When it comes to finding the perfect, comfortable shoe — it’s hard to wear anything else. Be that a pair of comfy dress shoes, well-padded sandals or in this case, elite walking shoes. There’s really no better sensation than feeling like you’re walking on clouds while you commute to work, go for a run or even get some errands done around town.
Getting your hands on those cloud-like shoes is the hard part but boy, is it worth the challenge!
In an effort to help you find the best pair of walking shoes, the New York Post spoke with Dr. Miguel Cunha, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City to get the lowdown on the best options on the Internet. Cunha has extensive training and experience treating a wide array of foot and ankle conditions from minor problems to complex reconstructive foot and ankle surgery.
While many pros will say that shopping for walking shoes online isn’t as ideal as going into your local shoe shop to try them on in person, sometimes going into the store isn’t always possible. Be that time, convenience or even laziness — we’ve got you covered.
Making sure your walking or running shoes fit you properly and taking the time to find the best pair for your needs is not always an easy feat but gives you a better chance to avoid injury.
According to the Asics website, “around four in five runners risky injury in shoes that don’t suit their running style.”
For extensive information from Cunha about what to look for when shopping for walking shoes online, check out our FAQ section towards the bottom of the article. First, let’s get to shopping!
For an incredible pair of walking shoes that are both durable and comfortable, Cunha recommends the KEEN WK400s.
“This walking shoe is designed with a rocker bottom sole to facilitate heel to toe movement with movement and a comfortably supportive EVA midsole that springs back with every step,” Cunha said. “The lugged rubber outsole is durable and thick for increased shock absorption.”
When it comes to a smaller budget, Cunha likes the Saucony Cohesion 13 sneakers for a budget-friendly but long-lasting pair of walking shoes.
“These walking shoes are spacious, comfortable, provide excellent ankle and arch support, and best of all they only cost $75,” Cuhna said.
If you’re willing to splurge, Cunha loves the New Balance MADE in the USA 993 Core sneakers.
“These shoes are expensive but they are an investment as they are designed to last. The NB 993’s provide increased durability, cushioning, shock absorption, and a rigid heel counter for ankle stability,” Cunha said.
Get the Hoka Clifton 9 sneakers in many different colors and enjoy the ninth iteration of the popular shoe that are lighter and more cushioned than ever before.
“To accommodate bunions, shoes have a wide and spacious toe-box toe accommodate a wide foot. The Hoka Clifton 9 comes in standard and wide-width shoes that are comfortable and supportive to accommodate feet that are wider or have bunions,” Cunha said.
“The forefoot of this sneaker is designed with a well-cushioned FF Blast Plus footbed and anatomical arch that is firmer and denser on the medial side of the shoe to support and hold the plantar fascia and prevent it from collapsing to minimize fatigue and pain associated with overpronation,” Cunha said.
Featuring a low-profile external heel counter, this piece comfortably cradles your foot with advanced rear-foot support. Available in more than 20 different colors.
Cunha is also a fan of the Hoka Arahi Men’s Running Shoes ($140) and the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 Men’s Running shoes ($120) for those seeking arch support.
If you can’t stand being weighed down, On Running’s Cloud 5 sneakers are the way to go in Cunha’s book. Available in 18 different colors and made of 44% recycled materials.
“These shoes are stylish, comfortable, and designed to be the most lightweight fully cushioned running shoes available,” Cunha said.
For the guy who loves to hike but needs a little bit extra support, consider these Danner shoes.
“These shoes are very lightweight and durable with rigid heel counters that support your ankles when walking. The outsoles come with grooves for traction on rocky or wet terrain. The toe box is spacious to accommodate your forefoot comfortably,” Cunha said.
If you want an elite pair of walking shoes but want to look cool while you wear them, go for The Roger Advantage by On Cloud.
“These shoes are the most versatile in style and comfort. They can be comfortably worn all day as you transition from outfit to outfit [and] are designed with a trademarked concealed CloudTec® midsole that cushions and supports your arch,” said Cunha. “A liquid-injected plate of thermoplastic polymer sitting between above the midsole [called the Speedboard®], harnesses and springs back energy into momentum as you walk, reducing foot fatigue, alleviating tension and discomfort.”
With sustainability and comfort in mind, consider AllBirds’ The Plant Pacers.
“The Plant Pacers are well constructed and eco friendly plastic free shoes made of plant leather uppers and recycled polyester lining. These shoes are stylish, comfortable, and durable,” Cunha said.
With summer just around the corner, it’s never a bad idea to have a pair of durable slides on hand.
