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The 12 most comfortable walking shoes for women in 2024, tested and approved

From cushioned sneakers to supportive sandals, these are the most comfortable women's walking shoes, according to our experts.

collage with 5 walking shoes
Get your steps in with these comfy and supportive expert-approved walking shoes. (Zappos, Amazon)

Whether you’re strolling around the city or hitting the trails, having the right footwear can make all the difference. If you’re going to be putting in the miles, it's best to get a shoe specifically designed for walking. The best walking shoes for women are comfortable and supportive enough for a full day on your feet, and have excellent traction to keep you from slipping and sliding on different terrains.

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To find the walking shoes that will help you comfortably get your steps in, we got expert input from a team of podiatrists and fitness experts. With their tips and picks in mind, our team of shopping experts also put dozens of pairs to the test, the below guide is filled with our personal favorites. From cushioned sneakers to supportive sandals, check out the 12 most comfortable walking shoes for women below.

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 20 | Type of shoe: Sneakers

If you've seen a pair of Hokas in the wild, there's a good chance they were Cliftons. These are among the brand's most popular picks, and it's easy to see why. "They're absolutely cloud-like," raved Yahoo Deputy Editor Izabella Zaydenberg. "They were the only shoes that didn't exacerbate my plantar fasciitis (especially when I walked for hours at Disneyland)." 

I also own a pair of Cliftons, and I wear them every time I go for a long walk, whether I'm on a treadmill, a trail or around town. The cushioned sneakers are undoubtedly the most comfortable walking shoe I've ever tried, and I loved that there was no break-in time.

The knit upper is breathable, and the rubber sole provides great traction. "While they're definitely a little bulky, they're still really lightweight and comfortable enough for all-day wear," Zaydenberg said. The sneakers come in regular and GTX (waterproof) styles and both regular and wide sizes, helpful since Zaydenberg found them a bit narrow. And they come in a wide range of colors, so it's easy to find a favorite style (or two). They are so comfortable and good for your feet, they’ve even earned an APMA seal of approval.

Make sure to also check out our other recommendations for Hoka walking shoes.

Pros
  • Supportive
  • Wide sizes available
  • Waterproof option available
  • Tons of colors
Cons
  • Some shoppers find them snug/narrow
$145 at Hoka
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$145 at Zappos$145 at Nordstrom

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 8 | Type of shoe: Hiking shoes

Topping the lists of editors, experts and shoppers alike, Merrell's Moab 3 Hiking Shoes are among the most popular hiking shoes around. Famous for their out-of-the-box comfort, the Amazon bestsellers are also super supportive and extra cushioned to keep your feet happy all day long. The webbing along the tongue keeps debris from entering your shoe, while the protective toe cap keeps your feet safe from harm. They also boast a Vibram TC5+ rubber sole that provides excellent traction and a molded arch shank and shock-absorbing heel for added support.

Yahoo Style’s Executive Editor Nicole Sforza has been wearing Merrell’s since college and listed these as her fave pair. She even wears them off the trails when she needs a little extra support too. She recalled: “I once had a bad foot issue and had to wear supportive hiking boots (even when not hiking!!!!) and the doc recommended these.” The sporty kicks also made Cris Hazzard, hiking expert of HikingGuy.com's list of favorites because “they're tough, grippy, and very comfortable.” While this exact pair isn't waterproof, you can shop this version if you need that.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive
  • Affordable
  • Good traction
Cons
  • Not waterproof
$90 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Colors: 25 | Type of shoe: Sneaker

The brand Brooks is synonymous with running and walking shoes so it makes sense that women’s fitness expert, Julie Lohre is a fan. “They are fantastic because of their reliable support and cushioning. While they are super stable shoes, it is the cushion and comfort that make Adrenaline’s a shoe I really like for treadmill and outdoors. They offer great stability, the fit is comfortable, and the shoes provide nice arch support,” she tells us. Along with an airy mesh upper, the sneakers also come with a removable foam footbed for extra comfort. 

Our Home and Garden Lead Editor, Jessica Dodell-Feder is also a big fan of the sneakers. She says they are great for "running and walking on the treadmill and outside on paved roads." She loves them so much she’s “owned some iteration of this sneaker for around 15 years.” There are 24 styles to choose from and sizes not only range from 5 to 13 but they also come in narrow, medium, wide and extra-wide options so you can easily find your ideal fit.

