16 of the Very Best Long Distance Walking Shoes for Men & Women in 2020

What is the most essential piece of equipment needed for long distance walks?

You may think the answer is obvious – shoes right? Or should that be boots?

And what type? Are running shoes good, trail shoes or are walking shoes better?

On the face of it picking a shoe best suited to long distance walking is not quite so obvious. There are quite a few things to consider which you will find in the information section below the reviews.

Links Disclosure: Some links on this page go to affiliate partners where, without cost to you, we may receive a small commission should you make a purchase.

You may already know what type of shoe you are looking for so let's show you our picks first in the navigation table below. From the table you can click the link to jump down to the shoe of interest and read our review which links back to the table. Use the navigation tables and jump buttons to easily move around the page as it is quite long.

Last Reviewed on 20 March 2020 – Content update

by Curtis

Men's Navigation Table & Quick Look (Women's Below)

Best Long Distance Walking Shoes for Men

SAS Mens JV Mesh

SAS JV Mesh Slip OnJump to Our Review

KEEN Mens Austin

KEEN AustinJump to Our Review

ON Mens Cloud

ON CloudJump to Our Review

Dr Comfort Mens Endurance Plus

Dr Comfort EnduranceJump to Our Review

Vasque Mens Breeze III

Vasque Breeze IIIJump to Our Review

Oboz Mens Tamarack

Oboz TamarackJump to Our Review

Gravity Defyer Mens G-Defy Iokia ll

Gravity Defyer Lokia IIJump to Our Review

Brooks Mens Addiction Walker

Brooks Addiction WalkerJump to Our Review

Women's Navigation Table & Quick Look

Best Long Distance Walking Shoes for Women

Mephisto Womens Laser

Mephisto LaserJump to Our Review

Gravity Defyer Womens G-Defy Mighty Walk

Gravity DefyerMighty WalkerJump to Our Review

Oboz Womens Sawtooth 2 Low

Oboz Sawtooth IIJump to Our Review

Ryka Womens Devotion Plus 2

Ryka Devotion Plus 2Jump to Our Review

” alt=”KEEN Womens Targhee II Mid” width=”200″ height=”150″ data-id=”2009821″ data-src=”https://woowalkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/KEEN-Womens-Targhee-II-Mid-Black-Olive.jpg” />

KEEN Targhee IIJump to Our Review

” alt=”Brooks Mens Addiction Walker” width=”200″ height=”150″ data-id=”2008948″ data-src=”https://woowalkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Brooks-Mens-Addiction-Walker-Black.jpg” />

Brooks AddictionWalkerJump to Our Review

” alt=”” width=”200″ height=”150″ data-id=”1007972″ data-src=”https://woowalkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/New-Balance-Womens-928v3-White.jpg” />

New Balance928v3Jump to Our Review

” alt=”Saucony Womens Integrity ST 2″ width=”200″ height=”150″ data-id=”1007810″ data-src=”https://woowalkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Saucony-Womens-Integrity-ST-2-White-1.jpg” />

Saucony Pro Grid ST2Jump to Our Review

Men's Reviews Section

SAS JV Mesh Slip On for Men

SAS Men's Journey Mesh - Gray
(As of: 2021/06/13 11:55 am - Details)
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Stylish Casual Walking Sneaker
Fitting: Slim to Extra Wide (Triple Wide)
Length: 7 – 15 with Half Sizes to 11.5
Upper: Suede & Mesh
Sole: Synthetic Cushioned
Insole: Good Quality – Removable
Rating: 98%

General Features:

San Antonio Shoes make quality shoes a cut above the big shoemakers mass production machines.

The JV Mesh Slip On is an excellent cushioned casual sports sneaker with hook and loop fastenings for an adaptable fit to your instep.

Lots of widths and lengths to choose from and Gray, Black or Navy in the color range.


No matter if you have slim feet or really wide feet, there will be a width fitting to suit from the wide range provided for the JV Mesh.

Shoe length should not be a problem for most people either running right up to a size 15.

The shoe last is made to fit true to size with a quite square foot shape so your toes have room to wiggle around in there and not get squashed for hours on end when you are out walking long distances.

Obviously no laces, if you prefer laces then go for the SAS Journey instead which is the laced version.

The slip on version with its hook and loop fasteners makes it really easy to get these shoes on and off and will fit almost any instep orientation, securing the shoe with ease.

The sole features stabilizers to the heel and to the forefoot to help maintain a better gait by ensuring the shoe and hence your foot, has less rotation as it sits flatter on the ground.

Comfort & Cushioning

Cushioning starts with the sole and midsole which are made from a springy durable foam material with special cushioned inserts to the heel and under the balls of your feet (the metatarsal area).

The heel gets an extra boost from a heel stabilizer to keep the heel securely on the ground as you step and a heel counter around the heel upper to add a bit of resilience to the heel itself.

Inside we get a good quality footbed that helps position the heel and is marketed as Coolstep™ as they are designed to keep your foot cooler and wick away any moisture build up. Bear in mind that walking long distances will create more heat and sweat in the foot so this is a very welcome feature.

The linings are anti-friction which, I think, just means that the lining can move independently of the outer upper to a degree and thus reduce rubbing to your soft skin.

More cushioning to the collar of the shoe (around the edge of the heel and ankles) and to the tongue make for an overall well cushioned shoe without losing stability as you transfer your weight through your stride.


The suede and mesh uppers look great especially in the Navy to my eyes.

They are sporty casual shoes made for comfort and they look the part as well as walking the walk as they say.

With the good round and foot shaped toe box the SAS JV Mesh should continue to look good without the wear you often encounter where your foot is pressing out on parts of the upper which get rubbed and look old before their time.


If you are walking long distances all day then you need a comfortable shoe with stability and a moderate degree of cushioning.

Over cushioned and your feet will start to lose stability and under-cushioned will tire your feet out and make them sore. This shoe has the right balance at a fair price.

SAS JV Mesh – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Rounded & deeper toe box
  • Tri-Pad cushioning system
  • Medicare approved
  • Wider sole for toe spread & stability
  • Good midsole shock absorption
  •  Easy On & Off with Adaptable Fit

Not so Good Things

  • Some do not get on with the insoles
  • Arch support is nothing special

You can always change them for custom orthotics if that is your experience

Keen Austin Shoe for Men

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Waterproof Walking Shoe
Fitting: Medium
Length: 7 – 17 Half Sizes to 10.5
Upper: Waterproof Nubuck
Sole: Rubber Cushioned
Insole: Good Quality – Removable
Rating: 87%

General Features:

If you are a long distance walker and part of your route is wet or if you walk in wet grass or in wet conditions then you will need to wear a shoe that is at least water resistant.

