to a more durable design. So, it's important to note that they may not be the best choice for long-distance walking.
How to Know When it's Time to Replace Walking Shoes
It's important to replace your walking shoes regularly to ensure adequate support and cushioning, probably more frequently than you think. As a general rule of thumb, it's recommended to replace walking shoes every 300 to 500 miles (or every 3 to 5 months for those who walk 45 minutes at least 3 times per week).
The specific lifespan of a given shoe depends on a few factors, including frequency and intensity of use, quality of the shoe, and the type of surface you typically walk on. There are a few signs to look out for that may indicate it's time to replace your shoes:
Visible wear and tear: Check the soles of your shoes for signs of wear, such as thinning or holes. Also, check the upper part of the shoe for any tears or holes.
Reduced cushioning: If your shoes no longer feel as cushioned as they once did, it may be a sign that the midsole has worn down and it's time to replace them.
Pain or discomfort: If you're experiencing foot or joint pain when walking, it could be a sign that your shoes are no longer providing adequate support.
Unpleasant odors: Over time, shoes can accumulate moisture and bacteria, which can lead to unpleasant odors. If your shoes have a persistent odor that can't be eliminated, it may be time to replace them.
Ultimately, it's important to listen to your body and pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain when walking. If you notice any of the above signs, it's a good idea to start looking for a new pair of walking shoes.
Walking for Weight Loss
Walking is an effective form of exercise. Powerlifting legend Mark Bell is a huge fan, as is Will Smith. What's great is you can use walking as a go-to weight loss tool. This guy lost 60 pounds with walking and bodyweight workouts. And this guy lost 200 pounds by walking and eating a CICO diet. And all you have to do is start adding to your daily step count.
“Starting slow and working your way up is better than overdoing it and giving up,” Chris Gagliardi, a certified personal trainer at the American Council on Exercise (ACE), previously told Men's Health. An easy way to approach it: Commit to going for a quick, 10-minute walk after dinner, and slowly increase the time as you become more comfortable with daily movement.
Step counting also helps. “If you’re only getting 3,000 steps on a typical day, don’t try to get 10,000 steps the next day. That can be really discouraging. Aim for 5,000 every day for a week. Then go up to 7,000 the next week,” walking coach Michele Stanten, founder of MyWalkingCoach.com and author of The Walking Solution, previously told Men's Health.
Read more: Best Shoes for Men
Why You Can Trust Us
At Men's Health, we take great pride in providing our readers with reliable and trustworthy product recommendations. We believe that our readers deserve the best, which is why we always make sure to conduct thorough research and testing before making any recommendations. For this story, we spent hours testing shoes, researching, and interviewing podiatrists. Our writers and editors are experts in their own right, using their informed opinions to select products and ensuring that our content is of the highest quality.
Our product recommendations are purely editorial, and while we may receive free products to test and review, we only recommend the products we are most impressed by. We never let retailers or public relations contacts dictate our content or product coverage. Which is why you can trust us to provide you with reliable and unbiased product recommendations.
How We Selected
Over the past few years, we've been researching and testing new fitness shoe models from a wide range of brands. For this story, we consulted with Men's Health's Fitness editors and writers on the top walking shoes for men. Experts including our Senior Fitness Editor Brett Williams, NASM, and podiatry experts Dr. Bradley Schaeffer and Dr. Mark Mendeszoon weighed in to evaluate contenders for their fit, comfort, support, and cushioning. We also considered price point, as some walking shoes provide a better overall value than others.
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