I’m sure that at some point in our life, we’ve all had to experience the pain of wearing uncomfortable shoes for miles on, followed by instant regret about even buying them in the first place. It’s easy to lose the joy of the current moment when your feet are locked in shoe prisons that work more against you rather than for you. As someone who loves traveling, one of the biggest hurdles I encounter when packing for the trip is choosing what shoes to bring with me. I’m the type of person who prefers walking to any other means of public transportation especially when I’m exploring a foreign land as it allows me to really tap into the dynamic and unique character of the city. The reason why picking travel shoes is such a difficult task for me is that I need the perfect pair that’s going to both make me feel like I’m walking on clouds after 5 hours of trekking, and also be able to pair perfectly with every outfit I’ve brought with me. Not an easy walk, indeed. This is why I made thorough research on the matter. Here I’ve put together a guide for choosing the best walking shoes for women that are guaranteed to give the softest hug to your feet and make you look fashionable and fabulous while hitting your next long-distance walking milestone!
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Walking Shoes vs. Running Shoes
Let’s begin by getting one big misconception out of the way. Just because a pair of sneakers is labeled as a “sports shoe” it doesn’t automatically make it fit for every terrain and physical activity. One of the most common mistakes people make is buying running shoes and using them for long walks, hikes, and treks, and vice versa. It’s important to know that the biomechanics of your foot perform differently when walking compared to running.
When you walk, the biggest amount of pressure falls on your heels when your foot hits the ground. This is why walking shoes tend to have more heel support, and firmer soles which help absorb the tension and transfer your weight proportionally.
On the other hand, when you’re running your foot hits the ground at the midfoot. When that happens your feet need more agility, which is the reason why running shoes are normally a lot more lightweight than any other sneakers. When you run your foot requires a lot of motion control, and if you wear a walking shoe chances are you’ll probably end up with a sprained ankle.
How to Pick the Best Walking Shoe?
When choosing a walking shoe, forget about the idea of breaking the shoe in – it either fits, or it doesn’t! Here are the 3 main things you need to take into consideration when shopping for walking shoes:
- Your shoe needs to have a little bit of extra room – First and foremost, the tip of your shoe, or the toe box, needs to be wide enough for you to be able to wiggle your toes without any restriction. A good way to measure whether the shoe is too big or small is to press on the tip of the shoe where your big toe is. A good fit is when there is about half an inch (1.27 cm) between the tip of the shoe and your toe.
- Choose the right cushioning and soles – the insole is a primary attribute you need to pay attention to when buying walking shoes because it reduces the tension placed on your feet. There should be a good amount of cushioning around your arch. Pay attention to the midsole, too, as this is an additional layer of cushion that absorbs the shock your foot encounters when it hits the ground. For walking shoes, it is best to go for a foam midsole. Last but not least, choose the right outer sole. We suggest you choose a shoe with a rubber sole as they provide better comfort, has an anti-slip effect, and is resistant to abrasion.
- Figure out your arch type and match the shoe to it – Your arch type determines the way your weight is going to distribute onto your feet once they strike the ground. A quick and easy way for you to check the arch type of your foot is by wetting your foot and placing it on top of a piece of cardboard. When you lift your foot it should be easy for you to see the footprint and therefore determine your arch type. Here’s what they are:
– normal arch – your midfoot is half-arched, which means that the wet footprint on the cardboard will have a heart-like shape between the two feet
– flat arch – also called a “fallen arch”, this is when your whole foot presses flat onto the ground; the footprint on the cardboard will be of your whole foot without any gaps
– high arch – also known as “pes cavus”, these people have an arch that’s way higher than the normal; when you look at your footprint there will be a distinctive gap going across the middle of both of your feet
Best Walking Shoes for Women
Now that we’ve laid down the basics of choosing the right shoe for your foot type, it’s time for the fun part! Yes, comfort comes first, but looks aren’t to be disregarded, either! Here are some of the most comfortable and stylish shoes on the market that deserve your full attention in 2023!
Best Walking Shoes for Women with Wide Feet
Hoka Women’s Clifton 8 are currently one of the most comfortable and versatile shoes on the market for women with wide feet who are looking for an everyday walking shoe. It has a wide toe box and a small lift which usually makes other platform shoes heavier, however, in this case, the Cliftons are designed with a super soft and light cushion that will make you feel like you’re walking on clouds.
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The Best Walking Shoes for Women with Flat Feet
The Vionic Limitless sneakers are going to be your best friend during those long walks and hikes if you’re someone with straight arch feet. These shoes are extremely soft and comfortable with plenty of cushioning that’s going to make all the tension in your feet disappear in an instant! They also have a structured heel and forefoot which add extra support that your knees and ankles will definitely be appreciative of!
Best Walking Shoes for Women with High Arches
The Danika Arch Support Sneaker are a perfect fit for women with high arch feet thanks to their removable arch support, super soft foam cushion, and breathable fabric which is designed to illuminate bad odors, which is a great bonus for people who enjoy long walks.
Read also: Trendy sneakers 2023: Which pairs are going to be worn by everyone? Find out about the top 5 choices