Most waterproof shoes are hiking boots or Wellington style gum boots so Keen have a good product with the Austin shoe.

This casual walking shoe is comfortable and waterproof and the perfect companion for your feet on those long walking journeys.


The Keen Austin shoe comes only in a medium fitting which is a bit of a shame really. I never can understand why a manufacturer would not at least make medium and wide as many people need that extra width.

Keen sizing is a bit weird of late with some styles coming up wide and others coming up narrow. It amazes me that it is so hard for shoe manufacturers to come up with a uniform sizing system even within brands.

Anyway, this shoe comes up a little wider than most which allows the excellent lacing system to do its job in adapting to a range of widths and instep heights.

If you are a normal width then you can tighten up the laces and if you are a bit wider, loosen them off.

The wider last gives a little extra room for your toes to have space but if you need double or triple width fittings then you may find fitting a difficulty.

Comfort & Cushioning

For walking long distances on any regular basis you do need a shoe with some structure and durability.

Many of the most comfortable walking shoes have to sacrifice some durability to provide the extra cushioning that makes them so comfortable.

The problem with high cushioning in a long distance walking shoe is that cushioning means less stability which you cannot maintain whilst providing high levels of softness.

That is bad for your foot and can lead to rolling over on your ankle and tiring in the foot as it tries to maintain stability the shoe is not providing.

Keen has the balance right in this shoe with their Metatomical footbed which provides support to the arch and metatarsal area (balls of your foot) and is designed to mold to your foot shape. Unlike memory foam these insoles do have staying power.

The water resistant nubuck leather uppers work well with the moisture wicking insoles to keep your feet dry on long walks even if the environment is a bit damp.

There is also some protection to the toes with the wrap around rubber end cap.

The linings also add to comfort along with the cushioning around the shoe collar and Achilles area.

All in all a good balance of comfort and stability together with ruggedness and durability and as at home on paved surfaces as it is on stony trails.


The shoe styling is casual and a little sporty with a hint of a canvas tennis shoe virtue of the extensive laces.

This makes the shoe style suited from a light hiker style and up to a rugged casual shoe.


For a waterproof long distance walking shoe the Keen Austin is a worthy contender for your attention.

It is comfortable, well made and durable with the biggest drawback its lack of a wide range of width fittings. You really do not want to be opting for a shoe way too long just to get a width fitting for wider than average feet.

That said it is made to a fairly wide last so will suit most normal to slightly wide foot shapes and the good lacing system will accommodate a lot of different foot instep arrangements.

Keen Austin Shoe – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Spacious Toe Box
  • Waterproof Leather Uppers
  • Good Heel & Toe Cushioning
  • Good Protection to Achilles
  • Ruggedly Adaptable

Not so Good Things

  • Poor Range of Width Fittings
  • You Had Better Like Brown
  • If You Get a Squeaky Shoe You Are Unlucky

ON Cloud Sneaker for Men

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Athletic Fitness Walkers Shoe
Fitting: Medium
Length: 7 – 14 Half Sizes to 12.5
Upper: Mesh & Synthetic
Sole: Rubber Cushioned
Insole: Good Quality – Mid Support
Rating: 93%

General Features:

You may never have heard of ON but it would be worth your while to check out these new boys on the block.

The Cloud shoe is an athletic shoe so more suited perhaps to people who are fitness walkers or walker / joggers than an out and out walking shoe.

They are exceptional though with an excellent sole design that is compartmentalized to give support exactly where and when you need it.

Extremely lightweight and very comfortable semi-minimalistic style with excellent cushioning and design.


Sadly another shoe that only comes in medium width fitting but is actually slightly on the wide side of medium. Nevertheless if you have 2E or wider feet these are going to be too tight.

For the lucky medium width footed people these shoes offer something unique and practical.

Unusual heel tensioning system grips the heel on your foot without chafing and the elastic laces position the shoe on your foot without much pressure.

The result is a shoe that is just there, positioned and so light you really do not feel you are wearing much.

Comfort & Cushioning

The idea of the shoe is to allow your foot to work as your foot is designed and to provide the best levels of shock absorbance and cushioning possible to allow that to play out.

The multi-compartment soles comprise 16 pods which are attached to a speedboard. These pods are hollow and absorb a huge amount of shock leaving your foot and leg with a smooth ride through your stride.

The pods spring back after compression to give you an assisted push off in the forward stage of your stride.

The springy foam insole is unbelievably light yet reasonably durable with hardened low abrasion pads to take up the wear.

As comfortable as you will get for a semi-minimalist shoe and suited to long distance power walker.


This is a modern shoe design that is fashionable and practical.

Athletic sports style which is traditionally unusual because of the overlaid padded shoe tongue, elasticated heel grips which are part exposed and part hidden and an unusual elasticated lacing system.


If you are looking for something that will stand out then the ON Cloud is a shoe that will do that for you with lots of bright colors and its unusual yet practical and modern design.

An excellent shoe for long distance walking for those who prefer fitness walking and jogging.

ON Cloud Athletic Shoe – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Exceptionally Lightweight
  • Great Shock Absorbance
  • Well Designed Proactive Sole
  • Innovative Design

Not so Good Things

  • Only Medium Fitting Available
  • More Suited to Faster Fitness Walkers

Dr. Comfort Endurance Shoe for Men

Dr. Comfort Mens Endurance Plus
(As of: 2021/06/12 7:11 pm - Details)
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Extra Depth Walking Shoe
Fitting: Medium to Extra Wide
Length: 6 – 15 Half Sizes to 10.5
Upper: Leather & Mesh
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Excellent – Removable
Rating: 89%

General Features:

Not all of us have trouble free feet. Those who have feet that need a little love and attention still want to walk and refuse to be limited by a bit of swelling, diabetes or any one of a large number of foot issues.

For those people, thankfully, we have manufacturers like Dr. Comfort who make shoes that are not impossibly narrow, do not pinch your toes at the end or made on a shoe last that appears to have been fashioned on an alien.

The Endurance Plus are the shoe for people who need a little extra depth and width in their shoe for their long distance walks.


Width fittings for Medium, Wide and Extra Wide feet and all are usually readily available.

For length, the shoe is readily available from 7 through 11.5 in half sizes and in full sizes up to 15 from there.

A decent lacing system that runs from the lower part of the instep up to the top of the shoe and is protected from your skin by a well padded tongue. This gives and excellent leeway to accommodate most instep heights.

