Published on October 13th, 2021 | by Kirsten Borrink40
The Best Walking Shoes for Women 2021
Best Walking Shoes for Women 2021
I’m now at an age that when I tell people I have rheumatoid arthritis, I no longer hear, “Oh, you’re too young to have RA,” which we all know is just plain silly because toddlers get RA (and by we, I mean the RA community). Now people categorize my arthritis as the normal wear and tear osteoarthritis that their great-aunt has–I guess I’m old enough to have arthritis now. Even I get confused when an ache or pain hits a new joint. Is it an RA flare-up or just the wearing down of an overused knee or hip? But one thing’s for sure, I want to stay active as long as I can. I’m an older mom with young kids. I want to be able to dance at their weddings.
I’ve tried jogging and love the cardiovascular workout and endorphin rush, but my knees nixed that crazy endeavor, as did my rheumatologist. So I returned to what I do best: I walk…as quick as I can. While my friends do crossfit, hot yoga, early spin classes and kick-boxing, I walk. I really do wish I could participate in those activities to challenge myself, but I know my limits. So I walk. It’s something I can do with relatively little pain, hopefully for a long while. Currently I enjoy walking in my Topo Ultrafly shoes for their foot-shape toe box (without looking like clown shoes), good arch support and cushioning. Stay tuned for a full review. In the meantime, consider one of the following best walking shoes for women (even if they’re billed as running shoes)…
Mary, a Zappos customer says this about her Hoka One One Bondi 6 (a predecessor to the 7):
I was diagnosed with mid foot arthritis and had several foot fractures. The shoe was so comfortable and spread out the foot pressure. The slight rocker made it wonderful to stand and walk.
And Joey loves hers too:
I wear my Hokas every day. I have rheumatoid arthritis. My feet and ankles swell if I don’t wear my Hokas. My rheumatologist recommended them. Best advice ever.
The Bondi 7 is Hoka’s most cushioned running/walking shoe. It’s available in sizes 5-12, medium and wide widths for $150 from HokaOneOne.com, Zappos, Amazon, and Holabirdsports.com. See the whole collection of Hoka walking shoes at HokaOneOne.com. Prefer to try them on in a store? Use Hoka’s store locator to find one near you! If you have a question about which Hoka shoe is for you, contact their helpful customer service department via phone, email or chat.
Brooks may be a running shoe brand but a few of their styles double as some of the best walking shoes for women.
When I asked by Facebook community for their favorite walking shoes for women, the Brooks Dyad was recommended by a follower with hallux rigidus (stiff, painful big toe caused by arthritis or injury). The thick sole protects the forefoot from over-flexing during the stride. Online reviews mention a roomy toe box, good fit at heel, room for orthotics, and extra-wide widths. Brooks customer Barb wears her Dyads for walking and loves them:
These are awesome shoes for my old worn out arthritis ridden feet and knees. Plenty of cushion and stability, and plenty of room for my custom orthotics. A lot of my aches and pains really settle down when I wear these. I don’t run but I do walk 2-5 miles/day.
Find the Brooks Dyad 11 in sizes 6-12, medium to extra-wide width for $85-130 from Zappos, Amazon, BrooksRunning.com, and HolaBirdSports.com. Find a Brooks retailer near you.
The Brooks Adrenaline is another highly recommended style from our Facebook discussion about best walking shoes for women. Perfect for wider forefoot and narrow heels, the Adrenaline features enhanced arch support and “guiderail” technology to keep feet and knees aligned during stride. Find the Brooks Adrenaline in sizes 5-13, narrow to extra wide widths for $130 from Zappos, and BrooksRunning.com.
How about a few recommendations from a top podiatrist in the Phoenix area and author of Podiatry Shoe Review?
Dr. Cathleen McCarthy chimed in with her favorite walking shoes for women in a recent Facebook post. Her number one walking shoe is the New Balance 928. Its rollbar technology keeps feet from rolling inward, reducing rear-foot movement. So if you’re an over-pronator, this could be the perfect walking shoe for you. Take it from a happy Zappos customer:
These are the ONLY shoes I can wear for walking long distances. The firm heel counter really helps to keep my feet walking all day. They’re not the prettiest shoe on the market, but the most stable. It’s great to have shoes for narrow feet as well.
