Running is often seen as the standard for cardio exercise, but walking is also a great way to stay active and healthy. Walking is a low-impact activity that delivers many of the same health benefits as running, like a lower risk of heart attack and stroke, and it’s easy to do with friends or your dog.
The American Heart Association recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like walking, each week—that’s a little more than 21 minutes each day or 30 minutes, five days a week.
If you’ve been walking that much or plan to start, it’s worth investing in a pair of the best women’s walking shoes. The best walking shoes for women are comfortable, durable and secure, so you can move without distractions.
While many top brands make shoes specifically for walking, you can also wear running shoes for walking since walking shoes and running shoes share many of the same characteristics, like cushioned midsoles, lightweight fabrics and durable materials.
If you’re in the market for a pair, we think these are the best walking shoes for women:
[This article is part of the Fleet Feet Buyer's Guide for The Best Running Shoes 2021. Find all the best running shoes from the top brands for all situations.]
The women’s Brooks Addiction Walker 2 is an outstanding walking shoe thanks to its comfort and durability.
Brooks built the Addiction Walker 2 with a well-cushioned BioMoGo DNA foam midsole. The foam, which Brooks uses in many of its running shoes, is has a proven track record of providing consistent cushioning over the life of a shoe.
Strategic arch support helps give you control over your stride, and it makes the Addiction Walker 2 more stable. The full-grain leather upper lends the shoe a classic look and improves the shoe’s durability.
With a slip-resistant outsole, the Brooks Addiction Walker 2 is perfect for anyone who walks for exercise or work.
Whether you're walking or working, the HOKA ONE ONE Bondi SR is one of the most comfortable shoes around.
The women’s Bondi SR sits atop a plush EVA foam midsole that provides a ton of soft cushioning for long walks or long shifts on your feet. HOKA’s oversized midsole ensures you’ll be comfortable from the first step of your walk to the last.
Designers draped the Bondi in a full-grain leather upper for a premium look and feel, and they only used one color so it blends in at work. Plus, HOKA included a slip-resistant (and non-marking) outsole and tread to make it safer for slick surfaces, like in restaurant kitchens or hospitals.
Want a sportier look? The standard women's HOKA Bondi 7 gives you the same cushioning without the slip-resistant outsole.
The women’s New Balance 840 v2 is one of the best women’s walking shoes because it delivers confident footing and comfortable performance.
New Balance used its ABZORB cushioning to soften the feel, which makes it comfortable for walking on hard surfaces. The rubber outsole adds traction and improves the shoe’s durability, and it comes in standard and wide sizes to fit a range of foot shapes.
With a leather upper for comfort that gets better with time, the New Balance 840 v2 shoes will keep you moving forward.
The ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 is a running shoe, but it can work just as well as a walking shoe.
What makes the Kayano 27 so good for walking is its roomy fit and stable ride. ASICS built the Kayano 27 with a wide forefoot to accommodate different foot shapes, and they used a breathable engineered mesh upper for an airy feel.
The GEL-Kayano 27 is one of the best stability running shoes, and those features work well for walking, too. ASICS used its Dynamic Duomax medial post to provide support and integrated its Trusstic System to mitigate twisting.
The things that make the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 a great running shoe also make it one of the best walking shoes for women.
The Cloud is one of On’s best-selling shoes because it’s cushioned, comfortable and stylish, making it a great shoe for exercise or walking around town.
On built the Cloud with its signature CloudTec technology that uses geometry to help cushion the ride. The pods that create the Cloud’s midsole are called Cloud elements; each element collapses when your foot lands and springs back into shape when you take off to give you a responsive feel.
The minimalist aesthetic and meticulous details look as good on your morning walk as they do when you’re out for dinner.
Ample cushioning makes the Saucony Triumph 18 one of the best women’s walking shoes.
Saucony built the Triumph 18 on a full-length bed of its premier PWRRUN+ foam. The foam is supremely soft and bouncy while still feeling light enough to walk several miles without slowing down.
A soft and spacious mesh upper creates a comfortable fit, and the TRIFLEX design makes for a more flexible feel.
The most cushioned running shoe in Saucony’s lineup is a great choice for walkers looking to go farther.
The Karhu Ikoni is so comfortable because it was designed using a ton of data.
Karhu designers used thousands of data points taken during 3D scans at Fleet Feet locations around the country to generate a shoe that fits a majority of people. The result is a custom-like feel for more comfort when you’re walking or running.
Powered by a lightweight AeroFoam midsole, the Karhu Ikoni is one of the best walking shoes for women.
Mizuno gave the Wave Rider 24 an update this year to make it even better for walkers and runners.
The supportive Wave Rider 24 uses Mizuno’s classic Wave Plate technology—the piece of plastic under the heel that helps disperse impact. But new this year is a layer of Mizuno’s Enerzy foam.
The new foam composition is softer and bouncier than previous foams used in the Wave Rider, which makes the newest model cushier than ever before. Paired with a smooth roll from heel to toe, the Mizuno Wave Rider 24 is a soft and supportive running shoe that works great for walking, too.
Walkers who crave a soft feel will love the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush.
The latest Torin packs a full bed of soft Quantic foam to cushion every step. In the Altra Torin 4.5 Plush review, one Fleet Feet runner compared the midsole to a memory foam mattress for her feet—it’s that soft.
But the Torin doesn’t just rely on its cushioning for comfort; it also uses shape. Altra running shoes employ a technology called the FootShape toe box. The more rectangular-shaped toe box is designed to mimic the actual shape of your feet, which keeps them in a more natural position when you walk.
We used data from our fit id® outfitting process, interviews with designers and real-life wear testing to determine the best women’s walking shoes for most people.
You can shop with confidence at Fleet Feet: We offer free shipping on all orders over $99, and our return policy means you have 60 days to return any gear if you don’t like the way it looks, fits or feels. Plus, with our price-match guarantee, you can make sure you never pay too much for a new pair of running shoes.