Best Long Distance Walking Shoes in 2021

Walking can be excellent exercise and research suggests that long walks can be especially good for decreasing weight and increasing fitness. It’s also lower-impact than running, which makes it ideal for those with potential joint problems.

If you are going to be taking long walks, you should consider investing in a pair of the best long distance walking shoes. These will support your feet adequately and last a long time if you look after them.

The Brooks Ghost 14 is our top choice. While it’s a running shoe, it’s ideal for long walks. It has a DNA Loft midsole for shock-absorption, a flexible crash pad on the outsole, and a 9mm heel-to-toe drop.

Let’s have a look at the full list of shoes!

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

Brooks Ghost 14

 

  • 3D Fit Print upper
  • Segmented Crash Pad
  • Full-length DNA LOFT cushioning
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Brooks Launch 8

 

  • BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning
  • Lightweight, Air mesh upper
  • Air-injected rubber in the forefoot
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Hoka One One Arahi 5

 

  • Plush EVA cushioning
  • Firm heel counter
  • Meta-Rocker design
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Best Overall

1. Brooks Ghost 14

The Brooks Ghost 14 is the latest iteration of the popular Ghost and it’s an excellent walking shoe. It has a 9mm heel-to-toe drop, which reduces pressure on the forefoot, preventing early fatigue.

The 3D Fit Print upper contours comfortably to the foot, supporting without being restrictive. It allows for maximum ventilation due to the large perforations in the forefoot. It’s also slightly stretchy, so it will flex with your foot as you walk.

For extra comfort, the heel collar and tongue are plush and padded. They help to lock the foot in and prevent any excess movement within the shoe. The midsole is made entirely from DNA LOFT cushioning, which is Brooks’ softest foam. It remains responsive because it doesn’t flatten easily and it adapts to your stride.

The outsole is durable and grippy. HPR rubber in the heel protects a place that often gets more wear and tear. A segmented crash pad provides exceptional forefoot flexibility and helps to alleviate shock, also providing an effective heel-to-toe transition.

Some users may find that the ankle collar causes chafing on their Achilles.

PROS:

  • 3D Fit Print upper
  • Segmented Crash Pad
  • Full-length DNA LOFT cushioning
  • 9mm heel-to-toe drop

CONS:

  • Some may find that the ankle collar causes chafing

Top Value

2. Brooks Launch 8

The Brooks Launch is an everyday shoe that’s versatile and is well-priced for its quality.

It features a wide forefoot so your toes can splay naturally and comfortably, and the 10mm drop creates an efficient stride without too much pressure on the forefoot.

The engineered air mesh upper keeps this shoe breathable. There’s very little by way of synthetic overlays, making this shoe very flexible. A lightly padded heel collar isn’t plush but provides light support around the ankle.

BioMoGo DNA foam in the midsole adapts to your foot, providing extra comfort. The cushion is fairly firm, but it provides a slight spring in your step. Flex grooves in the outsole prevent the shoe from feeling too stiff.

Although the outsole uses blown rubber in a zig-zag pattern, it may not be suitable for walking on very slick surfaces. There is a section of air-injected rubber at the front that grips rougher surfaces for excellent traction.

The Brooks Launch 8 is an excellent shoe for its price point.

PROS:

  • BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning
  • Lightweight, Air mesh upper
  • Air-injected rubber in the forefoot
  • Lightly padded heel collar

CONS:

  • May not provide adequate grip on slick surfaces when walking fast

Most Cushioned

3. Hoka One One Arahi 5

If cushioning is your top priority, then you can’t beat a Hoka One One shoe.

The cushioning in the Arahi consists of a full-length piece of EVA foam, 29mm high in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot. It’s also surprisingly lightweight for this amount of cushion, at just less than 9.5 ounces.

Technically this is a stability shoe, designed to prevent overpronation. But the J-Frame firm foam technology is not very intrusive, so individuals with neutral feet can wear them comfortably.

There’s an early-stage meta-rocker in the sole, providing easy forward movement and reducing foot fatigue over long distances. A firm heel counter helps keep the foot in position, minimizing movement that could cause fatigue or strain in the foot or other muscles.

The engineered mesh upper is very breathable and provides light support from overlays. Another nice feature is the flared heel collar, which prevents chafing especially during long walks.

The shoe can run slightly small so you may want to order a half-size larger than usual to get a comfortable fit.

PROS:

  • Plush EVA cushioning
  • Firm heel counter
  • Meta-Rocker design
  • Firm J-Frame

CONS:

  • This shoe can run small and you may want to order a half-size up

Best Leather

4. New Balance 813

This is a motion control shoe that’s designed with a ROLLBAR system featuring medial and lateral posts. These are made to keep the heel from wobbling, making sure you’re stable on the ground at all times.

