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The Best Walking Shoes for Men: What’s Right for Your Feet?

Best Walking Shoes for Men
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Updated October 27, 2023

There’s no better way to look after your health than by taking regular walks. Unfortunately, your feet might disagree, as there’s a whole bunch of things that can go wrong with those sweaty leg-hands of yours. To take care of them, make sure you’re wearing the right shoes when you head outside. (Surprisingly, your favorite running shoes or tennis shoes may not be the best fit for this activity.) Not sure where to start? Take a stroll through our picks for the best walking shoes for men to find the right pair for you.

Our top picks for the best walking shoes for men

The best men's shoes for walking all day: Merrell Agility Peak 5

Merrell Agility Peak 5

“The Agility Peak 5 is a great option for anyone walking all day,” says professional runner Reid Burrows. “It's a shoe I've worn for more than seven hours at a time without any pain or discomfort in my feet or body, and the extra cushion will keep anyone's feet happy.” With a breathable mesh upper, natural odor control, and a high performance rubber outsole for gripping on both wet and dry surfaces, they’ll keep your feet happy all day long.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 7- 15, half sizes up to 12.5
  • Colors: 3
  • Weight: 10.6 oz
  • Closure: Laces
  • Price on publish: $140

What we like:

  • Lots of recycled materials used in its construction
  • Comfortable

What we don’t like:

  • Some reviews mention a lack of heel support, although more when running than walking
Best for walking all day
Merrell Agility Peak 5

Merrell Agility Peak 5

The best men’s walking shoes for wide feet: Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX

Altra Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX

It’s amazing how much a pair of shoes that are supposedly in your size can constrict your feet. If your dogs are a little broader than the average manufacturer allows for, Altra has a bunch of best walking shoe options for you. “Altra trail shoes have nice roomy toe boxes,” confirms movement coach Brock Armstrong. As well as being spacious, the Olympus 5 Hike GTX is constructed with waterproof GORE-TEX and supremely grippy Vibram Megagrip outsoles, so you can tackle anything you come up against—with room to spare. If you’re looking to speed things up, Altra also made our list of the best running shoes for men.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 7-15, half sizes up to 12.5
  • Colors: 3
  • Weight: 16.7 oz
  • Closure: Laces
  • Price on publish: $200

What we like:

  • Roomy
  • Waterproof
  • Available in three foot shapes—original, standard, and slim

What we don’t like:

  • A little heavier than some of the other shoes on this list, due to the GORE-TEX
Best for wide feet
Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX Hiking Shoe - Men's

Olympus 5 Hike Low GTX Hiking Shoe - Men's

The best men’s walking shoe for flat feet: New Balance Minimus TR

New Balance Minimus TR

While it’s a good idea to consult with a podiatrist if you think you have really flat feet and they’re causing you problems, Armstrong advises those with regular flat-ish feet to choose shoes with some give. “Flat feet often benefit more from shoes that allow the arch to move and exercise itself,” he says. “So a nice minimal shoe can be beneficial. New Balance Minimus is a good choice.” Sidenote: Need to stock up on clothes for your next workout? New Balance’s Accelerate 5-inch Short made our list of the best running shorts for men and are a great choice for walking. 

Specifications:

  • Size range: 7-15, half sizes up to 11.5
  • Colors: 4
  • Weight: 6.8 oz
  • Closure: Laces
  • Price on publish: $119.99

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Durable

What we don’t like:

  • Some customer reviews warn that they’re a little narrow
Best for flat feet
New Balance Minimus TR

The best walking shoes for older men: Merrell Nova 3

Merrell Nova 3

The older you get, the more you realize how much you’ve taken your feet and legs for granted. Whether it’s your knees giving out, your IT band tightening, or simply your feet hurting when you walk, it seems like there’s always something going wrong down there, so choose your shoes accordingly. “The Nova 3 is a good option because it has a grippy Vibram TC5+ outsole, made with recycled materials, to keep older men on their feet and prevent falls,” says Burrows. They also offer air cushioned shock absorption and extra forefoot and heel cushioning, ensuring less of a bumpy ride.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 7-15, half sizes up to 11.5
  • Colors: 8
  • Weight: 10.4 oz
  • Closure: Laces
  • Price on publish: $125

What we like:

  • Lots of color options
  • Can order in medium and wide versions

What we don’t like:

  • A minority of customer reviews complain that they wore out faster than expected
Best for older men
Merrell Nova 3

The best men’s walking shoes for lower back pain: Altra Torin 5 Leather

Altra Torin 5 Leather

When it comes to choosing shoes to help alleviate lower back pain, Armstrong suggests you go for “anything with zero drop, so your back isn’t compensating for your body being on a tilt from the heels up.” Altra is one of his preferred brands for zero drop shoes, and the Torin 5—with its balanced cushioning and bouncy insole foam—ticks all the right boxes. 

