Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (2024)

Table of Contents
Best Women's Nike Motiva Walking Shoes Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Meet Our Testers Best Men's On Cloud 5 Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Meet Our Testers Best Women's Budget Reebok Legacy AZ Shoes Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Best Men's Budget WalkHero Wide Toe Box Shoes with Arch Support Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Meet Our Tester Best for Travel Allbirds Wool Runner Mizzles Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Best Women's Slip-On Skechers Go Walk Arch Fit Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Best Men's Slip-On Kane Revive Active Recovery Shoe Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Meet Our Tester Best with Arch Support Ryka Devotion X Walking Shoe Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Meet Our Testers Best for Recovery OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Meet Our Tester Best Women's Sandal Merrell Bravada Backstrap Sandal Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Meet Our Testers Best Men's Sandal Chaco Men's Lowdown Slide Sandal Key Specs Who They're For Why We Love Them Potential Flaws Comfortable Shoes We Also Tested Where We Stand What to Look for When Shopping for Comfortable Shoes How We Tested the Most Comfortable Shoes Our Experts Frequently Asked Questions How do I measure my shoe size? How should comfortable shoes fit? How do I break in my new shoes? Why Trust Verywell Fit FAQs

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (1)

What makes a shoe truly comfortable? Think well-cushioned, supportive sneakers that can handle long days of walking, running, or standing. The most comfortable shoes vary from person to person: "Finding the right shoe and arch support really depends on each individual’s foot size, shape, and natural arch," explains Shannon Thompson, DPM, a Boston-area podiatrist and the owner of Ace Feet. To find the top pairs, we first spoke with Thompson and other experts to learn which key features every comfort shoe should have.

Then, we tested over 100 expert-approved walking shoes, running shoes, and sandals from top brands. Sometimes, we had two people test the same shoe to see how they fit and feel on different foot types. We wore the shoes on a treadmill at three different paces and even sliced some sneakers in half to check their internal construction. Our top picks earned high scores for their comfort, cushioning, responsiveness, fit, and overall value. We also had a walking coach and RRCA-certified running coach from our Review Board review this story for accuracy and how to find comfortable shoes based on your arch type and lifestyle.

Our Top Picks

Jump to Review
Jump to Review
Jump to Review
Jump to Review
Jump to Review
Jump to Review
Jump to Review

In This Article

  • Our Picks

  • We Also Tested

  • Where We Stand

  • What to Look For

  • How We Tested

  • Our Experts

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why Trust Verywell Fit

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (2)

Our Ratings

  • Cushioning

    4.8/5

  • Responsiveness

    5/5

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Pros

  • Exaggerated rocker design

  • Highly responsive

  • Great value

Cons

  • May run small

  • Rocker takes time to get used to

Key Specs

Materials: Textile upper, textile lining, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Type: Sneakers | Cushioning: Moderate | Weight: Not listed | Closure: Lace-up | Our Overall Rating: 4.9/5

Who They're For

Best for walkers who want a highly responsive shoe with great shock absorption for daily wear.

Why We Love Them

The responsive rocker design and superior shock absorption left us feeling like we could walk in Nike's Motiva Walking Shoes forever. We love how the shoe pushes us forward, helping us roll through our feet with each step. Thanks to the sole's innovative shape, we felt connected to our stride and almost felt like we were getting a leg workout while we walked.

The Motiva combines springy foam cushioning with solid arch support, creating a sneaker that feels like a spa for our feet. Plus, we like that there's additional padding around the collar for great ankle support. Sturdy and stable, they took us from concrete to grass with ease.

After testing over 100 shoes, the Motiva is truly one of the best pairs we've found. We also think it's a great value—we'd gladly pay more for it, considering how comfortable it is. With a stylish silhouette that's available in a range of bright patterns and neutral shades, there's a pair for every walker.

Also available in men's sizes at Nike.

Potential Flaws

  • We noticed that these shoes felt tight in the toe box, so you may want to order a size up from your usual.
  • Although we love the Motiva's rocker shape, it did take us a few wears to get used to.

Meet Our Testers

Both of our testers frequently walk on concrete around their neighborhoods. When they shop for a walking shoe, they prioritize cushioning and style. Before testing Nike's Motiva Walking Shoe, our testers preferred to wear sneakers from Allbirds, Hoka, and Reebok.