Yes, you read that correctly, the New Balance 928 comes in five widths from narrow to extra-extra wide. It’s hard to find a supportive walking shoe in a narrow. Available in sizes 5-13 and five widths for $139.95 from Zappos, NewBalance.com, Amazon and HolaBirdSports.com.
Three of our Facebook followers recommend the Dansko Paisley sneaker: “It gets me off the ground like an anti-fatigue mat,” and “accommodates my pttd brace.” The Paisley features a removable footbed, wide toe box and thick rocker sole which feels great when you suffer from forefoot pain and/or hallux rigidus. It’s also waterproof and slip-resistant.
Find the Dansko Paisley in euro sizes 36-43 (5.5-12) medium and wide widths for $144.95 from Zappos, Dansko.com, and The Walking Company.
Another Facebook fan recommends Crocs sneakers for relief from pain and discomfort caused by Morton’s neuroma. The Crocs Literide Pacer is made of the same resilient Croslite™ as regular Crocs and provides lightweight cushioning and ventilation from heel to toe. Find the Crocs Literide Pacer in sizes 5-11 for $59.99 from Zappos, Crocs.com, and Amazon (lots of fun colors).
Oofos–a silly name for seriously comfortable shoes. Perhaps you’ve seen their sandals or even own a pair. Did you know the brand just released a new closed-toe shoe with all the same cushiony support as their sandals? The Oofos OOmg eeZee low shoe features revolutionary OOfoam® technology that absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam materials to reduce the stress on your feet and joints. Find the OOmg eeZee low shoe in sizes 5-12 for $119.95 from Oofos.com, Zappos, and HolabirdSports.com.
**See even more of our favorite walking shoes for women: Kirsten reviews the the On Cloud running shoe and Beth reviews Ecco Soft 7 sneakers
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have OA and a bunion in my right foot, and serious OA with some idiosyncracies in the other knee, and am limited to either street walking, recumbent bike or elliptical machine (treadmill is too hard on my knee.)
I’ve been waiting for a report on good shoes for knee pain!
Thank you for sharing your story and recommendations. I have R.A., hallux limitus, and bunions. I’m approaching 40 with a five year old and have many days when the thought of walking around the zoo or helping my son ride his bike can bring me to tears. Finding the right athletic shoe that will let me live my life is crucial. I tried the Hoka One One and felt unstable and had knee pain, especially on trails, because extra lift… they also have a look you need courage to pull off. I’m now in Brooks Ariel. It is a stability shoe and not flattering at all. I got fitted at a running store and found I had to go up a size and a half to accommodate my bunions and swelling. I was considering the Skechers Shape Ups but now may give the ABEO rockers a try.
The Saucony Grid Omni is a great shoe in every way I can name. It is, however, extremely ortho/geriatric looking in my opinion. That is NO reason not to wear it. Once I found the Saucony Integrity, though, I donated my Omni’s. I love everything about the Integrity much much more, and it’s actually nice looking, especially the Stone color. (tan suede) I’ve used it for slow running (5K) instead of any of my closet of running shoes.
I don’t have any foot issues worth mentioning, and the Integrity is perfect for me. Neutral, good support, nice cushion but not too much, lightweight, good toe room, no heel slip.
I started running about 3 years ago. I had bad knee and hip pain and ended up at a physical therapist. They told me it was caused by 2 main issues – too much too fast and technique. I had never even thought about the position of my knee, hips, feet, etc. The good news is that both were correctable. As far as shoes, I really struggled with finding an athletic shoe with a wide toe box and enough cushion. I finally landed on Merrell All Out Peak. They are light and have deep lugs for traction.
For me, they were comfy for walking *after* running, but it was too much cushion for running and screwed my knees up when I ran once in them. I had to do some Physical Therapy and learned my lesson about the dangers of too much cushion.
I did try on a style at a running store, and loved the cushioning, but didn’t think the arch support was as good as my Asics. I’m glad they work for you!
See this post I wrote a while ago:https://www.barkingdogshoes.com/2014/01/best-walking-shoes-for-problem-feet.html
I wear HOKA shoes for Mortons neuroma and they are fabulous!!