You should have no problem finding a properly fitting shoe with the Dr. Comfort's.

Comfort & Cushioning

The shoe is designed to offer high levels of cushioning and comfort whilst simultaneously handling most foot problems.

the extra depth gives you every opportunity to swap out the already excellent gel insoles that come with the shoe which offer cushioning and shock absorbing qualities to the heel and toe areas particularly.

The shoe has a nice sturdy sole too that will give plenty of endurance which you'll be needing on very long walks.

Plenty of cushioning elsewhere in the shoe around the collar (heel and Achilles area) and all packaged up in what is a lightweight shoe especially given the features provided.


A restrained but quite good looking sporty style shoe that belies the fact that it is designed primarily as an orthopedic shoe.

It is only available in grey / black but that is fine for me!


If you are looking for a more custom orthotic solution in a walking shoe intended for long distance walking then this will very likely suit you.

A quality shoe that is well designed and offers many benefits for the user with foot issues that need a little love and tenderness.

Dr. Comfort Endurance Plus Shoe – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Spacious Toe Box
  • Medicare Approved
  • Removable High Quality Footbed
  • Breathable Uppers
  • Good Lacing Enclosure
  • Well Cushioned & Extra Depth
  • Loads of Width / Length Combinations

Not so Good Things

  • Only Comes in Black

Vasque Breeze 3 Hiking Shoe for Men

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Hiking Boot
Fitting: Medium & Wide
Length: 7 – 15 Half Sizes to 11.5
Upper: Nubuck & Mesh
Sole: Rugged Rubber
Insole: Removable
Rating: 89%

General Features:

If your long distance walking is mainly off road then an athletic shoe or standard walking shoe is not the right choice.

With rocks, spiky vegetation, wet areas and a host of other variable surfaces to deal with you will need a more rugged shoe for protection and durability.

Stepping up for duty is the Vasque Breeze 3 Hiking Boot non-waterproof. There is a GTX waterproof version but it's hard to find and the Oboz Bridger has a better waterproof membrane, comes in wide and is readily available.

Coming back to the Vasque there's a lot to like. Excellent grip from the Vibram sole, good foot positioning and ankle support and excellent breathability for long distance walking in the dry.


Medium and wide width fittings and a good range of lengths from 7 to 15 with half sizes in all but the longest sizes, should find you able to get the correct size unless you have a very wide foot.

The lacing system allows for a wide variety of instep shapes with lacing starting low on the instep and right up to the top of the boot. You may find the round laces a little slippy in the top two eyelets in which case simply swap them out for flat laces instead.

The shoe is built to a slightly wider than normal last giving good space in the toe box.

The nubuck leather reinforcement provides a feeling of class reinforcing the breathable mesh whilst retaining flexibility for a better fit.

Reinforcement to the heel provides a strong counter that will help keep your heel positioned.

Comfort & Cushioning

The Breeze has plenty of design that works with technology for an excellent all round solution to cradle and care for your foot on those long distance walking excursions.

An excellent Vibram sole provides a very high level of traction and grip to deal with just about any surface you throw at it barring the most slippery.

A dual section midsole has a soft and springy EVA section coupled with a torsion resistant chassis to give you a cushioned yet stable foundation for your foot. There is further stabilization to the midfoot to reduce flex in that area.

The whole chassis is then overlaid with a decent quality insole to provide cushion and a soft base for your foot to rest on. These insoles are removable if needed.

The flexible yet supportive uppers provide plenty of adaptability to your foot shape and lots of breathability to vent away heat and moisture build up that is inevitable when walking for long distances over a long period.

The excellent lacing arrangement has a well padded gusseted tongue to protect your instep from rubbing.


One might be forgiven if you think style is not the main focal point for a hiking boot and I would agree in part but for many style and fashion is important.

The mid cut hiking boot style oozes ruggedness with sophistication and somehow shows a sense of determination and preparedness for duty.

It may sound stupid but when you are putting these on you will be increasing your focus on the journey you are setting out on and feel prepared. Not only that but those around you will see that too.

There is definitely a mental difference donning these compared to grabbing an old pair of walking shoes out the back of the cupboard which you and everyone else knows are not fit for purpose.


An excellent hiking shoe for those looking to go on long walks off road or on the trail.

Not waterproof so really not suited to wet areas unless it is walking on wet hard surfaces free of puddles – down the local bar after a rain shower for instance rather than walking in grass alongside a waterfall.

Good comfort, good foot shape and plenty rugged enough.

Vasque Breeze 3 – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Good Sized Toe box
  • Plenty of Fitting Sizes
  • Good Removable Footbed
  • Flexible & Breathable Uppers
  • Great Grip from the Vibram Sole

Not so Good Things

  • Not Much Good for the Wet
  • Round Laces Slip in Top Eyelets – Swap Out for Flat Laces

Oboz Tamarak BDry Trail Shoe for Men

Oboz Men's Tamarack-M, Bungee
(As of: 2021/06/13 11:55 am - Details)
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Trail Walking Shoe
Fitting: Medium & Wide
Length: 8 – 14 Half Sizes to 11.5
Upper: Leather & Mesh
Sole: Synthetic & Rubber
Insole: Premium Orthotic – Removable
Rating: 92%

General Features:

Hiking shoes might be designed for hiking and waterproof ones for walking through wet grass and mud whilst keeping your feet dry. But they are used in many more environments than this.

Some like to portray the rugged, ready for anything look and wear hiking shoes to give that air. They have dry feet as a passing benefit!!

These hiking shoes are rugged, waterproof and have great cushioned insoles to give an all round comfortable experience even if walking all day.


Some will be happy that the Tamarack comes in a wide width fitting because not all of us are average. That said the last is a little on the narrow side overall so if you ever need a wider fitting in any shoe then go for the wide in this.

Lots of lengths to choose from make getting the right fit fairly easy but as always do measure your foot – you can use our sizing page to help you get the exact measurement for your feet.

Lacing is the other component to sizing which is often misunderstood or overlooked.

Adapting the way in which you lace your shoes and tensioning properly and often differently from the bottom to the top of the lacing area can drastically alter the overall way a shoe fits you.

To allow for that the Tamarack has a wide and long lacing stage so you will be able to lace up properly for optimum fit and allow for swelling which will be espcially important while you are out on a very long walk.

For excellent foot positioning the shoe is built with a slightly narrower heel but wider forefoot which correctly positions the heel yet allows plenty of room for your toes.

Comfort & Cushioning

This is a well cushioned yet stable shoe with a moderately torsion resistant sole courtesy of a more rigid nylon insert in the EVA midsole.