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (3)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (4)

Pros

  • Lightweight

  • Great arch support

  • Breathable, anti-microbial upper

Cons

  • Not machine-washable

Key Specs

Materials: Recycled polyester mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Type: Slip-on sneakers | Cushioning: Light | Weight: 8.8 ounces | Closure: Speed laces | Our Overall Rating: 4.9/5

Who They're For

Best for walkers or runners with high arches.

Why We Love Them

On's Cloud 5 is our top overall men's pick because they're sleek, lightweight, and incredibly comfortable. This sneaker is designed for all-day adventures, with plenty of arch support and a pre-laced, slip-on design that's easy to wear. And like Nike's Motiva Walking Shoe, we were impressed by how responsive they were during testing.

Soft padding in the midsole absorbs shock for well-cushioned landings, whether you're strolling across concrete, pavement, or grass. We also love the mesh upper, which is both breathable and anti-microbial to prevent sweat from building up inside. And if you like to walk or run in the rain, you're in luck—a waterproof version is also available.

Durable, well-made, and modern, this sneaker never let us down. We recommend it for walkers and runners alike, particularly if you have high arches (like both of our testers do). Runners will especially appreciate the molded heel, which provides a secure, locked-in feel.

Also available in women's sizes at Amazon, Dick's Sporting Goods, Nordstrom, and On.

Potential Flaws

  • These shoes aren't machine-washable, so you'll have to scrub any dirt or mud out by hand.

Meet Our Testers

One of our testers walks and runs on pavement daily. He also deals with plantar fasciitis pain and found that these sneakers helped alleviate inflammation. Our other tester walks around her neighborhood every day and runs errands in her On Cloud 5s. Both testers have high arches and decided to test this sneaker after hearing great reviews from friends and family.

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (6)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (7)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (8)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (9)

Best Women's Budget

Reebok Legacy AZ Shoes

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (10)

Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Cushioning/Knee Protection

    3/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Responsiveness

    5/5

  • Value

    4/5

Pros

  • Sleek, stylish design

  • Great traction

  • Made with recycled materials

Cons

  • Not as much arch support

  • Heavy

Key Specs

Materials: Nylon and leather upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Type: Sneakers | Cushioning: Moderate | Weight: 12 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | | Our Overall Rating: 4.3/5

Who They're For

Best for daily, casual wear.

Why We Love Them

Budget-friendly without skimping on style or comfort, Reebok's Classic Leather Legacy AZ Shoes also earned a spot on our list after testing. We love the retro design, which comes in a range of head-turning color combinations. But even more importantly, these sneakers are built for walking, with excellent traction for navigating your daily steps with ease.

The Classic Leather Legacy AZ has a nylon and leather upper made with recycled materials—during testing, we noticed it felt ultra-comfortable. These sneakers also fit well and felt responsive underfoot. We found that these sneakers are easy to walk in. Plus, we received lots of compliments during our test walks—another bonus.

Potential Flaws

  • We noticed that these sneakers don't have as much arch support as some other pairs on our list do.
  • These are our heaviest picks, weighing 12 ounces each.

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (11)

Our Ratings

  • Cushioning

    5/5

  • Responsiveness

    5/5

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Pros

  • Alleviates plantar fasciitis pain

  • Good stability

  • Runs true to size

Cons

  • May not have enough support for high arches

Key Specs

Materials: Mesh and faux leather upper, foam insole, rubber outsole | Type: Sneakers | Cushioning: Moderate | Weight: 10.1 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Our Overall Rating: 5/5

Who They're For

Best for anyone with knee pain or plantar fasciitis.

Why We Love Them

From the moment we put on WalkHero's Wide Toe Box Shoes with Arch Support, we were impressed by how well they fit. The footbed has a slightly elevated heel, which we found took the pressure off and helped alleviate our plantar fasciitis symptoms during testing. There's also lots of arch support, which aligned our feet and provided a massage-like feel with every step.