The upper is made of leather but the shoe still looks quite sporty. It’s firm enough to provide light support to the foot but not so firm that it restricts movement. The tongue and the heel collar are lined with mesh for extra breathability and comfort against the foot while walking.

The foam cushion in the midsole is lightweight, shock-absorbing, and durable. It should provide ample support for low-impact walking without flattening out.

A full-length rubber outsole prevents slipping on slick surfaces and also allows for flexibility when walking. Forefoot flex grooves make the heel-to-toe transition easier and smoother.

The Walking Strike Path is a groove down the vertical center of the sole. It guides the foot in a proper gait and reduces the chance of overbalancing as you stride from one foot to the other.

These shoes run a little small so you may want to order either a half-size larger or wide size.

PROS:

  • Breathable leather upper
  • Mesh-lined tongue and collar
  • Medial and lateral TPU posts
  • Lightweight foam cushioning

CONS:

  • These shoes can run small and you’d need to either get a wide or a half size up

Best Traction

5. ASICS GT-2000 9 Trail

Do you often find yourself walking on surfaces that are slippery or slick? You may want to get a shoe that offers excellent traction to increase your safety. We recommend the ASICS GT-2000 9 Trail.

It’s a stability shoe so it may not be suitable for everyone, although the technology is subtle. The Dynamic DuoMax System uses dual-density foam to provide extra support on the medial side of the shoe.

As a trail shoe, it features a High Abrasion Resistance (AHAR) rubber outsole. This is made from sticky rubber that grips on rough surfaces but also keeps you safe if the surface is slick. The lugs underneath improve the grip.

As well as keeping you safe, it keeps you cool with a ventilated upper and comfortable with a soft collar, tongue, and Ortholite sockliner.

FlyteFoam midsole technology offers cushion but also energy return to keep your feet from fatiguing too fast when walking long distances. Some people may find it to be a bit too firm. GEL cushioning in the heel and forefoot offers more shock-absorption and bounce.

A Guidance Trusstic System is a series of components in the shoe that are linked to each other to promote a natural gait and stride efficiency. Guidance Line technology is the most noticeable, which is a flex groove running vertically down the outsole. It helps to keep a natural gait.

PROS:

  • High Abrasion Resistance rubber outsole
  • GEL technology cushioning system
  • FlyteFoam midsole technology
  • Guidance Trusstic System

CONS:

  • Some may find the midsole to be too stiff

Top For Women

6. Propét Evolution Oxford

These shoes are designed to be sporty but supportive. They come in a number of pastel colors that are aimed at women, although some may wish for brighter colors.

The woven textile upper is breathable and features tighter-woven sections across the foot for extra support. A padded collar improves comfort. It’s also a low-profile design that allows for ankle flexibility.

The insole is made from EVA, offering shock absorption and protection. It’s removable to allow for custom orthotics to be inserted if necessary.

A slip-resistant outsole keeps you safe on all surfaces. This shoe is also designed to be able to withstand machine washing, for extra convenience.

PROS:

  • Removable EVA insole
  • Slip-resistant rubber outsole
  • Breathable textile upper
  • Washable

CONS:

  • Some may feel that there’s inadequate cushioning

Best Pain Relief

7. Gravity Defyer GDEFY Mighty Walk

These shoes are designed to alleviate pain in the joints, including the hips, back, and knee joints.

They feature VersoShock patented technology in the sole, which is a foam-based spring system that absorbs impact on every step. Reducing these vibrations can help to relieve pain as far up as the back.

The toe box is generous and reduces chafing and pressure on the toes. It also allows for better circulation, so the muscles in the foot and toes feel good throughout your walk and don’t fatigue too easily.

The sole features a rocker design to make forward movement more efficient. They also come with a removable insole that’s podiatrist-grade and allows for custom orthotics to be used easily, so you can get exactly the kind of support that’s right for your feet.

These shoes also fall under Medicare/HCPCS code A5500 and you may be able to get Medicare reimbursement for them.

PROS:

  • Front rocker sole
  • VersoShock technology
  • Spacious toe box
  • Removable insoles

CONS:

  • Some people may find these shoes to be a bit bulky

Top Sneaker

8. Vionic Walker

These sneaker-like shoes are designed by podiatrists to improve foot health.

They’re specifically aimed at those who work out in the gym or take long walks. They have been accepted by the APMA as footwear that promotes good foot health.

The upper is a combination of water-resistant full-grain leather—which is supportive of the foot—and breathable polyester mesh, which offers excellent ventilation and comfort. A padded ankle collar provides a locked-down but comfortable fit and the unique action-lacing system allows one to get a tight fit, locking the foot in properly.

A wide toe box allows for many hours of walking without chafing or discomfort. In the women’s white sneaker, a TPU heel counter is present but it’s not present in all of the shoe models.

The EVA midsole has a slight elevation—five degrees—which helps to facilitate the heel-to-toe transition. Also, the biomechanically-designed orthotic features arch support, a heel cup, and support for overpronation.