I have arthritis in all toes so I need a flexible shoe but durable for walking and hiking. I don’t want a shoe that looks orthopedic
I will be going to Europe (Zurich, Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice, Amsterdam, and Ireland) in May. We will be doing a lot of walking, up a lot of steps, and over cobblestone streets. I was diagnosed with hallux limitus about six months ago. I’m looking for a very comfortable lightweight walking shoe that is not a tennis shoe type. My wardrobe choices are very limited (we are using backpacks) and I need shoes that can be both dressy and casual. Any suggestions on a good walking shoe? I’ve read travel reviews that say the Rieker Celia 51 is supposed to be incredibly comfortable when traveling. Will this shoe be ok with my hallux limitus? I do have custom partial orthotic inserts.
What style of the Hoka do you wear?
I just got Hoka shoes and they are wonderful, it did take me about a week to adjust. Now i love them. They come with 2 insoles that you can try separately or together. I got the Bondi 4. I think the best way to choose is to go to the Hoka web site and they have a very short quiz, you put in your weight and what kind of running you do. However i bought the shoes at zappos . (got 2 sizes and went with the larger size)
I have bunion pain, heel pain and overall sensitive feet, but these seem to address all the issues! The shoes seem to work better the more you are moving. (I’m not a runner just a walker). i hope that helps
Thank you, Laura! This is helpful.
Looking for a dressier shoe that is flat due to hip wearing out. Love Sketcher Go Walk 3 for casual walking. Very supportive and comfortable.
I have several foot ailments and am looking for a good “jogger”- type shoe , but STRICTLY for walking!!! I have been recently treated for plantar fasciitis,perineal tendonopathy, calcification,arthritis, burning UNDERNEATH the outer edge of both feet (small toe side which I feel could indicate nerve damage)). I also have a very high arches. I don’t feel I have progressed all that well with my therapist,and wonder whether I may need some chiropractic work done on my lower back … No pain in my knees .Finding a good pair of shoes in the meantime may enable me to go for a walk over short distances to begin with.Your suggestions would be very much appreciated.
I bought the Abeo ROCS shoes for walking on the treadmill at the gym. I wore them for the first time today; l did three miles and my feet didn’t hurt! I have hallux limitus and bone spurs, so this is a big deal for me. Thanks so much for the recommendation!
Hi , I need a really good waterproof , walking , light hiking shoe, and I was just told I have mallet toe, which I said like hammer toe on each foot . Thank u
Ahnu Sugarpine, hands down! I just got the boot version and have a hammertoe. The waterproof mesh upper is so lightweight and it doesn’t irritate hammertoe. Arch support is wonderful. Just a great shoe or boot.
I bought the Skechers Go Step Riptide & the first and second day I wore them they were great. The third day after 2 hours I was in antagonizing pain. I have bulging disks in my back along with arthritis and wanted to throw these out the third day. Took me 2 days to recover.
The new hoka bondi 5 has a wider forefoot in their normal width, but also comes in wider widths if needed. They’ve been great for my hallux limitus!
Wonderful! I’m glad they work for your hallux limitus–that can be such a pain.
OA in midfoot, ankle, knee. Plus PF in both feet has stopped me walking for exercise for a few months now. I manage to hobble around in my NB 928 with cushioned NB insoles. Not even contemplating wearing anything else with thinner soles at this stage.
As I have aged, I have lost majority of the padding on the bottom of my feet. My Mom had the same issue. I also have high arches, wide toe area, narrow heel, and plantar fasheitis. I enjoy walking and walk 2-5mi daily and I walk on asphalt and gravel roads. I live in the country. Any suggestions for shoes?
I have hallux limitus, high arches, metatarsalgia and have had unbearable pain for seven months. I was fitted today by a board certified specialist in a Brooks “Addiction Walker” with custom inserts. I can finally walk again but it will take time to adjust and readjust as my foot responds. I did have to go up a half size larger and, usually wear a medium comfortably, but he fit me in a 2E Extra Wide! He called these “Healing Shoes”.
I am looking for a good walking shoe. I have heel spurs, so I need them deep enough to wear my orthotic. I recently was also diagnosed with bunions and told by my doctor that I need something with a wider toe box. Looking for a shoe to help with both conditions but look good too. I walk about 14,000 steps a day and would hate for the pain to prevent from doing so. Thank you
I have a lot of problems with my feet and lower back due to nerve damage. The muscle just below my knee in front of my shin is twisted, and I also have drop foot in that leg (nerve damage is in that side too.) Recently I’ve also been experiencing pain in my right hip, most likely due to significant weight gain.