Pros
  • Comes in various sizes
  • Cushioned
  • Very stable
  • Lots of colors to choose from
Cons
  • Expensive
$140 at Zappos
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$140 at Dick's Sporting Goods

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 17 | Type of shoe: Sneakers

Bondi sneakers are another popular pick that have amassed over 5,800 five-star ratings from shoppers. Yahoo Commerce Editor Saundra Latham packed them for a cruise where she walked over 15,000 steps a day. "They're ultra-cushioned, with a flexible upper that's almost sock-like, so it molds to my foot," she said. These sporty kicks have the thickest insole of the bunch and weigh less than 9 ounces, making them a great option for anyone whose feet need ultra-plush cushioning. Other key features are the engineered mesh construction, Ortholite hybrid sock liner, lightweight foam and rubber outsole.

Latham noted that the upper is flexible, so "you do have to loosen the laces a fair amount before putting them on." But the comfort makes them worth the extra seconds, she said. Latham also added, "I've dealt with some plantar fasciitis in the past and would definitely turn to these if I ever have a repeat bout because they're so cushioned." Dr. Hillary Brenner, New York based podiatrist and foot surgeon tells us "These are my personal favorites because of the EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) foam midsole which is excellent for shock absorption. It's an excellent shoe in regards to support."

Pros
  • Super-cushioned
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent traction
  • Tons of colors
  • Wide sizes available
Cons
  • Expensive
$165 at Hoka
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$165 at Nordstrom$165 at Zappos

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Colors: 11 | Type of shoe: Sneaker

Need some extra ankle support while you work out? Commerce Editor Amanda Garrity says these On Clouds are just the ticket. “I've worn plenty of sneakers (that shall not be named) that caused me to roll my ankles far too many times. This pair, however, is a bit lower to the ground and offers just the right amount of support. I've worn them a bunch and haven't experienced that once,” she reports. 

The molded heel cap adds extra support and the upper is made from three layers of mesh for ample airflow. Plus they have excellent traction, Garrity has walked in them on gym equipment, slick sidewalks and uneven trails with no issues. And did we mention how comfortable they are? Garrity will: “These sneakers make you feel like you're walking on clouds!” 

Pros
  • No break-in time
  • Good traction
  • Great ankle and arch support
  • Cushioned
Cons
  • Expensive
$150 at Zappos
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$150 at On

Sizes: 5.5 to 13.5 | Colors: 3 | Type of shoe: Sneaker

If you prefer outdoor workouts, you need kicks that deliver excellent traction on all types of terrains. Says our Commerce Director, Jeanine Edwards, “I am an avid walker, and these are my go-to sneakers for walking in the woods, on the streets and occasionally on the treadmill.” It’s easy to see why she’s such a fan. 

The 2002Rs have heel cushioning, a soft lining and a shock-absorbing outsole that makes trekking umpteen miles feel like, um, a walk in the park. In perhaps her most telling comment, Edwards says she’s never gotten a blister in them (even when she forgets socks!). She sums up thusly: “Honestly, these are the most comfy shoes I own, and I always reach for them when I know I'll be walking long distances.” 

Pros
  • Great shock absorption
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable even without socks
  • Supportive
Cons
  • Limited colors
$145 at New Balance

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 3 | Type of shoe: Sneaker

If you suffer from high arches, our Commerce Editor Janelle Randazza recommends these Keens. “The arch is spectacular — especially for folks with higher arched feet, like me,” she says. She also lauded the excellent ankle stability provided by the supportive platform that makes her feel more grounded (and, by extension, less prone to injuries). 

The mesh uppers are designed to keep your feet cool, and Randazza confirms they are very breathable. “I've worn them on hot summer hikes, through amusement parks, on multiple-mile walks on scorching LA asphalt — my feet never feel overly hot.” She notes, though, that if you're the type whose feet swell during a workout, you may want to go up a half-size.

