Top Performance Training Walking Shoes

A performance walking shoe is lightweight, well-balanced, and with just enough cushioning for you to put in the miles in comfort. These shoes are best for walkers with a neutral gait. While the current trend is to minimalist shoes, these shoes have more structure and cushioning to protect your feet.

Asics Gel-DS Trainer

ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 20
ASICS Gel-DS Trainer 20. Courtesy of Amazon

The DS Trainer is a favorite for a lightweight training shoe that also provides some stability. It is called the gold standard of the performance-trainer category by Runner's World. The models keep getting lighter, and the 20 for 2015 is down to just over 7 ounces. They also made the upper seamless so there are fewer spots for irritation and possible blistering. If you walk in the rain, you'll appreciate the Wet Grip outsole that gives you better traction on wet pavement. The Gel-DS Trainer and other Asics models won our Fitness Walking Shoes Readers' Choice Award.

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Brooks Ghost

Brooks Ghost 8
Brooks Ghost 8. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

I first checked out this shoe and I was impressed with how light and comfortable it was. It is designed for heel-strikers, which is good for a walking stride. The Ghost has a nearly seamless upper. For those who need a waterproof shoe, it comes in a GTX version with Gore-tex to keep out the rain. I've worn them for a tough 9-mile hike and many 6-mile walking workouts. They are a joy to wear.

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Avia Avi-Lite Guidance

Avia Avi-Lite
Avia Avi-Lite. Photo Courtesy of Pricegrabber

The Avi-Lite Guidance comes in three numbered styles for neutral (Avi-Lite Guidance 4), mild overpronaters (Avi-Lite Guidance 6), and severe overpronaters (Avi-Lite Guidance 9). They manage to incorporate motion control in the 6 and 9 while still keeping the shoe lightweight. They also have enough cushioning for mid to high mileage walkers. The Running Network gave this shoe their Gold Medal top honors in the lightweight category.

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Saucony ProGRID Kinvara

Saucony ProGRID Kinvara
Saucony ProGRID Kinvara. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

The Kinvara borders on being a minimalist shoe, with very lightweight construction. Wearers love them for being light and flexible yet providing enough support and cushion for shorter workouts. They would probably be best for walks of six miles or less.

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New Balance 1080

New Balance 1080v5
New Balance 1080v5. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

This shoe is built for neutral feet and is flexible and comfortable. It has enough cushioning for longer mileage and I used it in training for the half marathon distance. New Balance shoes come in widths, which is appreciated by those of us with wide feet. As of 1080v4, it is on a new last, the PL-8 last. That means you should try it on before you buy the latest upgrade to ensure it fits right.

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Nike Air Pegasus

Nike Air Pegasus 31
Nike Air Pegasus 31. Courtesy of Amazon

This lightweight, flexible shoe comes in versions that accept the Nike+ footpod shoe sensor. The Pegasus comes in widths - narrow, normal and wide -- and in male and female specific designs. The Pegasus 31 for 2015 has a redesigned upper, and an even-lower heel drop of 10 mm, which is good for walkers. It has trimmed weight over the past couple of years. It is a good cushioned shoe for longer walks. It won the Best Buy Award from Runner's World.

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Saucony ProGrid Triumph

Saucony Triumph ISO
Saucony Triumph ISO. Courtesy of Amazon

This lightweight shoe also has excellent cushioning and durability. Sauconys have a specific fit that won't work for everyone, but might be just what you need. It has a low heel drop of 8 millimeters, which makes it even more acceptable for walkers. However, it is a more expensive shoe, so look for sales.

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Ryka Indigo

Ryka Indigo
Ryka Indigo. Courtesy of

The Ryka Indigo is a lightweight neutral running shoe that has a good amount of cushioning. It is flat and flexible, very appropriate for fitness walkers as well as runners. It has a little bit of arch support in the insole. They come in regular and wide.

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Brooks Pure Flow

Brooks Pure Flow 4
Brooks Pure Flow 4. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

Brooks launches into the new trend of flatter shoes and rounded heels -- design elements that walkers need. They also construct it with a split-toe design that lets you toe-off more powerfully. Those elements help walkers achieve a quick, powerful stride. Yet it has enough cushioning for a cushy feel.

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New Balance 890

New Balance 890 v5
New Balance 890 v5. Courtesy of Pricegrabber

You want light? The REVite midsole in these shoes is extremely light, yet gives a nice amount of cushion. I found myself speeding up on my short walking breaks from the pure joy of the feel of these shoes. They come in widths. However, this shoe has been discontinued, so get it while you can.

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