The EVA section of the sole is the part that provides the softness and spring to your step and works together with the insole to cushion your foot.

The Tamarack is well cushioned around the heel and collar of the shoe and the padded tongue provides lots of protection under the laces. The tongue avoids slipping via a loop positioner that the laces pass through.

An excellent insole tops off the shoe which provides excellent cushioning as well as shock absorbance in conjunction with the midsole.

The deep heel cup ensures the heel stays put, EVA sculpted foot arch support and moisture wicking top layer provides all you need for cushioned, dry support for the whole of your foot all day.

Lastly the rugged and tough outsole ensures that any unevenness in the ground underfoot is evened out so your feet do not feel every pebble and root stepped on.


The shoe maintains style with its leather wrap around to the bottom of the shoe and yet maintains breathability from the upper sections of the upper via its breathable mesh.

The lacing eyelets are reinforced with more leather detailing which all adds to the style of the shoe.

Whilst intended for more rugged trails this shoe can also be worn in a variety of other situations but is definitely more at home tackling and defeating stony trails and wet grass.


With a roomy toe box and great heel positioning ensured from the shoe last and cushioning, heel seating and shock absorbance courtesy of the insoles and midsoles the shoe is incredibly well designed.

The whole package is waterproofed with the Oboz BDry material which lets your feet breathe and vents the shoe to allow sweat to dissipate. Add in moisture wicking insoles and you have a most excellent shoe that will still be comfortable at the end of your long distance walks and hikes.

Oboz Tamarack – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Spacious Toe box
  • Waterproof Shoe
  • Excellent Removable Insole
  • Stable and Torsion Resistant
  • Protects with Toe Cap & Rugged Sole
  • Well Cushioned & Breathable

Not so Good Things

  • A Little Heavy Compared to Athletic or Walking Shoes

Gravity Defyer Iokia II Shoe for Men

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Walking Shoe
Fitting: Medium & Wide
Length: 8 – 15 Half Sizes to 11.5
Upper: Mesh & Leather
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Removable
Rating: 95%

General Features:

A walking shoe for regular surfaces with a breathable upper and easy fit hook & loop fasteners.

Rocker foot styling to make long walks easy and assist the push off phase of your strides and deep midsoles to provide excellent shock absorbance and cushioning for every step.


No shortage of sizing options in length and wider fitting available for those with wider feet, should provide ample options for most foot shapes.

Extra wide feet will be unhappy as the shoe does come up very slightly small so even a half size larger will probably not be enough.

No laces here but the hook and loop twin strap fasteners provide lots of scope for instep shape and make it super quick to get the shoe on and off whilst securing it to your foot for those long walks.

Comfort & Cushioning

Comfort and cushioning is where the Gravity Defyer excels.

A deep lightweight foam style midsole offers excellent shock absorbance and cushioning for every step you take.

The rocker style sole working with a supportive midfoot also leads your foot into the push off phase reducing pressure on your metatarsal area (balls fo your feet).

Lots of cushioning too in the padded tongue to protect your insteps and spread the minimal pressure from the fixing straps.

The entire collar area around the heel and ankles has cushioning under the leather outer and fabric inners to give an exceptionally cushioned ride for the longest of walks.


Styling is simple yet effective with a sporty tilt. The extra thick cushioning sole differentiates the shoe from the average athletic style.

The whole look of the shoe lends your thoughts to cushioning which is exactly what the shoe delivers.


If you are long distance walking on fairly even ground and like a soft cushioned ride from your shoes then you should check out this shoe.

It isn't waterproof so not so suited to the wetlands or walking in areas where your feet are likely to get wet from outside. For the rest of us it is an excellent option.

Gravity Defyer Iokia II – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Top Cushioned Shoe
  • Roomy Toe Box
  • Quality Removable Insoles
  • Front Rocker Style Sole
  • Easy Clean Uppers

Not so Good Things

  • No Very Wide Fittings


  • Only Black & White

Brooks Addiction Walker for Men

Brooks Men's Addiction Walker
(As of: 2021/06/13 7:18 am - Details)
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Walking Shoe
Fitting: Narrow – Extra Wide
Length: 7 – 15 Half Sizes to 12.5
Upper: Leather
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Supportive & Removable
Rating: 90%

General Features:

The Brooks Addiction Walker is the Grand Daddy of walking shoes, especially for the overpronator.

An excellent shoe which balances top quality cushioning with stability features to encourage a more neutral gait and plenty of durability.


There is a great selection of sizes and width fittings for this shoe which has been around for years.

Tried, tested and approved by users over the years, it is a shoe that has lasted a long time and will last you over any long distance walks you embark on.

The lacing enclosure gives plenty of scope for adaptive lacing systems that can ensure an even better fit and accommodate high and low instep shapes with ease.

The shoes stability features courtesy of a diagonal roll bar set into the midsole which will help offset moderate overpronation without compromising or affecting those with a neutral gait though not so well suited to supinators.

Comfort & Cushioning

The shoe offers great support for low arches whilst providing good levels of cushioning from its BioMoGo proprietary cushioning and shock absorbing insoles.

The interior of the shoe has plenty of cushioning all round and provides a very comfortable experience.

Read our full review of the shoe for more details.


The style is classic and suits both walkers on the move as well as those out for a casual night out or in and around town. It is equally adaptable for use as a work shoe so a truly multi-purpose shoe.

The casual sporty style will not offend anyone and is somewhat restrained but functional.


One of the most famous walking shoes of all time for those in the know.

Excellent all round shoe that will suit a wide variety of uses including long distance walking on all but the more extreme surfaces. Excellent, especially for overpronators which is the majority of walkers.

Brooks Addiction Walker – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • A Present for Overpronators
  • Top Quality Materials
  • Premium Manufacturer
  • Good Levels of Cushioning & Comfort
  • Proven Design & Quality

Not so Good Things

  • Limited Color Range

Women's Reviews Section

Mephisto Laser for Women

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Casual Sneaker
Fitting: Medium
Length: 5 – 11 Half Sizes
Upper: Suede
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Removable
Rating: 88%

General Features:

A top quality walking shoe from a top quality manufacturer that provides long lasting comfort even over the longest walks.

Simplistically fashionable and classy yet utterly fashion conscious that will match with any casual outfit.


Somewhat limited width fittings mean that wider feet are not catered for.

For those who are normally on the wide side of medium you will need to order up a half size.

The laces pass through little metal hoops which make it really easy to tension the laces evenly and get a well secured fit.

