The best trainers for walking: Taking on any terrain one step at a time

If you're getting fit by walking, invest in some decent trainers before you set off.

The best trainers for walking

by Gemma Lavers |
Updated on

If you're thinking about buying the best trainers for walking to add to your gym clothes collection, then you'll consider stability, weight, waterproofing and fit. Manufacturers also have trainers that are good for a variety of distances and intensities, from trainers for CrossFit to 10k and half-marathon runs, to much, much longer. As for terrain; well, you can have track, woodland paths, alpine paths, rocks, mud, snow, and road running trainers and just about anything else you can think of. All this means that 'running shoes' also double really well as amazingly comfortable walking shoes.

The best trainers for walking, at a glance:

• Best overall: Salomon Men's Speedcross 6 – View on Amazon
• Best for women: New Balance Women's Fresh Foam 880v14 – View on New Balance
• Best value for money: Nike Motiva Men's Walking Shoes – View on Nike
• Best tried-and-tested: FitFlop FFRunner Women's Mesh Running/Sports Trainers – View on FitFlop

We're going to delve into the world of walking shoes to bring you a comprehensive guide on the best options available on the market right now. From lightweight designs aimed to enhance speed and agility, to cushioned wonders that make you feel as if you're walking on a cloud, we'll explore a variety of choices to cater to different walking styles and preferences.

Ready to put your best foot forward on your fitness journey? If you want the best of both worlds and need a lightweight pair of trainers on your feet that will feel comfortable for hours on end, take a look at these great new shoes on offer.

The best trainers for walking

Please note: All prices are correct at the time of writing. Prices, stock and deals are subject to change without notice.

Best overall

Saloman-Speedcross-6Amazon
Price: £122.42 - £129.40

This shoe has running very much at its heart thanks to the sleek, soft and snug fit. But we loved the excellent grip so much, that walking in somewhere like the Lakes should also be included on its CV.

The Sensifit design inside the shoe cradles the foot from the midsole to the lacing system, while the upper is soft and stretchy, using anti-debris mesh to keep out any trouble. Toes are well protected with a rubber toe cap.

This new model of one of Salomon's most popular shoes updates the outsole and keeps steady with previous features like the EnergyCell+ midsole compound and welded upper section. Guaranteed comfort, no matter the terrain.

Pros

  • Excellent grip due to large lugs with more space
  • Heel unit of the trainer cradles your heel
  • Quicklace for easy-on and off

Cons

  • Only rated for 2-3 runs a week, long-term durability might be questionable

Best for women

Fresh Foam X 880v14New Balance

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam X is one for the ladies who are looking for the best trainers for walking which also offer comfort and support in every step.

Designed with the utmost attention to detail, it's a great choice for women on the hunt for a walking shoe which both complements their active lifestyle and prioritises foot health. Featuring a dual-density Fresh Foam midsole for comfort and a moulded insert for support, this shoe should be a top choice for individuals with various foot conditions, like overpronation.

Pros

  • Dual-density Fresh Foam Midsole for an ultra-cushioned ride
  • Air mesh textile to provide breathability
  • Rubber outsole for traction

Cons

  • Some reviewers found the sizing runs large

Best value for money

Nike Motiva Men's Walking ShoesNike
Price: $99.99

Nike Motiva's are the embodiment of style, comfort and performance in every stride. These shoes are an excellent choice for the modern urban explorer, as they are designed for those who value both fashion and functionality.

The Motiva's sleek design integrates with its advanced features, including responsive cushioning and a flexible outsole. Furthermore, the breathable upper material ensures optimal ventilation, keeping you feel cool and fresh during those long walks. With Nike's best trainers for walking, you'll not only look good but also experience walking in ultimate comfort.

Pros

  • Comfortgroove innovation to absorb bumps and uneven trails
  • Exaggerated rocker on the outsole to move you forward with fluidity
  • Soft foam waterfall collar hugs the back of your foot

Cons

  • Small colour selection

Best tried-and-tested

FitFlop FFRUNNER Mesh Running/Sports TrainersFitFlop

The FitFlop FFRunner trainers are engineered to address the distinct characteristics of women runners, such as narrower feet, higher arches, and different stride patterns. Plus, they ensure a seamless and supportive experience during each run.

Designed with specialised features that help the running experience for women, these trainers stand out as a praiseworthy choice in a market that's only just adapting to the need for gender-specific sports shoes. Read our full review here.