Pros
  • Super cushioned
  • Great traction
  • Very stable
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Limited colors
$145 at Zappos
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$145 at Keen$145 at Keen

Sizes: 4 to 15 | Colors: 55 | Type of shoe: Sandal

Dr. Melissa Lockwood, DPM, a podiatrist at Heartland Foot & Ankle Associates, gives Birkenstocks the thumbs-up for their support, as do thousands of shoppers. Birkenstock Arizonas have been known as one of the most comfortable sandals around for decades. The classic slides boast a deep heel cup that keeps the natural padding of your foot in place and helps distribute your body weight more evenly. The suede-lined, supportive footbed molds to your feet over the break-in period for added comfort, while the raised toe bed gives you grip so your feet aren’t sliding around.

Our Executive Editor, Nicole Sforza, wears them so often, she says, that these iconic shoes have "almost become a part of me! They mold to your foot, so when you slip in your dogs, it's like they're coming 'home.'" Even better, there are two adjustable straps, so you can find a custom supportive fit. Commerce Director Jeanine Edwards says they are so comfy, stylish and supportive that she wears them in everyday life and on European vacations that are full of walking. "I LIVE in these sandals because they're so comfortable," she raves. "Another bonus? They are super durable. I’ve had my current pair for over five years now and they still look and feel amazing."

The only downside is they don't have a back strap. While I've never had any issues with my feet sliding around in these sandals while walking for miles, if you feel you would be more comfortable with a strap around the heel you should check out the brand's Milano sandal.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive
  • Durable
  • Arch support
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No back strap
$135 at Amazon
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$140 at Zappos$140 at HSN

Sizes: 5-13 | Colors: 13 | Type of shoe: Slip-on sneaker

After seeing that these Kizik sneakers had nearly 30,000 reviews, I knew I needed to give them a try. They may look like your average lace-up sneaker, but they're actually designed to slip on and off hands-free thanks to a structured heel cup that keeps the sneaker's shape and prevents it from curling in. These are probably the most structured and supportive sneakers I've ever worn, and they were comfortable straight out of the box, no break-in period needed. 

They also offer great traction, and while they're technically not waterproof, I've worn them several times to walk my dog in the rain and my feet stayed pretty dry. I also love that they are super easy to clean, the insole can be thrown in the washing machine while the rest of the sneaker can be wiped down with a cloth and some dish soap. 

Pros
  • Super-supportive
  • Comfortable
  • Good traction
  • Easy to slip on and off
Cons
  • Expensive
$130 at Kizik

Sizes: 5-13 | Colors: 4 | Type of shoe: Slip-on sneaker

If you require shoes with some extra reinforcement in the arch, Podiatric Surgeon Dr. Dana Canuso loves this pair of Skechers because "they are cute and offer great arch support — perfect for everyday wear!" Made with the brand’s patented comfort pillar technology, they are designed "to react to your every step for ultimate comfort." 

They feature a dual-density outsole for extra support and stability and a reinforced toe to protect your feet from the elements. They have a breathable fabric lining and a mesh upper to keep your feet from overheating. Plus, they're also machine-washable.

Pros
  • Ample arch support
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Some shoppers say they aren't the most durable
$88 at Zappos
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$45 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 12 | Type of shoe: Sneaker

Our Senior Commerce Editor, Rory Halperin, is a big fan of an older (sold out) version of these Rykas, but this updated style features all the same support and comfort she loves, plus a new and improved toe cap, quarter overlay, iridescent overlay and tongue patch. It’s rare to find such a great gym shoe for less than $100, but Halperin loved them so much she bought a second pair almost immediately. 

Designed for a woman’s unique foot shape and muscle movement, Devotions have a narrower heel, roomy toe box and a cushioned insole to keep your foot stable and comfortable all day long. "I wore these around Disney World recently for five days where I averaged 20,000 steps a day and felt pretty good at the end of the day. I had brought other sneakers with me to trade off but ended up only wearing the Rykas," says Halperin.

Pros
  • No break-in time
  • Supportive
  • Shock absorbing
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Some shoppers said they had to order up
$70 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 13 | Colors: 25 | Type of shoe: Sneaker

“When I think about longer cardio sessions, the Asics Gel-Nimbus 26 is tough to beat. The cushioning is top-notch, providing a lot of shock absorption, and they are really comfortable on those long runs,” Lohre said. Dr. Daughtry tells us they are her favorite walking shoes for long distances because they are durable yet comfortable and have ample cushioning from the plush foam sole. 