With responsive cushioning, secure laces, and great traction (even on rainy days), these walking shoes are stable and sturdy. Even better, we were surprised to find how much better our ankles and knees felt after wearing them—plus, we noticed we could walk longer and farther. If you're a runner with knee pain, like our tester, we highly recommend picking up a pair of these sneakers for your recovery days.

Also available in women's sizes at WalkHero.

Potential Flaws

  • While these sneakers have good arch support, they may not be supportive enough if you have high arches. You may need to add your own orthotics.

Meet Our Tester

Our tester has mild plantar fasciitis and usually wears sneakers or flip-flops. He walks and runs long distances on concrete and grass regularly, and his job involves standing for at least an hour at a time. He was drawn to these shoes from WalkHero because of their superior heel and arch support.

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (12)

Pros

  • Machine-washable

  • Excellent traction

  • Water-repellent

Cons

  • No half sizes

  • May run small

Key Specs

Materials: Merino wool upper, recycled plastic bottle laces, merino wool heel lining, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Type: Sneakers | Cushioning: Moderate | Weight: 7 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Our Overall Rating: 4.2/5

Who They're For

Best for anyone whose feet are always cold.

Why We Love Them

Allbirds' Wool Runner Mizzles are our favorite comfortable shoes for travel because of their versatility and durability. Made from sustainable and recycled materials, these sneakers are water-repellent, with excellent traction for stomping through less-than-ideal weather conditions. We especially love the warm, soft wool upper that hugged our feet like a blanket as we walked during testing.

Responsive and well-cushioned, the Mizzles are a breeze to wear, even for long distances while shopping or sightseeing. They're also lightweight and easy to toss in your suitcase or carry-on. The best part? They're machine-washable, so you don't have to worry about annoying odors, stains, or spots.

Also available in men's sizes at Dick's Sporting Goods, REI, and Allbirds.

Potential Flaws

  • Note that the Mizzles don't come in half sizes.
  • They also tend to run small—we recommend ordering a size up from your usual.

Best Women's Slip-On

Skechers Go Walk Arch Fit

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (14)

Our Ratings

  • Fit

    3/5

  • Cushioning/Knee Protection

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Responsiveness

    5/5

  • Value

    4/5

Pros

  • Excellent arch support

  • Machine-washable

  • Sleek silhouette

Cons

  • Fit isn't adjustable

Key Specs

Materials: Knit mesh fabric upper, foam insole, rubber outsole | Type: Slip-on sneakers | Cushioning: Light | Weight: Not listed | Closure: Slip-on | Our Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Who They're For

Best for anyone who needs additional arch support—especially if you only have a few minutes to get ready in the morning.

Why We Love Them

Looking for a slip-on that doesn't compromise on comfort or support? We highly recommend Skechers' GO WALK Arch Fit Grateful sneakers. The midsole is layered with light, responsive cushioning that feels soft and springy underfoot. We also like that the knit mesh upper is highly breathable, for preventing sweat and odors from building up as you walk in warm weather.

During testing, we were surprised by how supportive these shoes felt—they matched some of the more technical sneakers on our list. Plus, they're machine-washable, like some of our other top picks. With a sleek silhouette and plenty of foot-friendly features, they're an ideal comfort shoe for everyday wear. Just use the pull tabs at the heel to slip them on, and you're ready to go.

Potential Flaws

  • Since these shoes don't have any laces or straps, the fit isn't adjustable.
  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (15)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (16)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (17)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (18)

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (19)

Our Ratings

  • Cushioning

    4/5

  • Responsiveness

    4.1/5

  • Fit

    4.9/5

  • Value

    4.3/5

  • Comfort

    4.2/5

Pros

  • Great traction

  • Breathable

  • Quick-drying

Cons

  • Not as much shock absorption

  • No half sizes

Key Specs

Materials: Foam upper, midsole, and outsole | Type: Recovery shoe | Cushioning: Light | Weight: Not listed | Closure: Slip-on | Our Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Who They're For

Best for recovery days or walking laps around your neighborhood in warmer months.

Why We Love Them

For a simple slip-on that's ultra-comfortable, Kane's Revive Active Recovery Shoe is our top pick. Right away, we noticed how roomy they were, with a wider fit that runs true to size. During test walks, we were also surprised by how stable they felt—we strolled across sand, grass, and concrete with ease.