Pros

  • Features springy Neodynamic midsole to naturally encourage your foot forward
  • Toe spring and heel kick create fluid movement from heel to toe
  • Anatomically contoured footbed provides arch support and diffuses pressure

Cons

  • Not the easiest to put on and take off

Best cushioned walking trainers

Hoka Men's Clifton 9 HOKA
Price: £130.00

www.hoka.com

If you want to feel like you're walking on a cloud, these trainers might be the one for you. The Hoka One trainer represents the pinnacle of comfort and performance in the world of walking shoes. With its simple yet modern design, this shoe seamlessly blends style with functionality.

The Clifton 9 in particular is known for its plush cushioning which, when combined with the shoe's lightweight build and responsive midsole, provides an incredibly smooth and supportive step. The engineered mesh also creates a snug and breathable fit, while the durable outsole guarantees traction on various terrains.

Pros

  • Comfortable cushioning and sole
  • Breathable knit textile upper to prevent blisters

Cons

  • One reviewer found the shoes to be a little stiff

Best slip-on trainers

NewFeel PW 160 Slip-On Men's Fitness Walking ShoesDecathlon
Price: £26.99 (was £29.99)

www.decathlon.co.uk

NewFeel's PW 160 Slip-On Men's Walking trainers are a testament to simplicity and functionality. Although they may not look like anything spectacular, these shoes deliver on comfort with a cushioned insole and lightweight construction, making them ideal for everyday wear.

Designed for those who value convenience without sacrificing on performance, the PW 160 are best suited for individuals who are constantly on the go. Its minimalist design eliminates the hassle of tying tricky laces, and the outsole also provides excellent traction, ensuring stable and secure footing on various surfaces.

Pros

  • Adapts to the shape of your foot
  • Light materials make walking easier (220g in a size 9)
  • Flex-H grooves on the sole for added flexibility

Cons

  • The slip-on design isn't for everyone, particularly individuals with very narrow or wide feet

Best for walking on uneven ground

Adidas Terrex Swift R3 Gore-TexAdidas

If you're looking for rugged versatility, these Adidas trainers might be for you. Built for those who embrace adventure in all terrains, these hiking shoes are made to conquer it all.

Featuring a waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane, your feet will stay dry and comfortable in wet conditions, allowing you to tackle rain-soaked strolls with confidence. The trainer's abrasion-resistant upper will shield your feet from any rough terrain and its potential impacts. Moreover, underfoot the responsive cushioning and outsole provide superb comfort and traction, whether you're hiking through rocky mountains or navigating muddy trails.

Pros

  • Gore-Tex membrane
  • External heel clip and Continental Rubber outsole for grip
  • Upper features at least 50% recycled content for sustainably-minded hikers

Cons

  • Some hikers found the ankle support wasn't substantial

Best for summer

Karrimor's Mount Low Walking Shoes are a dependable choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking both comfort and durability during their wild adventures. These shoes are carefully crafted to withstand every type of terrain while ensuring a comfortable walking experience.

The sturdy construction, which includes a durable rubber outsole with deep treads, offers great traction and stability. They have also been designed with the female foot in mind, providing a snug and supportive fit, reducing the risk of blisters and discomfort on long walks.

Pros

  • Lightweight design and breathable materials make them suitable for all-day wear
  • Waterproof to ensure your feet remain dry
  • Cushioned foam insole

Cons

  • The shoe width specified is 'medium', so these shoes may not be a good option for individuals with wide feet
  • Some reviewers found they weren't completely waterproof

Best for walking and trail running

The North Face Men's Vectiv Taraval Hiking ShoesThe North Face

There's something about the mention of carbon, particularly when you're wanting a pair of shoes that will make your hikes feel effortless.

The Vectiv Taraval's envelop your feet in comfort, ready to tackle epic adventures from the UTMB to marathon sprints to rocky trails. Yet, their snappy response makes them a top pick for those brisk, short dashes too. Plus, they feature the game-changing 3D Carbon Filter Plate, paired with an ultra-responsive Rocker Geometry midsole. And, it's all beautifully balanced on a 6mm drop.

Pros

  • Great price for a carbon shoe
  • Heel-positioning technology ensures stability on rocky terrain
  • Made from a breathable material to help regulate body temperature

Cons

  • None we can think of!

