I’ve spent more than my fair share of time searching for a good pair of walking shoes. Every time I buy a pair, I almost instantly regret the purchase for one reason or another. They’re too wide for my feet, they don’t have enough arch support, they rub on my heels… You name it, I’ve had a pair of shoes that fits the bill.
That’s why I took so much time and energy creating this post. Through all the years of trials – many band-aids later – I’ve finally got a good handle on what makes for the best walking shoes for travel, and I know where to find them.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of walking shoes, make sure you keep reading to find out what the best rated walking shoes are for almost every situation. I won’t leave any one hanging. If you have wide feet, narrow feet, need extra arch support, are struggling with plantar fasciitis, I’ve got a pair of shoes for you.
How to Find the Most Comfortable Walking Shoes
No one shoe is going to fit all. There are too many different types of feet out there to be able to please them all with one type or style of shoe. So it’s very important when looking for the right pair of walking shoes for you, that you understand your feet and what they want in a shoe.
The size of your foot is the most important criteria to know before purchasing a shoe. I bet it’s been a really long time since you’ve set your foot on one of those foot measurers at the shoe store and seen what your actual size is. You’d be amazed to see that your foot can actually change size and shape over the years, whether it be from an injury, pregnancy, or gaining and losing weight. It’s important to have your foot measured regularly, so you’re buying the right size shoe.
If you don’t want to go into a store to have this done (because most of us order our shoes online these days!), you can buy a foot measuring device for home. They’re cheap and easy to use. It will tell you the length and width of your foot. Unfortunately, most shoes does mention width so you have to try them on to be sure. That’s why I always buy on Amazon now, because most shoe sellers allow free returns and exchanges. To save time, if I think I’m going to be between sizes, I just order both and return the ones that don’t fit.
Another important thing to consider is the purpose of the shoes. When I say travel, obviously I expect you’re going to take them on a trip with you. But what kind of a trip is it? Will you be mainly walking around town? Will you be doing adventure activities? Will you be spending most of your time hiking? These are all important questions to consider before purchasing. Like I mentioned before, there’s no one shoe that can fit every purpose. That’s fine if you don’t mind taking a few pairs of shoes with you. But for travelers who pack light, it’s really important to find a good all-purpose shoe.
This is the one I have the most trouble with. When we travel, I mostly need a pair of shoes that I can wear during the day to walk around town, but that will also fit in well when I put on a dress and go out for dinner later on. Is there really a pair of shoes that can cover me in both situations? Think about what situation(s) you’ll be needing these shoes for. Will it be dressy, casual, or both?
If you’ve got a specific foot type or foot issue that you know you need to accommodate, it can be very difficult to find the right shoe. For instance, if you’re trying to find the best walking shoes for flat feet or the best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis, which I myself suffer from, you’ll need to dive a little bit more into the descriptions and reviews of the shoes you want to buy to make sure they meet you needs. Oftentimes, an insole insert will suit you best for these specific needs.
It will be easier to find an insole for your shoes than finding the right walking shoes with arch support. Although there certainly are some good, supportive walking shoes out there, buying a shoe with the support already built in can cause other problems, like back, knee and foot pain, if you don’t need that type of support.
Superfeet are my favorite inserts for different issues you may be facing. They have an insole for every situation. For instance:
- Support for flat feet: Superfeet Black
- Support for neutral feet: Superfeet Blue
- Support for high arches: Superfeet Green
Best Walking Shoes for Travel 2017
In this category, we list the best men’s walking shoes 2017 and the best women’s walking shoes 2017, in as many different categories as we think are useful. You might be looking for something super casual, or something built to weather the elements. Whatever your needs are, we’ve got the shoe to fit.
Best Casual Men’s Walking Shoes
New Balance Men’s MW877 Walking ShoeNew Balance is one of the top and trusted shoe brands. Once you find a pair of New Balance that you like, you don’t usually go back to looking for a different brand. These 877s are great for walking because of their soft mesh upper and mid-sole cushioning. If you know New Balance, you may have seen or even worn their 577 walking shoe, which is a really great shoe for work because it has a leather upper. These 877s are much more casual looking and lightweight. There’s plenty of room in the toe box, even if you have a wide foot. The only issue might be lack of arch support. An insole might be necessary to achieve the right support you need.
Vans Men’s Atwood ShoeVans are another line of casual men’s walking shoes that are both sporty and fashionable. They’re a good combination shoe to wear all day when traveling. Nick has a pair of these and likes them a lot. The Atwood shoe has laces, while the ones Nick wears are Vans Classic Slipons . Both are made with canvas and have a sturdy rubber sole. They have a padded footbed for comfort and shock absorbsion.
Check out the entire line of Van’s Men’s Shoes.
Best Casual Women’s Walking Shoes
Skechers Sport Relaxation Breathe Easy Moneybags SneakerI’ve always been a big fan of Skechers Breathe Easy shoes for women. They are sporty enough to provide good comfort and protection to your feet while walking, even in slippery conditions. But they are fashionable to wear with casual clothing and still look nice – better than typical sneakers. I’ve worn different variations of these shoes for years and have never had a problem with any of them.
While so many pairs of shoes hurt my feet after a few miles or tear up the back of my heal when I walk, these Skechers shoes have never done that. They are the most comfortable walking shoes I’ve ever had.
As mentioned, there are many different variations of these casual Skechers walking shoes, so you might want to have a look at all of them to decide which ones you like best. All Skechers Fashion Sneakers.