Specifications:

  • Size range: 7-15, half sizes up to 12.5
  • Colors: 2
  • Weight: 9.6 oz
  • Closure: Laces
  • Price on publish: $170

What we like:

  • Zero drop
  • Available in three foot shapes—original, standard, and slim

What we don’t like:

  • Some customer reviews complain that they wore out faster than expected, with a handful calling out the sole separating from the shoe specifically
Best for lower back pain
Altra Torin 5 Leather (Black) Men's Shoes

Altra Torin 5 Leather (Black) Men's Shoes

The best waterproof walking shoes for men: Arc’Teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX

Arc’Teryx Aerios FL 2 GTX

Despite having a name that even a hard sci-fi novelist would reconsider as being too difficult to say, Arc’Teryx’s Aerios FL 2 (pause for breath) GTX is our pick for this entry. Its relative lightness despite being waterproof is a big factor here, coming in a full 4.7 oz lighter than, for example, Altra’s Gore-tex offering up above. It’s also durable, made with a lot of recycled materials, and has a sleek, straightforward look that, happily, makes it look considerably less “futuristic” than its name would suggest.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 7 - 13, with half sizes
  • Colors: 1
  • Weight: 12 oz
  • Closure: Laces
  • Price on publish: $180

What we like:

  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Durable

What we don’t like:

  • Only available in one color
best waterproof
Aerios GTX Shoe Men's

Aerios GTX Shoe Men's

The best men’s walking shoes for travel: Merrell Embark Sneaker Moc

Merrell Embark Sneaker Moc

Although we tend to think of traveling as involving a lot of sitting, the reality is that, especially when we fly, we spend a lot of time on our feet (admittedly standing in lines rather than walking, but it still affects your feet). “The Merrell Embark Sneaker Moc is the best shoe for travel,” says Burrows. “It’s a shoe that does it all: It’s good for your walk, the gym, or walking through airports. It’s easy to slip on and off at security and the FloatPro foam will keep your feet happy on long travel days.”

Specifications:

  • Size range: 7-15, half sizes up to 11.5
  • Colors: 6
  • Weight: 9.52 oz
  • Closure: Slip-on
  • Price on publish: $100

What we like:

  • Lots of recycled materials used in its construction
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Natural odor control

What we don’t like:

  • A few customer reviews noted that the soles felt a little thin
Best for travel
Men's Embark Sneaker Moc

Men's Embark Sneaker Moc

The best casual walking shoes for men: Peluva Luxe Miami

Peluva Luxe Miami

The definition of “casual” is perhaps being stretched here—it’s almost guaranteed people will remark on these if you wear them in public—but Armstrong swears by them. “I know they’re an acquired taste (and no, I do not work for them!)” he laughs. “But in terms of comfort and in the interest in promoting foot health, I really like the Peluva Luxe line.”

Specifications:

  • Size range: 8-14, half sizes up to 12.5
  • Colors: 2
  • Weight: 8.3 oz
  • Closure: Slip-on
  • Price on publish: $159.99

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Flexible

What we don’t like:

  • Separated toe design isn’t to everyone’s taste
Best casual
Peluva Luxe Miami

Peluva Luxe Miami

The best walking on the beach shoes for men : Speedo Surf Knit Pro

Speedo Surf Knit Pro

There are other waterproof options on this list if you’re dead-set on the idea, but Armstrong has an alternative suggestion. “Don’t worry about keeping dry and try some Speedo water shoes,” he says. “They’re the ultimate in flexible, thin, and flat, and it doesn’t matter if you get wet feet.” The insole, at least, is water-resistant, and designed to work with an outsole that disperses water, meaning you’re not going to be sloshing along even if you do get caught by a rogue wave or surprise puddle.

Specifications:

  • Size range: 7-14
  • Colors: 9
  • Weight: 8 oz
  • Closure: Slip-on
  • Price on publish: $40.50

What we like:

  • Inexpensive
  • Lots of color options
  • Lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • A handful of customer reviews state that they run small
Best for walking on the beach
Speedo Surf Knit Pro

Speedo Surf Knit Pro

What to consider when buying walking shoes for men

“There are several things to keep in mind when buying walking shoes, the most important being fit,” says Dr. Mauricio Garcia, orthopedic surgeon and senior project manager for Hyper Arch Motion. “Walking shoes should have a snug fit in the heel and midfoot for stability, and a wider toe box to allow toes to spread naturally. This keeps feet from rubbing and/or slipping and helps prevent painful problems like sores or blisters, as well as potential injuries. Adequate arch support and cushioning are also important components of walking shoes that buyers should consider.”