“These sandals are podiatrist-designed and approved with a shock-absorbing midsole and microfiber-covered footbed that restores the natural alignment of your foot as it comfortably supports and cushions your arch,” Cunha said. “These sandals also include dual adjustable closure straps and a sturdy one-inch platform heel for stability and walkability.”
An FAQ on shopping for the best walking shoes for men
Ahead, Dr. Cunha provides insight into the foot and sneakers world.
What do I look for when shopping for walking shoes online?
- Flex Point: The point where the shoe bends and creases is the flex point. For optimal comfort, the flex point of the shoe should match the bending point of your foot; when it doesn’t align with your foot it can cause problems like arch pain or plantar fasciitis. You can check the flex point of the shoe by holding it by the heel and pressing the toe of the shoe onto the ground.
- Comfortable Footbed & Insole: You’ll want to support the arch with memory foam or EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) anti-compression insole.
- Shock Absorbant Outsole: Outsoles made of rubber will help alleviate the impact of each step far greater than a shoe with a hard sole.
- Supportive & Durable Uppers: It’s important to pick a shoe that offers as much durability and protection as possible without sacrificing comfort or flexibility. Look for a shoe designed with smooth, solid leather uppers that are not only highly durable but also flexible and comfortable.
How to identify what foot type I have:
To determine your foot type look at the soles of a pair of worn-in pair of shoes. The wear patterns illustrate where you are accumulating pressure when you walk. Certain foot types are more prone to specific types of foot discomfort and foot related injuries. For instance, people with plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, shin splints, or inner knee pain, tend to have flat feet and be pronators, which means your feet roll inward. People who commonly sprain their ankles or have outer knee pain in contrast, and tend to be supinators because they have higher arches and roll outward.
There are three wear patterns to look for in your shoes.
- If your shoe is worn out in this area you’re a supinator or an underpronator. With this foot type you will need cushioning sneakers for shock absorption.
- If your shoes are evenly worn you are neutral and have an average gait with equal weight distribution across the foot. With this foot type you need stability or moderate-stability sneakers, which offer a balance of cushioning and support.
- If you notice that your shoes have the top inner edge worn, you’re a pronator. With this foot type you need motion-control or high-stability sneakers to keep your feet better aligned with your legs.
If you are a supinator, look for shoes with soft, flexible midsoles and look as if they don’t have an arch but are rather filled in with more sole and cushioning as this foot type doesn’t provide enough shock absorption on its own. When picking a running shoe pick one with extra rubber incorporated into the sole which translates to a smoother and bouncier gait. When picking a shoe for cross-training, pick a shoe with flexible grooves in the sole to facilitate ballistic pivoting and cutting.
If you’re neutral, fortunately, with this type you distribute weight evenly across your feet so motion control is not as critical as stability. A lightweight shoe that bends just to the ball of the foot will be sufficient enough to offer a good balance of cushioning and support. When picking shoes for cross-training, pick shoes that have soles that look slinky which help put an extra spring in your step. When picking shoes for running look for a shoe that provides traction and reduces instep strain.
If you’re a pronator, look for shoes that have the presence of a dense supportive arch which helps provide reinforcement and keep the arches of the foot from collapsing. These shoes tend to be fairly stiff and will flex only near the toe area. When picking shoes for cross training choose a side a wide toe box allows for comfortable lateral movement as pronating feet will collapse and spread within the shoe. When picking shoes for running, pick a shoe with stabilizing roll bars to help protect the arches.
How do I break in my new walking shoes?
- Wear the shoes around the house or running errands for short periods of time and gradually increase usage
- Wear thicker socks or double up on socks initially
- Try stretching shoe spray and shoe stretchers
- Use a hair dryer to heat up the shoes for 2-3 minutes while wearing them to help them expand
- Routinely replace your shoes: Good sneakers are designed to last for 300 to 500 miles. As a result, your shoes will need to be replaced approximately every six-10 months. It doesn’t matter if they still look new, if the support has been worn out you’re at a much higher risk of injury. I also recommend taking note of the date each time you buy a new pair of walking shoes, this will help you to keep track of when you’re due for a new pair.
- Make sure you’re buying the right size: I recommend always buying shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen. If they feel comfortable at the end of the day most likely they will feel comfortable throughout the day. Have your foot measured with a brannock device for both length and width. It’s important to remember that sizing can be different across different brands, due to their design and the materials used.
- Try at least three different shoe models: try two different models at the same time, wearing one model on each foot. The tip of your thumb should fit between the end of the shoe and the end of your longest toe. Make sure the toe box is wide enough to accommodate your toes; make sure there is enough room to slightly wiggle your toes. If you can’t move your toes at all then the shoes are too tight and will eventually become painful.
For more content, check out the New York Post Shopping section.