What are the best shoes for walking?


Whether you’re taking an afternoon stroll or trekking paths unknown, the best shoes for hiking are comfortable, durable, supportive and protective. When buying walking boots, consider foot size and fit.

A solid pair of Walking Shoes or Hiking Boots is perhaps the most vital element of any walking kit, so be sure to approach shoe selection with your needs in mind. When it comes to what to look for in walking boots, it’s best to consider the length of your trip and the type of terrain you are walking on.

A pair of lightweight walking shoes would work well for well-maintained walking paths or lowland trails. If you are hiking on more challenging, slick surfaces, choose shoes with rubber compounds that deliver superior grip and traction. Mesh, knit uppers, or leather uppers will hold the shoe on your foot while promoting lightweight, breathable ventilation.  

If you’re planning on reaching a new peak or hiking rocky, uneven terrain, then some Men’s Hiking Boots, or a solid pair of Women’s Hiking Boots may be better suited to your needs. 

Are tennis shoes good for walking? 

Tennis shoes are adequate for walking short distances, but they are not ideal for everyday walking over long periods of time. While tennis-specific shoes are engineered to allow for side-to-side movement and frequent stops, they tend to be flatter with less heel cushioning than walking or hiking shoes. 

Standard athletic shoes, including tennis shoes, are specifically designed to offer external stability to the foot to stand up to rigorous play on the court. However, walking or hiking boots are a better option for you on trails. 

Walking shoes should be lightweight, supportive, and feature extra cushioning on the soles. Ample arch support is a must to make sure your feet roll in a natural, heel-to-toe motion. With the right walking shoes, you should be able to tackle miles of trail action with little to no discomfort. 

Are CrossFit shoes good for walking? 

No, CrossFit shoes are not ideal for walking long distances because they may not provide adequate cushioning in your sole or footbed which can cause discomfort. While CrossFit trainers are excellent for a range of sports, they tend to be flatter than your standard walking shoes and so offer little to no ankle support.

Walking shoes are the way to go because they are much more flexible, and are built to accommodate the foot hitting the ground and moving through the toe in a repetitive motion. CrossFit shoes, by contrast, are much thicker to accommodate high-impact sports like running and intense strength training. Plus, if you tend to be rough on your shoes, walking trainers focus the cushioning on the heel to optimise shock absorption. 

Are trail shoes good for walking? 

Trail shoes, or trail runners, make excellent walking shoes because they are substantially more rigid than most lightweight running shoes. It’s important to keep in mind that running and walking demand different support, and trail shoes tend to offer adequate arch support for walking long distances. 

What shoes are comfortable for walking all day? 

The best shoes for walking all day should fit your foot well, form to your foot shape with the right arch, and be made of breathable materials that don’t trap moisture. During a long walk, you might want to consider a pair of shoes that are a half size larger than your regular size. 

You may be wondering, what are the best shoes for walking long distances? When considering what shoes are best for walking on trails all day, pay close attention to arch support and shock absorption. 

Where to get fitted for walking shoes 

To get the right fit you should visit a reputable shop to have your foot measured by a professional who uses a Brannock Device, which is the standard foot measuring device around the world. In a pinch, you can also measure your foot with a ruler. 

Have a look at our sizing chart to find the right fit for you. Keep in mind that you can always use thicker socks or opt for a larger insole to fill out the shoe. If you’re not quite sure where to start, remember that it’s always best to size up. While you can fill out shoes that are slightly too big, nothing much can be done for walking shoes or hiking boots that are inherently too small. 

Are hiking boots necessary? 

Hiking boots are not a necessity, but dedicated hiking shoes or trail runners are an absolute must. Plus, they tend to be a softer and more flexible alternative to hiking boots in any working environment. 

Hiking boots or walking shoes are specifically engineered to protect your feet and keep them dry. Plus, a strong rubber outsole will give you a good grip on any slick or even concrete surface so you are less likely to fall while on the move.

Do hiking boots need to be broken in? 

You should definitely take the time to break in hiking boots in order to get the right fit before you hit the trail. Remember, different boots take different amounts of time to break-in. Leather lined boots might need more time to soften up compared to more lightweight alternatives. 

When breaking in your boots, start by wearing them around the house. The key is to wear the hiking socks and specific insoles you plan to wear on the trail to ensure a snug fit. If they feel a bit stiff, especially while walking on concrete floors, don’t worry. They will loosen up over time. 

What hiking boots do I need? 

The right hiking boots for you depend on where and when you plan on hiking. For instance, lightweight walking shoes or boots would work well for short and easy hikes. However, you might want stronger rubber outsoles for more uneven, challenging terrain. 

When choosing the right hiking boot for you, consider a few key factors including fit, materials, and shoe size. While most hiking boots are already more rigid than standard walking shoes, not all boots are created equal. You need walking boots that match the length and width of your foot and match your low or high arch.

Since your foot can also change over time depending on the season or even time of day, you need hiking boots that are at least a half size, or even a full size, larger than your standard shoe size to accommodate any fluctuation in fit. 

Hiking boots should fit well around the ankle and heel in order to support you when you’re on uneven ground. You should be able to move your toes well without any tight spots for your feet, which can usually lead to blisters or excess rubbing. However, shoes that are too big will not provide adequate support so try to avoid sizing up too much. 

Before you head out to tackle the trail, shop The North Face to find the best shoes for walking today. Then, tackle your tomorrow.