I want to be able to go walking, and have yet to find a shoe that is comfortable. (I have high arches and peripheral neuropathy as well.) Please tell me you have a suggestion — I’m desperate here!
Hi Cheryl, Did you ever find a show for your trip? I have the sam condition and will be traveling and don’t want a weird looking shoe! Thank you for your help!
Looking for a shoe for extra wide foot for an ankle fusion. Must be a rocker bottom sole. Any helpful thoughts? Thanks.
I am coming off of a crippling bout of PF. Here are my experiences. I tried the Hokka Bondi and it did a number on my knee. If you have any instability in your knees, I say stay away from Hokka brand. I like the Cloud – very comfortable and lightweight. Have to mention Brooks Glycerine, I’m on my third pair. Also just got a pair of Brooks Ghost – might like them even more than the Glycerine.
Great feedback, Elizabeth. Thank you.
I read this article and was intrigued by the Hoka One One brand. I’m a woman with hallus rigidus in my left big toe and really wanted a shoe with more cushioning than what I have. I really liked the reviews and look of the Clifton 5. They have a higher “true to size” rating than the Clifton 6 and less clunky sole than the Bondi 6. I know this is an “old” shoe now and Zappos had limited sizes. However, if you do a little looking around you can find them on Ebay and Poshmark, among other sites. I was able to get a pair on Ebay (brand new due to seller buying the wrong size) for $95 (with shipping) instead of the original price of $130. I wore them around the house a bit before taking them outside. I’m a walker, not a runner at this point so tested them walking over a mile around the neighborhood. They felt great! They feel so much more cushy and the rocker sole is easy to get used to. Hoka One One has a chart so you can measure your feet in inches so you can get the correct size. I found it to be very accurate. https://www.hokaoneone.com/blog-post/?id=fit-running-shoes-home. Hope this helps someone else considering Hoka One One Clifton 5!
Wow, Cary! This is super helpful. Thanks for the tips. Yeah, the Bondi is incredibly “thick” albeit lightweight. I’m glad you like the CLifton 5. Why do shoe companies always have to “fix” a style when it’s not broken! I feel the same way about my Nike Winflo 4s–the newer 5s and 6s are too narrow…
Glad you found my tips helpful! I agree with you on the “ditch what’s good” for something new….all about $$! I’ve been wearing the Clifton 5 for a few weeks now and still love them for walking. May try them for a little light jogging as well. Hope you find something you like! 🙂
I came to this site, as I often do, looking for a particular shoe. This time for walking. I decided I would try the Nike zoom winflo 6. I couldn’t find it in my area, but did find the 7. I just can not say enough about it. Trying to walk in a shoe that hurts as you all know, is awful. I am so thankful for this site and the work you do. This shoe is everything you say it is and more!
Sometimes, I think we have the same foot!
I’m so glad the Nike winflo 7 worked for you! I should put it back on my list of recommendations, but I only had good luck with the winflo 4, 5 and 6. Seven was too narrow in toe box for me, but then again, my bunions have gotten worse in the last two years.
I wanted to say that I’ve been walking the dog for over a year with my Veja V-10’s and an Vionic active insert and they’ve been wonderful for my feet that need a stiff thick base. The Vionic adds the arch support and the laces keep them tight on my feet. Love all your recommendations!
Thank you, Janis! What a great recommendation 🙂
I need help, please! I had a bunionectomy that was done poorly 13 years ago. I have flat, very flexible feet, with nerve damage and a mild neuroma in the foot that had surgery and a pretty severe bunion on the other foot. I have tried all the above mentioned shoes with no success. I had orthotics for years and finally gave up as they made the situation worse. I ended up retiring early because I couldn’t stand the pain in my feet. I cannot wear a shoe with a heel to toe drop greater than 8mm. You’d think Hokas would be perfect but they increased my pain. I also can’t wear most stability shoes because they throw my hip off. I’m currently in birkenstocks, all year, which is super hard in colder weather where I live. I love Allegria’s footbeds but my feet are so low volume, thoe and most similar shoes literally swim on my feet. I also can’t tolerate really hard footbeds and am finding even the soft birkenstock footbeds are too hard for me. Does anyone have any suggestions out there?
Been to PT and numerous podiatrists…..no help at all.
thanks For this ..
I’m following. Slim 6 but need 7,5 wide to accommodate bunions, toenail problems etc. Just did 80 km in Altras and feel better than usual – checking out Topo now.