Best loud design

HOKA Anacapa Breeze LowHOKA
Price: £130.00

www.hoka.com

In a world where comfort and sustainability stride hand in hand, the Hoka Anacapa Breeze Low hiking shoes stand out with their unique, bold design. Though not the top pick for highly technical scrambles, they shine on well-trodden paths, offering solid performance and reliability off the beaten track.

The fusion of a compression moulded EVA foam midsole with Hoka's innovative Hubble heel technology ensures a gentle, rocking transition from heel to toe, cushioning every step with a robust rubber outsole that tackles rough terrain with ease.

Pros

  • Features a higher bed of soft cushion for a forgiving ride
  • Innovative geometry in construction
  • Made from Group Gold-Rated waterproof nubuck leather for durability

Cons

  • Better suited for narrow feet

Best waterproof

ON Cloudventure WaterproofON Running
Price: £160.00

www.on.com

Swiss innovators at On have crafted the Cloudventure Waterproof, a trailblazing shoe that turns heads with its unique outsole design. Dubbed 'CloudTec', this technology features hollow 'clouds' forming a distinctive, crinkly profile with deep lugs and channels for improved cushioning and explosive propulsion.

A snug fit, the Cloudventure Waterproof resembles a trail runner, boasting a rubberised toe box and heel, a durable upper, and a midsole with a rock plate for added stability.

Pros

  • Features a redesigned CloudTec outsole for a smooth ride
  • Breathable upper for the best clima-control
  • Missiongrip outsole for ON's strongest grip yet

Cons

  • Outsole gets easily clogged with debris

The best trainers for walking: Buyer's guide

When buying trainers for walking, there are a few key things to consider to make sure you buy the right pair for your needs, preferences and walks.

Cushioning

Think about the level of cushioning you require. Some individuals prefer a plush, cushioned feel, while others prefer a firmer shoe. This will depend on your own personal comfort and any foot conditions you may suffer from.

Terrain

It's important to consider where you'll be walking. If you primarily walk on pavement or smooth ground, a standard walking trainer may suffice. If you're into trail walking and hiking up rocky mountains, search for shoes specialising in walking, as well as hiking boots, as they will have more robust outsoles and better traction.

Breathability

If you tend to do the majority of your walking during summer, or in hot climates, breathable materials will be essential to help keep your feet cool and prevent moisture build up.

Durability

On your feet for ten hours a day? If you want a pair of shoes that are going to last wear after wear, it's essential to factor in the durability of a shoe before purchase. After all, nobody wants to be replacing their shoes after a couple of months of wear.

Price point

Investing in a pair of good quality walking shoes is key to your overall foot health and comfort. Set a realistic budget and find a great pair of trainers for your budget. Your feet will thank you later.

The back of a pair of FitFlop FFRUNNER trainers
FitFlop FFRunners ©What's The Best/Gemma Lavers

FAQs

What are the best walking shoes for foot pain?

The best walking shoes for foot pain will vary depending on the cause and location of the pain. We've voted the Salomon Speedcross 6 as the best overall trainers for walking. This could be a good option to help tackle foot pain due to the Sensifit technology inside the shoe which cradles the heel and helps with support in this location. Although, as a general recommendation, if you do suffer with foot pain, look for walking shoes that offer arch support, wide width options, shock absorption and breathability to ensure your feet are properly supported.

Is memory foam in shoes good for standing all day?

Researching whether a shoe has memory foam in its sole is a good idea. However, its effectiveness depends on various factors, including the quality of the memory foam, the shoe design and your individual preferences and needs. Memory foam does provide excellent cushioning and conforming support. It moulds to the shape of your feet, which will help to distribute your body weight more evenly and reduce pressure points. This could potentially lead to any discomfort being eased when you've been standing all day.

While memory foam offers cushioning, it may not provide that same level of arch support some individuals require for prolonged standing. If you have specific foot conditions, like bunions or flat feet, you might need to look for shoes with additional arch support features, rather than just memory foam.

Gemma Lavers is a Health & Fitness Writer for What's The Best. From understanding nutrition to practising yoga and Pilates to delving into the psychology of motivation. She enjoys demystifying the latest fitness trends and staying on top of the dynamic health landscape, whether that's the best gym leggings, fitness trackers or the benefits of yoga.

When Gemma’s not writing, she can be found attending Pilates, yoga and Zumba classes. She’s also a bit of a home workout aficionado, constantly trying out new ways to keep her moving at home. Between writing, exercising and shopping, there’s nothing she loves more than hopping on a plane and exploring new cultures.

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