Comfort & Cushioning

This is a very very comfortable shoe.

The insoles are removable in case you want or need custom orthotics for specific support. The supplied insoles do give good support and add greatly to the cushioning in the shoe coming from the midsole.

The interior of the shoe is designed to maximize air flow through a proprietary system to help let the sweat that is inevitably created on long walks, be carried out of the shoe

The outsole provides a good level of grip and traction even if the surface is a little slippery.


Made from top quality materials, these great shoes look fantastic out of the box and keep those looks for longer than other cheaper makes.

It is very advisable to treat them with the care and respect they deserve by cleaning properly when they get dusty and dirty and I like to apply a waterproof spray both to help keep water out as well as dirt.

A stylish shoe that will match almost anything.


If style and looks are important to you, which means just about everyone, these shoes will be your partner.

Great stitching that is there but doesn't shout it out, sets off beautiful suede uppers wrapping up a shoe that is one of the most comfortable you are likely to encounter.

These are the icing on the cake for those long distance walks to take in the air. Oh and LOADS of colors to choose from!

Mephisto Laser – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Wonderfully Comfortable
  • Oozes Class & Sophistication
  • Lovely Suede Uppers
  • Good Cushioning
  • Removable Insoles

Not so Good Things

  • Only Medium Width Fitting

Gravity Defyer Mighty Walk for Women

10% savings
Gravity Defyer Women's G-Defy Mighty Walk
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Specialist Walking Shoe
Fitting: Medium – Extra Wide
Length: 6 – 11 Half sizes to 10.5
Upper: Mesh with Synthetic Detailing
Sole: Synthetic
Insole: Removable
Rating: 90%

General Features:

Gravity Defyer provides those with foot pain with some excellent options in shoes.

The Mighty Walk is a walking shoe that not only caters to those with foot pain but also helps stop foot conditions that might otherwise afflict you.

The Mighty Walk is a walking shoe intended for all day wear and for those who walk long distances.

It has an excellent cushioned and shock absorbing sole with a front rocker design to promote easy push off.

The interior of the shoe is sumptuously cushioned and the premium orthotic does a great job of supporting you where it's needed most.


The width and length fittings available ensure that you will be able to get a great fitting shoe once you know your foot measurements.

Aside from the wide range of sizes and widths available the shoe has an excellent lacing area with eyelets running from the start of the instep to the top of the shoe.

The instep is the third measuring dimension that is often forgotten. You need a shoe that not only fits your largest foot length and width but also your instep.

The third dimension is often ignored but the key to this is the leeway afforded by the lacing opening and system.

The Gravity Defyer passes all the tests for fitting with a good wide toe box shape to allow easy wiggle room for your toes as well as decent depth to make space for custom orthotics if you desire these.

Comfort & Cushioning

There is loads of comfort and cushioning on offer here. From the buxom cushioning around the collar and heel area to the generous insole support and cushioning it is very unlikely that you'll find the shoe coming up short in this area.

The midsoles comprise a springy foam material which provides high shock absorption and good energy feedback when it springs back to shape. This helps return energy to your foot in the push off phase and reduces tiredness.

The front rocker sole design all adds to the easy walking experience that the shoe gives you.


Orthotic shoes are all ugly!

No, no, no, no, no! These are not ugly at all – they look perfectly fine for a sporty walking shoe.

We are talking a shoe that will help us walk for miles not a designer shoe for the catwalk.

There is nothing to dislike about the design though it is nothing to write letters home about maybe.


An excellent offering from Gravity Defyer that will provide an easy launching pad for even your longest walks.

Plenty of comfort, plenty of cushioning and plenty of room from plenty of style. It's a shoe of plenty.

Gravity Defyer Mighty Walk – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Removable Insoles
  • Excellent Quality Insoles – Removable
  • Good Breathable Uppers
  • Widely Varied Fitting Options
  • Lots of Room for Toes

Not so Good Things

  • Heel Counter Not Rigid Enough

Oboz Sawtooth II for Women

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Hiking Shoe
Fitting: Medium
Length: 6 – 11 and Half sizes
Upper: Nubuck & Mesh
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Removable
Rating: 95%

General Features:

If your long walks are going to be out in the country trails or on uneven ground then this shoe will offer lots of protection.

If your long distance walking is on flatter ground you can still take advantage of the excellent foot shape and stability of this shoe.

Excellent insoles cap off the benefits of this walking and hiking shoe.


Sadly only a medium fitting for this excellent shoe though the widths are a smidgen on the wide of normal – but only a smidgen.

In lengths the shoe fits pretty true to length. Whilst this may cover most users it does mean that those of us with wider feet lose out from the benefits of this excellent shoe even though it has a good sized toe box.

The lacing system depth is OK with the laces passing through tough synthetic loops which I must reserve judgment on.

I always find these types of eyelets to be difficult to tension easily and have a tendency to break. But searching around I did not find this to be mentioned as an issue from other users.

Comfort & Cushioning

The no-waterproof uppers are nicely breathable and work well in conjunction with the moisture wicking, sculptured supportive insoles. There is also a waterproof version of this shoe but breathability is always reduced by the waterproof membrane even when it is itself marketed as breathable.

The insoles provide great heel positioning to keep your foot stable inside the shoe and reduce rubbing and blistering. They provide great support and high levels of shock absorption.

The sole has great grip and traction and the midsole is nicely stable with a nylon stabilizer in the midfoot and the surrounding foam midsole provides great cushioning around that.

The padding around the collar and heel is a little thinner than some but this is offset by the high quality cushioning used.

A good comfortable and well cushioned shoe for the type and offering good stability.


This is one good looking hiking shoe that looks the part of ruggedness and does its job.

When worn with casual clothes such as jeans they are their own particular fashion that can look quite alluring if part of an intended outdoor look.


Excellent hiking shoes for the dry with a waterproof style also available.

For long distance walking they provide lots of protection as well as a high degree of comfort and good cushioning for the style.

Limited to only medium width fittings.

Oboz Sawtooth II – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Removable Insoles
  • Wide Fitting Available
  • Good Breathability for Style
  • Good Stable Cushioned Ride
  • Good Long Distance Comfort

Not so Good Things

  • Only Medium Width Fittings

Ryka Devotion Plus 2 Walking Shoe for Women

29% savings
Ryka Womens Devotion Plus 2 Walking Shoe
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Sports Walking Shoe
Fitting: Medium –  Wide
Length: 5 – 11 & Half Sizes
Upper: Synthetic Mesh
Sole: Synthetic
Insole: Full Length Supportive
Rating: 87%

General Features:

A walking shoe for women that is lightweight and comfortable.