The ultra-cushioned insole adds comfort and helps you achieve softer landings to prevent injuries. Lohre also notes, “The support system in these shoes helps maintain good alignment, making them ideal for my higher-impact workouts.”

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Great stability
  • Very cushioned
  • Shock-absorbing
Cons
  • Expensive
$160 at Amazon

To figure out which walking shoes for women are actually worth buying, we consulted a mix of podiatrists and fitness experts. They weighed in on what to look for when picking the best walking shoes for women. We also researched top-rated customer-loved options, and our team of shopping editors tested out dozens of pairs to determine which options are actually the most comfortable — because there's nothing like a recommendation from someone who has bought and tried them..

Whether you're wearing them for a short stroll or several miles, you want to find a pair of walking shoes that are both comfortable and supportive. To find the option that best suits your needs, Dr. Elizabeth Daughtry, DPM, FACFAS and Dr. Hillary Brenner, New York-based podiatrist and foot surgeon tells us there are a number of factors to consider:

Fit: As with any shoe, one of the most important parts of finding a comfortable walking shoe is finding one that fits just right. It should support your entire foot. If it's too big, your foot will slide around inside; if too small, your feet will be cramped and get blisters.

Style: When choosing a walking shoe, you should think about where you plan on walking to figure out which style of shoe you need. For those looking for an option to hit 10,000+ steps a day you should choose a cushioned sneaker, while others who are getting steps in at the beach or in hot locations may prefer a walking sandal.

Stability: “Walking shoes traditionally have a wider base and excellent support through the midfoot and arch to help avoid strain on your foot during the gait cycle,” Dr. Daughtry tells us. While Dr. Brenner adds “You want to make sure the shoe has good support i.e. a stable heel counter and good arch support.”

Support: A contoured footbed is also important as it helps keep your foot supported and in place as you walk. And with any shoe, arch support is essential "to maintain the natural alignment of the foot," Dr. Brenner tells us.

Cushinong: Cushioning is key when it comes to finding comfortable walking shoes. Dr. Daughtry says it’s the most important aspect of a walking shoe since the cushioning provides shock absorption from the repetitive pounding that our feet undergo on a daily basis. Dr. Brenner agrees telling us “You want to look for a cushioned and contoured footbed that supports the arch and has good shock absorption.”

Traction: Dr. Brenner says traction is also essential.The outsoles should have good grip and durability (ie traction). Look for a rubber outsole with a patterned tread that will be better in regards to traction.”

Weight: You may think the lighter the shoe the better, but Dr. Daughtry explains that walking shoes have more weight to them than running shoes. “Walking shoes usually feel a bit heavier than most trainers and have a lower heel than the average running shoe which allows for less bounce and more natural cadence to your stride during the gait cycle.”

“It's best to get a shoe specifically designed for walking,” says Dr. Brenner. “Look for a cushioned midsole, supportive upper ie to hold the foot securely, and flexibility in the toe box (which will help with the natural rolling motion). Remember you don't want the shoe to bend in half like a burrito. You want a minimal height difference between the forefoot to the heel.”

Ideally, you should choose a shoe that mimics the shape of your foot as you do not want your foot fighting against the structure of the shoe, according to Dr. Daughtry. “You want to make sure there is a thumb width distance of space from the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe, the shoe should feel snug around the midfoot and heel and provide enough room in the toe box. Your toes should have some wiggle room,” adds Dr. Brenner

Both podiatrists recommend trying the shoes near the end of the day as that’s when your feet will be their true size due to swelling so you can find the correct fit. “If you wear arch supports or orthotics, take them with you when shoe shopping to make sure that the orthotics and shoe ‘marry well’ as sometimes when adding arch supports, this can alter how your foot fits in the shoe or can cause an area to rub uncomfortably,” Dr. Daughtry notes.

According to Dr. Brenner, “Running shoes have more cushion to absorb the higher impact of activity.” Plus they are usually designed to be lightweight for speed. Where walking shoes are heavier to provide more stability. “Walking shoes are more flexible at the forefoot whereas running shoes have flexibility throughout the shoe to accommodate for the variety of running patterns” she adds.

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