Grippy channels on the outsole provide solid traction, while the foam material dries quickly, should you need to navigate around puddles or mud. We also like the breathable perforations in the upper, which allow air to flow to keep your feet feeling cool and dry. Truly a do-anything shoe, we were happy wearing these slip-ons while doing yard work, lifting weights, and more.

Potential Flaws

  • These shoes don't absorb shock as well as some other pairs on our list do.
  • Like Allbirds' Wool Runner Mizzles, they aren't available in half sizes. If you're in between sizes, the brand recommends sizing down if you have narrow feet and sizing up if you have wide feet.

Meet Our Tester

Our tester walks between two and six miles a day, often with his dog. He has flat, wide feet. Before testing the Revive Active Recovery Shoe, he was devoted to Brooks sneakers because of how comfortable they are.

Best with Arch Support

Ryka Devotion X Walking Shoe

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (20)

Our Ratings

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

  • Value

    4.8/5

Pros

  • APMA Seal of Acceptance

  • Ultra-soft lining

  • Wide toe box

Cons

  • Toe box may be too wide for some

Key Specs

Materials: Mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Type: Sneakers | Cushioning: Moderate | Weight: 8.7 ounces | Closure: Lace-up | Our Overall Rating: 4.9/5

Who They're For

Best for anyone with sore, achy arches, especially if you have bunions.

Why We Love Them

After testing Ryka's Devotion X Walking Shoe, we're convinced they're the best comfort shoe with arch support on the market. But you don't have to take our word for it: They've also earned the American Podiatric Medical Association's (APMA) Seal of Acceptance, meaning a group of podiatrists have determined that wearing these sneakers can actually improve the health of your feet.

We love the roomy fit and wide toe box, complete with a soft lining that never gave us any irritation or blisters. Stable, supportive, and springy, the Devotion X has firmer cushioning that absorbs shock well. Made from high-quality, durable materials, these shoes also earned a near-perfect value score, meaning we'd gladly pay more for them based on how comfortable they felt during testing.

Potential Flaws

  • We noticed that the toe box is pretty spacious, so it may be too wide for some people with narrow feet.

Meet Our Testers

Our testers walk between three and five miles every day, mostly on concrete, pavement, and hard flooring. During testing, they wore Ryka's Devotion X Walking Shoe while walking on treadmills, lifting weights, commuting, and running errands. Both testers have flat feet, and one has bunions. They agree that the Devotion X outshined many of their go-to sneakers, thanks to its plush feel.

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (21)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (22)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (23)

Pros

  • Smooth lining

  • Stable

  • Sock-like design

Cons

  • May run small

Key Specs

Materials: Mesh upper, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Type: Sneaker | Cushioning: Moderate | Weight: Not listed | Closure: Slip-on | Our Overall Rating: 4.9/5

Who They're For

Best for kicking your feet up at the end of a long day.

Why We Love Them

Designed to soothe sore feet after a tough workout, OOFOS' OOmg Low Shoe is our favorite comfort shoe for recovery days. The sock-like design includes plush cushioning throughout the arch and heel, for taking the pressure off when you need it most. During testing, we were also happy to find that the smooth lining didn't lead to any rubbing, blisters, or other irritation.

These shoes remained springy and supportive as we walked and provided instant and continuous relief from our foot pain—even after a full day at the office. And unlike other slip-ons, they're also super stable. If you're in need of a sporty slip-on for days when your usual sneakers just aren't cutting it, we highly recommend this pair.

Potential Flaws

  • These shoes may run small—we recommend ordering a half size up from your usual.

Meet Our Tester

Our tester has arch and heel pain as a result of plantar fasciitis. She loves her OOFOS slides and wanted to see if the brand's slip-on models felt just as comfortable and supportive. During testing, she wore these sneakers to the office, while running errands, and on walks around the neighborhood.