“One of the biggest considerations that many people forget about is the terrain you’re going to be walking on,” says Armstrong. “Not just whether it’s rock, sand, gravel, or concrete, but also the incline, decline, and general evenness of the walking surface. This can greatly influence which shoes you choose to buy and wear on a particular day. In my running days I had eight to ten pairs of different runners, but now I have four or five different walking shoes, each for specific terrain and duration/distance.”

Another interesting tip comes from Blake Dircksen PT, DPT, CSCS, owner of Blake Dircksen Physical Therapy. “Aim to buy shoes at the end of the day,” he says. “Over the course of the day, our feet will swell and actually grow in size compared to the beginning of the day. So to ensure a proper fit, make sure you've got some steps on your feet first.” In terms of the fit, he suggests that you should, “Make sure the shoe is wide enough and long enough. You should have about a thumb’s width of space between the longest toe and the front of the shoe. As for width, take the insole of the shoe out and step on it. If your foot is spilling over the insole, you may want to consider a wider width.” 

If you’re not shopping solo, know that the same advice applies for finding the best walking shoes for women—and comes in handy for finding the best running shoes fit-wise. 

How we chose the best walking shoes for men

We made our selections through a combination of expert advice, thorough research, and ensuring that all our picks had majority positive customer reviews.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Which footwear is best for walking?

“My best answer is, not running shoes!” says Armstrong. “A normal, decent pair of running shoes puts your body at a slightly forward tilt from the heel, which is ideal for a fast running gait but not ideal for walking or hiking. Walking shoes should be ‘WTF’—wide, thin, and flat. The thin part of the equation is negotiable if you’re on very rocky terrain or hiking very long distances, but I would still choose wide and flat.”

“It shouldn’t be a surprise that the best footwear for walking is walking shoes,” says Garcia. “They’re specifically designed to provide the necessary support for walking through flexible soles, cushioned insoles, and sufficient arch support. Also, look for walking shoes made from a breathable material, like mesh, knit, or perforated leather, that promotes airflow to keep feet dry and comfortable.”

Are cushioned shoes better for walking?

“Cushioned shoes are good for walking, because cushioning plays an integral role in shock absorption and comfort, particularly over longer distances,” says Garcia. “It helps reduce strain on your joints when your foot comes into contact with the ground and works in tandem with the arch support in a shoe to keep feet, ankles, knees, and hips in the proper alignment. There is such a thing as too much cushioning, though, particularly in the heels: Shoes with more cushioning in the heels have a higher stack height (also known as a heel-to-toe drop) which changes where the force of the foot strike is felt and absorbed, and can lead to overuse injuries like shin splints and other foot problems.”

Regarding this last point, Dr. Pamela Mehta, MD, sports medicine and orthopedic doctor and medical advisor to The Good Feet Store, adds that, “There are studies that show highly cushioned shoes come with a higher vertical average load rate and vertical instantaneous loading rate—things that can cause overuse injuries like stress fractures and plantar fasciitis. Walking shoes should provide good arch support and have a moderate level of cushion.”

What type of shoes are best for walking on concrete all day?

“Concrete is unforgiving and can have a significant impact on your health, including sore feet, swollen legs, and back pain,” says Garcia. “If you’re walking on concrete all day, look for shoes with memory foam or gel insoles to provide some extra comfort. Because concrete has no give, your joints end up absorbing more of the impact than they would on other surfaces, so choose shoes with good arch support to help keep feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back in the best alignment possible.”

Does it matter what shoes you walk in?

“The simple answer is yes, it does matter what shoes you walk in, because things like distance, terrain, and purpose should all factor into the decision of what shoes to wear,” advises Garcia. “You want to pick shoes that will remain comfortable for the duration of your walk while also providing stability and support. The tread of your shoe should match the terrain and is particularly important when walking on trails or soft and/or wet surfaces, as incorrect footwear could lead to slips, falls, or serious injury.”

What is the difference between sneakers and walking shoes?

“Sneakers, or running shoes, are specifically engineered to withstand the impact and stress placed on the feet and legs during the running motion,” reiterates Garcia. “They have stiffer soles than walking shoes, which allows them to absorb more of the impact, and a thicker heel for more cushion. Sneakers also tend to be more lightweight, so as not to place additional strain on the feet and legs, and have extra support in the midsole and arch for stability.”

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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