Choosing the Right Kind of Shoes

Athletic Shoes
Athletic Shoes. Nick Free/E+/Getty Images

The right shoes for your feet can make all of the difference for walking comfort. It's true that you can walk barefoot or walk in stylish dress shoes. But for fitness walking, you should choose athletic shoes to support and protect your feet. You should also have a variety of shoes to meet different climates and surfaces.

Shoes for Walking on Asphalt

Regular athletic shoes work well on asphalt as well as on cinder running tracks.

These surfaces have a little elasticity and so you don't have as much impact with each step. If you walk on asphalt paths or asphalt roads, choose you favorite running or walking shoes.

Shoes for Walking on Concrete Pavement

Athletic shoes do well on pavement, such as found on sidewalks and buildings with concrete floors. If your feet are feeling tired after you walk on concrete, you may want to look for shoes with some cushioning. If you walk on cobblestone or paver stone surfaces, you will also want a cushioned shoe or even a trail shoe.
Top Picks for Cushioned Shoes

Shoes for Walking on Trails and Natural Paths

If you walk on natural paths of dirt rock, you may want more rugged shoes for traction and to protect the sole of your foot and toes from rocks. Almost every brand of athletic shoes now has trail running designs. If you are still walking rather than backpacking, look for the lighter weight varieties and those with some flexibility.

Many boots are very stiff and should be used when carrying a heavy load, but are not pleasant to wear for a day hike.
Top Picks for Trail Shoes

Waterproof Shoes

Remove one excuse to not walk in the rain by getting a pair of waterproof shoes. Often you can find a pair of lightweight hiking shoes that are waterproof.

You will pay more for this option, but it will help you keep walking through the dreary months and is a good investment.


Many brands of sandals now have rugged-looking trail sandals, and some walkers enjoy using them in summer for fitness walking and trail walking. Even some flip flop designs now have an orthotic footbed and provide support and cushioning.
Top Picks for Walking Sandals

Comfort Shoes

If you can't wear athletic shoes at work but want to be able to get in a walk during the workday, look for a pair of comfort shoes that can do dual duty. These also are good if you walk to work or walk quite a bit on your commute.
Top Picks for Comfort Shoes

Choosing the Right Shoes

Do you know what to look for in a walking shoe? Our guide to walking shoes gives you tips to get the right shoes. Not all athletic shoes or shoes labeled as walking shoes have the right qualities for fitness walking. Plus, we have top picks for each type of walking shoe.
Walking Shoe Guide

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