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (25)

Our Ratings

  • Cushioning

    5/5

  • Responsiveness

    5/5

  • Fit

    4.9/5

  • Value

    5/5

  • Comfort

    5/5

Pros

  • Highly adjustable

  • Lightweight

  • Stable and supportive

Cons

  • No half sizes

Key Specs

Materials: Mesh upper, foam insole and midsole, rubber outsole | Type: Sandal | Cushioning: Light | Weight: 6 ounces | Closure: Hook-and-loop straps | Our Overall Rating: 4.9/5

Who They're For

Best for anyone who underpronates (meaning your ankles roll outward when you walk).

Why We Love Them

With three adjustable straps, Merrell's Bravada Backstrap Sandal offers a customizable fit that helped earn it a spot on our list. We love that the foam insole is sculpted to provide good arch support and stability on different surfaces. Plus, this pair has a secure fit that kept our feet locked in all day long—no more slipping out of your sandals due to sweat or wet weather.

The Bravada's rubber outsole has deep lugs, for great traction on uneven terrain. And during testing, we noticed they were easy to wear for long periods of time, due to their lightweight construction. Bouncy and responsive, these sandals kept us feeling light on our feet whether we were at the office or walking on the beach.

Potential Flaws

  • Like some of our other top picks, this shoe doesn't come in any half sizes. We found that they run slightly long, so we recommend sizing down if you're in between sizes.

Meet Our Testers

Our testers are underpronators who walk every day. They typically wear sneakers, but wanted to try a supportive sandal for everyday wear in warm weather. Both testers were surprised by how much they loved these sandals and would gladly purchase a second pair.

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (26)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (27)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (28)

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (29)

Our Ratings

  • Support

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Comfort

    4.5/5

  • Fit

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Solid arch support

  • Thick, comfortable sole

  • Great value

Cons

  • No backstrap

  • Straps may slip over time

Key Specs

Materials: Polyester straps, foam midsole, rubber outsole | Type: Sandal | Cushioning: Moderate | Weight: 9 ounces | Closure: Slip-on | Our Overall Rating: 4.9/5

Who They're For

Best for casual wear in warm weather.

Why We Love Them

Chaco's Lowdown Slide Sandals aren't like other flimsy, slip-on sandals you've tried before. In testing, we found that they run true to size—plus, they have ample arch support and a thick sole that absorbs the shock of walking to prevent achy, tired feet. We also like that the webbed straps feel smooth to the touch and didn't cause any irritation.

Adjusting the fit is a cinch—simply use the buckle on each sandal until the straps rest snugly against your feet. Durable enough for easy wearing all summer long, the Lowdown Slide Sandal is a must-have for anyone who enjoys walking on the beach. We also found that they're a great value, at less than half the cost of some other shoes on our list.

Also available in women's sizes at Amazon and Chaco.

Potential Flaws

  • We wish these sandals had a backstrap, for added security.
  • During testing, we noticed that the straps tended to loosen after long periods of walking. You may have to readjust them throughout the day.
  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (30)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (31)

  • Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (32)

Comfortable Shoes We Also Tested

We tested and reviewed over 100 shoes, but only 11 were comfortable enough to earn a spot on our list. While these pairs impressed us in some ways, they ultimately fell short:

  • When we first put Ryka's Romia Walking Shoes on, they felt amazing on our feet—we loved the true-to-size fit and cushy feel. But over time, we realized that the soles were too thin, and we wish the laces were adjustable.
  • The North Face's VECTIV Levitum FUTURELIGHT Shoes were almost too stable, putting pressure on our Achilles tendon. We also noticed that they didn't feel very springy or flexible underfoot, unlike many of our other top picks.
  • We liked that Vionic's Captivate Sneakers were durable and ultra-supportive. But they felt stiff during testing, and it took a while for our feet to get used to their intense arch support.

Where We Stand

After testing over 100 pairs of sneakers and sandals, Nike's Motiva Walking Shoe and On's Cloud 5 are by far the most comfortable shoes we've found. Supportive, well-cushioned, and easy to wear, they are our top picks for most people. We continue to test each pair of shoes at home, and we'll update this list if we notice anything new that we haven't already touched on here.