Breathable mesh upper and very lightweight overall construction with a decent anatomically designed footbed to help propel you forward.

Good selection of colors and sizing so you can pick up something to match your existing gear and still look great.


Although not available in all the widest fittings there is at least the option of a wide fitting available as well as the obvious Medium.

A good range of lengths for all but the longest feet and half sizes so most people will have no problem finding the right size for their particular foot size.

The lacing area has loops for eyelets and woven into the tongue to keep it positioned.

The laces are not designed for constant adjustment though as the passage through the side of the vamp is not very smooth.

For long distance walking you will not be adjusting the laces that often anyway.

The idea being to set and forget the laces with only loosening the upper section to get the shoe on an off given the flexible uppers.

Comfort & Cushioning

The outsole of the Devotion Plus 2 is split up into pods that compress and spring back to help energize your forward movement. The pods compress and return to shape according to the pressures exerted on them and so follow your natural gait.

The midsole also works to add spring to the step at the same time as absorbing shock and cushioning the foot working with the insoles.

Breathable mesh uppers keep everything aerated and allow sweat to be blown away to help keep the feet dryer.

The insoles are full length and provide a good level of support.


Great range of stylish colorways sets this shoe apart.

The general design of the shoe is nothing out of the ordinary, looking much like a hundred other athletic style shoes but the coloring is more unique.

Probably a little too much coloring for work but perfect to look good while you are out walking all day.


A comfortable long distance walking shoe for women that is moderately priced yet has enough design benefits to keep your feet fresh.

If your expectation is balanced between price and benefit then compared to the more expensive and better quality shoes in this review it provides excellent value for money.

Ryka Devotion Plus 2 – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Moderate Price Point
  • Comes in a Wider Fitting
  • Plenty of Comfort & Cushion
  • Nice Color Designs

Not so Good Things

  • Soles not Great on Slippery Surfaces
  • Need Deodorizing Often

Keen Targhee II Mid Hiking Shoe for Women

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Waterproof Mid Hiking Shoe
Fitting: Medium
Length: 5 – 11 & Half Sizes
Upper: Soft Leather & Mesh
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Removable Metatomical
Rating: 87%

General Features:

This waterproof mid hiking boot from Keen represents good value for money but be warned that it runs small so order half to one size larger than normal.

The shoe is stable and protective and offers a great level of comfort and cushioning for the style.

The nubuck uppers are lined with a water repellent membrane to ensure good water resistance that keeps your feet dry when you encounter wet patches on your walk.


Unfortunately not a great range of fitting options from Keen who once again offer only medium width fittings and a fairly small last as well.

So you'll be needing to upsize a size to get a reasonable fit and if you have wide feet then these will not work for you.

The lacing system runs deep in the side of the shoe and links up with an elasticated tie around the heel for a more secure fit.

Comfort & Cushioning

Good levels of cushioning are available courtesy of a decent insole and the shoe is treated with Cleansport NXT to help odor control and wicks away moisture quite well.

There is ample padding to the heel and shoe collar though the cut around the ankles may annoy and rub you depending on your ankle height and protrusion of your ankle bone.

There is a great midsole that provides really good support as well as stability and does its job for shock absorbance.


A good looking shoe with plenty of leather to the uppers which help the shoe look good.

Quite a few different colors available to suit your existing outerwear as well.


The biggest drawback for this shoe is the last which is on the narrow side and runs short as well.

If you have regular feet then you will find this an excellent long distance walkign shoe for trails and uneven surfaces. If you have wider feet then you should look for a wider shoe last.

Keen Targhee II – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Removable Insoles
  • Good Sturdy Soles
  • Good Quality Leather Uppers
  • Range of Colors
  • Comfortable

Not so Good Things

  • Messed Up Sizing
  • Inadequate Width Fittings

Brooks Addiction Walker for Women

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Walking Shoe
Fitting: Narrow – Extra Extra Wide
Length: 5 – 12 Half Sizes to 11.5
Upper: Leather
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Removable
Rating: 86%

General Features:

A classic walking shoe from Brooks for women providing excellent support for overpronators and also suited to the neutral gaited walker.

Limited colors available but a very wide range of fitting sizes in both length and width.

An excellent choice for overpronators who regularly walk long distances.


The Brooks Addiction Walker has one of the widest range of fitting sizes available for a walking shoe so you will have no problem finding a fit.

A good lacing area with high level eyelets ensures that you can properly secure the shoe and adapt your lacing style to fit your foot shape.

High insteps or low insteps are equally catered for and there is plenty of room in the toe box.

Designed to help the moderate overpronator with a diagonal rollbar to encourage stability and reduce inward roll. This does not affect the neutral gaited person but is not really well suited to you if you supinate.

Comfort & Cushioning

This is a very well cushioned shoe in the linings and the supplied insole also provides plenty of cushioning for your foot through your stride.

Extra cushioning and shock absorbing materials are provided using silicone pads to the heel and forefoot exactly where it is needed.

This sets up the shoe as ideal for long distance walking as it ensures that your bones and joints are not taking up the shock that naturally occurs when walking miles over a long period.

The Midsole also provides a lot of cushioning as well as enclosing the roll bar and the high abrasion outsole ensures plenty of durability.


A classic restrained style for this slightly sporty shoe allows it to fit in with a variety of uses including workplace wear as well as general exercise.

Only a limited range of colors available though.


This is an excellent all round shoe well suited to long distance walking as well as casual and work wear.

Good durability, lots of cushioning and great shock absorbance with good quality supportive insoles make this a preferred shoe for overpronators, and an excellent shoe for the neutral gaited person.

Brooks Addiction Walker – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Removable Insoles
  • Lots of Width Fittings
  • Quality Leather Uppers
  • Great for Overpronators
  • Supportive Cushioned Comfort

Not so Good Things

  • Limited Color Choice

New Balance 928v3 for Women

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Walking Shoe
Fitting: Narrow – Extra Wide
Length: 5 – 13 Half Sizes to 10.5
Upper: Leather
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Removable
Rating: 89%

General Features:

New Balance's answer to the Brooks Addiction Walker is the 928v3 Walking shoe.

Available in an impressive range of sizes and width fittings and a few extra color ways to outdo the Brooks.

Other than that a very similar shoe with a slightly narrower toe box and slightly tighter fit but the differences are marginal.


Like the Brooks a very wide range of length and width fittings available for this shoe ensures a good fit is to be had for all but the widest feet.

A good lacing system, perhaps better than the Brooks, with high level eyelets to accommodate different instep shapes.

