How to Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes

How to Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes

Walking is a stress-free, easy way to stay fit and healthy. Like with any other activity, having the right equipment is the key to success. To make sure that you choose the right walking shoe, look for important features, try them on in the store, and find a good fit.


[Edit]Looking for Important Features

  1. Support your heel with a snug heel counter. This area of the shoe should comfortably cup the back of your heel. If the heel counter fits correctly, then it can help keep your feet from pronating or supinating when you walk. Make sure that it feels nice and snug but not too tight.[1]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • Pronating means your heels point outward and you put most of your weight on the insides of your feet when you walk.
    • Supinating means your heels point inward and you put most of your weight on the outsides of your feet when you walk.[2]
  2. Look for a shoe with slight roominess in the toe box. The toe box is the part of the shoe that surrounds your toes. It’s important that this part of the shoe allows your toes to wiggle and bend freely. However, too much space can cause excessive shifting and ultimately, discomfort. Shoot for a nice middle ground.[3]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 2 Version 3.jpg
  3. Look for outsoles with good traction. The parts of your shoes that make contact with the ground are called the outsoles. Inspect this under part of the shoe to be sure that there are grooves. These will help create traction when you walk, which can prevent you from slipping and falling.[4]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 3 Version 3.jpg
  4. Make sure the midsoles are made of cushioning material. Midsoles are arguably the most important part of the shoe. This is the area of the shoe between the upper part of the shoe and the tread.[5] Feel the midsoles with your hand to assess their softness and resiliency. Try on shoes with midsoles made of gel, foam, or air. All of these materials do a great job of cushioning and minimizing impact each time your foot hits the ground while you walk.[6]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 4 Version 3.jpg
  5. Ensure good shock absorption with quality insoles. The soles of your feet should feel well-cushioned in your walking shoes. It’s crucial that your insoles shape well to your foot and are supportive because their job is to absorb the impact that your foot has on the shoe.[7]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • If you find a shoe that seems great in almost every area but doesn’t have quality insoles, you can always buy some gel inserts to get the support you need.[8]
  6. Assess each shoe’s breathability. When you’re walking and getting your heart rate up, your feet may sweat a little. Make sure to get a shoe that has a breathable membrane and also always wear breathable socks when you’re walking. Shoes that trap the moisture can cause painful blistering and general discomfort.[9]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 6 Version 3.jpg

[Edit]Trying on Shoes

  1. Try the shoes on at the end of the day. Everyone’s ankles and feet swell at least some over the course of the day, so it’s better to try on shoes in the late afternoon or evening than in the morning. It’s better to get a shoe that feels a touch loose sometimes than one that’s too tight on your foot.
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 7 Version 3.jpg
    • If you’re elderly, it’s especially important to get a shoe that fits a little looser to compensate for arthritis pain, bunions, and other growths and types of foot pain.
  2. Bring a pair of your own socks. In order to get a true idea of how a shoe fits, you’ll need to try it on with whatever kind of sock you usually wear, whether that means high, low, thick, or thin socks.
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • Also bring inserts if you usually wear them.[10]
  3. Measure your feet. Each time you go shoe shopping, you should measure your feet. The size of your feet can change slightly over time. Either measure your feet yourself with the shoe sizer that’s in the store or have a friend, family member, or store employee help you. Measure both feet while standing up.
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • If one foot is larger than the other, look for a shoe that fits the larger foot well.[11]
  4. Do the wiggle test. When you put a pair of shoes on, wiggle your toes and see if you have enough space in them. You should have at least half an inch of room between the tip of your longest toe and the front wall of the toe box. If you don’t, try going up a size.[12]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 10 Version 2.jpg
  5. Walk around the store in the shoes. Once you’ve found shoes that are really feeling comfortable and supportive, take a walk around the store in them.[13] Walking is primarily what you’ll be doing in the shoes, so it’s important to test out how they feel when you add in the movement factor.
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 11 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Finding a Good Fit

  1. Make sure the width and length are both right. Calluses and blisters can form as a result of wearing a shoe that’s too narrow or wide. Wearing a shoe that’s too short can crowd your toes, which is especially painful and problematic if you have any deformities or disorders, such as bunions or hammertoes.[14]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 12 Version 2.jpg
  2. Prioritize good motion control if you have low arches. Many who have flatter feet deal with problems involving muscle and joint stress. If you have significantly low arches, focus on finding a shoe with good motion control so that your feet can be better stabilized.
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • Also, look for a shoe with a straight last. The last refers to the overall shape of the sole.[15]
  3. Get a shoe with good cushioning if you have high arches. High arches put a lot of strain on muscles and joints because they don’t absorb shock as well. Look for a shoe that has a generous amount of cushioning if you have a higher arch in order to improve shock absorption.
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 14 Version 2.jpg
    • Try a shoe with a curved last.[16]
  4. Look for firm midsoles if you have a neutral arch. In addition to straight or semi-curved lasts and moderate rear foot stability, neutral feet are best supported by firm midsoles. Make sure that your shoes have these features if you don’t think your foot falls under either arch type.[17]
    Choose Comfortable Walking Shoes Step 15 Version 2.jpg


  • If you’re a larger individual, you may benefit from purchasing shoes that are made for jogging or running. These shoes have support and padding for extra impact that you may need in order to be comfortable and avoid unnecessary pain.
  • Keep track of how many miles you have put on your shoes, and replace them every .

[Edit]Related wikiHows


Back to blog