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (33)

What to Look for When Shopping for Comfortable Shoes

  • Cushioning: Most shoes have foam cushioning, gel cushioning, or a combination of both. Make sure your shoes have enough padding to help absorb shock, but not too much—you shouldn't feel like your foot sinks into the shoe, says Thompson.
  • Arch Support: The level of arch support you need depends on your foot shape and whether you over- or underpronate. If you have low arches or flat feet, you likely overpronate. Look for shoes with moderate arch support that will gently correct your gait without causing your arches to cramp. Walkers and runners with higher arches can benefit from a more supportive shoe. You may also benefit from wearing shoes with additional arch support if you experience frequent foot pain, although it's always a good idea to check with a doctor or podiatrist first.
  • Weight: Some shoes are heavier than others. If you walk or run long distances, look for lighter shoes that won't weigh you down, like the On Cloud 5. Heavier pairs, like Reebok's Classic Leather Legacy AZ Trainer, are better suited for shorter treks or hikes on rough terrain.
  • Style: Make sure you're shopping for comfortable shoes that are designed for the activities you do most often. For example, if you're a runner, opt for a more durable, technical sneaker over a softer walking shoe. We've included a range of walking shoes, running sneakers, and sandals of all styles on this list.
  • Price: Comfortable shoes are available at a wide range of prices—most pairs cost between $50 and $150. Keep your budget in mind while shopping, and be on the lookout for sales.

How We Tested the Most Comfortable Shoes

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (34)

To find the most comfortable shoes, we've consulted several podiatrists to learn more about which features every pair should have. We've also tested over 100 sneakers, slip-ons, and sandals from popular fitness brands. During testing, we walk inside, outside, and on treadmills. Sometimes, we have two people test the same shoe to see how they fit and feel on different foot types. We evaluate each shoe based on the following critical criteria:

  • Fit: When we first try the shoe on, we analyze how it fits. Does it feel snug, but not too tight? How roomy is the toe box—can we comfortably wiggle all five toes? We also check to make sure there's a thumb's width of space between the tip of our longest toe and the front of the shoe. These observations help us determine whether the shoe runs large, small, or true to size.
  • Cushioning: As we start walking or running in the shoe, we note how the padding feels underfoot. Is it firm, soft, or overly squishy? We also sliced some of the sneakers on our list in half to examine the layers of cushioning close-up.
  • Comfort: Cushioning plays a role in how comfortable a shoe is, but so do other factors. During testing, we consider each shoe's materials and design to assign it a comfort score. Is the upper breathable, or does it trap heat and sweat inside the shoe? Is there additional padding in the tongue and at the back of the heel to prevent blisters from forming? How do our feet, ankles, and knees feel after we take the shoes off at the end of a long day?
  • Responsiveness: A responsive shoe has a midsole that feels springy underfoot, pushing us forward with each step. Is the cushioning light and bouncy? Or is it too thick and bulky?
  • Overall Value: To assign each shoe a value score, we wait until the end of the testing period, after we've scored it in all other categories. Based on the shoe's performance, do we think it's priced accurately? Or would we only buy it if it went on sale?

Our Experts

We spoke to experts at every stage of researching and reporting this story. Some, like podiatrist Elizabeth Bonarigo, DPM, helped us understand how comfortable shoes should fit and feel. Others guided us on which key features comfortable shoes should have and how to shop for the right pair. Although we choose products independently, expert input influences our choices.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I measure my shoe size?

To find your shoe size, measure the length of your foot (from your heel to the tip of your longest toe), the width of your foot at the widest part, and the length of your arch. For accuracy, make sure you measure while standing up, preferably in the middle of the day or in the early evenings to account for swelling, says Bonarigo.

How should comfortable shoes fit?

Your shoes should feel snug, but not tight—look for a spacious, rounded toe box that will allow your toes to fit comfortably inside the shoe, says Bonarigo. She recommends avoiding pointy, narrow, or tapered toe boxes that can force pressure on your toes, causing calluses, corns, or blisters.

How do I break in my new shoes?

Most experts agree that if your shoes feel like they need to be broken in, they just don't fit your feet correctly. Spielfogel says the right pair won't require any breaking in if they have enough support and stability.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Sydney Greene, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a huge walker. When she is not seeing clients, you can find her taking long strolls or hiking in the mountains in Boulder, Colorado. Sydney encourages her clients to get outside and move whenever possible, and she knows how important a great fitting and comfortable shoe is to make this happen.