You should have no issues with fitting for this shoe.

Comfort & Cushioning

For cushioning this shoe is on a par but perhaps slightly less cushioned than the Brooks shoe with thinner collar linings and a slightly less padded tongue. but again the differences are so marginal to be of little consequence.

Rollbar technology within the midsole provides stability for overpronators and plenty of cushioning and shock absorbance.

The footbed is removable and perhaps not quite so supportive as the Brooks but the mesh uppers are significantly more breathable which is a significant factor for those walking longer distances.

When you are walking further and for a longer time it is inevitable that your feet will sweat and it is important that this sweat can escape the shoe.

Although both shoes have moisture wicking insoles the breathable uppers of the New Balance will inevitably keep your feet dryer overall.


The New Balance are definitely not as stylish as the Brooks nor as easily cleaned.

It is a matter of choice but the leather uppers are more stylish in my humble opinion though not as functional.

It is this factor which may be the deciding factor between the two very similar shoes.


A good looking mesh style alternative to the Brooks Addiction Walker from New Balance that also provides a good choice for overpronators and the neutrally gaited person.

Great cushioning, comfort and control that will last the distance and equally suited to work, casual and exercise wear.

A few extra color styles too which also feature shoes with more enclosed leather uppers than the sample shown above.

New Balance 928v3 – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Stability Shoe for Overpronators
  • Lots of Width Fittings
  • Breathable Uppers
  • Good Support & Comfort
  • Removable Insole

Not so Good Things

  • Not Quite as Supportive as the Brooks

Saucony Pro Grid ST2 for Women

Saucony Integrity ST 2 Women
(As of: 2021/06/13 11:55 am - Details)
View at Your Local Amazon
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon product page at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Shoe Specifications

Style: Sporty Walking Shoe
Fitting: Narrow – Wide
Length: 5 – 12 Half Sizes to 10.5
Upper: Leather
Sole: Rubber
Insole: Removable
Rating: 91%

General Features:

A plain and simple budget walking shoe from Saucony with soft leather uppers and a non-marking sole.

Suited to work as well as exercise walking.


Although there is a wide range of fittings available you may need to look around to find the color and size you are looking for.

The lacing system is nothing special but the shoe is significantly cheaper than other offerings.

Comfort & Cushioning

Although a budget shoe there is cushioning to be had in the tongue and around the collar to protect the Achilles and ankles.

A  good heel counter strengthens up the back of the shoe. The midsole is reinforced under the foot arch to provide some decent support there.

The budget cost does impact on the degree of cushioning available from the cheaper midsole materials and the insoles are very ordinary.

However heel cushioning is very good which avoids shock transference to the joints quite well.

The front of the shoe incorporates a stretch area to provide a wider range of fit to wider feet.

Overall the comfort and cushioning provided by the shoe is good but as you might expect cannot match the more expensive shoes in the list.


The shoe style is fairly classic and it looks fine. Styling is restrained allowing you to wear the shoe in relaxed work environments as well as for exercise and casually.


If you are on a budget then this is a great alternative to the more expensive shoes on the list.

Whilst the ST2 cannot match the levels of cushioning and comfort that most of the other shoes on this list achieve the difference is not THAT great and the savings are significant.

If you need more support or cushioning from a custom orthotic then the savings will be less and you may be better opting for one of the other styles with better quality insoles and designs generally.

Saucony Pro Grid ST2 – Features of Interest

Good Things

  • Good Budget Alternative
  • Suits Work, Casual or Exercise
  • Quite Good Comofrt Level
  • Removable Insoles
  • Good Heel Shock Absorbance
  • Quite Stable

Not so Good Things

  • Overall Quality Matches the Price

What are the Best Long Distance Walking Shoes?

The top long distance walking shoes or boots has no general answer. The best shoe for you will depend on the ground conditions you walk on, your foot arch type and gait but everyone will need footwear with good cushioning and a good fit for your individual foot shape.

If you are going to do your long distance walks on a treadmill then you will be better looking at our article on treadmill walking shoes. If you are walking in very wet conditions then you need a waterproof walking shoe or waterproof walking boot that fits your foot very well and that has good cushioning throughout.

For normal ground that is dry or only very slightly damp, then any of the shoes above will suit you well. Just choose a hiking or trail shoe for rougher surfaces and one of the others for general surfaces.

Differences between running and walking

Although you might think that walking is just slow-paced running, there are huge differences in how the human body moves during these two activities. That difference results in pressure being exerted upon completely different areas of the feet, resulting in the need for a difference in shoe design.

Running exerts much higher impact pressure on the heels then walking, but the pressure lasts for a much shorter time.

The take-off motion that occurs prior to lifting your foot off the ground starts from the forefoot and much more force from the toes and balls of your feet is needed to maintain a fast speed than needed for regular walking.

So running shoes are designed with extra cushioning in the heels to reduce impact shock, and a more flexible toe and fore-foot region to allow your toes freedom to push you onward.

In fact, during running your feet experience a pressure of 2-3 times the body weight, and your feet spend more time in the air then they do on the ground.

The additional pressures from running arise because the momentum of your body weight must be continually resisted on the landing of each foot and then given back on each push off. There is a great explanation from a study by Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

In walking your speed is slower and the height of your center of gravity is lower mid-stride than when you run and so your body momentum is significantly less and the forces generated are therefore less.

” alt=”Phot of Girl Running on Sand” width=”752″ height=”423″ data-id=”2010230″ data-src=”https://woowalkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Running-Girl-on-Sand-752×423.jpg” />

Foot Stress for Runners is Over Double the Stress a Walker Experiences

While walking, your feet experience only 1-2 times the weight of the body and the motion is much flatter because the center of gravity of your body rises and falls much less.

This means that when walking the pressures your feet have to deal with are more consistent and distributed more evenly across the length of the sole.

The forces are spread from the heels to the toes, and in contrast to running your feet spend less time in the air and more time on the ground.

Also, you might notice that during running you usually have only one foot on the ground at any given time, but while walking both of your feet spend some time on the ground at the same time.

So now that you know the basic differences, you must have understood that walking and running are designed quite differently and wearing the right shoes for long periods will prevent muscle strain, back pain, and fatigue.

Selecting Footwear for Long Distance Walking

Make Sure Shoes Fit Well From The Start

Assuming you have already decided the surface you will be walking over and whether you need a trail or hiking type shoe or a more general shoe design what other factors should you look for.

One of the most important considerations is the fit. The features of a badly fitting shoe will never overcome the problems that a bad fit cause.