It uses a Tri-Planar Motion Control technology to control pronation and prevent the feet from collapsing inwards. Individuals who don’t need this kind of support would do best to replace it with an appropriate insert.

PROS:

  • Water-resistant leather upper
  • Built-in midsole elevation
  • Tri-Planar Motion Control system
  • Wide toe box

CONS:

  • The thermoplastic heel cup isn’t present in all shoe models

Best Waterproof Shoes

9. Rockport Lexington Waterproof Lace Up (Men)

These shoes are smart enough to wear while hiking or to a work function in the rain.

Their full-grain leather upper is waterproof, keeping your feet dry and warm for your entire long-distance walk. They also feature seam-sealed technology, as further protection against water leaking in.

EVA foam cushion underfoot helps to minimize shock on every step. This prevents foot fatigue, helping you to walk for longer without pain or tiredness. It also protects the joints from vibration, reducing discomfort and pain.

As an extra layer of padding, the footbed is made from memory foam. It’s easy to remove if you need to add a custom insert.

A stability R- BAR provides motion control thanks to lateral and medial posts in the midsole. There’s also a multi-directional rubber outsole that helps your feet to stay stable on a number of different surfaces, both wet and dry.

You never need to worry about being caught in the rain when out on a long walk! The only possible issue is that some people may find the shoelaces to be quite short and uncomfortable to tie properly.

PROS:

  • Waterproof-treated leather
  • EVA foam midsole
  • Removable footbed
  • Rubber outsole

CONS:

  • Some people may find the shoelaces to be a bit too short

10. Dansko Paisley (Women)

The women’s Dansko Paisley features suede uppers for a more soft, feminine look. It’s waterproof and seam-sealed, and with its Vibram rubber outsole, you can take these shoes almost anywhere safely.

The triple-density EVA footbed provides comfortable cushion and arch support for long hours of walking. It’s also removable if one wants to add a custom insole.

Other features include 3M Scotchgard stain-protector, CleansportNXT odor-control, and a generous toe box.

PROS:

  • Waterproof suede uppers
  • Removable EVA footbed
  • Vibram rubber outsole
  • CleansportNXT odor control

CONS:

  • The heel collar is not very padded and may cause chafing

Most Support

11. Dr. Comfort Performance (Men)

Individuals with a neutral foot may not need a stability shoe, but they still need their feet to be well-supported. Although it features a No-Tie Elastic Lace Closure for a slip-on fit, it still offers a surprising amount of support.

You can see the supportive outer overlays easily on this shoe, providing a tightness around the midfoot. The mesh in between the overlays keeps the foot cool and ventilated.

A sturdy toe box is designed to keep your feet protected. The heel counter keeps your foot locked in and prevents it from becoming misaligned, which can lead to pain and discomfort.

It also features a built-in arch stabilizer and a removable insert to make space for customs.

PROS:

  • Mesh upper with synthetic overlays
  • Arch stabilizer
  • Firm heel counter
  • Protective toe box

CONS:

  • Quality of the mesh may be inconsistent

12. Dr. Comfort Grace (Women)

The Grace features a midfoot cage for support. It tightens around the foot as one laces the shoe, providing a snug fit. It’s also available in medium, wide and extra-wide, so there’s a shoe for every kind of foot.

The dual-density midsole provides adequate shock-absorption for a low-impact activity like walking. A gel insole keeps you comfortable and protects your joints.

The heel counter prevents lateral foot movement, reducing the chances of problems due to foot misalignment.

An anti-abrasion outsole keeps you safe on any surface, indoor or outdoor.

PROS:

  • Dual-density midsole
  • Micro-suede lining
  • Anti-abrasion sole
  • Available in medium, wide and extra-wide widths

CONS:

  • Small variety of colors

FAQs

What are the differences between walking and running shoes?

Running shoes often have stiffer soles than walking shoes. These are designed to provide rebound when moving forward fast, while walking shoes are designed more for comfort.

Also, running shoes often have more cushion in the sole to provide shock absorption when doing high-impact activities. Walking shoes often have soft cushioning and less of it than running shoes.

Can you use running shoes for walking?

Yes, you can use running shoes for walking. Running shoes make excellent walking shoes if you want a shoe that is well-cushioned, has a spring in it, and is also durable.

What should running or walking shoes have as important features?

Whether you choose a dedicated walking shoe or a running shoe to walk in, the shoes should have the following features.

The fit must be right for your gait. Individuals with a neutral foot should be wearing a neutral shoe. Severe overpronators should wear a stability shoe, while mild overpronators should wear a guidance or motion control shoe.

Once you have found the right footwear for your gait, make sure the shoe is flexible enough to promote natural movement. It should especially be flexible in the forefoot, to allow for a good toe-off.

A low heel-to-toe drop is preferred. This reduces pressure on the forefoot and helps one to walk for longer before their feet fatigue.

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