Sherri Gordon, CLC, covers health and social issues and has a passion for connecting people with the right products to address their fitness goals. An avid walker, Sherri knows how important comfort is when you have a long day ahead of you. Skechers are her go-to shoes because they are not only easy to slip on, but they also have a great cushy feel.

We Tested the Best Walking Shoes—These 23 Will Keep You Comfortable All Day Long

Sore, Achy Feet? We Tested & Found the Most Comfortable Shoes on the Market (2024)

FAQs

What are the best walking shoes for foot pain? ›

New Balance shoes are often cited as great for people suffering from foot pain. The Fresh Foam 1080V9 Running Shoes for men and women are stylish and comfortable with their mesh uppers. They have a wide toe box that helps to stabilize your feet and their ample cushioning helps with shock absorption.

Why do my feet hurt so bad no matter what shoes I wear? ›

But in addition to overuse, you can develop foot pain from sporting injuries, underlying health conditions and wearing shoes that don't fit properly. There are several ways to treat foot pain, but it's important to identify the underlying cause first. Once you know why your foot hurts, you can find the right solution.

What brand of shoes has the best arch support? ›

Brooks Adrenaline GTS: Known for stability and arch support, this shoe provides a secure fit and cushioning for overpronators. ASICS Gel-Kayano: This model combines cushioning and stability with reliable arch support for runners with moderate to severe overpronation.

Why are my feet so painful to walk on? ›

Arthritis, a fractured or broken bone, gout, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis can all make your feet hurt. You're more likely to have foot problems as you get older and your joints wear down. Being overweight puts extra pressure on your feet, which can also lead to pain.

Why do podiatrists not recommend Skechers? ›

Sketchers DO NOT have appropriate stability in the upper fabric and the heel counter to complement an orthotic. As such, you will probably find the orthotic redundant, or in worse case contributing to the cause of injury. Remember, an orthotic does 50% of the work. The shoe does the other 50%.

Are Skechers good or bad for your feet? ›

As a consequence, Skechers can cause ligament and muscle stresses and strains. The memory foam could take on the 'memory' of a poor gait style causing destabilising foot, ankle, knee, hip and lower back pain.

What orthopedic shoes do podiatrists recommend? ›

Best orthopedic shoes, at a glance:

Best podiatrist-approved: Klaw, Klaw 528, $148. Best orthopedic classic: New Balance, 990v6, $200. Best orthopedic gel: Asics, Gel Kayano 30, $160. Best orthopedic shoes for comfort: Hoka, Gaviota 5, $175.

What brand of sandals do podiatrists recommend? ›

Outsole Material: EVA

Do podiatrists recommend Birkenstocks? Birkenstocks have many characteristics that podiatrists look for in a sandal, including a deep heel cup, adjustable strap, and firm footbed. The cork material used in Birkenstocks is also a plus, as it's both comfortable and supportive.

What is the best painkiller for foot pain? ›

Oral analgesic medications such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) or aspirin are often the first line choice for quick relief of foot pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen are also often recommended and can help to reduce inflammation at the same time.

Can foot pain be related to heart problems? ›

Foot pain and swelling can be indicators of poor circulation, which can result from heart-related issues. Non-healing ulcers or open sores on the feet can signify anemia, blood disorders, or vascular disease. Burning or swelling in the feet may point to kidney, heart, or circulatory problems.

What are two common foot problems of the elderly? ›

Some of the most common foot problems in older adults include bunions, corns, calluses, hammertoes, ingrown, thickened or discolored nails, diabetic foot conditions, poor circulation, and heel pain.

What is the best walking shoe for someone with plantar fasciitis? ›

WalkHero's Supportive Non-Slip Walking Shoes are our best budget pick in part due to their elevated heels, which can relieve pressure in typical plantar fasciitis problem areas. 3 We also love the padded arch support because it delivers a soothing massage with each step.

What shoes should you not wear with plantar fasciitis? ›

Shoes which often make plantar fasciitis worse are flat slip on shoes or pumps. Ugg boots are also very bad. Flip flops are bad yet remain a popular choice of footwear for many people, particularly those that live in warmer climate.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated:

Views: 5985

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.