Walking Shoe and Boot Preference Poll Results

Mixed race runner tying shoelaces
JGI/Tom Grill/Blend/Getty

What shoes and boots do walkers wear and recommend? We've polled our readers at several times over the past 20 years. These were not scientific polls by any means, but it can be useful to see what other walkers recommend. Let's start with our top picks lists, kept updated with current models.

Current Top Picks for Walking Shoes - 2016

Top Picks for Motion Control Shoes
Top Picks for Stability Shoes
Top Picks for Cushioned Shoes
Top Picks for Performance Training Shoes
Top Picks for Racewalking Shoes
Top Picks for Toning Shoes
Top Picks for Comfort Shoes
Top Picks for Trail Shoes
Top Picks for Walking Sandals

Walking Readers' Choice Awards for Shoes

These surveys took nominations from our readers, which were then screened by our expert panel to come up with five models to vote between. Here are the finalists and the winners.

1995 Shoe Poll - What Did Walkers Wear Back Then?

Let's take a step back to what is now walking history from the past century. The subscribers of Walklist contributed to a poll in November, 1995 about what kinds of shoes they wear walking and why.
The poll questions:
1. What kind of shoes (brand and style) do you wear walking?
2. What do you look for in a walking shoe?

What do they look for?

  • Comfort is number one by a wide margin.
  • Good toe room is highly important.
  • Sturdiness and support
  • Durability
  • Price
  • Availability of wide or narrow sizes.
  • Appearance is distant but still a factor. Several mentioned liking shoes they could use both for walking and for working/shopping.
  • Those with lots of technical reasons to like the shoes preferred New Balance, Ryka, and Asics.

96 responses were tallied. For each brand, any specific styles are listed afterwards.


  • 16 SAS. 2 SAS Freetime, 1 SAS Hill Country walkers, 1 SAS Time Out
  • 11 New Balance, 1 New Balance 650, 1 New Balance 580, 1 New Balance 590, 2 New Balance 800, 1 New Balance Postal Walkers. New Balance Homepage
  • 10 Nike. 1 Nike Air Boulder high top hiking boots, 2 Nike Air Walkers, 2 Nike Air Pegagus, 1 Nike Air Mada Plus, 1 Nike canvas/nylon crosstrainer, 2 Nike Run/Walk, 1 Nike Air
  • 10 Rockport. 1 Rockport dress shoes, 4 Rockport Pro-Walkers, 1 Rockport hikers
  • 10 Reebok. 1 Reebok "Walk Reebok"s, 1 Reebok DMX walking shoe, 1 Reebok aerobic shoes, 1 Reebok mid-tops, 1 Reebok crosstrainers, 1 Reebok Fitness Walker or Ultra Fitness Walker, 1 Reebok hexalites leather walkers, 1 Reebok hiking hightops, 1 Reebok running shoe. Reebok Homepage
  • 6 Avia, 1 Avia Ariels
  • 5 Vasque boots. 1 Vasque Lightweight hiking boots, 1 Vasque Skywalk II, 3 Vasque Clarion Hightop Hiking Boots
  • 4 Asics. 1 Asics 123 gel. 1 Asics GEL-MORO.
  • 3 Merrell. 1 Merrell air cushion high tops, 1 Merrell Day Hikers, 1 Merrell All Terrain walking sandals. Merrell Homepage.
  • 2 Etonic, 1Etonic Trans Walkers
  • 2 Saucony, 1 Saucony jogging shoes. Saucony Homepage
  • 2 Ryka "Fitness Walking 580". Ryka Homepage
  • 2 Birkenstocks. Also visit: Birkenstocks Homepage
  • 1 Danner boots
  • 1 Guessheavy walking shoe
  • 1 Propet boots
  • 1 Hushpuppies
  • 1 Teva sandals
  • 1 Vittorio Ricci soft black leather shoe boots
  • 1 Adidas Walking Boots.
  • 1 Clarks Naturveldt
  • 1 Easy Spirit Mach 1
  • 1 running shoes
  • 1 Leather work boots
  • 1 Low cut hiking boot
  • 1 Waterproof duck boots

What else?

  • Judging by the spelling errors (and I didn't catch all of them to correct), Asics and Reebok need a simpler name! Merrell is also tough to spell right (good thing I had a pair in the closet to check the spelling!)
  • Many walkers had multiple shoes they used for different purposes - sidewalks vs. trails, warm vs. cold, dry vs. wet.

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