LifeStride Women’s Abigail Ballet FlatI think women are looking for a more stylish show to wear while traveling so they don’t have to always look like they’re headed out on a hike. I personally never wear regular sneakers when I travel. I prefer ballet flats, but it’s really difficult to find the right pair. These LifeStride shoes are as close as I’ve gotten to the best ballet flats. The problem often is a matter of fitting every foot style, and one pair of shoes just can’t be the right fit for everyone. If you’ve had trouble finding a good pair of well-fitting ballet flats, I urge you to give these a try.
PRO TIP: If the heel ends up rubbing on these shoes, or any others, I recommend trying these to the back of the shoe. These have been a lifesaver for me. They pad the indention of the back of the shoe so your heel fits into it better and does rub. These prevented me from throwing out so many pairs of shoes that rubbed on my ankle.
crocs Women’s Kadee Ballet FlatIf you’ve never tried a pair of crocs, maybe now is the time. These Kadee ballet flats are highly rated. They are a new slimmer design and very lightweight. I wouldn’t necessarily wear them if there’s any rain in the forecast, since they have an opening in the heel, like sandals. But they would make a great pair of summer shoes. They have good good arch support and can be worn all day, in case you’re worried they might become uncomfortable. Plus they can easily be washed, which is a big plus for me. You might find that you need to order a size smaller than you typically wear.
Most Comfortable Walking Shoes for Men / Most Comfortable Women’s Walking Shoes
Skechers Performance Go Walk 3
One of the most comfortable pair of walking shoes I’ve ever owned is a pair of Skechers Go Walk. Nick would second that. He’s been wearing them for years and would have to be forced into trying something different. The comfort comes from the fact that they are incredibly lightweight walking shoes, and that they are made with and extra cushioning in the step. It feels like you’re walking on a cloud. They are also slip on walking shoes, which I love. Why bother with shoelaces!
To add to the comfort, there’s memory foam padding around the heel and a stabilizing heel cup so your heel won’t be coming in and out of the shoe with each step. This is especially important if shoes often rub against the back of your heel and cause blisters. The way the sole is constructed, there is a lot of flexibility in the shoe, so your walking isn’t impeded by an inflexible rubber sole. These shoes also come in an array of different colors and even materials, so if you don’t like the look of mesh, you can go with canvas instead.
Hiking Shoes for Men / Hiking Shoes for Women
Hiking shoes can obviously be worn for more than just going on long hikes in the forest. They can be useful in many different situations. Usually they are fairly rugged and have more protection for your foot against things like sprains, punctures and even rain and snow. Do notice that these are still considered walking shoes, not hiking boots. That’s a whole different beast.
Merrell Men’s & Women’s Moab Ventilator Hiking ShoeI know tons of travelers who own these shoes. Nick and I both have a pair. They’ve come in handy more than a few times, and they are incredibly comfortable, offer great support for your foot and have breathable mesh panels so your feet don’t get too hot on long walks. We took the Merrell Moab Ventilator shoes on our trip to Cappadoccia in Turkey and they were the only shoes we needed. As you might know about that area, it’s a rugged, desert terrain with lots of loose rocks on the trails.
The vibram sole on these shoes helps keep even footing, even in these conditions. They’re perfect for day hikes and those times when you need versatility – spending half the day hiking, half the day wandering through town. If you’re looking for waterproof walking shoes, Merrell also makes a Waterproof version of this shoe (like the ones in the image).
Salomon Men’s & Women’s X Ultra Prime Multifunctional Hiking ShoeThe Salomon hiking shoes are very similar in appearance to the Merrells. They have a breathable upper fabric to allow your feet to breath and they also have a sturdy protective rubber toe guard. The sole is a thick rubber. They are built with a Sensifit technology that allows the shoe to grip around your foot for added stability and a better fit. I like the way they cradle the foot and make it feel like an effortless stride when you’re walking, even on uneven terrain. The insole provides good cushioning and arch support. There’s plenty of space in the foot of the shoe for when you want to/need to wear thicker socks.
Best Women’s Travel Sandals & Flip Flops
Keen Women’s Rose SandalsThis is one of my favorite pairs of women’s walking sandals. One of the hardest things about finding the right travel sandals for me is that most of them just don’t go with everything, and then I end up needing to have two different pairs – one that goes with my casual daywear, and one that I can wear with a dress or out to a restaurant. These look nice enough and are streamlined enough to wear with a skirt or dress without looking frumpy or discordant. The black ones really can be worn with many different things.
They have pretty good traction, as well, which makes them great for light hiking. They can be washed without ruining them, in case they get dirty.
Clarks Women’s Brinkley Keeley Flip-FlopClarks is a trusted brand for women’s footwear and they live up to that standard with these flip flops. I’ve often had trouble finding a pair of flip flops that doesn’t rub between my toes as I walk, or cause a blister along the top of my foot. This pair has an adjustable top strap, so you can fit it to your own foot. They have a comfortable and flexible sole. They don’t have much in the way of arch support though, if that’s a concern for you. They also run rather narrow, so won’t suit wide feet. These come in a variety of colors, so you can mix and match.
Best Men’s Travel Sandals & Flip Flops
I’ve always found it difficult to find good-looking men’s sandals that don’t evoke thoughts of older men wearing them with white socks and fanny packs. But it is possible to find. Below are two of our favorites. Both are from good, solid brands. They can be worn in any casual setting.