Do not expect a shoe to loosen up much or ‘break in' as this process is commonly referred to. Leather shoes do have a little give but most shoes suited to long distance walking these days are not 100% leather.

Synthetic materials do not flex at the point of fixture. What I mean is that the point at which the upper meets the sole is completely fixed and needs to be wide enough to accommodate your foot from the beginning.

The upper materials may have some flexible component which will allow some give but the rule is to ensure the shoe does not feel tight when you try it on.

You should be measuring your foot before you buy any footwear and measure your foot with the socks you will likely wear with the shoe most of the time.

Be aware that your foot is bigger in the afternoon than the morning and that your foot size at 25 years old will not stay consistent for the rest of your life. They are feet, not teeth, and your feet change, so measure often.

  • Make sure you have a little room, half an inch minimum, in the footbox in front of your longest toe. 
  • Make sure your toes and the widest part of your foot does not feel squashed up when you stand.
  • Make sure your heel fits properly and no part of the shoe is rubbing anywhere.
  • Make sure the lacing system fits well around your instep and does not press down on it or feel too loose under it.

” alt=”Photo of Woman with Comfortable Shoes Better Than High Heels” width=”752″ height=”423″ data-id=”2010229″ data-src=”https://woowalkers.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Comfortable-Shoe-not-High-heel-752×423.jpg” />

Choose a Comfortable Shoe – Much Preferred to High Heels & Better for Your Feet

Cushioning for Long Distance Walking

As I have already demonstrated the stride of a walker and the pressures generated on the foot are less than runners and also more evenly distributed.

Runners need to have enhanced cushioning and shock absorption in the heels and toes to counter the increased pressures in those areas and in an attempt to distribute those forces better.

Walkers require more evenly distributed cushioning throughout the shoe and from the point of view of pressure distribution, need less than a runner.

There is an interesting article on shoe design and surface interaction here.

So you will notice that running shoes tend to have thicker cushioning around the heels and a stiffer sole. They are also equipped with extra mesh for increased ventilation since running generates a lot more heat and sweat than walking does in a shorter period of time.

Walking shoes, on the other hand, tend to have flatter heels and are evenly cushioned from the heel to the toe. They have a more flexible sole near the ball-toe region to allow for extra freedom of motion while taking a step forward. Ventilation is there, but less than a running shoe.

Also, running shoes tend to be slightly heavier than walking shoes due to the extra cushioning around the heels and the thicker soles. You can also see that runners require more traction, so their shoes come with more prominent grip patterns on the bottom and splayed heels for greater heel impact stability.

Trail and Hiking shoes are significantly heavier because the walking surface is more rugged requiring more protection to the foot from a thicker, denser sole and usually more rugged uppers too.

There are various designs from low cut shoes, ankle boots to full hiking boot styles and also hiking shoes for extreme wet conditions which are basically water shoes for hiking.

So when looking for a long distance walking shoe you should first decide if you need a heavier hiking or trail type shoe or whether a standard walking style shoe will suit the surface you will be walking on.

When walking long distances it is obviously better to have a lighter weight shoe because of the greater number of steps you have to lift them off the ground. But protection for the foot is more important if it is really needed for the environment you are dealing with.

Lacing Systems for Walking Long Distances

The importance of the lacing system is both commonly misunderstood and under-emphasized. This factor becomes even more important when you are going on really long walks or hikes.

The lacing system is there to ensure your shoe fit is not tight but is snug enough to keep the shoe positioned on your foot and avoid slipping. The heel counter, which is commonly a hard plastic insert that runs around the back of the heel and around the sides of the back of the shoe, also helps position the foot in the heel.

The lacing system also needs to be adaptable to accommodate people with low or high insteps but obviously, there are limits.

Better lacing systems allow for a moderate throat width and extend with eyelets to the top of the lacing panels. The throat is the part of the lace opening of the shoe nearest the toes.

The reason for this is that the laces can be tightened to better fit a wider range of instep heights and especially the upper eyelets which can be used to stop the shoe slipping which causes rubbing and blisters for those with low instep heights.

Shoes with hook and loop straps are really simply unsuitable for long distance walking because you lose most of the adaptability that laces bring.

Comfort Considerations for Long Distance Walking Shoes

Comfort is a huge consideration when you are stuck with your shoes for many miles and hours.

A large part of the equation is the fit which should be snug and stop slipping because that, in turn, reduces the risk of blisters. Who wants blisters or sores developing halfway through a really long walk because the shoe is rubbing and slipping? Ouch!

Tight shoes are also likely to cause rubbing and sores because the tightness will cause hot pressure points against the skin.

Apart from this, cushioning around the heel area will protect the Achilles and ankles, cushioning to the tongue under the laces will ensure the pressure from laces is evenly spread out over a wider area too.

And then, of course, there is the all-important cushioning under the bottom of your feet and especially in the metatarsal area (the area around the toes and balls of the feet) and the heels.

It is really a matter of personal preference as to how much cushioning is desirable.

Some of the best cushioning and softness comes from shoes with memory foam but for reasons of durability, these are not well suited for long distance walking because they tend to flatten quite quickly on use. You can read more about that in our article on memory foam shoes.

Most shoes these days have EVA midsoles or some version of that material which is lightweight and provides a good shock absorbing and cushioning effect. These EVA midsoles are often provided with polyurethane sections. Polyurethane is a more rigid material that can provide better support in targeted areas such as under the foot arch whilst still having the cushioning benefits of the softer EVA.

Some shoes are provided with roll bars and other stiffeners built into the midsole to provide more rigidity and to counter pronation problems. Obviously, the thicker soled hiking and trail shoes are often more rigid altogether to begin with.

The other consideration is arch support. People with flat feet, overpronators and supinators as well as those with high arches can all benefit from decent arch support to better distribute pressure and avoid over-stressing certain parts of the foot which can result in plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia and other issues higher up the body such as knee and back pain.

See also:

Additional tips

So, if you want to enjoy a good walking experience buy a comfortable pair that fits your feet well, we advise getting one size larger than your actual, since your feet tend to swell by up to 30-40% during walking.

Walk to the shoe store so that your feet are already at the maximum size when you try out a new pair of shoes. While trying out the shoes, make sure that there is about half an inch of space between your big toe and the foremost tip of the shoe.

Long distance walking can be done with almost any pair of high quality walking shoes however the most important factor is that you should buy a pair that is light and well padded, and has ample ventilation.

Walking for long periods will cause your feet to get hotter and sweat more than regular walking, so make sure to get a pair with a decent amount of mesh for cooling your feet

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